By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
This article is a continuation of the “It Is What It Is” (IIWII) article series; read last week’s article.
Assume for a minute that the following staff has been with your company for at least 3 years:
VP Product Development
Would it be safe to say there have been some unpleasant conversations between different individuals? Is it possible that some of the “discussions” became heated and there may be personal baggage. Lastly, how many of these key executives have taken an IIWII (It is what it is) attitude? This amounts to saying they’re unhappy about something they can’t change. The response is often to perform random acts within their own silos that aren’t part of an overall plan. Many such actions are as likely to worsen, as they are to improve subsequent outcomes.
In order to repair the relationships of the stake holders and their silos, something has to change. The deliverables that ultimately to sales (offerings; collateral; training; messaging) have to be part of an overall strategy. One definition of insanity is doing the same things repeatedly and expecting a different result. Product focused organizations can start to become customer focused if they can get everyone on the same page.
In order to do so, sales can’t merely say they are going to implement process or training, a typical “siloed” response done in a vacuum. It seems that all stakeholders should share a common vocabulary that clearly defines the roles and deliverables needed to generate top line.
A few high level suggestions:
Marketing is the customer of Product Development. If/when an offering does not align with customer needs, Marketing should have the ability to “send it back” as you would send a cold meal in a restaurant back.
Sales is the customer of Marketing. If/when collateral and messaging for new products are not going to help sellers, items that aren’t up to standard should be sent back.
Marketing should be viewed as the beginning of sales cycles (interest and lead generation) through programs and the Internet rather than where products are handed off so that product launches can be designed. Having Marketing at the start of buying cycles should allow them to provide better input on requirements for new offerings.
The VP Sales and CFO should share a common definition of criteria for qualified opportunities that will appear in the forecast.
In order to accomplish these things, all the silos should agree for each product what titles are involved in making buying decisions, what outcomes for each title can be achieved through the use of the offering and what specific capabilities are needed for each title/outcome. Remarkable things happen if this exercise is completed and agree on. Let me just share one benefit in that you can now define a touch point between sales and marketing. A “lead” is now one of the target titles that have expressed interest in one of more business outcomes for a particular offering.
If top line revenue is a challenge, as it relates to these stakeholders it’s everyone’s fault and it’s nobody’s fault. If silos role can be defined, top line revenue becomes everyone’s responsibility and everyone understands their roles.