—R.I.P. Stephen Covey
The world bid farewell to one of the most influential management authors of our time—R.I.P. Stephen Covey. Among Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Americans” in 1996, Covey was truly a thought leader and organizational expert whose astute and keen insights into the world of marketing are unmatched. For anyone who hasn’t read his best-seller, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”…what can I say…what are you waiting for? Read it NOW! Here is a quick summary of the “7 habits”.
What amazes and inspires me is that when you die at 79 from what Covey’s family said were “residual effects of a bicycle accident in April”, it just shows you are never too old to stay fit in mind and body.
Now if only I had thought of it like that when I was running the Warrior Dash last weekend, it might have been a little easier on me. It just killed me! But I’m glad I did this. I’m not a born runner; I’d never done this before; but I was up for a challenge and took a leap of faith based on the encouragement I had from family and friends. They believed I could do this and so I did.
How Can Your B2B Organization Nurture Good Lead Generation Best Practices?
Take a Lesson from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits…
I think every once in a while, whether you are an individual or an organization; you need to do that—take a leap of faith based on the knowledge that you have what it takes; you just never tried it yet.
And that is habit #1 according to Stephen. Be proactive; take initiative; move from being dependent to being independent. Don’t be afraid to take the first step. If you have worked hard and have all the right processes in place, you will be successful. Consciously, effectively, work at refining your lead generation process, and get ready to take a leap of faith.
In the world of B2B marketing, I see two sides of the coin. The problem with big organizations is that they often spend too much time thinking about what the first step should be. Or they end up taking a step in the wrong direction! I cringe each time I hear the top executives of a large corporation say, “The market is big enough; of course we can expand market share.” Really? I wish it was so easy my friends. When I was in Paris last month, it was sale season. Many stores were having their best sale of the year. Retail shoppers were in a tizzy as shop windows satanically lured them in. Some big brands also had sales going on but they didn’t advertize them. So I walked into my favourite store, Zegna, and was told they had a great sale on. I love this brand of “couture” menswear and once I was in the store, they upped my positive experience to a higher level by sweetening the deal. But that’s B2C and it is relatively easier to be creative about your brand marketing and “captivate and capture” strategy. It’s very different, as we know, in the B2B marketplace. You need a defined audience capture strategy and you also need the chutzpah to pull it off.
What I see with the smaller organizations is that they are mostly just too wary and shy to take a bold step; and for all the wrong reasons. Small budget, less people, not enough time, etc., etc. I always tell these smaller companies that they have enormous advantages over their bigger counterparts:
- The decision making process is easier; lesser heads coming together and hence, more streamlined. You can take Stephen’s habit #5 and put it into practice: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. When you are not worried about trying to work with so many talking heads in the company, it is easier to focus on what your prospects and customers want.
- Unlike the big companies, there are few legacy issues to deal with—you know, the typical fretting over existing CRM tools, the functional crossover battles, and so on. You can do what Covey lists at habit #2 in his list—Begin with the end in mind. Define what a true lead means to your organization. Base your lead scoring model on specific parameters that lead up to conversion. When you have these clear goals in mind, it’s okay to try a new tactic to reach them as long as your strategy is peppered with good, old-fashioned wisdom about the B2B lead generation process.
- Creativity is at its best when you work with limited budgets—you want to make every penny count! Look at habit #4 in Covey’s list—Think win-win.
- Your senior management has no choice but to focus more on marketing output. See habit #3: Put first things first. Prioritize, plan and execute based on the importance of goals rather than the urgency. Forget about calendar-governed targets and focus instead on the right quality. Yes, speed is important and as a small company you really can move fast, but there is a fine line between being nimble and being rash.
- It is easier to achieve sales and marketing alignment and thereby, a more cohesive approach to business. Stephen Covey lists habit #6 as: Synergize—if you are a small company, you can do this easier. If you are a big company, you know you have to work hard to achieve this, but it certainly is a habit worth cultivating.
- And last, but not the least, you are not continuously struggling with management changes and “leadership tantrums”. So you have the luxury to work at Sharpening the saw—habit #7 on the list. Continue to learn and examine new and upcoming ideas, strategies and tactics, such as we do especially with social media marketing. Measurement is important at every step of the way so that business improvement becomes an integral and continuous process within your organization.
Do you think your B2B lead generation is “highly effective”? What “habits” do you want to keep and enhance? Are there some you think you need to kick? Feel free to share on my blog.