By: David Shedd
Welcome to 2012! I remain confident that this will be the year that your company once again begins to soar.
To help you with that I offer up six suggestions on how you can make a substantive change in your business.
- Bring in Fresh Blood: As discussed before, your operations-oriented leaders that have not yet adapted to the sales and marketing world we live in, will never adapt. It is time to change them out and bring in some fresh ideas to re-vitalize the company.
- Delete Layers: Many companies still need to downsize. Not with their workers or lower-level employees, but in their management structure. If you have leaders managing fewer than 5 employees, why? It is time to thin out those layers and reduce the over-management and extra programs and initiatives that the managers in these extra layers inevitably call for to justify their existence.
- Manage Less and Lead More: Do you remember the boom time when you might have gotten updates from your best employees only on a weekly basis because there was so much going on. Guess what? Those same employees are still just as good as they were then (if not better). But, they are likely chafing under your daily and constant micro-management and the endless progress review meetings. Trust them once again, and they will perform. Remember as Peter Drucker said:
So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work
- Use Video More: Video can be a great promotional tool (see the success of YouTube). But, further it is a great operational and management tool. Use Skype or other video services to have internal calls or conference calls. In these video calls, you can see the other party and read their body language to ensure that they understand and agree. This makes the communication more effective (a higher bandwidth communication) and saves countless dollars and hours in useless internal travel. Use video to conduct screening calls and interviews. Use video in the plant or operations so that the plant management and plant employees can see exactly what is going on and discover ways to fix it. Think about sports: what high school, college or professional athlete today does not use video and video review to find ways to improve their performance?
- Get Serious About CRM (Customer Relationship Management Software): If you or any of your sales team is not now using CRM such as ACT, SalesForce.com, Constant Contact, etc. then they are just like those dumb lug hockey players who did not wear helmets for years. Your customers, current and potential, are vital. Thus, understanding their needs and following up with them consistently is fundamental to your company success. Specifically, use your CRM software to set up regular visits with your good customers to thank them for their business and find out what more you can do for them.
- Get Serious about Social Media: Social Media is not going away. You do not need to go whole hog, but moving forward with social media ensures that you are responsive, progressive and interested in reaching new customers. Some ideas to get started:
- Personalize your web site: Show pictures of your team. Show biographies of top management. People want to buy from people and know that you are legitimate.
- Start a Blog: With the blog (which you can do as rarely as once a month) tell stories about your companies’ successes and victories. Written in a more informal language, the blog stories help your company and brand come alive as opposed to the stale copy on most websites. These blog stories are also accessible to your salespeople and make effective sales tools for them in their customer meetings. Finally, regular blog postings help you with your Google search engine optimization (SEO).
- Set up an E-Mail list and create an informative monthly newsletter: Use services such as Aweber to create multiple lists. Get customers, potential customers, and influencers to sign up by giving out useful information (it need only be one page) in a monthly newsletter. This creates an easy way to touch all of these stakeholders on a monthly basis and begin to develop a relationship.
About David Shedd
David has ten years of success as President of an up to $200M group of companies, having led, improved and grown 19 different businesses. Currently, David is President of Winning B2B Leadership, having advised more than 25 small to middle-market clients (both domestically and internationally) while looking for his next company or group of companies to lead. David's two books, Build a Better B2B Business and 110% Success, are each available on Amazon.com.
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