What Does Trust Have To Do With Anything?

Ever been in a meeting where everyone seems to get along swimmingly? But the longer you sit there you start to get a sense that a play act is going on. The friendly banter is contrived, double entrendres abound, the proselytizers are taking turns, and the conversation doesn’t hit on the core reason for the meeting. It doesn’t matter if you’re in an uptight ‘suits’ or ‘jeans and t-shirt’ environment, company cultures these days suffer from a serious malaise. The lack of trust at all levels is at epidemic portions. I venture that few of you really trust your boss or cube farm neighbors.... Read the complete post on Forbes.

Time to Pull Up Our Socks

Like most people, I have one eye on the debt ceiling and unemployment debate.  Sorting reality from spin and the juvenile drama reminds me of decades ago university student government meetings.  It's also reminiscent of some management team meetings where one spends enormous energy sorting the facts from all the hooey. What strikes me as troublesome is the colossal disconnect between the perspectives of government, companies and the general public. Their focus is telling of the disconnect: The next election cycle, next financial earnings report, and when the next set of bills are due.  The lack of common ground or shared goals between these three perspectives is undermining our future.  

Customer Acquisition is a Myth

The economy is working on rebounding and companies are gearing up.  Pipelines and revenues are heading north and hiring along with it.  But something in this rebound is different. For new sales hires, the expectation is that they join with a solid book of business and a pipeline already in hand; even for companies where the ramp time for sales people to achieve repeatable revenue productivity is six to nine months.  Same goes for marketers. Regardless of the market’s or company’s maturity or readiness the expectation of newly hired marketing leaders is that they produce a significant uptick in pipelines in 60 to 90 days, regardless of the capabilities or competence of marketing or sales. For many new hires, these are unrealistic and unachievable expectations.  Nevertheless, the message is loud and clear – growth comes only from net new customer acquisition.  

Lessons From The Aligned

In the quest to find companies that know how to keep sales and marketing aligned, I interviewed a handful for truly remarkable CEOs.  They aren’t gracing the cover of business publications, keynoting conferences or running for government office.  They are remarkable in their achievements and their perspectives are a breath of fresh air. From them I found a consistent pattern in how they kept alignment in place – a clear company strategy, open collaboration and a company-wide implemented (and honored) accountability process. Interestingly, for them alignment wasn’t just about sales and marketing, it was about aligning all the corners of the business into one cohesive fabric.  

The Creative Destruction of Marketing

In 1942, Joseph Schumpeter introduced the economic concept of creative destruction.  He theorized that radical innovation triggers transformation in economies as well as companies.  Innovation is the force that sustains long term economic growth even as it destroys the value of established companies.  This is an apt description of what is happening to marketing today.  Social media, interactive marketing, revenue cycle optimization, and innovation management are radical innovations triggering the wholesale transformation of marketing.