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Rebuilding the Business

by Kevin D. Crone

May 12, 2014

Since January, I’ve been working with a group of business people who want to lead their businesses to a new future. Why? Their businesses aren’t making money like they used to. Margins are shrinking and they don’t like where things are going. They’re great people. They’re successful and yet they don’t let that blind them into becoming a caretaker. They don’t wait for things to change. They lead change. They make things happen. They want more than just doing okay. They want to take their business to another level.

We start by exploring what their business has been and what it can be.  I don’t believe in too much blue-skying, word-smithing missions, visions, values and stands anymore. I used to do a ton of that stuff for leadership teams in the eighties and nineties when things were stable and a bit of contextual and emotional wording gave a business direction. All of these things must come from a market-centric analysis of reality and opportunity, not just a feel-good and “keep everything the same” flip chart wordsmith meeting.

Nothing is stable anymore.  I see business as a dog fight and battle to climb a hill for the customer’s attention and the competitors can come from out of nowhere to stop you in your tracks, and if you aren’t looking and adjusting with an innovative offering, a compelling story and a sales and marketing team to get it to market, you’re slowly going out of business.

This analysis is customer-centric. That seems to be too radical for people who have been in business for a while but when they climb a  tree to view what is really going on in their industry, marketplace and their own business, their perspective changes. Then they are ready for more intense battles. What I’ve learned is that most are very product focused and wrapped up in their past successes or present problems.

It can be challenging…

  • To get some clients to take a medium-range view of the world.
  • To get them to examine the market trends, read reports and white papers, make an analysis of the offering, and compare it to our target markets wants, issues and motives.
  • To adjust, engage the troops, and move on with clarity realizing that leaders in the field have to be innovative and make adjustments on the fly to do deals with their salespeople.
  • To make sure marketing and sales are connected at the hip and the only messages that go out are the ones that are relevant and help clients clarify a problem or issue they didn’t realize they had.
  • To talk in terms of the customer’s interests, not about themselves or their products and to demonstrate on every approach that they’re providing value by helping their customers compete.

I’ve learned that it can be done!  Business people are generally smart and aggressive enough when they’re dragged into the process of re-thinking.

I’ve learned that you have to work extra hard with sales managers to help them coach the behaviours of their salespeople.  They generally use the carrot and stick method.  Plenty of coaching is required to get salespeople to understand the thinking leaders have done and to rehearse and practice identifying markets, making approaches and following an advanced sales, customer-centric process. They need to go out and make calls and get coaching / debriefing again until the behaviours match their offering promise, and in the value-creator model, that is the desired model of buyers today. This is taking the hill.

  • How’s your business doing… really?
  • Are you still up for helping lead more competitive battles?
  • Are you willing to climb the tree and see what’s actually going on?
  • Does your marketing and sales need to work together to help you figure out where your opportunities are and help strategize approaches or do they just print brochures and organize online tools?
  • Do you have sales managers and salespeople ready to be aligned and learn how to make those approaches work for a more demanding and sophisticated buyer?
  • Are you and your people coachable or are you convinced it’s too tough?

Today, if you aren’t leading the charge, you’re going to be put in charge of kitchen duty and are of little value. The marketplace pays you and your business for the value you and your organization provide. It has always been that way. It’s just clearer today.

Grow or die.

MMM Action:

1.    What occurred to you today?
2.    What are you going to do?

Have a great week!

Kevin D. Crone
Chairman, Dale Carnegie Business Group
kdcrone@dalecarnegie.ca or 905-826-7300 / 1-800-361-2032

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A Special Invitation from Kevin D. Crone, Canada’s Monday Morning Mentor…

Dale Carnegie Training® has engaged a world wide study on the emerging trend of Salesforce Transformation to explain the changing motives of customers, their enhanced level of sophistication, and how all of this, including the internet and tightening competition is changing how big sales are becoming more complex.

90% of businesses are seen as being commoditized and only 14% of customers see organizations as having unique propositions.

We are bringing together executives from across the GTA to reveal our research findings that will explain why big sales are tougher, what is different now and what is necessary to grab more market share and increase sales.

Executive Coaching Series: The New Sales/Marketing Transition
Wednesday, May 21st
2:30 – 5:00 pm
Mississauga, Ontario

As always, you will enjoy Kevin’s style, the peer conversation and the insights revealed in the new research.

If you have questions, please email Chee Vang at cvang@dalecarnegie.ca or call our office at 905-826-7300 / 1-800-361-2032.

Reserve Your Spot!

A Coaching Process for Profitable Action…
Unique help is on the way!

Invitation to those who are willing to lead:

Incidentally, since December I have raised my commitment.  Instead of just telling or inspiring you to do what has to be done, I’m working with a few companies who actually want to get it done.  I’m enjoying the work immensely because I can see the results of my business coaching for these companies.

On May 23rd (8:30am-9:30am), I’m having a one-hour Coffee Call to discuss with a very small group of people who see the need to get things done.

Email me for an invitation and more insight on this topic.

Contact me to learn more (take Action!)
mobile: 905-330-9023
office: 905-826-7300 / 1-800-361-2032

Visit us at www.dalecarnegie.ca
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