Mistaking a fancy title for thought leadership is a common mistake in the book publishing business. After all, a fancy title does not a good author make.
Do you have the wrong people in the wrong roles? You have two options: resign yourself to mediocrity or rethink how you manage your team.
In the latest episode of the B2B Revealed Podcast, host Sean Campbell interviewed Dan Cox, CEO of EXOS Advisors. A long-time executive coach and expert in talent management, Cox shared his experiences using the Core Values Index (CVI) to help companies optimize their workforces.
Does The Predisposition Suit The Position?
Cox has spent years working with leadership teams to help them find solutions to what’s hurting their productivity. To do this, he relies on the CVI: an assessment of peoples’ core values.
According to Cox, research has shown that peoples’ core values rarely change over time. As a result, the test goes beyond mere personality or behavioral tests like Myers-Briggs.
Practically speaking, this test helps companies figure out if they have people in roles where they can make their most significant contribution.
It can also show if there’s a misalignment between someone’s core values and motivators with their current role. According to Cox, this is a common problem. He believes a majority of the workforce is ill-suited to their positions.
For example, companies may misguidedly hire problem solvers in roles that have no problem-solving needs. Or, they may put people who thrive with fixed processes in creative positions that require a high degree of flexibility.
What are your Core Values?
The CVI defines four core value personas: the Innovator, the Banker, the Builder, and the Merchant. Each of these pairs with a
“core energy.” Innovators are guided by wisdom, bankers by knowledge. Builders are motivated by power, and merchants are driven by love. You can find out more about these values here.
The CVI reveals the types of roles employees are predisposed to excel at. For example, Cox shared the findings of a CVI assessment implemented at a wastewater plant in California. The plant discovered that the 10-person maintenance team was made up of innovators who prized creative problem-solving. “The Achilles’ heel of the problem solver is that they will continue to solve problems, even when there are no problems to be solved,” Cox said.
Since the preventative maintenance central to the job required very little problem-solving, this was a clear misalignment. Further, the maintenance workers were unhappy in their positions since they weren’t able to meaningfully contribute their core strengths.
Meanwhile, the company had twice as many people as it needed to get the job done. All the company required was a few people who thrived with checklists. Instead, they had an unwieldy team spending the bulk of their time seeking out problems to solve.
Firing Isn’t the Only Option
Once a misalignment is evident, companies have to make some tough choices. Should companies leave employees in roles they aren’t wired to do or lay them off? Neither, according to Cox.
Instead, a more holistic approach is needed. Companies need to rethink their hiring processes to make sure they’re getting the right people in the right roles from the start. They should also look for ways to allow current employees to draw on their core values in their work. This may require some reshuffling of roles and responsibilities. Most companies find ways to give misaligned employees better-suited jobs in the same organization.
To Fire or Not to Fire: Tis Not the Question
Getting the right people in the right roles doesn’t just serve efficiency and profits. Cox ultimately sees it as a “humanitarian effort.” If the CVI can help people find roles that make them happy while furthering the companies’ goals, it’s a win for everyone.
Myopic marketing executives focus solely on messaging to external audiences. Lack of attention to internal communications costs marketers influence on business decisions … and allies.
Savvy marketing leaders have an internal messaging strategy at the ready. This helps them achieve their creative goals while balancing business benefits.
In our latest episode of the B2B Revealed Podcast, Sean Campbell interviewed Darcy Kurtz, drawing on her experience leading global product marketing at Sage.
Partnership vs. Solo Artist
According to Kurtz, marketing teams often communicate poorly with other departments in their own companies. This inevitably leads to problems. Kurtz pointed out that sales and marketing executives at many companies fail to be “100 percent aligned”, and many fail, “to have the same goals.”
The tension begins when marketing teams act alone. They come up with great plans, messaging strategies, and value propositions without input from the sales team. Then, marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are thrown over the fence, with the sales team is left holding the bag.
Aligning the funnel requires better cross-department communication. Sales needs to be involved in the goal-setting process so that marketing can bring in higher-quality leads.
“[Ideally,] marketing is being held accountable for more than just, ‘Did you bring in a certain quantity of leads or certain quantities of MQLs?’” said Kurtz. “I really look at quality as much as quantity, so how many of those are converting into true sales qualified leads and closed deals?”
Stunted collaboration between marketing and sales is only the beginning. Kurtz also urged marketers to rethink their approach to boardroom meetings.
“I’m a big believer that marketing needs a seat at the table when it comes to business discussions,” Kurtz said. “When I’m mentoring marketing folks about this, I tell them, ‘You need to learn as much about business management as you do about marketing management,’ to be successful long-term.”
Kurtz explained that marketers often expect to sell ideas to the boardroom based on creativity alone. Marketers should take more care in explaining how their creative work furthers the company’s business goals.
For Kurtz, marketing leaders can only expect success when they change their behavior. That means collaborating with sales, learning how to speak at the leadership table, and reevaluating how to present work internally. As a result, when those changes start to happen, everything runs more smoothly.
Messaging For The Masses
Finally, listen to the full episode for more insight into effective marketing, with topics such as:
- 02:31 – Non-traditional techniques that work with small and medium businesses (SMB)
- 04:50 – Overcoming resistance to closer collaboration between sales and marketing
- 09:36 – Launching a SaaS product and developing a Go-to-Market strategy
- 16:46 – Linking integrated marketing with business strategy and goals
- 21:20 – Customer-led marketing vs. product benefits marketing
Growth problems? Try treating your sales development reps (SDRs) like vital resources rather than cogs in a machine.
That’s the message from Trish Bertuzzi, the President of the Bridge Group, which she shared with Cascade Insights CEO Sean Campbell on the latest episode of the B2B Revealed Podcast.
Upend Your Expectations for How SDRs Should Work
Sharing insights from her book, The Sales Development Playbook, Bertuzzi demonstrates the connection between SDR job satisfaction and sales growth.
First off, it’s important to acknowledge that SDRs are put in a very difficult position.
As Bertuzzi says, “It’s a hard job, we make it harder by not giving them what they need to stay longer.” SDRs are provided with little training, the wrong tools, and are managed by people who expect the average tenure to last only about a year. It’s little surprise then that when SDRs outgrow their roles they also tend to outgrow the company.
Bertuzzi believes there’s a way to fix some of these key issues, to the benefit of both the SDRs and the organization as a whole.
Give SDRs the Freedom to Grow Into the Perfect Role
In order to improve the SDR work environment, Bertuzzi urges companies to give SDRs the freedom to grow, without expecting too much, too soon.
To do this, Bertuzzi is a big proponent of micro-promotions.
“What we talk about in the book, and what we talk about with our clients is creating a learning culture and creating micro-promotions,” says Bertuzzi. That means getting rid of the system of of promoting SDRs to account executives after they’ve outgrown the introductory SDR role.
“If you’re an SDR1 you just do the SDR role, you’re an SDR2 maybe you get to start participating in discovery calls and even maybe running some of those discovery calls. You’re an SDR3 maybe you get to run with a couple small deals.”
By following this system, SDR’s responsibilities increase with their experience. Incremental changes in job title and compensation provide more of an incentive for SDRs to stick around.
Sharing from personal experience, Bertuzzi says that ultimately it’s “all about advancing them through a learning process that gives them the full set of skills they need to be successful.”
Equip Your Team with the Right Tools and Tactics
SDR success also depends on mastery of a few key communication skills.
Bertuzzi emphasizes that SDRs should have a solid grasp of how to use a phone and send effective emails.
While these skills can improve with training, it’s best to hire people with a natural inclination for the role from the start.
Bertuzzi describes how one company had SDR applicants spend a day shadowing the current team. After seeing what the job would really be like, only 50 percent of them continued to express interest in the role.
In all honesty, it did make recruiting more difficult. At the same time, it also meant that the people who were hired came in with a clear expectation of what the job would be like, making them more effective.
More SDR Wisdom
Listen to the full episode for more SDR answers, such as:
- Where does the idea of “all bound” fit in a world of outbound vs. inbound?
- Which is more effective: PACT (Pain, Authority, Consequence, Target-Profile) or BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Time-Frame)?
- What qualities should you be looking for when hiring for your SDR team?
- What are some effective outreach tactics for phone, voicemail, and email?
B2B marketing has a vanity problem.
The lure of LinkedIn’s vast amount of business data makes it an attractive advertising asset… if you know what you’re doing. Ill-informed LinkedIn marketing campaigns can cost you big-time.
On this episode of the B2B Revealed Podcast, Cascade Insights CEO Sean Campbell interviewed B2Linked Founder AJ Wilcox on how best to leverage LinkedIn to reach B2B audiences. B2Linked is an advertising agency that specializes in LinkedIn ads.
The key benefit of advertising on LinkedIn is its business targeting capabilities. “Here’s the dirty secret of LinkedIn: they absolutely have a monopoly on business data,” Wilcox said. “You can target people by their job title, by what department they sit in, their level of seniority in the organization, individual skills they have listed in their profile, groups they are members of, their education level, what degree they got, what school they went to, their company size, their company name, company industry. It just goes on and on.”
When Should You Spend On LinkedIn?
LinkedIn advertising is rather pricey though. For this reason, it’s not always a great fit for companies’ advertising goals. LinkedIn advertising is worth it, Wilcox said, if the target audience is shaped by some professional criteria and the transaction or relationship the ad is designed to prompt is worth thousands.
“You’ve got to make a lot of money off of the deal to make LinkedIn worth it. The reason why is because clicks on LinkedIn usually cost somewhere between about $6-9 on average whereas similar clicks on Facebook might cost $.80-1.50,” said Wilcox. “The line in the sand that I draw is if you’re going to make $15,000 or more from either the lifetime of the deal or that initial deal size, then LinkedIn’s an absolute no-brainer.”
Which Type of Ad Is Right For My Campaign?
LinkedIn offers a variety of advertising options. Wilcox favors sponsored content, the ads that run in the LinkedIn newsfeed. “These work really well because they are the highest interaction ad that LinkedIn has,” he said. “By “highest interaction” I mean on average, about a third of a percent of every time it’s shown it’s going to get clicked on.”
Text ads, Wilcox explained, show up far less frequently and are only visible from desktop. The latter may be an asset if the landing page your ad directs to doesn’t look great on mobile. But, think carefully before investing in text ads when sponsored content boasts much higher engagement.
“[Text ads] have a much lower, like 12 times lower, engagement rate,” Wilcox warned. “In order to drive enough traffic and leads from that ad unit to even make it worth running, you have to have a really big audience you’re going after.
Whereas sponsored content and text ads charge a cost-per-click, sponsored InMail has a fee-per-send. “There’s no guarantee that someone’s going to open it, let alone click on it, let alone convert. You’re going to pay just for having it in their box,” Wilcox cautioned.
But sponsored InMail does have its benefits. “A really cool factor here to keep in mind is that once you send someone an InMail, that LinkedIn member is ineligible to receive another one for 60 days, a 2-month period,” Wilcox said. “You know that none of your competitors can steal that inventory from you for a whole two months.”
The key to a successful InMail campaign, Wilcox explained, is an enticing offer. Beware, whitepapers and e-books won’t cut it.
Tailor the offer specifically, and keep it interesting. You don’t want to be mistaken for spam.
“The offers that we’ve found work really well are things like employment. “We want to reach out to you and ask you to apply for this position because you look like a good fit,” Wilcox said. “Or, “There’s an in-person event that we want to personally invite you to,” or, “Because of your standing in the industry, we’re really curious about your thoughts around this new platform. We want to give you free access to it.” Those types of offers are really, really attractive, and are probably going to get someone to engage.”
Become A LinkedIn Legend
- Listen to the full-episode for how to get the audience, message, & offer right, gauging the success of the ad, and best practices for images and links.
- Download the free 8-point checklist that B2Linked uses for LinkedIn advertising campaigns.
In the age of social media, big data, and CEO activism, public relations best practices are evolving.
Asking for a raise, advocating an idea, seeking information, making a sales pitch, collaborating… Without realizing it, most of us engage in negotiations every day, multiple times a day.
The killing of the conference call PIN is a case study in disruption.
The B2B tech world has a lot at stake with net neutrality.
Many businesses “live” on the internet today in ways they never did before. They market through the internet, they sell through the internet, and many of their internal business processes (payroll, HR, AR/AP) rely on the internet.
Should net neutrality be repealed, businesses may be forced to pay more for the same services they access today. Businesses might also find there is less choice among SaaS apps or cloud services to purchase. Further, in order to cope with new costs, businesses may have to radically alter their pricing structures and budgets.
On this episode of B2B Revealed, two B2B CEOs discuss what the potential repeal of net neutrality would mean for business. Contextly CEO Ryan Singel brings his perspective as a media and strategy fellow at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society to the issue. Cascade Insights CEO Sean Campbell interviews him on the implications of a net neutrality rollback for ISPs, tech companies, and startups.
Will A Net Neutrality Repeal Impact Your Business? Listen To Learn:
- What net neutrality is.
- How the current model protects consumers and innovators.
- Why ISPs want a repeal.
- The business implications of a potential net neutrality repeal.
- What would happen to websites and web services if a repeal happens.
- The difference between Title I and Title II and how it affects this debate.
- Why the lack of ISP competition makes this more than just a “free market” issue.
- How a repeal would make it more difficult for startups to get off the ground.
- Why a repeal of net neutrality would cement current tech giants at the top of the food chain.
Notable Quotes From Ryan Singel:
“The immediate effect is going to be on businesses and is going to hit them in the bottom line in ways that they aren’t going to understand.” – Singel on how a net neutrality repeal would impact businesses.
“This is a really bad plan for innovation.” -Singel explaining that a net neutrality repeal could remove the conditions that have allowed innovative startups to flourish in the past.
“Startups, especially in the B2B world, rely on a lot of other startups to run their business.”
“It looks like Mafia tactics.” – Singel discussing broadband companies’ current dealings with companies that rely on their internet services.
“Why repeal without replace? It doesn’t make any sense.”
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