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Creating Movement When the World Is Standing Still

I launched my fractional CMO service at the start of February. My days, until now,  have been filled with productive meetings with optimistic leaders, driven entrepreneurs, and motivated marketers.

What did they all have in common? They wanted to move the needle.

Today, in light of the Coronavirus and its ever growing impact, these same people would be happy just to keep the needle from moving in the wrong direction. And I can’t blame them.

However, while the challenges and uncertainty continue to mount, your business - and mine - still have a need to not just operate, but to grow. Realistically though, this growth might take longer than before or might not generate as much revenue as anticipated. This reality has entire organizations struggling to take their next steps. 

For companies to thrive, maintain or simply survive, marketing and sales must continue to create movement. Only with a customer-focused strategy to guide purposeful marketing interactions will we overcome shrinking budgets, add authentic value to our current and potential customers, and keep moving forward.

Where the movement will come from

“We need to be more human in our outreach.”

“It is more important than ever to understand the challenges of our customers.”

“Show how you help your prospect solve their problem.”

“We are here to help.”

“Ask great questions and LISTEN”

What I have found scouring posts, blogs, comments on LinkedIn and other platforms is a call to be more sensitive to the gravity of the situation we are all dealing with.

While this is crucial, I would also argue that this is nothing new.

Great sales and marketing has always been the result of forming authentic relationships with our customers

Great sales and marketing has always been the result of forming authentic relationships with our customers through personalized, value-added, empathetic, solution-focused interactions.

“If we position our products and services as anything but an aid helping people survive, thrive, be accepted, find love, achieve an aspirational identity, or bond with a tribe that will defend them physically and socially, good luck selling anything to anybody,” writes Donald Miller in his book, Building a Story Brand.

Today, what our customers need may look different. As a result, that email you wrote a month ago that all your prospects loved may go unopened. Or the insightful webinar you have planned may now start at the very minute my kids need help figuring out their online learning.

Today, we cannot confuse inaction with disinterest. Instead, we must accept that at any given moment there is something else that is more important or more valuable than whatever you are sharing or selling. 

Respect this and you can continue to make progress; however a failure to understand this will result in risking losing momentum today and in the future.

Read the Room

Today, a salesperson tried to contact my wonderfully patient HR executive wife.

She sent an email.

She called to follow up but did not leave a message.

She called again and left a message.

She sent a LinkedIn message.

She called again.

She sent another email.

My wife’s response to the last email, “Read the room.” 

I cannot tell you the hundreds of things she is navigating to make sense of the world for her organization and its employees. While considering software was on the list last month, it is not even on the radar today.

The lesson: we must read the room if we want to be invited in. 

This is how you create movement - by giving others a reason to move with us.

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