Let’s just view the Sales Department in its current form as a department in steep decline. But more similar to the metamorphosis in which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. “Sales Departments” as we know them are a changing profession. They are, in fact, evolving to Client Engagement. And in today’s marketplace it is actually Product Departments and Marketing Departments that are also key to engage more closely with clients to define gaps and opportunities. I see it as a progressive partnership — Client Engagement: the direct link to clients and closest partnership-builder to be aware of clients’ holistic business strategy. Marketing: the brain that digs through terabytes of data to find opportunities. Product Development: the technology solution building company and client products and enhancements to fill the gaps towards new revenue streams.
Technology actual helps us connect to people more than ever before. Don’t believe the hype that we have become a society of drones tweeting and posting thoughts to the cyber-sphere just to be heard. As with any evolution, a dramatic event abruptly disrupts the status quo. Our thinking is still status quo without acknowledging the precipice of change. Are we truly prepared for the next abrupt industry development?
From a client’s perspective, you don’t want to be sold an idea that you’re not interested in. You’re looking for a partner to develop and grow new ideas for revenue and brand awareness. Sales alone cannot make that connection; that’s where Marketing and Product development bridge the gap. Businesses need to think of Marketing and Product as data scientists instead of merely channel executioners. This is where friction is instigated between role definitions in companies. We’re all trying to find opportunities for revenue and happy customers but with different approaches.
Progressive companies don’t just develop a product then go sell it out of the box. They instead, look for ways to develop and scale solutions through client partnerships. In today’s electronic world Information is free and abundant – collection is difficult but more so is putting the insights it provides to action. Data is often not being used properly to grow partnerships with current and potential customers on a relevant basis.
This is where we can leverage technology and a new partnership in our own business units. Sales: become Client Engagement and look for the solution to a client’s holistic need by strengthening a partnership not just a relationship. Marketing: collect the necessary information to illuminate a path towards innovation. Product: consider data and need to work together in defining the solutions most relevant to clients.
Finally, lose the friction and silo behavior between departments that exist so often. Be partners with each other. At the end of the day, better partnering makes for more opportunity.
“In the military they give medals to people who are willing to sacrifice themselves so others may gain. In business, bonuses are given to people who are willing to sacrifice others so that [they] may gain. Totally backwards.”
Wow. Here is a great TED way to begin your week building trust with your team.
Harvard Business Review has reported that today’s workforce of 17 million independent workers should rise to 23 million by 2017. Those numbers speak of a growing number of full-time employees working as an independent contractors on off hours. Moonlighting, if you will. Why now? What has changed? Perhaps it is based on the recent years of economic turmoil. More workers find the need to supplement their salary to makes ends meet. Or possibly there is a fear of change management resulting in one’s unemployment with no fallback plan. Or is it shear entrepreneurialism with a constant curiosity for growth and challenge?
For me I say yes to all three. I’ve taken the entrepreneurial road as a weary traveler from corporate misfortune. I needed something else in my life that didn’t revolve around impressing the boss. It was time I began to impress myself. And as I take the next step to establish a full-time position back in some part of the corporate world, I think these many months of working on my own have given me an invaluable perspective on business, success and what I am looking for in my next challenge (surely not just a paycheck). The truth is that I am looking for more meaning in my work. The days of punching in and punching out are over. There just isn’t a time in my day or evening that I’m not thinking, rethinking and planning for some way to improve, sustain and perfect what I am doing.
You may think that I have lost perspective and balance in my life. Well I’d have to agree; but there you have it. Single, childless and no hobby leave me seeking fulfillment through friends, family and work. Turns out I’m not alone. People of my generation are seeking more meaning out of their careers…even at the risk of lowered salaries. This shift certainly isn’t how things were when I began working decades ago. It speaks to today’s GenX and GenY workforce. We now have the experience to be in positions of real power and influence. And I hope we are using that power wisely.
I’ve come across an infographic that sums up my position quite succinctly. I would love to know if you agree with it.
Quality customer service is one of the most appealing offerings any company can provide to its customers. Often forgotten or difficult to support, when any company makes a gesture of simple human touch, it will always strengthen the brand and it’s value. Basecamp did just that to me recently. I plan to stay a loyal customer to any company that treats me so well.
I admit that I do find the title of this Chicago Crain’s article patronizing. I have spent over 20 years within some part of the technology arena and I have worked with a multitude of tech savvy women that I admired. But it’s good to see that the larger population is finally getting some credit and more jobs!