Small business owners are often faced with a decision dilemma of hiring the right leader for their leadership team. The two ends of the spectrum are:
- The leader that I know and want for my business is not affordable
- The leader that I can afford will be different from the leader I want.
There is no more need to struggle with this dilemma! The proliferation of fractional services now enables business owners to get the quality leader that they want at an investment level they can afford. Alignable’s August Small Business Labor Report found that 32% of SMB employers are focused on hiring contractors and part-timers.
While the leadership positions are part-time, there’s still much to do! So, setting up the fractional engagement for success is crucial to ensure all expectations are aligned. When you boil it down, there are three high-level categories to consider. Using the context of a Revenue leader:
- Leadership, Management, and Accountability (LMA): Developing and leading sales and marketing teams.
- Building: Implementing or optimizing the sales and marketing infrastructure for ongoing improvement
- Doing: Doing the work. Active participation in sales cycles
This differentiation can be helpful when scoping, setting expectations, and for ongoing communications. Let’s peel back each of them…
Developing and leading a team is typically the most impactful way a sales or revenue leader spends their time. Long-term sales success is contingent on the ongoing development of the sales reps. So, when the sales team is developed, the entire team’s performance grows exponentially.
This is a big problem in many small businesses when they elevate their best sales rep to be a manager, which can be a big mistake. Sales can be positively affected by this setup in the short term. Still, the long-term impact is that the sales team does not realize their potential from a development perspective.
From sales leadership to graphic design, there are countless functions within the revenue department. Outsourcing many of these functions may be a great play for small businesses, especially with the marketing disciplines. So, vendor management falls into the LMA category. This can take a huge load away from the Visionary/Founder.
We view “building” as the process of building or optimizing infrastructure. If nothing exists, building involves developing processes and associated KPIs to get to the point of having a basis for ongoing improvement. For companies that run on EOS, ongoing improvement happens in annual and quarterly planning meetings to set “Rocks” (building priorities) that can then be tracked in weekly L10s,
“Building” then might mean building new processes or possibly optimizing existing ones to improve on existing metrics or input new ones.
Building can be a challenge for a Fractional Revenue Leader for a couple of reasons:
- Capabilities – A wide variety of disciplines are needed in the revenue space (sales process, content writing, graphic design, etc.). I have yet to find the unicorn that has all of these capabilities, so the Revenue leader needs to lean on other resources to help with building.
- Bandwidth – Fractional leaders typically have a consistent amount of time allocated for each of their clients. So, they do not have a surplus of extra time to be able to add or remove scope every quarter to support building.
Fractional firms like Convergo might have the back office bandwidth to support their clients from a building perspective while the Fractional Revenue Leader is fulfilling their normal scope of duties.
The need for “doing” the work in the revenue space might involve countless different functions:
- Sales: Strategic relationships, managing sales opportunities, outbound prospecting, sales engineering,
- Marketing: Content writing, graphic design, web design, web development, SEO, social media management…
Like building, the unicorn that can do all these things does not exist on this planet. That said, a Fractional Revenue leader can perform any of this work if they have the skills and the time.
One unique way that we help with “doing” at Convergo is that we can place a Fractional Sales Professional for the visionary that is ready to take off the sales hat or needs to complement a sales team to approach a new market.
In a perfect world, some would argue that a leader is supposed to spend all of their time enabling their team to perform and drive results by leveraging their LMA skills and abilities. The reality of small business is that leaders sometimes need to wear many hats, so more than LMA might be required.
In closing, it is essential to have complete clarity about what a fractional leader will be doing before they come on board. An experienced, fractional leader will have a process to ensure that this is understood and included in a tight statement of work before an engagement begins.
The four elements of the Marketing Strategy component of the Vision/Traction Organizer™ of the Entrepreneurial Operating System® provide a fantastic framework for growing your business. If you don’t remember off the top of your head, the four elements are:
- Your target market/The list
- 3 Uniques™
- Your Proven Process
- Your Guarantee
The first step in leveraging this framework is to ensure that you do a thorough job of documenting each one of the four elements. But that’s still just the beginning! As is the case with most of the EOS® tools, the power is in how you leverage these on an ongoing basis. How do you go about doing that? For starters, everyone in your organization should be able to recite each of the four elements at any given moment.
Below are some ideas as to how you can put the different elements in to work for you and your B2B business. A brief introduction for each is included, but I’m not going to spend much time talking about the elements themselves (your EOS Implementer® can help with that!).
Target Market/The List
The Target Market refers to the clients that are ideal fits for your business. This includes basic information like what industry they are in, what geography they are in, and other descriptive characteristics. In the B2B space, this should also include who the key players are inside of those businesses. Here’s some ideas around taking the next step in providing value to your Target Market and growing your business:
- Your target market is identified and an ideal client profile is created that represents the businesses that are ideal fits for your products and services
- Everyone in your business can communicate the profile of your ideal client and the desired outcomes that your organization delivers to those clients
- Key functional contacts that work in businesses that fit your ideal client profile are identified and documented and the specific outcomes they desire are identified and documented
- 100% of the organizations that fit your ideal client profile are identified in your CRM
- 100% of key functional contacts within your ideal client organizations are identified in your CRM
- A sales and marketing strategy is designed and documented with the goal of engaging with 100% of the key functional contacts within organizations that fit your ideal client profile
- You are able to measure engagement levels with all of these functional contacts
Your 3 Uniques™ provide a high-level outline for what differentiates you from your competitors. While you may share a unique or two with other providers, your 3 Uniques™ should not be shared by any other business. Here are some thoughts around putting your 3 Uniques™ to work for you:
- Your entire organization can articulate your 3 Uniques™ and why they matter to your ideal client
- 3 Uniques™ are clearly represented in some way on your website
- 3 Uniques™ come to life in all sales and marketing collateral
- Your sales process is designed to leverage your 3 Uniques™
- You have shareable case studies that show how your 3 Uniques™ are directly benefiting a client’s organization
- Content that communicates the value of your 3 Uniques™ is regularly shared with your audience
- Proposals are structured to clearly communicate how the 3 Uniques™ will benefit your prospects
Simply stated, your guarantee should remove the most significant barriers for your target market to do business with you and it should support your value proposition. Here are some things that you can do to ensure your guarantee is properly communicated to your target market:
- Your guarantee clearly addresses and overcomes the most common challenge that prospects have in engaging with your business
- Your guarantee clearly articulates the consequences of your company not fulfilling on your end of the guarantee
- Your guarantee is communicated on the homepage of our website
- Your guarantee is communicated on all sales proposals
- You have referenceable examples where we a client leveraged your guarantee satisfactorily
- Your guarantee is in the footer of your emails
Your Proven Process should provide context and clarity as to how your ideal clients will navigate their experience with your business. At Convergo, We see the Proven Process as a subset of the Ideal Client Experience. We feel strongly that the Ideal Client Experience is the foundation for aligning to your entire business to maximize the value that you provide to your clients. Here are some thoughts around the Proven Process in motion:
- Your proven process has an internal brand and 100% of your team can recite your proven process and their role in the process
- There is a external version of your proven process that shows prospects how they will engage with your business if they were to become a client
- The sales and marketing arms of your organization are aligned around your proven process with the goal of creating an amazing client experience
We’d love to hear from all of you how you are bringing the marketing elements of your V/TO™ to life in your organization.
Developing the scorecard that works for your business is a journey. There are some common challenges that entrepreneurs face along the way. This blog is written to help you take action to improve your scorecard and shorten the journey.
We will look at three common challenges that entrepreneurs face with the scorecard by providing:
- The symptom
- The likely cause
- Suggested actions for improvement.
Symptom: Team members are not accountable to their numbers
|Setting the wrong tone for your scorecard. The purpose of the scorecard is not to punish but to enable your team to hit their numbers through skills development or process improvement.
|Implement a culture of coaching. If team members understand that leadership is there to coach and help them, they will feel more personally accountable.
|The goals may be unrealistic. If you set your goals with the superstar in mind, you are setting up your team’s mid and lower performers for ongoing failure.
|Ensure the goals are realistic and all team members can hit their numbers.
Symptom: We are hitting our activity numbers, not business goals.
|Activity and leading metrics are not aligned with the Business Plan / V/TO®
|Leverage your client journey as the path to connect activity metrics to your business goals and ensure you are gathering your client’s perspective along the way.
|You may track the right metrics, but the goals are not high enough.
|If your activity metrics are aligned with your business goals, then keep the metrics, raise the goals, and give team members what they need to succeed.
|Not enough time – if you have just recently input your metrics, they may not have had time to affect the high-level business goals.
|Make sure you have given your activity metrics enough time to affect your business goals, and keep an eye on how your activity metrics are connected to the leading metrics to meet your goals.
Symptom: Long streaks of red or green on your scorecard or metrics that never prompt action.
|You are tracking things that can’t be controlled weekly. The big idea with using a scorecard in your leadership and departmental meetings is to track metrics that prompt action every week. For example, tracking lagging metrics for individuals is not a great idea.
|If you’re not taking action on those metrics, could you remove them from your scorecard and track the activity or leading metrics that will prompt action weekly.
Remember that your scorecard is a journey. Ensure that you are getting to the root cause before you make changes to keep your scorecard moving in the right direction.
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