The day after one of the most heightened elections in Canada’s history, where the “underdog” came through to win the election and become our second-youngest Prime Minister, I felt it apropos to draw an analogy to CEOs and sales and marketing.
Canada had a need for change. We were calling out for change as many did in the U.S. before Obama was elected, and when it came time for our elections, the need was answered with a new direction and a different party.
When I recently read a study conducted by the BDC that said that one of the most challenging business functions for business leaders in Canada is Sales and Marketing Strategy, it validated my experience working with CEOs of SMBs: they have a need.
The study breaks down this sales and marketing challenge further into the following areas:
- Increasing the number of customer prospects (58%)
- Developing and executing a sales and marketing plan (54%)
- Converting prospects into customers (52%)
There were other sales and marketing challenges including conducting market research, integrating or improving the use of social media and other digital channels, understanding the competitive market, and developing an online presence.
As a CEO myself, I know that most of us wear multiple hats and are responsible for many of our businesses’ key functions in addition to sales and marketing, including HR, operations and finance. When we know we need help in these areas, we hire accountants, Human Resources consultants, and business advisors. Why would sales and marketing be any different?
It spells out in this study that business leaders prefer to hire an external expert to help them to resolve their sales and marketing challenges, so why is it so difficult for a CEO to have faith and to trust a marketing expert promising them that they can help them with their marketing and sales challenges?
Ultimately, hiring an external provider will come down to a few key factors: their reputation, references, price – but the essential factor is whether as a CEO you feel you can trust this candidate – whether you believe they can deliver on their promises. Once you have that, you have a winner.
As a CEO, have you been approached by an external marketing agency? If you decided not to work with them, why not?