One of the most common difficulties that VPs of Sales and Marketing approach me with is how to get their Founder on board with a new marketing strategy. All too often, there is a struggle between the way the Founder has always done things and the way the VP now wants to do things. So how can a VP get their Founder on board with their marketing plan?
1) Acknowledge that their approach works.
The Founder launched and grew the company from nothing, so their approach clearly works. Whether it’s the best approach may be debatable, but you have to start by giving credit where credit is due. It can also smooth things along if you use their approach and their talking points to build your new strategy.
Of course, if their approach is not as effective as it once was, that may not be what you want to do. At minimum, though, you can use it as a starting point.
2) Point out that not everyone has their flair.
This can be a sticking point because Founders often want their sales team to do what worked for them. Yet Founders have a unique personality that often greases the wheel in a sales conversation. They have a flair that can make their approach work for them but that does not necessarily translate to others.
This can be a good time to discuss how best to use the Founder’s natural flair. For instance, can they be brought in near the end of a deal to get the prospects excited and ready to sign? Can they be used at speaking events to generate enthusiasm among attendees? Their flair is valuable – you want to take advantage of it.
3) Emphasize that the Founder can’t be everywhere.
As the company grows, it becomes more and more important to have methods of communicating with prospects that do not require the personal interaction of the Founder, or even the sales team. At some point, you need a way to share your vision and explain what you offer to anyone who wanders onto your website. And that requires automation and an approach that is clear and replicable.
It is helpful to show the Founder exactly when automated emails will go out and what lead magnet will be used to trigger them. Ebooks and reports are classic downloads that attract leads and a few of your Founder’s quotes can make them even more engaging.
Give yourself time.
It can take time for a Founder to see the benefit of a new approach to something they have done well for a long time. So plan a long game and use these methods to help your Founder get on board with your marketing plan.
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash.