Digital Sales and Marketing Coach, 7+ years of Digital Marketing Strategy, Speaker, and Start-Up Growth Leader
August 18th, 2020
If you’ve signed up for IMPACT’s Fast Start program, you’re likely eager to start improving your digital sales and marketing right away. After all, it must be called Fast Start for a reason!
While the program moves quickly and the results will follow, there are some common pitfalls you might run into if you rush in full steam without proper preparation.
As a digital sales and marketing coach (DSMC), I’ve completed countless Fast Start programs and have been examining the data and feedback from successful Fast Starts here at IMPACT.
In doing so, I have identified the seven most common problems you may encounter when kicking off your program — and how to avoid them.
The top 7 problems and how to fix them
If you really want to your Fast Start to be the most effective it can be, keep your eye out for these common missteps.
1. You want to rush through the "discovery" phase
Here's the thing you need to know: the “discovery” phase can last two weeks or more.
If you signed up for a “Fast Start” you may feel ready to make a change even prior to scheduling that first kick-off call. You may be asking yourself, “do we really need to meet four times over four weeks, or can we get this going much faster?”
To that I challenge you to ask yourself this: do you want it done fast or do you want it done right?
The discovery process is critical for mutual success — but also for establishing trust, gaining deep knowledge, and determining the best steps forward. If your DSMC recommends five calls, or even six, it’s because there is simply more to be discovered.
The secret to speeding up is first slowing down. While this seems counterintuitive, it will allow your DSMC to provide the best recommendations, the right steps to solve identified problems, and proper prioritization.
In the end, an unhurried discovery process will prevent wasted time, money, and resources.
2. You can’t decide who should take responsibility so you invite too many people to the calls
When scheduling the Fast Start kick-off call, you might be asking yourself, “Who needs to be present on this call?” A better question might be, “Who do I need to invite so they don’t feel left out or unimportant?”
Everyone wants to feel that they are contributing. We get that. However ahead of the first call, it’s vital to identify the people who will be responsible for your company’s strategic leadership.
This means minimizing the invitations to those in a strategic position in sales and marketing, C-level preferred. If there are items discussed during the discovery phase that require an attendee to locate the information and follow up, so be it.
It’s better to have the need to follow up than the disruption of bringing in too many people and not using everyone's time productively.
Keep in mind that those who play a tactical role in the organization should not attend the call, unless specifically invited.
Instead, they should be delegated to by leadership and given clear instructions. Specifically, roles including the marketing coordinator, content manager/writer, or sales team members. Keep the number of people small and strategic.
We recommend no more than three people.
3. You may request an agenda and get turned down
Looking for an agenda? Want to prep before the call? You may not get an agenda beforehand, but you can expect to receive homework.
The objective of the discovery phase is to allow both the DSMC and the client the freedom to explore topics that arise (as well as problems or sticking points). By contrast, an agenda would be rigid and possibly prevent uncovering important insights.
After each call, you may be assigned more homework as determined by your DSMC.
Below is the homework you will receive before your first call:
Inside IMPACT we have a saying, always be open to what is possible and live in the solution. This means that we are always prepared to look beyond our own limitations by seeking new information, trying new approaches, and not being afraid to fail.
We accomplish this by being extremely honest with each other no matter how challenging the topic (this is also known as “radical candor”, a term coined by author Kim Scott).
In order to grow, it’s critical to keep an open mind and be prepared to answer tough questions between team members without reprisal. Innovation struggles in a scarcity mindset — defined as the belief that there will never be enough, resulting in feelings of fear, stress, and anxiety.
When team members are risk-adverse and “stuck in their ways,” it can be hard to move forward.
During the Fast Start you will be asked to read and watch content that is strategically selected to educate and illustrate another way of thinking and addressing problems. In order to be successful in the Fast Start program, constant learning is required.
Successful clients have both in an “open to what is possible” mindset and the ability to prioritize reading beneficial materials.
5. You are resistant to sharing revenue goals, sales numbers, and marketing metrics
Many times DSMCs will ask for financial data, conversion rates, sales cycles, web traffic, and other business metrics, and we are sometimes met with resistance.
We ask for this data to get a good idea of where you company currently stands, and where you want to go. For example, if your conversion rate is 1%, we can make your goal to be a 100% performance increase by simply doubling it.
Providing strategic information critical to Fast Start success. Any data provided is safe, held under non-disclosure agreement, and is never shared. It will be used to create better, more specific recommendations on your key objectives and priorities.
6. Your team members or entire department may be resistant to change
Having a culture of constant learning will prevent much of the resistance, however there may still be those individuals or departments who are simply “stuck in their ways.”
This translates to a static mind-set and will hamstring any efforts to make positive changes to your sales and marketing program.
Resistance is the result of mindset and requires additional education to be resolved.
Often it’s the result of team members simply not knowing the “why” behind certain requests. However, on some occasions it means that people are simply not the right fit in order to achieve your goals and may need to be let go or re-positioned in the company.
Our mutual success is based on your ability to achieve business transformation through incorporating They Ask, You Answer into your sales and marketing program.
The issues discovered in the Fast Start program are often the result of the organizational structure and company culture: No clear accountability, multiple areas of responsibility, a lack of discipline to adhere to objectives and priorities, and a few people wearing too many hats — these are just some of the examples that can inhibit your ability to get going quickly.
Don't get discouraged if you determine that a culture change is needed to facilitate better digital sales and marketing success. This is a part of the larger process of becoming a world-class organization of open communication and achievement.
Are you ready to get started?
Keep in mind that anytime you hire a new person or bring in an outside consultant into your company, they are going to have fresh eyes and a new perspective. They will be able to point out your blindspots quickly and effectively.
After reviewing the most common problems people face when getting started in the Fast Start program, ask yourself:
Do you have the right mindset?
Are you willing to do the work?
Can you take criticism?
Are you willing to invest in your people?
Are you prepared to hear what's necessary for your company’s and team members’ growth?
At IMPACT we’ve observed that companies of all sizes have blind spots preventing them from getting started or progressing towards their goals.
The Fast Start program will identify these problem areas and support your journey through objective strategic direction.
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