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Monday, January 31, 2011

Turn thought leadership into market leadership

When providing a complex solution and attempting to win the sale, you will confront key business challenges. The good news: if your solution is enterprise-wide, then you know your prospective client is seeking an experienced, trustworthy, and reliable business partner. The bad news (aka challenge): you need to deliver on the promise of being a truly innovative and game-changing thought leader.

Thought leadership involves some risk-taking. Serve your clients in ways that they never have envisioned. On occasion, that may mean pointing out the obvious. This forward-thinking and entrepreneurial style of leadership can uncover new opportunities and previously unexplored customer audiences.

Collaborating with a competitor? Some believe this heresy. Yet Fortune 100 market leaders do it all the time. Some call it “co-opetition.” Others look at it as strategic partnerships and win-win collaboration. When your client expects you to deliver the holy grail of market dominance, through some social media innovation or otherwise, be sure to uncover and reach out to prospects that, while right in front of their eyes, they are ignoring.

Many organizations also are still fumbling with social media. A recent HBR survey found that:
  • 75% of companies do not know where their most valuable customers are talking about them
  • Less than a quarter (23%) use social media analytics tools
  • Only 7% are integrating social media into other marketing activities, such as campaign management, retail analytics, CRM and business intelligence
Social media is one important marketing channel, but here is the reality: women buy or are the key influencers of nearly 80 percent of all consumer product sales in the United States alone. Are you doing what you need to reach them, and are they buying enough of yours?

Help your client connect with the world’s largest group of decision-makers. This may open a floodgate of previously untapped customers. Think outside and inside the box. This is the thought leadership your client expects and deserves.

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