Tuesday 24 August 2010

Alignment on the SNCF

I must have been a pretty horrible 16 year old.

Arrogant, spotty and sullen.

Correction….I was a pretty horrible 16 year old.

How did my parents decide to deal with this Rebel-without-a-Cause?

In the summer holidays they packed me off, on my own, to a family they knew in France. That was some selling job my father did.

So there I am with my Scout rucksack, sitting in a packed, 8 seat, old fashioned, compartment on the SNCF from Gare du Lyon to Dijon, surrounded by Gauloises smoking, Pernod drinking, L’Equipe reading locals. I was out of my comfort zone and to make matters worse I had an incorrect ticket and le chemin de fer inspecteur had just entered our compartment.

You know what was going through my mind?

‘These Frenchies are just pretending that they cannot speak English. In a minute they are all going to start helping me and speaking the Queen’s English.’

And guess what…they didn’t.

Quelle domage.

To the amusement of my fellow travellers, I had to muddle through with my dodgy O Level French. And I did, somehow. That inspecteur must have been a patient man.

Fast forward three weeks, and I am travelling back to Blighty on the ferry from Calais to Dover and I accidentally bump into a middle aged man. He apologised to me in English and I apologised to him in French. In French! I had even begun to think in French.

Had I achieved this by studying the systems, process and technology in France?


What I had begun to do was understand, appreciate and like the culture, language and people of France.

Culture, Language and People.

So, if you want your sales and marketing teams to start respecting, trusting and working together, rather than the current mistrust, then you need to get them understanding, apreciaiting and even liking their respective culture language and people.

The good news is that you don’t have to be stuck in a railway compartment to start your journey.


A bientot!

Friday 13 August 2010

Melting the Cold War between Sales and Marketing.

I’m a child of the Cold War. Remember all that stuff? Spying, B52 Bombers and David Hasselhoff singing on top of the Berlin Wall, (sorry about that last image!) The only good thing to come out of that conflict was “Dr. Strangelove”.

But is it really over? Over in your business?

Are sale and marketing good buddies inside your business. Or are they just comrades?

What was the real cost or the real Cold War? Lots of budget spent on expensive hardware and systems that were never used. Thank God. Sound familiar?

So what resolved the real Cold War?

Was it computers and technology? No

Was it systems and processes? Uh?

Was it from breakthroughs thanks to consultants and trainers? You cannot be serious! Are you?

It was good old fashion economics, the allocation of scarce resources that caused one side to change. Thankfully they did.

And it’s only going to be economic and market forces that will cause the Cold War in your organisation to melt. You aren’t going to fix this with a blow torch or an ice axe.

That drive for change has started in most businesses and markets. Just remember technology cannot help you much, talking and dialogue can go a lot further.

When did you last have a Sales and Marketing Alignment workshop in your company?

I better the answer is never.

OK. Don’t worry I just made that term up. But what is stopping you?

Yes, I know your CRM will not allow you to schedule it, and it might ensure that you don’t hit your KPIs or it might negatively impact your value proposition.

Or maybe, just maybe it’s just time to get started on the real work, real d├ętente, real discussion.

Please don’t stick your head into the ice, it maybe a cool way to prospect, but don’t expect to succeed for long.

Get Aligned Comrade!