Elizabeth Harris

Recent Posts by Elizabeth Harris:

B2B Sales: Is Relationship Management Still Important?

A recent Forbes article discussing how B2B buyers have changed over the last several years offered advice on how B2B sales tactics need to shift to pursue what it called “stealthy buyers and hidden influencers.” And while it gave an accurate assessment of what the B2B buying landscape currently looks like, it implied that relationship management may not be as important as it once was because the buying process is less one-on-one between buyers and sellers these days. To understand how the article’s author, Randy Illig, came to that conclusion, you need to first understand what has changed in B2B selling and how those changes have altered the buying relationship itself and the resources needed to support it.

Topics: B2B Sales

Understanding the Human Element in B2B Revenue Growth

With so much emphasis on big data and AI, today’s leadership conversations seem to be largely focused on metrics. And while B2B KPIs are certainly valuable to track and analyze, when organizations are facing challenges are they really the best indicator of what’s wrong and how to fix it?

The abundance of data available these days makes it tempting to rely solely (or at least primarily) on the data, but the most experienced leaders will tell you that data can’t necessarily tell the whole story, or the right story.

When it comes to diagnosing a problem or turning an organization around people are just as important as data because they can contribute:

  • Institutional knowledge
  • First-hand experience
  • Insight into perceptions and attitudes
  • Logic and reasoning

Let’s take a closer look at the benefit that human capital can provide when trying to overcome a challenge or understand and fix an issue to move an organization forward.

Topics: Revenue Growth Strategy Strategic Revenue Growth B2B

Growing B2B Revenue: Principles vs Methods

Take a moment to answer this question: How does your organization generate revenue?

(This isn’t a rhetorical exercise. Pause for a moment and actually do it!)

Once you have your answer, look at it and try to discern whether the answer you gave was related to methods you use to generate revenue (the how) or the strategic principles behind them (the why).

As a fractional CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) I frequently talk to business leaders who will discuss the ways that they generate revenue with statements like, “We sell through numerous channels to reach a wide market” or “We use reliable manufacturers to source all of our parts so we can get new products to market quickly” or “We provide extensive customization options so our customers can get exactly what they need.” And while these statements may be true, they miss the point of how their organizations are actually generating revenue. These are things that companies do – approaches they take, practices they use, or competitive advantages they rely on. However, they aren’t the true ways that those companies generate revenue …or at least they shouldn’t be!

Your revenue strategy should be more than just a collection of methods – it should be a set of principles.

Topics: Revenue Growth Strategy Strategic Revenue Growth Revenue Generation

Using a Fractional CRO: How to Get the Most out of The Partnership

While hiring a fractional Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) typically costs about 75% less than hiring an in-house CRO, it still requires a significant investment of time and money. However, the best fractional CROs have the skills, experience, and acumen needed to act as shrewd revenue advisors, helping their clients to achieve profitable revenue growth that is sustainable over the long-term, justifying their cost many times over. In fact, when the relationship is managed correctly, fractional CRO services can effectively align sales and marketing functions to generate significant revenue growth over both short-term and long-term planning horizons.

Of course, that begs the question, “How do I manage a fractional CRO partnership well?”

Topics: CRO Consulting Services Outsourcing

The B2B Leader’s Guide to Strategic Business Planning

Have you done your annual planning yet? If not, don’t worry. There’s still time!

Typically, in companies where their fiscal year aligns with the calendar year, annual planning will begin in October for the year ahead. However, it’s certainly not unheard of to still be planning for the year ahead into Q1, or even later. Sure, if you get to the end of Q3 and don’t have a plan put together yet, it’s probably best to just move on and start planning for the following year! But otherwise, planning will still offer significant benefits even if you start it late. Going through the steps involved in the planning process is valuable in and of itself, independent of the actual plan you put together. All the different types of data you need to gather to create a plan will give insight into how well your company is performing and what the industry is looking like overall. This broader perspective is extremely valuable to have regardless of when you get the plan put together because it will equip you to make the ongoing tweaks and shifts needed now to be set up for success later. For these reasons, planning helps organizations run more smoothly and improves their ability to grow over time.

But how should leadership navigate the nuances of B2B business planning?

Topics: B2B Planning

A Guide to Fixing Organizational Problems for B2B Leaders

Have you ever read a business article that talks about “the power of storytelling”? If you have, you probably felt like it was a little shallow that researchers and analysts tout the benefits of storytelling across everything from gaining followers to increasing sales to cultivating brand loyalists. I mean, of course telling a compelling story can potentially improve sales and marketing functions, but is it really necessary at the core of the organization itself?

A recent Harvard Business Review article titled Storytelling That Drives Bold Change flipped the entire idea of storytelling in business on its head! The article claims that storytelling is far more than a “nice to have” sales/marketing approach. It makes the case that storytelling is a fundamental leadership need across all organizations. The executive summary explains,

“When tackling urgent organizational problems, leaders usually work hard to identify underlying causes, tap a wide range of knowledge, and experiment with solutions. But once they’ve mapped out a plan, there’s one more crucial step they must take: crafting a story so compelling that it will harness their organizations’ energy and direct it toward change.”

Frances Frei and Anne Morriss highlight the fact that organizational problems don’t just need a proposed fix, they need a proposal that will win people over. The narrative that leaders craft is just as important to the organization’s ability to overcome challenges as the plan itself.

Topics: Leadership Strategy B2B

How AI is Revolutionizing B2B Sales and Marketing by Augmenting Human Capabilities

The world of B2B has changed immensely in recent years, but even with the speed that B2B sales and marketing have evolved, the pace of change is set to accelerate even more over the next decade. In a discussion about how B2B companies can differentiate themselves, John Hall explains,

“The B2B sales and marketing landscape has seen more disruption in the past five years than it has experienced in nearly a century. First, the pandemic brought unprecedented challenges for customer engagement. Now, rapid technological advances like artificial intelligence have permanently shifted how B2B buyers interact with vendors and how complex sales occur.”

AI is a driving force behind the lightning-fast change that we’re seeing as everything from personalized recommendations and automated customer service to predictive analytics and data enrichment has begun sweeping B2B organizations en masse. And yet, the widely hailed “Father of AI” Sam Altman has been quoted as saying that, “Today’s AI models are the stupidest they’ll ever be,” which indicates that there’s much more on the horizon than many of us could ever even imagine.

Topics: AI

Finding Strategic Success in Letting Go and Moving On

In times of planning, we ask questions like, “How do we continue this momentum?” and “How can we improve results?” We want to understand the keys to success – the path we should follow to get where we want to go. And yet, we sometimes forget that the path to success is simply moving forward.

Letting go of the old is a precursor to ushering in growth.

There are many times personally and professionally when you will need to let things go and move on to grow. How do we stop doing what we’ve always done and start doing something new?

Topics: Strategy Strategic Revenue Growth Planning Change Management