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What is a ‘marketing coach’ and other important insights

What is a marketing coach?
How does a marketing coach differ from a marketing consultant?
And what is an interim executive?

A marketing coach works with the leadership team and helps them develop the skills necessary to take ownership of the marketing activities.  Click here to learn more about a marketing coach.

A marketing consultant provides the leadership team with the data, analysis and practical recommendations your leadership team needs in order to make well informed decisions that drive the business towards short-term and long-term goals.  These are the solutions I provide with my marketing services.

An interim executive is typically brought in when a company needs senior-level leadership and expertise during a period of transition.  The position is on your senior-leadership team and should have the authority and responsibility of an executive team member.  The position oversees daily operations and strategic planning so that the organization remains on track for achieving short-term and long-terms goals and objectives.  Click here to learn more about an interim executive.

What about costs?

If you’re primary concern is the cost – step back and rethink your interest in bringing a coach/consultant/interim executive on-board.  A growth-oriented business leader is going to focus on the vision, the goal – and look at the investment required with bringing that vision to life as an investment.  That’s a significant difference in perspective.

The business owner explained that he wasn’t going to hire a sales person because they cost about $50,000.

So I asked him to point our his best sales person and tell me how much that person had sold in the past year.

He pointed to one person and told me, with a smile, that this person had sold more than $1 million worth of products and services in the past 12 months.

My response was “Seems like $50,000 is a damn good investment – why wouldn’t you want to do that again and again?”

When you talk with a coach/consultant/interim executive, focus on this simple question.

“Can this person help me achieve my goal?”

If they can, then structure the relationship in a way that’s fair to both parties and go make some money.  If you don’t think they can, thank them for their time and move on.  But if you focus on the cost, you’re missing the larger (and more important) picture.

What’s the best way to select the right coach/consultant/interim executive for my business?

First, understand that this person is NOT another employee or another vendor.  This person is going to be a key member of your leadership team because they need that kind of access to you and your business.  You may tell employees to do things – but you need to work with your coach/consultant/interim executive.  Your employees do their jobs, a successful coach/consultant/interim executive provides you with ways to take your business to the next level.

Second, once you have identified the candidates, do the basics – a thorough interview process and reference check.

Third, go deep.  What I mean is get them to sign a non-disclosure and start talking specifics.

Let’s be honest.  Too many interview processes are designed to find out about the candidate and present the company in the best possible light.  You don’t want that here.  You want the candidate to have a clear, honest understanding of the current lay of the land as well as the vision for the future.  You don’t want your coach/consultant/interim executive to spend the first month discovering that reality is different than what was discussed during interviews.

Consider this the ‘Discovery’ phase – this is where you share vision, goals, objectives, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and you get to see and hear how the candidate approaches your situation.  This is your chance to not only help them get up-to-speed on your business and your expectations, but it provides you with valuable insight into how they gather and analyze data  as well as how practical their recommendations are for your business.

Fourth, have them submit a specific action plan to you that includes goals and objectives as well as a detailed action plan with milestones, assigned tasks with owners, and a budget.  This not only helps you determine whether or not to move forward – but it also helps you evaluate performance and productivity.  (And make sure there are regular update reports and meetings for you with the candidate included in the timeline.  You want to keep the communication open and flowing.)

The most common cause of failure in these types of relationships is unclear goals and no shared understandings of what success will look like when it is achieved.

Finally, make the time to meet with the coach/consultant/interim executive on a regular basis in order to review progress and discuss key findings that might impact the original action plan.  Then, evaluate the performance so that your coach/consultant/interim executive has a clear understanding that you are satisfied/dissatisfied with performance.  (And if you are dissatisfied, spell out the course of action.  Is the relationship over?  Do you pay for the performance?  What does the person need to do between “now and our next meeting” in order for you to be satisfied?)

Communication needs to be open, honest, clear.  And both parties need to be in complete agreement about the goals.  This is NOT a hands-off, talk to you when I give you your quarterly review relationship.  If anything, at the start, over communicate.

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