For the past few weeks I have been watching Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a wonderfully educational and entertaining show produced by Fox TV and National Geographic.
My favorite episode discusses the evolution of life on Earth, the forces of natural selection and the “big five” mass extinction events. This served as a reminder that change can occur slowly over generations, or rapidly through a dramatic shift in environment or the impact of the unexpected.
Regardless of how it happens and its speed, sustained viability and prosperity requires the ability to adapt. It’s as true for businesses as it is for species.
This brings me to a fascinating article authored by SF Gate’s Thomas Lee entitled Social Media Evangelist Clashes with Oracle Culture. Here’s a chronological recap:
-Oracle buys Eloqua
-Jill Rowley is a successful sales rep at Eloqua who employs social media and digital communications to identify and nurture prospects
-Oracle hires Jill to educate their enterprise sales team on the practice of social selling, recognizing that customer needs and how they make purchase decisions continue to evolve
-Jill employs her honest and open brand of communication with external and internal audiences at Oracle
-Oracle’s management gets uncomfortable with change
-Oracle fires Jill
Jill’s change agent adventure in a corporate environment was sadly predictable. Unfortunately, it is something I have experienced on multiple occasions during Strategic Communications Group’s (Strategic) six-year shift from PR shop to provider of integrated content marketing and sales enablement programs.
I often refer to the achievement of sales metrics – such as lead generation, prospect nurturing and deal capture – as the “last mile of content marketing.” It’s a painful irony that what companies crave most from their marketing spend (a measurable ROI) is the most difficult to achieve because of their own unwillingness to accept change.
So…here you go…three things the person(s) who champions an innovative content marketing and sales enablement initiative must have and be willing to exercise:
1. Understand what is required of you and your organization to be successful.
2. Get buy-in from internal stakeholders who hold the budget and have the ability to provide (and enforce) direction to sales reps, marketers, subject matter experts, etc.
3. Measure outcomes without the fear of tactical failures derailing the program.