The following quote from Sir Alex Ferguson's book on leadership got me thinking about the role less senior staff play when it comes to demonstrating domain expertise.
Often, firms rely on their most senior leaders when positioning their subject-specific knowledge and producing expert content. Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach, there is the consideration that a select few cannot be representative of the IP and original ideas of the many that work within their teams.
Furthermore, senior leaders will not be the only client-facing contacts in your organisation responsible for building strong business relationships.
Indeed from a purchasing perspective in the B2B sales cycle, research from Google suggests that the younger generations (between 18-34) form almost half (46%) of the overall purchasing research. Coupled with data from CEB that the average buying group has increased from 5.4 individuals to 6.8 in 2016, highlights that there are more agendas and opinions to manage in the growing complexity of enterprise sales cycles.
The role therefore of the trusted advisor is critical when it comes to positively influencing your prospects' purchasing decisions. Client/prospect project teams are invariably formed of different ranking individuals and it is important not to neglect the varied demographics.
Reading the following blog from salesandmarketing.com on peer-to-peer selling made me think of Dr. Robert Cialdini's principle of Social Proof. We are much more likely to be influenced and trust those whom we identify with and perceive to be 'similar' to ourselves*.
Considering the more "junior" staff are conducting the research, how are their equivalents in your firm establishing their domain expertise? To connect and make a good impression with your varied prospect demographics, you consequently need to consider how you can manage these multi-tiered relationships (in terms of rank and seniority) to achieve positive business outcomes.
How, then, can you enable your wider team to establish their credibility as the 'go-to' authority and trusted advisors for their key clients/contacts?
One element is empowering less senior, but indeed talented and knowledgeable staff with a voice to demonstrate their insight. Encouraging your wider team to engage in the process of creating and releasing timely and topical insights to market will in turn deliver the following impact:
- Giving your future leaders a voice
- Building the personal brand of the individuals within your firm
- Professional development - your employees will be encouraged to keep up to date with, and comprehend, the latest issues in their field
- Having a reason to develop and leverage their networks - often attendance and networking is encouraged at industry events, however regularly creating content give employees a reason and objective in continuing/nurturing the conversation
- Demonstrating the breadth and width of expertise within the firm, not just coming from the spokespeople or senior leaders
- Keeping front-of-mind when it comes to the different influencers involved throughout the B2B purchasing process
- Talent acquisition - if you haven't already considered how your content marketing can impact talent acquisition and retention then I highly recommend reading the following from David Kirk: Does your content marketing assist with talent acquisition and retention?
* Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (p140-157)
Young people will always manage to achieve the impossible – whether that is on the football field or inside a company or other big organisation. If I were running a company, I would always want to listen to the thoughts of its most talented youngsters, because they are the people most in touch with the realities of today and the prospects for tomorrow.