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Why Self-Awareness in Leadership is a Must-Have for Success

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Why Self-Awareness in Leadership is a Must-Have for Success


As a leader, you need to accept that you are not always going to be right and you aren’t always going to excel in everything — and that’s okay! Self-awareness in leadership is key to the success of any organization and can encourage growth, adaptability, and honesty in the workplace.

To help you learn why self-awareness in leadership is integral to your company’s success, we’re going to explore the meaning of self-awareness, its benefits, and real-life examples of self-awareness from business leaders.

What is self-awareness in leadership?

Self-awareness in leadership means having a conscious understanding of your character, behaviors, motives, and how these things impact your leadership abilities.

Are your motives aligned with your company’s goals? How do you behave as a leader when things don’t go as planned? How does your character impact your interactions with your colleagues and subordinates?

These are questions to ask yourself — and answer honestly — to build your self-awareness as a leader.

“Everyone has strengths, and everyone has weaknesses,” said HubSpot Marketing Fellow Dan Tyre. “Being self-aware means that you are aware of the things you do well and the things that you need to develop or delegate.

“It means understanding that the process of working with those attributes sends a strong, consistent, universal message that it is perfectly okay to be good in some capacity and need support in others, which should be reassuring to everyone. Leaders who are living the values of the organization are by definition more authentic, more consistent, and can greatly contribute to the foundations of the company’s success.”

Why is self-awareness important in leadership?

Self-awareness in leadership can help you, as a leader, understand what you bring to your role. Having self-awareness means having an understanding of where you thrive and where you should improve —and when your leadership, your company’s productivity tends to follow.

Benefits of Self-Awareness in Leadership

Self-awareness can benefit an organization in many ways — one of which is by establishing trust. Employees are more likely to put their trust in leaders who hold themselves accountable and are honest about their leadership styles and shortcomings. And building a culture of trust and honesty leads to higher engagement among employees.

Self-aware leaders also promote advancement in learning and development. When a leader shows they are aware of their strengths and weaknesses — and are actively working to improve — they create an environment that encourages personal growth. A self-aware leader will encourage their team members to pursue personal growth by acting as a mentor, organizing workshops, or helping employees improve their skills.

Another benefit of self-awareness in leadership is improved decision-making. Being self-aware about your goals and how they align with the company’s objectives will help you make more sound decisions overall. And those sound decisions will lead to better strategies and more targeted campaigns.

5 Examples of Self-Awareness in Leadership

I reached out to multiple leaders on LinkedIn to get their perspective on self-awareness in leadership and real-world examples. Here’s what I learned:

1. Debbie Olusola Akintonde – Education Marketing & Growth Strategy Consultant at Amuseng

“You can’t be empathetic, let alone emotionally intelligent as a leader if you aren’t self aware.I remember when I got a job in which one of the requirements for the interview was to write a complete strategy on how I would tackle a real problem I would be facing immediately in the role if I was hired. Even though I got the job, I relied on self awareness to guide me [and] not to start implementing the strategy I came up with immediately.

“Instead, after getting hired, I chose to listen and collaborate with other candidates and stakeholders to align our goals and plans as a group in order to optimize the results we would achieve together.

“It is crucial to be self aware because it will help you lead more effectively and improve your capacity for personal and professional growth.”

2. Tracy Graziani – Owner of Graziani Multimedia LLC

“For me, self-awareness has helped me to understand and be mindful of implicit bias. One of my dear friends is an insightful nonprofit CEO. In a conversation about hiring we were discussing interviewing mistakes candidates make.

“I always ask people why, of all the candidates I interview, should I hire them. I then went on to say that when people answered that question with needs —like ‘I’m a single mom,’ or, ‘I have loads of college loans —’I didn’t hire them, but when they answered with their achievements I did hire them. My friend then upended my thinking.

“She said, ‘How likely is it that those who listed needs are in — or grew up in — poverty?’ My answer? ‘Seems likely.’

“She then provided perspective. She explained that people in poverty always have to give ‘proof of poverty’ to get what they need. Government services, charities, even religious organizations hold a lot of power and don’t give you what you need to survive without ‘proof of poverty.’ So they go into the workforce and expect similar rules.

“Jobs have something you need. Therefore, they should prove that they need the job. That blew my mind. I simply never saw the world through that lens. I interview differently now.”

3. Dan MoyleHubSpot Advisor

“Leadership is about trust. I’ve witnessed the greatest leadership when someone builds that trust through self-awareness coupled with humility.

“When a leader has said to me, ‘I don’t know everything, and this particular situation is beyond my knowledge b trust you know what you’re doing, so go do what you’re good at.,‘ that kind of awareness of self and understanding built immediate trust within me for my leadership, and even went beyond to build a loyalty you can’t demand.”

4. Demetrius B. – Founder of Marro

“As a young leader in the SaaS space, I found myself seeking to achieve results quickly to ensure I developed, designed, and scaled at a pace that was comparable to my competitors. As a result, I put unfair pressure on those working with me to reach KPIs and milestones that were not realistic for a startup of our size.

“It took reflection and maturity for me to recognize that founders and leaders are not the only ones who feel the pressure to execute — it trickles down to everyone we work with. In my experience, employees don’t react in a positive manner to extremely tight deadlines, limited wiggle room for error, and constant micromanaging.

“What I learned was most important was empowering my engineers and working with my sales team to understand what they need to be successful early on to help lay a strong foundation for a software company that will stand the test of time. Leadership is not being a dictator, it is understanding what your team needs to be successful and how to fulfill the vision of the organization long term!”

5. Jordan Bazinsky – Executive Vice President and General Manager at Cotiviti

“We have an R&D and Operations center in Kathmandu, Nepal. In April 2015, they were hit by a 7.8 earthquake. I received a call in the middle of the night from Markandeya Kumar Talluri, who led the office, and was huddled for safety in a doorway. The subsequent aftershocks were devastating for a country already limited by its infrastructure: ultimately 9,000 deaths and 600,000 buildings destroyed.

“Kumar lived in India and could have gone home while Nepal picked through the rubble and rebuilt. Instead, he stayed in Kathmandu, invited families to come live in our office on a temporary basis, created space for Operation Rubicon to base their relief activities, set up phone chains and efforts to locate not just our employees but friends and family that were missing.

“He intuitively knew that the people under his care would absorb his energy and take cues from his attitude, and managed himself accordingly. It remains one of the most powerful examples of self-awareness in service of others that I have witnessed at work.”

To practice self-awareness as a leader, take the time to write down your strengths and weaknesses as well as actionable steps you can take to improve — and don’t be afraid to reach out to colleagues to get their input on your leadership skills.

Remember, leaders lead by example, and if you show that you’re willing to grow and improve, your team will likely do the same.

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How to turn the great buyer resignation into B2B career opportunities

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Create a B2B GTM strategy that buyers, execs and revenue teams love


Marketers play a large, proactive role in the buying-selling process to generate revenue across the entire buyer lifecycle – from generating a new customer, to contract renewal, to solution expansion and cross-sell/upsell.

This is no small task, especially when B2B buyers, barraged by untimely automated messages, random cold calls and lackluster outreach from both sales and marketing, are opting out of vendor conversations. B2B marketing expert Tony Zambito calls this the “Great Buyer Resignation.” This phenomenon has progressively intensified over the last five years and is both a challenge and an opportunity for B2B marketers.

A reality check

Let’s tackle the B2B challenge first by capturing today’s reality. The B2B buying process has gone primarily digital; most B2B sellers and teams have not. Sales has limited access to prospects and customers. We know the facts. According to Gartner, more than two-thirds of the buying process is complete before buyers engage directly with a brand rep. Only 17% of the B2B buying process time is spent with a salesperson across all suppliers. And this scenario is only accelerating as digital native professionals become influencers and decision-makers.


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To contribute to revenue and customer generation, B2B marketers are cranking out “leads” to help sales generate revenue. Marketers are often using legacy marketing automation-centric practices developed during the first wave of marketing technology and lead generation. The teams are pushing out random campaigns in a world where prospects and buyers already know what’s coming when they download a white paper or attend a webinar. Cringe — here come the automated nurture and cadenced phone calls.

Compounding the challenge, prospect and customer outreach happens in silos via one-off campaigns, isolated channels and focused functional teams. And data is being used to justify spending rather than apply buyer and account intelligence to deliver more timely information, better buyer engagement experiences, and more creative outreach.

The change and challenge revenue teams face are real.

Marketing’s impact opportunity in the buyer and customer generation lifecycle

With change comes opportunities for B2B marketers who understand, embrace and develop a smarter approach to identify, engage and delight buyers. And it should be emphasized that B2B teams and marketers have begun their transformation as marketing works across their entire company to play a more proactive role in all revenue and customer generation aspects.

From talking with progressive B2B go-to-market (GTM) leaders, here are strategies to stop mass buyer resignation, advance your career and have a much more significant impact on revenue growth.

1. Drive the shift from push to pull marketing

We often focus our effort on pushing email, cranking out business development representative calls, blasting ads and putting up forms to engage B2B pros. The breakthrough strategies are built around moving from pushing stuff at prospects and customers to pulling buyers through their process. Give them control. Provide options and let them guide their own journey, based on their needs, with value-added assistance. This is an art and science to master. This playbook and skill-set is, and will continue to be, highly coveted.

2. Focus on moments we create, not just those touchpoints we capture

Capture” is primarily what we do today in the form of paid media engagement to generate leads, drive web traffic and white paper downloads, and sponsor events to scan and swipe badges. The best marketers are flipping this model and asking, “How can we create moments for the buyer?”

Moment creation requires a proactive, experiential mindset putting ourselves in the shoes of our most coveted buyers and accounts. Breakthrough moments and experiences can be done through:

  • Product-led growth (PLG).
  • Interactive and self-guided applications and videos.
  • Personalized workshops for prospective buying teams at your target accounts.
  • Curated web pages that feature topical and popular content aligning with themes your buyer has been researching or engaging with over the last quarter.

It doesn’t have to be over complicated.

3. Master the full customer lifecycle

Today’s market realities and company growth mandates underline the need to build GTM models, strategies and resources around the entire customer lifecycle. With today’s prevailing Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud subscription customer financial models, 50 to 70% of the profit comes from existing customers.

For a deeper perspective, a five percent increase in retention results in an estimated 25 to 95% increase in revenue.

4. Embrace data intelligence and science

We will not be effective marketing leaders or pros without the ability to access, use and interpret data. At a minimum, we must be proactive in using data to understand markets, customers, accounts and market trends. The ideal case is to be confident in turning data into insights and actions and applying data science to help guide investments, programs and experiences. Data cannot be used simply to justify or defend marketing spend.

The most in-demand marketing skills in a B2B buyer-driven world

Let’s look at a few past examples of marketing career breakthroughs to plot the future. Ironically, the emergence and mastery of marketing automation tools, data and campaigns created a generation of what turned out to be the marketing operations (MOps) profession. It’s become a well-compensated, highly respected and in-demand role. In another example, the rise of account-based marketing (ABM) created a shift of sales support-focused field marketers to revenue generation-focused members of the GTM team.

Based on the Great Buyer Resignation reality and market shifts, here are a few high-impact career opportunities for talented pros who want to up-level their professional world while positively impacting their company’s growth. It is important to point out these re-imagined roles all focus across the customer lifecycle and obliterate internal silos whenever and wherever possible.

  • Growth marketing: This high-impact role is the next level of demand marketing, which today has largely been focused on digital and paid media spend to generate qualified leads or pipelines. Growth encompasses the full customer/buyer lifecycle of revenue generation in today’s Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription world. It also focuses on identifying and activating the markets, drivers and industries to grow revenue and expand the company’s total available market (TAM).
  • Journey architects: To align with best-fit buyers and accounts, this craft is an ability to use buyer and account intelligence to create experiences to more naturally pull a buyer or buying group through their journey. With a full view across buyer channels and company touchpoints, this role expands beyond marketing to ensure more timely information. For perspective, this is the buyer-driven outgrowth of what was integrated marketing.
  • Revenue ops: It is very difficult to identify and engage buyers and target accounts if your view is only on sales, marketing, customer success or finance. This progressive function demands a full view of buyer and customer lifecycles. It unifies and analyzes data to empower the rest of the front-line, customer-facing players to act on intelligence and insights.

The bottom line on what buyer resignation means for our marketing careers

Now is an opportunistic time to capitalize on market and marketing shifts and commit to buyer-centric GTM strategies and tactics. If you see a new role or transformation opportunity inside your organization or at a new company, raise your hand and dive in. These are the times when careers are made and energized.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Scott Vaughan is a B2B CMO and go-to-market leader. After several CMO and business leadership roles, Scott is now an active advisor and consultant working with CMO, CXOs, Founders, and investors on business, marketing, product, and GTM strategies. He thrives in the B2B SaaS, tech, marketing, and revenue world.

His passion is fueled by working in-market to create new levels of business and customer value for B2B organizations. His approach is influenced and driven by his diverse experience as a marketing leader, revenue driver, executive, market evangelist, speaker, and writer on all things marketing, technology, and business. He is drawn to disruptive solutions and to dynamic companies that need to transform.



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Grow revenue streams through web accessibility and compliance

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Grow revenue streams through web accessibility and compliance


1 out of 4 people in the U.S. lives with some type of disability. Because consumers are online now more than in previous years, your clients’ websites must be accessible to everyone.

It’s not merely a matter of being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). It’s also good business—because web accessibility can deliver better results and enhance search engine optimization.

Join a panel of agency, compliance and disability leaders to hear more about how web accessibility can work for your agency and your clients.

Register today for “Agencies: Grow Revenue Streams Through Web Accessibility & Compliance,” presented by accessiBe.


About The Author

Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries.



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Why Sales Teams Should Care about the Fake Web

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Why Sales Teams Should Care about the Fake Web


The issue of the Fake Web has been all over the news lately. Perhaps most notably, Elon Musk delayed his deal with Twitter until they agreed to further transparency around bots and fake users. Additionally, a viral tweet about the increase of fake internet traffic also attracted the attention of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

All of this is probably not a surprise to anyone on the pulse of technology news. But it is reasonable to wonder: What does this have to do with sales?

For starters, reports show that $115 billion is lost each year in sales labor costs due to bots and fake users.

To help connect the dots here, we’ve outlined a few specific ways these bad actors impact sales teams on every level and ultimately hurt businesses bottom line.

Sales teams end up wasting time on bad leads.

Time is critical in the sales cycle. Leads need to be acted on quickly before they lose interest or forget they requested to be contacted completely. For this reason, sales professionals put a lot of time and effort into crafting the perfect email sequences, following up with leads, and nurturing these leads until they are ready to buy.

But sometimes leads that were once considered “hot” go silent. This can be because they genuinely lost interest, their priorities changed, they realized they didn’t have budget for a specific line item, or they went with a competitor. Other times leads go cold because they were never really leads to begin with – they were bots and fake users.

When this is the case, it is not only frustrating and disappointing, but it also takes time away from real genuine leads who could have used more attention. Since time is money, this is also reducing the potential revenue a business could be bringing in.

Inventory numbers become inaccurate.

For companies that sell items of limited quantities (retail brands, ticketing services, tourism and travel companies, concerts and sporting events, etc.), it is important to keep track of how much inventory is available. They want to ensure that customers are able to purchase available items while not misleading anyone into thinking something is available if it is sold out in actuality.

Obviously, a bot can’t go to a concert or put on a pair of exclusive sneakers, but they skew inventory numbers through a variety of malicious practices.

This can take the form of scraping information and reselling at a lower price on other sites, which causes businesses to overstock and undersell. It can also come in the form of bad actors committing credit card fraud by using fake or expired cards, which causes the business to lose both the product and the revenue. Additionally, bots can be programmed to instantly buy thousands upon thousands of items before real users ever have the chance to purchase.

All of this throws off the sales cycle by making it impossible to determine how much genuine interest for certain goods and services there is in the market.

Trust is lost between sales and marketing.

Many sales cycles start with marketing. A future customer might first hear about a brand through social media. Or maybe they discovered a company in a search query. Perhaps they saw a few paid advertisements and decided to dive deeper. Marketing is a critical component of driving pipeline and ultimately revenue.

Sales teams know that when leads show up in their database, it didn’t come out of thin air – it was likely a result of marketing. But when there is a pattern of marketing leads having fake names or emails, or appearing promising but randomly going silent – sales teams start to question the legitimacy of all marketing leads.

If there are bots and fake users entering the funnel and being passed off to sales, it decreases the overall quality of marketing leads, and consequently decreases trust.

For all of these reasons and more, many teams are adopting Go-to-Market Security to ensure all the hard work sales and marketing teams put in each day isn’t hindered by the Fake Web.





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