The first building block in the Foundation is strategic planning, setting the foundation stones for how you want your company and your sales staff to deal with your customers. But, where to begin?
Following up on one of my previous Blogs, the first step is to clearly document your thinking and that of your best advisers, salespeople, partners, and business writers. I say this because one of my favorite foundation issues came from Steven Covey, author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and "Principle Centered Leadership" , my two favorite business books ever.
Covey wrote; "Sometimes, the way you SEE the problem, IS the problem." So I suggest you look deep into the things you think about your business and about the performance of your people in all areas, and find out what's really going on in your business. As an outside consultant, I was able to use a technique that opened many doors for improvements to both new pathways and better results all around. We'd get everyone together in a conference room or break room and pass out Post It pads, all the same color, and ask one simple question: "What things need to change?" Everyone was to provide three suggestions by printing (no writing) which I collected and simply posted to a wall space. We would change the question to suit the group and the company. I would gather these and ask a random volunteer to sort them by area of the business. Then I'd pass out some sort of small colored sticker - 10 to each person and ask each individual to place their stickers onto the Post It notes they believe needed the most immediate attention. They could place all 10 on one item or spread them around according to their beliefs in what things required the most attention.
There might be Sales Department issues, Office issues, Delivery & Service issues, Merchandising issue..... all would come out in these wide open sessions. Most clients told me that this was the best meeting they ever held. It's simple to do and fun, but should be monitored by a neutral person.
This is as "Old School" as it gets, but it was very effective in opening discussions that may have been buried in the company culture. Owners had to be very open to this and most were. From these discussions, the foundation of change were built and the beginning of a strategic plan developed for the company.
In the area of Customer Engagement and Retention when our attention was focused on these areas, new doors opened and everyone began to feel "connected" to developing a better company. This was a way of putting "First Things First" - another of Steven Covey's foundation principles. So, think about tapping into the pool of talent and intelligence of all of your employees as a way to begin.