Some clients like their engagement programs to be fluid – they believe in them because they know they make sense. Others prefer them tightly orchestrated and documented to the smallest detail. Some of ours have been detailed on Excel sheets with more formulas than I’d have believed possible. But one force has been proved, time and time again, to be more powerful than almost any other, aside from the cold cash of a direct resulting sale. Executives with personal anecdotes. A hundred actions, responses, metrics and the like are nothing compared to a client exec. with the power to approve budget saying “I was at a customer the other day and he was absolutely being influenced by (Influencer X)”.
It might not be scientific proof, or even driven by any kind of data, but one anecdote from the right executive and everyone down the chain falls into place. That’s why senior salespeople are so useful, and perhaps critical, to have on-board though the engagement process. They keep the budget in place during the inevitable dips in more tangible progress.
What’s particularly interesting is how few companies have any existing framework to collate such anecdotes. If the quote comes in as an email it can obviously sorted in a particular folder, or simply printed out, but beyond this, it just doesn’t happen. Yet every engagement program needs to harness these quotes, capturing them at the time and reminding senior management of them at key points down the line. Short-form video is by far the best format, way better than just audio and a hundred times better than an email – yet none of our clients have ever established this without us suggesting it. The quality of cellphone video is now more than good enough and iOS, Android and WindowsPhone can all transcribe to text from video. Collate the various video clips in an online database, even an iCloud Photo or Flickr album will do, and integrate them into your next program or performance review. You’ll be amazed how powerful they’ll prove.