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Leading with Noble Purpose
I had the great opportunity to hear Lisa Earle McLeod speak not just once, but twice at a conference recently. She spoke about a leadership and sales approach that encourages businesses to embrace a customer–oriented noble purpose and reorient the company toward that purpose.
My emotional response to her message of leading and selling with a noble purpose was like putting on my favorite sweater in the middle of a New England winter – it felt warm and comforting! Since bringing this idea back to the leadership team at BrainSell, we have undertaken an effort to implement the ideas espoused in both of McLeod’s books: Leading with Noble Purpose and Selling with Noble Purpose. Here’s how we have adopted this purpose-driven approach.
Everyone has read one of the books.
Everyone in our company has embraced the message and engaged with the material. Once or twice a quarter, we select a book that has the potential to impact our perspectives. Sometimes just the leadership team reads the book, other times the whole company does. We fund a monthly Audible subscription so employees have the option to listen to the book on their commute or in their spare time. My one-way commute is 30 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time to get in a chapter or two before or after work.
We hosted book club lunch discussions.
To ensure that we were all being intentional about embracing Selling with Noble Purpose, we hosted a bi-weekly book club lunch to cover two new chapters each session and keep us on track to implement the approach. This facilitated roundtable discussions and allowed us to share our individual interpretation of the book’s messages or how we can sell with noble purpose in real life. Some of the core competencies of our company is sales, marketing, and customer success – so we’re on the phone with customers a lot! This every-day experience enriches our book club discussions.
We adopted an NSP.
Very early on, we recognized a need to create and adopt a noble sales purpose (NSP) to clarify and articulate BrainSell’s raison d’être – that is, what is it that we are doing to bring value to our customers? What engages us in our daily work?
The creation of our NSP unfolded over two successive 90-minute sessions attended by all employees. The first session was a discovery-style session where we shared and collected answers to the following three discovery questions outlined in Leading with Noble Purpose:
- How do we make a difference?
- How do we do it differently than our competition?
- On your best day, what do you love about your job?
In the second session, we combined and retracted answers until we had a shortlist of phrases that were then put up for a vote. The winning combination of phrases became our NSP. In the end, our NSP resonated with all of us and was easy to adopt: We help customers thrive by solving their business challenges with guidance and technology.
We operationalized our NSP.
Here are some of the operational tactics we took to implement our NSP:
- We embedded our NSP into our marketing materials and website redesign plans. We want our customers to understand that we are in business to help them succeed.
- We changed our dialogue when meeting with prospects or customers. Now, we start with broader questions about the customer’s challenges and business environment, their priorities, and their fears and hopes in their daily lives.
- We added fields in our CRM to capture answers to these questions, so we can share the responses with other team members.
- We changed the structure of our weekly sales meetings to probe understanding of these same questions. We encourage discussion about what a client’s success looks like, and what their lack of success looks like.
- We used to announce Quarterly Wins (our top closed deals) during our quarterly business review meetings. Now, we tell customer impact stories and share deals that had meaningful impact on the lives of our customers.
- We adopted a more holistic view of our customers. We don’t just focus on one department, we expand our understanding of our customer to include other departments at their organization.
- We gave copies of Selling with Noble Purpose to our key vendors and to customers who express an interest in understanding our sales philosophy.
But we still have work to do!
We haven’t finished implementing our NSP. For example, we’re working on creating NSP-driven scorecard measurables to help us track our progress implementing our NSP. Two examples of these measurables are Net Promoter Score and Employee Engagement Surveys. Net Promoter Score will be used to gather more consistent feedback from our customers. Employee Engagement Surveys will be used to keep us focused on bringing value to our customers. Leading with noble purpose is an iterative process. The leadership team is always looking for better ways to imbue our NSP into our business.
Interested in learning more about noble purpose? Join us for a webinar on 4/24 with Lisa McLeod herself!
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