Key influencers play a critical role in every business. Decision makers are guarded and guided by inside and outside advisors and gatekeepers. How you manage your trusted advisors can help or harm your business.
Influencers know they have the power to change or compel action. It is the business leaders responsibility to validate and control the effect of influencers. Those who sit closest to authority and are granted permission to persuade, have a direct impact on your success. Do you know who is currently sitting at your table of influence?
In order to responsibly manage your influencers, take time to identify those that are in your inner circle and those effecting your judgement. Inside your business look at department heads, executives and even top revenue generators whose opinions impact your future. Who are your squeaky wheels? Are they helping you make better decisions for your business or slowing down how you operate? Influencers can be carriers of good and bad advice, they may be motivated by selfishness. It is up to you to vet, challenge and manage your influencers for optimal results.
One way of evaluating an influencer is to ask them what they believe are your highest priorities. Are they up-to-date on your current business plans and growth strategies? Do they know the profile of your most profitable customers? If not, it is the perfect opportunity to align your thinking. Define and clarify what is most important to you and your business. Let them know how they can help you.
To get the best results from your influencers, provide regular updates on business goals, initiatives, challenges and opportunities. Acting as gatekeepers, key influencers can open doors to new ideas, solution providers and even make introductions to customers. They also have the ability to close doors. As the final decision maker, you are ultimately responsible for those that make it through the “gate”. Challenge those that have the authority inside your business to say no. Know who they turned away and why.
Update your outside advisors quarterly about key initiatives and strategic objectives. These influencers, such as accountants, legal counsel, wealth managers, business consultants and top vendors are connected and often sources for essential referrals. They act as a conduit for information and potential services that can help you achieve your goals. If your influencers know your interests, they can better serve you.
Know that influencers get things done. They effect change. They make things happen. You need to know who they are and leverage them for maximum impact to your business. Lead influencers to your expected outcomes. Manage them for the best results.
Jamie Glass, Outsourced CMO and President of Artful Thinkers, a strategic sales and marketing consulting company and Sales & Marketing Services Managing Director at CKS Advisors.