PerkettPR Introduces our “Effective Executives” Interview Series

PerkettPR is excited to introduce another interview series, “Effective Executives,” showcasing business leaders from top companies across the globe. Our goal is to continue to share insights, tips, tricks and suggestions from those who have seen it all. How do they work? What keeps them up at night? What tough lessons have they learned? We kick off this series with John Golden, CEO of Huthwaite.

Founded on scientifically validated behavioral research, Huthwaite’s methodologies—which include the internationally renowned SPIN® Selling — guarantee sales success. Huthwaite assesses your organization’s needs and develops customized sales performance improvement and coaching programs for sales and marketing professionals that drive real business results. For more information, please visit: www.huthwaite.com.  Follow Huthwaite’s blog, Twitter stream and Facebook page.

John Golden is President and CEO of Huthwaite, the world’s leading sales performance improvement organization. Golden joined Huthwaite in 2008, where he is responsible for the company’s U.S. financial and operational performance and long-term strategy for success.

Prior to Huthwaite, Golden was the Senior Vice President of education & business development of the Mortgage Bankers Association. In this role, he was responsible for the restructuring and sustainable growth of the CampusMBA business unit. Golden created and executed new marketing strategies, established standards for operating and quality control, and implemented cost controls to maximize profit margins. Before that, Golden was Vice President of the educational services division of Learning Sciences International, a startup company providing professional development products for K-12 educators where he defined and executed the company’s go-to-market strategy. Golden also spent two and a half years at New Horizons CLC, the world’s largest independent IT training company.  As Vice President of products and programs and a member of the senior executive team, Golden managed a $32 million business unit responsible for sourcing, building and providing products and services to franchise locations in more than 50 countries.

Golden started his career in the learning industry at SmartForce (formerly CBT Systems) in Dublin, before moving to the corporate HQ in Silicon Valley, California to launch the first fully integrated online learning platform.

How is leading a business in the U.S. different from leading a company based in Ireland?

In some ways this is hard to answer, as I have never led a company in Ireland.  My leadership experience has all been in the U.S., however, I would say that while there are some obvious cultural differences, I don’t think they are so great as to change the fundamentals of good leadership – which I believe are pretty much global. In Ireland, given its size, relationships probably play a slightly greater role because the personal relationship has always been an integral part of how Irish people do business, whereas in the US, given the fact that many of those you lead or do business with are spread across the country (even the globe) – and you rarely see them face-to-face – the relationship element plays less of a role. In other words, I feel in the U.S. you can operate in a very pragmatic manner and be all about business – whereas in Ireland you may need to temper this a little with the relationship element.

What is the biggest pro of adopting sales software in an organization? Biggest con?

The biggest pro to adopting sales software is that you can provide sales people with real time tools to do their jobs better while allowing sales management to have greater visibility into opportunities and pipeline, which in turn allows them the opportunity to coach more proactively and in a more targeted fashion. It is through this lens that you need to evaluate software before deciding to deploy it with your sales organization. For example, ask yourself “Does it help organize the sales person’s approach to an opportunity; does it reinforce the right behaviors, tactics and approach and does it provide managers with insights to coach to?”

On the con side is the “shiny new toy” syndrome, where management may come across a great piece of software that will provide lots of data for management, but has no real benefit for the sales person – and thus the deployment just sucks up time, resources and money and because it doesn’t benefit the sales person. The data returned is junk.

What advice would you offer to executives looking to find the best software package and implement it successfully within their organization, in a timely manner?

In terms of choosing software, I would refer back to the questions I mentioned above – ask yourself “Does it help organize the sales person’s approach to an opportunity, does it reinforce the right behaviors, tactics and approach and does it provide managers with insights to coach to?” Using these simple questions as a first step in your evaluation process will save you a lot of time and qualify out applications that are not going to be successful.

Secondly is to take an iterative approach to implementation. Don’t try to roll out all the features of a software application at one time. Pick one or two that have the biggest benefits and are the easiest to learn and adopt. Then spend a period of months getting people to use and see the value of them and only then add some others. If you take an iterative approach, especially if sales is your audience, you save a lot of time and angst and ultimately have a more successful implementation.

You have a diverse background including business development, marketing as well as quality and cost control.  Which area are you most passionate about and why?

Running a business is what I am most passionate about because it forces me to draw on all my experiences and it requires a level of dexterity in that you need to be able to switch between the high-level strategic and the down-in-weeds tactical almost at will. At the end of the day, a successful business that is generating good profit margins is a measure of how well all the constituent parts are working together, and how customers value what you do – and this is what gives me the greatest satisfaction.

Having worked for a startup (Learning Sciences International, ) in the past, how did that experience prepare you for your current role as CEO for Huthwaite?

It helped me in so many ways because I am not sure you can ever match the experience of sitting at a cheap plastic table in a tiny office with just a laptop and trying to figure out how to deliver on the bold vision of the founders of the company. It was the first time I had to involve myself in every aspect of a business, so it provided a great foundation for working at Huthwaite. It also taught me that sometimes you have to try a number of different strategies and be prepared to quickly switch when one is not working. I also learned how much a small bunch of smart, motivated people can achieve and this has helped me in subsequent roles. Never fall into the trap of over-investing in resources when proper focus and nimbleness are all that is needed. Learning
Sciences International has gone from strength to strength, thanks to the ongoing vision of their founders – and I am proud that I played a small part in that story.

Where is next for yourself and for Huthwaite in 2012?

2012 is going to be a big year for Huthwaite, as we are releasing some major thought leadership research around sales and marketing alignment and the changes in buyer behavior. I will be deeply involved with this and with rolling out to the market on how they can meet these new challenges.

 

 

Persuasive Picks for week of 4/16/12

When Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation, started to run her own business, she never would have guessed that a day would come when she’d be expected to update the internet on her life in 140 characters or less. To help CEO’s aspiring to join the Twitter-sphere, Deborah posts her advice on Becoming a “Corporate Executive Tweeter” on SocialMediaToday.

A strong referral network is imperative for small businesses. Thanks to social networking, businesses can now connect directly with customers, enabling them to market in new more cost-effective ways. MarketingProfs guest blogger Pamela Springer provides some tips to Build a Strong Referral Network to Boost Your Business and parlay those social networks into business opportunities.

Pinterest isn’t only for women – despite its heavy concentration on all things girlie, it’s for guys, too! Pinterest has a growing audience of men who like the site – for many of the same reasons women do explains Jennifer Waters in her latest MarketWatch article Why men like social-media site Pinterest.

Doug Schumacher takes a look at some numbers around Facebook content and what kind is the most shared, and finds that video and photo posts are far more likely to be shared than status updates or links. Find out more of What consumers share on Facebook – and why in his iMediaConnection post.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 08/09/09

EasyBake OvenCooking Social Media with an EasyBake Oven vs. a Viking Range
Chip Griffin from MediaBullseye.com shares an entertaining comparison when getting ready to “cook up” some social media.

CEOs Say: How To Be An Executive Blogger
Good stories and advice for CEOs looking to blog or just to become better bloggers.

10 Ways to Archive Your Tweets
Did you know that your Tweets aren’t really searchable forever? ReadWriteWeb’s Sarah Perez shares 10 ways to back them up.

Five ways to help your CEO embrace social media
A little post from “down-under” that gives some advice on how to get the top brass on board with your social media strategy.

Why Facebook Wants FriendFeed
Om Malik shares his point of view on why Facebook’s acquisition of Friendfeed is not about Twitter but more about Google.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 07/05/09

I generally don’t add any commentary to the beginning of the picks posts, but this week I have to say that you’re in store for some pretty entertaining reading (and viewing). I love when a post makes me smile, and a few of these did just that. Please let me know in the comments if you agree. Enjoy!


Nike Censors LeBron James Dunk Incident; Creates Needless PR Fiasco

Nike takes the heat as they learn a lesson about transparency – the hard way.

Blogging Truth: No One Likes Your CEO
Lisa Barone from Outspoken Media serves up this fun and entertaining post about why your company’s CEO might not be the best person to write the corporate blog.

Since When Are Blogs Not Social Media?
Brian Clark from Copyblogger reminds us that the blogs were the original form of social media and still hold tremendous value in your social media strategy.

Life after 80, or what World of Warcraft can teach you about marketing mastery
Christoper S. Penn channels your “inner-gamer” with this fun look at how World of Warcraft compares to marketing strategy.

How P.F. Chang’s Uses Twitter to Be Awesome
Word of Mouth Marketer, Andy Sernovitz shares this inspiring interview that she shot with Kelly Morehead of the restaurant chain P.F. Changs. Their innovative use of Twitter is a story that B2Cs’ can learn from.

BusinessWeek says smart companies are using Twitter and Facebook—are you? We can help.

I am honored to be featured again in BusinessWeek as one of 50 CEOs Who Twitter, as a part of a larger story on social media. As I was just discussing the growth of interest in social media campaigns this morning with the PerkettPR crew, this is a timely article. We continue to receive incoming queries from companies in many industries that want to learn how to elevate brand awareness with social media campaigns. The opportunities are both allowing us to expand the industries in which we work, the brands that we work with and the work that we do. We’re going far beyond traditional public relations and as I mentioned last week, we believe that this is the natural evolution for the PR industry.

That being said, so many of the brands that we speak with have no idea where to begin. They still aren’t convinced or sure of the value of “social media” and they want to approach it with kid gloves. They are worried about time, resources, control and execution. And we understand why – we’ve been there! We’ve also helped a lot of companies come from that place and embrace the opportunities of becoming a “social company.” And we love doing it because as you can see, we’re heavily involved in social media ourselves. We believe in it, we appreciate and understand it, and we continually see value and results from it.

Social Media U

To share our enthusiasm, we’re pleased to announce a new program designed to help companies in any industry understand and embrace social media for business. Our “Social Media U” offering was born out of the interest and feedback we’ve received for speaking on social media for business and social media for communicators. Sharing our best practices, experience and insights, Social Media U will help any executive make sense of the noise and clarify just what types of social strategies can work for your business. While articles like BusinessWeek’s are helpful, many executives need more than a DIY guide. And as the CEO of Forrester Research, George Colony, recently wrote, “You can’t understand Twitter, Facebook, or blogging by reading an article in a magazine or a report from your CMO. Sure, they can tell you what they are, but you won’t be able to truly understand how they could change your business unless you actually use them.”

That’s where we can help.

Quick facts about PerkettPR’s Social Media U:

  • Social Media U is an affordable, intensive half or full day workshop
  • While we prefer to meet face-to-face, we can (and have successfully done so) execute the workshop via web conference
  • We offer three levels of engagement to choose from – based on your knowledge level and needs
  • We’ll teach you what social media is and how to engage and embrace it for your business
  • Appropriate for any business that wants to understand social media, the potential value to their business, how to get started and how to maintain effective social strategies

What you’ll learn:

  • From the C-Suite to the front desk – why social media strategies involve everyone at your company
  • Why Facebook isn’t just for keeping up with friends and family, LinkedIn is so much more than a rolodex and how Twitter benefits your brand
  • How to effectively  monitor and respond in social media communities such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo! Answers and more
  • Which blogs matter to you and how to participate in the blogosphere even if you don’t have your own
  • How to easily create content for your blog, website and customer communications
  • Effective and realistic strategies for engaging customers, prospects and partners: from blog posts to video, Twitter to microsites
  • How to trust the community and build positive relationships for your company

Why we’re qualified

  • We’ve been integrating social media into PR campaigns for years now and have been recognized as one of a handful of PR firms leading the charge (many call it PR 2.0)
  • As senior PR professionals, we understand communications and the larger picture of how it must all come back to your company’s business goals – read here about why we think this matters
  • We’re heavily involved in social media for our own business
  • We’ve trained clients in many industries and of many sizes – from SMBs to public companies; fashion to technology – on effective social media strategies
  • We’ve presented strategies at numerous conferences for thousands of executives

For more information please email SMU[at]perkettpr.com – or call me personally: 781.834.5852.