The ability to think strategically is a critical skill if you are inspired to be a VP, CMO, or C-suite one day.
For business professionals, the ultimate benefit of strategic thinking is to demonstrate the ability to articulate a vision.
In this webinar, I will help you connect different dots and develop that skill set as early as possible.
- How to strengthen your communication and soft skills
- How to shift your strategic thinking approach
- Opportunities to explore and grow your skill sets
As a B2B Marketing Consultant, Author and Speaker, I focus on helping marketers to build marketing and sales alignment. I also help global companies tailor their marketing to a local audience. In addition to my YouTube Channel, I also write blog posts and own my podcast. Check out blog posts and podcast episodes and subscribe to Apple Podcast.
Want to see how I can help you? Schedule a call with me. Let’s talk.
First of all, welcome. If you came to my last webinar, I got Robert Downey, Jr. to welcome you. And this time, Beyonce, right.
So welcome. With that being said, here is a quick intro about myself. Pam Didner right here. And I’m a b2b marketer, and I help marketing people accelerate their contribution to sales with content marketing, Account Based Marketing and sales enablement. I do tons of speaking. And I also do a lot of private enterprise-level training and planning sessions. If you need that, great, reach out to me.
I also do a lot of consulting projects. I’m in the trenches with all my clients to get things done, set up processes or evaluate their martech stacks, whatever is needed to build the sales and marketing alignment. And I wrote three books. One is called global content marketing, which is how to scale content across regions. The other one is effective sales enablement, how to enable the sales team as a marketer. And the last book I wrote is a short ebook, a modern AI marketer. It’s looking to artificial intelligence, and how does that impact the overall marketing landscape? So if you are interested in any of these topics, Check the box out. All right. So that’s a very quick intro.
Today, we’ll conclude what I called the monthly webinar on the strategic thinking series.
So I started doing a webinar, I would say, earlier this year, and this will be the sixth webinar. I started looking into how I could create a webinar with a certain theme. Right? So starting in May, I was thinking, hey, I can start creating a specific topic, the topic that many marketers care about is thinking strategically, how to think strategically. And that topic comes up quite often when I mentor marketing managers. So I want to talk about some of my thoughts and also a specific field related to marketing and sales.
How do you think strategically?
A lot of time it has, it has something to do with planning. As you may know, I talked about how to change your marketing plan in June, seven key elements you should include in your marketing plan in July, and how to create and deliver impressive online presentations to senior managers. I conclude this theory with how to sharpen your strategic thinking skills today. And I have come to realize multiple people are reaching out to me. They are not even marketers, but they signed up for this specific webinar because the topic was very broad: how to sharpen your strategic thinking skills.
So this specific topic does not just apply to the sales and marketing people, who are my primary audience.
Still, they also apply to students, and they also apply to teachers, they also apply that, you know, other professions. So for today, I changed my presentation completely because multiple people reached out to me and said I’m not in the sales and marketing field. How can Well, your webinars still apply to me? And I say yes, without thinking. And then I was like, Oh, my God, I need to change my presentation. So here we are. It’s all good.
And I’m looking ahead, Jodi, Lisa, and Iva, my team, are fantastic. We are looking ahead to the next three months until the end of the year. What are some of the webinar topics we will talk about? And for the next three months, September, October, and November, we will focus on sales and marketing alignment. So it’s very specific and targeted and is about sales and marketing alignment. How can marketing support sales in a changing environment? And how can we expand the content marketing to the sales side? And in November, when many of you are looking ahead to create your marketing plan.
So I want to discuss how to create a measurable marketing strategy.
With that, we are looking ahead. We are looking beyond this year. If you have any topic that you want me to address. If there’s specific topic that you have in mind, please let me know. Write it down in the Q&A chat. And we will have a discussion internally.
There are three things I want to cover today. One is I want to define strategic thinking, then use that definition to talk about what you can do. The second thing is I want you to think that your mindset needs to change, and there, I want to touch on a couple of things. And then the next thing is what are a couple of things you can do to sharpen your strategic thinking skills. I have a specific request. Okay, I want you to practice active listening. That doesn’t mean that, oh my god, you have to sit like this to listen. That’s not the point.
Listen to what I have to say and then think through what part of it can apply to you.
Now, when I say something, you know that doesn’t apply to me. That’s active listening. But if I say something, it was like, You know what, I can probably do that in my job or the situation I’m running into right now. So I want you to practice active listening and then make an effort to connect what I said with what you are doing at this point. It can be on the professional front. It can also be on the personal front.
When we are thinking about strategic thinking or the skill set, you know, a lot of time when people are thinking, Oh, you need people, you need to be a strategic thinker. We tend to think the senior executives who are CEOs, or you know, VP of sales or marketing, they are the ones who need to think strategically. Now, that’s not necessarily true in today’s world, which is incredibly complicated. Everybody needs to have that strategic thinking capability to maneuver in this world’s complexity that will aim for the digital front and also offline.
So, what is the definition? What does that mean to think strategically? So I started looking at the definition.
And I’m looking; these are the three I found on who I am when I do a Google search. Strategic thinking means asking, Are we doing the right things? Well, strategic thinking means analyzing opportunities and problems and taking a broad perspective, anticipating the potential impact your actions might have on your unit, your unit, and others. And strategic equals high value and importance. And thinking means analyzing concede the decision. Have you noticed that everything they say right here is incredibly abstract? Are we doing the right thing?
Well, what is less the right means, you know, you have a certain value, right? Be honest, and don’t cheat others. The right can be black and white. But the right thing for one division or one business unit may not be the priority for another business unit. Does that make sense? So are we doing the right thing? You know, that sounds very abstract. And another one is taking a broad perspective. What does that even mean? That I have to take a broad perspective, right? And strategic thinking skills have high-value employees. What is the definition of high value important by dollar value? Or, you know, or by looking for a different job? The happiness?
So the strategic definition or the thinking definition needs to be crystallized.
I will define it. In this webinar, strategic thinking is a process applied to you in the context of achieving a goal. That’s it? That’s it, right? It’s very concrete. You need to think it through, and you are doing something to go somewhere, right? You need to find the optimal route to get to the final destination.
That’s strategic thinking. If you think about it, you can apply that to almost everything you do daily. But I want to discuss the details involved, like following or guiding your thinking approach. So that’s the key chord, or the essence of today’s webinar is that the thinking approach is the steps that you can take. So with that definitions, here are the six elements I want to talk about. And I have specific examples. So let’s just walk through this.
The first one is you need to articulate your goals clearly.
Then once you have that done, your research identifies options, and you objectively analyze the options and risks. Once you have done that analysis, you can decide what options or the course of action you want to take, and then you implement that you will adapt and adjust along the way. The first two things I want to cover are articulating your goals clearly, and doing the research to identify options.
Okay. So, I know many people who are not sales and marketing professionals are coming to the webinar. So I made an effort to create to talk about two different scenarios. One is more on a personal level. The other one is more on the business front. Okay. So on the personal level, maybe you’ll go with: I want to save $50,000 in two years. Great. And the business: I want to learn to launch marketing campaigns for this specific product in seven countries. Nothing wrong with those goals. Very easy to understand. And this tends to be a very common goal for marketing managers, or, you know, on the personal front, you want to save money and do something.
How you write your goals will dictate how you think.
I want to say that, again, how you write your goals will dictate how you think. So, if you think about it, if you’re writing, if you’re writing a goal, I want to say $50,000 in two years. So the action or your thinking will be like, I need to say, I need to say, right, I need to save monthly, I need to save $1,600 a month. But even with that, I can’t achieve $50,000. Well, then, I need to get a second job. So when you write that goal, you focus on savings.
On the business front, if you said I want to launch a marketing campaign for this specific product in seven countries. So immediately you will, your tactics or the actions that you’re going to take is create marketing campaigns for seven countries. All right. So because it’s marketing campaigns, I’m going to focus on email and advertising. Oh, I need to do a website update.
However, what if I write those differently? Why do I want to save $50,000?
Because I want to use that money as a down payment for my first house. Why do I want to launch the product campaigns will why? That’s because I want to increase revenue. I will increase the revenue by $10 million by launching this product worldwide. When you start writing your goal like this, I like to have $50,000 available for the down payment on my house. I want to increase the revenue. Then your thinking process will be a whole lot more different.
Now, it’s not about savings anymore. Right? Saving is one option. Getting a second job is one option. Well, do I need to go to a nice school to get myself certified in certain things? It’s not just about saving, and I should invest. Right? So I can invest and get additional money? Well, because I want to save money. Maybe I can sublease one of my rooms in my house. I want to buy my first house. You know what, I always love my grandma’s house at this point. She’s aged, you know, she’s to the point that she can take care of the house anymore.
Maybe there’s an option, right? So how you write the goals would dictate how you think.
This is very critical. That one big takeaway from this webinar is how you write your goals. Okay? The same thing is on the business front if you write a goal and say you want to increase the revenue by $10 million. So all the sum is not about the marketing campaigns anymore? They are important because you are focusing on increasing the revenue by $10 million right here. And I point out with my cursor, guess what? You may need to work with the sales team. They have specific target accounts. Do you want to go after?
Maybe with those accounts, we can do some sponsorship right with those accounts and build that relationship with our existing customers. Because of this new product, now we probably need to train our sales team. So they know what to say about the products. That’s messaging.
So if you think about it, how you write your goals will dictate the terms of a list of ideas you come up with.
And these ideas will help you to think a little bit differently. So focus on why when you write goals, write, save $50,000. Great, but why do you want to save $50,000? Is it to launch marketing campaigns? Great. Why do you want to launch marketing campaigns? So do you see the difference in terms of writing your goals?
Okay, so that’s one in the way that you write your gold. Now, this specific statement makes a lot of sense. The way you write your goal will guide your thinking process. With that goal in mind, you can take a broad perspective and explore different options that make sense. So um, this specific, you know, strategic thinking slot I copy and paste from when I did a quick Google search.
They didn’t talk about specific steps that you can take. They didn’t talk about how you need to crystallize, you’ll go fresh before, and you can take a broad perspective. But now, after I have explained it, taking a broad perspective makes a lot of sense. Cool. So now listen to Joey. Seriously, it’s been time to understand why before writing down your goals.
Now. The next thing I want to talk about is once you identify the goal and have a list of options, okay?
The next thing that you need to do is to analyze the options. And the key word right here is risks. I mean, if you listen, read books or even read any kind of blog post or whatnot, it was a yeah, you know why when you send up a goal, you should analyze your options. I agree with that. But nobody wants to talk about risks. And I want to touch that. On that topic, a little bit more.
So right here, remember, I talked about your personal and business goals, and you identified possible examples we can take to achieve those goals on the personal and business front. Now, let’s look at the results. So first of all, you need to do once you want to save money, you have to conduct a detailed salary and expense analysis, right how much money you bring in and how much money was spent every single month trying to get a sense of it.
Out of that, you will make some decisions. The decision is, you know what, to save that $50,000, I can’t take any vacation. I can only tell once a month. Well, all my families are out of town. Well, guess why there’s no family visit for a little while. I can save about $900 a month with all that I squeeze every penny. Let’s just assume that. If you get a second job, now you have a full-time job, but they are not paying a lot, and you want to get a second job.
And you work from eight to five, well, maybe you can drive Uber from five to 7 am, three days a week.
And frankly, I took Uber, I took a Lyft extensively when traveling, and many people have full-time jobs. At the same time, they also drive Uber and only allocate a specific amount of time to drive Uber to earn extra money. And one of them works at Nike as a project manager from eight to five. And he always got up early and said, you know, after my coffee, I don’t have anything to do; my kids are not there yet.
So I just usually go drive Uber from five to seven. And it’s been doing that like three days a week. I was like, Oh, that’s pretty cool, right? So doing that maybe can save you $400 a month? Well, you want to increase and enhance your earning capability in the future. Maybe you want to go to night school if you go into a specific program that will cost you $7,000. Now you have to analyze where you’ll get that $7,000. To start with that, it does increase the salary by $400 per month starting when but you know, you have to think about it through – should we do this? It does take 17.5 months to break even. Right?
So you invest $7,000. So rather than save, you are going to you’re going to you are going to reduce to negative first before you can say – Does that make sense? You know, how long would that take? Does that make sense?
So when you start analyzing different options, you start thinking through some criteria you have to deal with.
What are some possibilities? What are some of the issues that you will encounter? That is strategic thinking. Seriously, that’s it. You have to think through different scenarios.
So with that being said, same thing, right? Investing in the index Barnsdall, you will work with a financial analyst, and the projected rate of return is about 4%. If you sublease one of your bedrooms, sure, you furnish that and furnish that, which will bring the money 300 to $500 a month, right? If you decide to buy a grandma’s house, can you come up with a solution to live with your grandma for several years and take care of her? Can I count as a 50,000 dollars down payment, right? So have you noticed those are different options you have to think through? Then you have to do your analysis.
A lot of times, people stop here before they make a decision.
The next thing you have to consider is risks. Right? So that’s assuming you made a decision, no vacation once a month and no family visit. And this is how much you can spend. But things happen. Life happens, right? Things just happen. God forbid somebody in your family got very, very sick. You have to fly to take care of him or her. God awful a bit. You got into a car accident, right? You can’t drive Uber anymore. Right? So what if those things happen?
What are some of your plans or the backup plan? Let’s assume you spend $7,000. There’s no salary increase whatsoever? Because recession, right? You read, invest in the index fund, market crashes, you lose everything, right? So you suddenly have to ask your best friend can make the payment. Right? You are taking care of your grandma. But unfortunately, the well didn’t get changed. There’s a dispute with our relatives about the ownership of the house.
So what when you start talking about the results? That looks great, right, but what are its risks?
Write those down and have a discussion. Again, you know, once you start talking about it, you will guide your thinking a little bit differently. That is, again, strategic thinking. So this is a business example? Very quickly. You are launching a campaign; you’re working with country managers very closely. You allocate a budget to run the campaigns, or you allocate a budget for them to run the campaigns. So and you are doing the roadshow worldwide. You are looking into getting 50,000 people to attend 20 events in seven countries.
So now that’s a result. And you focus on many email and advertising campaigns, website updates, you want to get 5000 marketing-qualified leads. So they come to your website. And to qualify them for sales to take over, you will set up a 200. Working with the sales team to support the target account. When you work with a different account, you want to help them to win a couple of the designs. The core design wins. So then, you can quantify the projected revenues when you work with accounts with salespeople directly.
So here are a couple of things. Do you want to train the sales team? So you want to train 1500? Sales Rep worldwide? Same thing. Now let’s look at the risk. The risk is one of the countries. The political situation is not very stable there. They have a coup. Well, if that happens, how does that impact your overall result? And you want to you are ready to launch, but you got a last-minute notification – sorry, here’s a problem with a software update. And also, there is a number of vulnerabilities in our products, and we need to fix them. Therefore we need to delay our product launch.
What if you work very, very closely with your design or with your salespeople that do nothing?
Unfortunately, we didn’t close any deals for this year, and the deals will come next year. So what are some of the risks that you identify here? And well, you want to support sponsoring ten key customer events wellness event cancellation for whatever reason, right? And Wi-Fi have massive has a massive problem across multiple states, and 80% of the salespeople were unable to complete the training. Right. So once you identify the results, you need to also discuss the risks for each one if we have those risks.
Why should we do it right? So that is what is on the personal? What if I couldn’t meet my savings goal for three months straight? Things just happen. I know my family member got sick car broke down too. And for whatever reason, if I couldn’t meet my savings goal for three months, why should I do it? Right on the business front, the marketing campaigns must be delayed due to a stock market crash or even COVID-19. Well, when that happened, why should we do it? So the best way to cultivate your strategic thinking skills at your individual levels is to think through different possibilities and scenarios.
And another thing is to be able to talk about the worst-case scenario.
Interestingly enough, I want to mention the second bullet point right here. Even when working in the corporate world, I would often make a presentation to my management, and I would talk about the best-case scenario.
But I touch very lightly on the worst-case scenario because I don’t want to look back, right? Over some time, I now have more experience. And even in the later part of my job working in a corporate, I tend to spend a lot of time talking about worst-case scenarios. Like it, what if our company can’t meet the revenue target for next quarter? What should we do? How does that impact the overall marketing budget, right? So being able to talk about the worst-case scenario honestly and openly is critical. A lot of people try to avoid that but don’t.
Okay, you need to talk about it. The other one is to execute the best you can anticipate the worst. So if you analyze the options, analyze the risk. Hopefully, you can decide the course of action you want to take. At this point, I’m not going to tell you how you make a decision, right? So, for example, on this, the business examples, and I created analysis, I created the action, based on my budget, I will prioritize that I will be supporting the sales team, I will be running the focus on the email advertising campaigns and website updates. And I will create marketing campaigns. These are the three things I will do.
But you will understand and realize what decision you will make after you have done your analysis, especially on the risk side.
Then the decision will somehow come naturally. I’m not kidding. So try to work that process and spend a lot of time on the risk and results. Once you talk it through, you will kind of know what you need to do. So with that being said, you can document that in terms of deciding the course of action based on your research and analysis.
The one thing I want to talk about in terms of decision is you don’t know what you don’t know. This is a quote actually from Ron Rumsfeld. He was the Secretary of Defense for George W. Bush. And I think at that time, this was happening during the White House briefing. One of the reporters was asking a specific question about how he decided to initiate a war, you know, one of the countries, and this is his answer. This answer might be a little abstract, and he’s probably tried to dance around. Like the real answers, it has the essence and meaning to this, and it comes down to how we make decisions.
As we know, the unknown knowns, okay, they are things we know. We also know the unknown unknowns.
That is to say. We know they are something we just don’t know. But they are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know, we don’t know. And now didn’t talk about which is unknown known. So if you know, there are some things that we don’t know. But what about a norm known? The unknown is something that you could employ and the things that you know you can employ, but you don’t realize the value of that things just yet. Does that make sense?
So I’m not going to worry about that one. But the things I want to share with you are always known unknowns. They are something we just don’t know. After we have done a lot of analysis, we are always something we don’t know. Not just the way it is. And there are also unknown unknowns. Case to point: When we don’t know, we don’t know, right? So when you make a lot of decisions, when you come to make a decision, you need to understand that they are unknowns.
Things will always happen. You don’t know what that is.
You analyze what as much as possible, but you just need to embrace it and know it makes sense. So I define strategic thinking as a way to accomplish a goal or solve a problem, right? That’s how I defined it.
The way that you need to change your mindset is you have to analyze what-ifs quantify the risks, and also embrace the note some things happened. That’s just the way it is. Okay. Then, with that being said, what can you do? Well, what can you do? It’s about implementation. And once you start implementing, you will need to adjust as you go. And one thing I want to share with you, and nobody is going to talk about this, the biggest part of strategic thinking is execution. Gotta move, it’s got, once you did all the analysis, right, strategic thinking is not just oh, I’m thinking, yay, that’s it. No, the end of strategic thinking and the biggest part is execution. Through execution, you will determine what you can do to make changes and adapt.
On the personal front, you need to start with a Google Doc or a Google sheet because you want to save $50,000.
Identify each task you need to do and do them one by one. Okay. So you need to get a second job to save more. First, download the Uber app, attend the online training, clean your car, and do a test drive, right? If you want a second job, write down the things you need to do and do them one by one. Once you got it done, check it off. If you didn’t get it done, can you adjust it? Again, strategic thinking, change the date, you know, change your course, take a detour, right? But still moving in that direction.
Same thing, if you want to go to a night school, right to get certified for plumbing? Well, maybe you need to use the $3,000 savings that you have. You need to borrow $4,000. Well, rate style, commit to that starting Roman process quantity, baby sittings, attend classes, take your test, ride down to specific action, if you cannot get something done, right? Means, Okay, something happened? Well, you have to think through what needs to be done to change it. Should you abandon this goal, or should we do something else?
Once you start executing, you start running into problems. You start making adjustments.
That’s also strategic thinking because things happen. And then, you find a way to address the issues and keep moving toward the goal you want.
On the business front, I don’t recommend that you create a Google sheet and then talk about specific a specific task. On the personal front, it’s about getting things right, doing one by one, you run to an issue, talk about it, and then take a different course. But on the business front, you take a slightly different perspective. You need to create a high-level slide or a visual to communicate with senior managers and the teams what you want to accomplish. And then you need to be able to explain the progress or the status, right?
In a way, the management and the team can understand. Right? So like I said, on the personal level, it’s a list of things that you have to do one after the other. But on the business side you need to create a visual that helps everybody understand what needs to accomplish first. I love creating high-level visuals like this. Right? So you’re talking about the whole year.
What are the specific milestones or tasks that need to be accomplished?
So you can launch your products in, say, by September, right? So you list all the milestones, and everybody can see them. This also provides and gives everybody an idea or a perception, if you will, that you can think strategically, right? You can think strategically at the 64,000-foot level, like how everything’s tied together. To showcase a slide like this at a high level demonstrates that you can think strategically because you are connecting different dots. You pull them together. You show people that you understand and that you can articulate.
Okay. All right, so how to sharpen your strategic thinking skill? When I define a strategic thinking skill, the first is about accomplishing a specific goal or solving a specific problem. To change your mindset is to analyze what-ifs, understand risks and embrace unknowns. Right? To sharpen your strategic thinking skills is all about execution. Once you start doing what you want and run into a problem, think through insurance and what needs to be done, and you will adapt as you go. And that can help you and sharpen the way you think. Okay, so with that being said, these are the steps I talked about. First, articulate your goals. That’s number one. Okay, don’t just write. I want to save like $50,000. I want to run, you know, New York Marathon?
Well, yes, you do want to run your marathon. But really, why do you want to run that?
Research and identify options. And, what are the options you can use to accomplish those goals, and analyze the option again, focus on the risks, right? Talk about the risks openly and the worst-case scenarios. Once you decide what needs to be done, understand there are always known unknowns and unknown unknowns, right? Create implementation plans by working through the details, right, and then find a way to remove the barriers as you go. And then adjust along the way.
So that’s pretty much it in terms of how to think strategically. I understand this is a very, very abstract topic. And to be honest with you, many people register just because the topic is how to sharpen your strategic thinking. And I’ve often been thinking about how to apply and make it concrete for all of you, right? I’m not just talking about, oh, the vision, the objectives. From my perspective, that’s very, very important. But the most important thing at the end of the day is executions and also removing barriers while you execute.
So what can I do for you? I’m doing a lot of speaking online.
So contact me anytime if you’re looking for anybody to speak for your virtual events. And I do a lot of mentoring, one on one mentoring and coaching as well specifically for marketing managers. And if they are looking to modify their marketing plans or how to build a process to work with your teams, and I do a lot of that. And another thing I do is consulting, and I do very much in content marketing, Account Based Marketing and Sales Enablement in the context of the sales and marketing alignment, right? So if you need that, reach out as well.
You can download this whole presentation, if you go to my Facebook community, build your marketing skills to get ahead, and click on units. And you can download it directly from unit number six, if I’m not mistaken, at this point. Jody, you are going to share the link with everybody. Right? So it is shared in the chat. Excellent. So you have to join our Facebook community to get that. But you know why? People reach out to me saying – I don’t have a Facebook account. Well, kudos to you; I greatly respect people who don’t have a Facebook account. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can reach out to me at email@example.com, and I’ll send you the whole deck.
As I said, I’m not sending this in PDF it is a PowerPoint. And you can take it and then use it as you see fit.
Right? If you want to post any marketing questions, you can also do it on the Facebook community. And I answer everybody’s questions myself, though if you have a specific question to which I don’t know the answer, I will research it. If I know the answers, I will respond directly.
By the way, I’m not here to force you to join my Facebook community. And if you don’t want to join, there is no pressure. You can still email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will also be happy to send you the presentation. Okay, so don’t feel the pressure like you have to join, please.
There’s another thing I want to share with you. I know a lot of people coming to this session. You’re not necessarily a sales and marketing person. I have a mastermind session at 11 o’clock next week, focused on business planning, sales and marketing strategy. Unfortunately, I am not the type of person who can help with personal growth. I’m not a personal coach. But if you have specific questions related to your sales and marketing plan, and also how to create that you’re a more strategic type of conversation or communication with your management and you need some help, you can come to these specific sessions or bring any of your slides with you and what I’m happy to help up.