How are organizations using thought leadership today? I’ve asked this question hundreds of heads of thought leadership over the past couple of years. And their answers can be categorized into three broad categories. I want to share them with you today.
The first is tied around sales.
Thought leadership can be used in the pre-sales or sales engineering process to help move an opportunity forward towards a closed deal.
Second, thought leadership can be used to sustain a conversation when a sales conversation would be awkward or inappropriate. Now that may be with a buyer with a long sales cycle, it could be a policy maker, or a member of the media. They’re not ready to buy or interested in buying. But thought leadership allows you bring an idea to the table and get their attention. It also – in sustaining conversation—can help you exercise convening authority within an industry or trade group and say, “this is an issue that we collectively need to address.”
And then the third way that organizations are broadly using thought leadership is to influence how people think and how they act. I’ve seen CXOs use thought leadership to help communicate their vision for the company to their employees. What needs to be done? Why are we making this change?
Additionally, thought leadership can be used to communicate risks or opportunities to clients or customers and then help them prepare for that future.
While these three ways are not exhaustive, they represent the primary ways that I’ve seen organizations using thought leadership today.
First, to help fill the sales pipleline.
Second, to sustain a conversation when a sales conversation would be awkward or inappropriate.
And third, to influence how people think and how they act.
It’s an exciting time in thought leadership. How is your organization using thought leadership to achieve its goals?