Book Review “Listen Innovate Grow” by Michael Haynes & Garreth Chandler

How to develop and implement a winning B2B strategy

Q&A with Michael Haynes

1. What was the deciding moment to write this book?

Writing a book was something I always wanted to do. It was probably back in late 2016 when I have been working with my co-author Garreth on a corporate small business strategy project. We found a gap in the marketplace in regards to effective, practical marketing and business strategy materials to help startups and SMEs. Recognising that gap in depth and breadth with details of practical strategies was the idea behind the book.

2. How long did it take from concept to launch?

Probably for Garreth and myself it took us about 18 months to do all the research and write the book, work with our editor and publisher of the book.

3. How did you perform the research to create the practical content?

The book is based on the practical experience of Garreth and myself who have been working with businesses for about 20 years so the research is based on practical experience in a range of businesses from startups through to multinationals on their issues retaining to understanding markets and customers, developing and implementing marketing, sales, service and customer strategy programs. We did a lot of in-depth interviews with a range of start-up founders and small and medium business owners who are working in the B2B space. The research leverages their practical experience and a fair bit of secondary research to get an understanding of the market dynamics of what is going on with respect to the challenges and issues which founders and small medium businesses owners defining and building their businesses were facing,

4. What was the biggest challenge along the process (and how did you overcome it)?

We were pretty much organised and focused to get the research done. The biggest challenge of creating a book is not the writing itself, but the marketing of it which requires a fair bit of work to get visibility and cut through, but it needs to be done over time. Traditional publishers typically want very large audience to leverage. The book marketing is a science of itself. That was a challenge where Garreth and I only scratched the surface to get into Amazon marketing as one way and book launches and getting the desired coverage.

5. What was your own reflection along the journey?

In my own reflection the three key activities — listen, innovate, grow — are exactly what all businesses need to succeed. To continue growing my own business, I also need to practice what I preach how to listen, how to innovate and then how to manage that growth which includes the personal level as well.

6. What is the outcome in having this book available?

The book has been a great resource to help startups and SMEs to understand how they can take advantage of the opportunity to win larger customers. It has been great for me personally being able to engage with other experts in the B2B space and thus to further learn and improve my own skills as well. The book helped me to get closer to influential thought leaders and consulting firms being able to share ideas and insights with them.

7. What would you advise others about writing their book?

Put together an outline plan to get the book done and find out what works best for you. Maybe you like to write in smaller chunks with a couple of hours each or you block out a couple of days. Just crank it out and get a good editor to help you with a structural edit. That is what it needs to take your book from good to great even if you want to self-publish.

Social Selling advocate at Hootsuite, strategic networker, book reviewer and leadership mentor. Writing here, on LinkedIn and on www.gunnarhabitz.com.au.

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