We, at Chillibreeze work predominantly with consultants, especially management consultants. Our niche presentation design services help them communicate solutions to their clients. Always in awe of their logical problem-solving abilities, I explored a bit on what helps them come up with solutions with this amazing clarity. That’s when I read about this book, that is considered by many as a bible for problem-solving – The Minto Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto, an ex-McKinsey consultant.
Going by Chillibreeze's experience working as virtual graphic assistant to ex-Mckinsey consultants, I found myself nodding in agreement with every passing article that talked about the Pyramid Principle in communication and problem-solving. I realized it to be applicable to anyone whose job involves finding and communicating solutions for complex problems. A marketing head, an accounts manager, an engineer…anybody. My own team is taking baby steps into Inbound Marketing, so I thought “Let me apply this to Chillibreeze marketing and sales team”
Start with the Answer
Minto Pyramid Principle said Start with the answer first. And so I did. What do I want to achieve at the end of 2016? - Increase leads to customer conversion at least by 10% to help Chillibreeze meet our big goal. So, this is the answer to the biggest challenge my team faces – lack of conversions.
But why would someone start with the answer? It is akin to revealing that “Harry Potter doesn’t die” at the very beginning of Book 7? Or if you are from the current generation…this is like saying “Jon Snow is alive” even before Season 6 of GoT is aired. Would you walk away now that you know the ending? I definitely wouldn’t. Obviously, I would want to know “how”.
And so will the client/stakeholder who is attending a presentation where a consultant is proposing a solution. Brilliant strategy, isn’t it? HP and GoT distractions apart, Minto Pyramid Principle says the next step is to “Say HOW you are going to achieve the solution/answer”.
Group and Summarize Supporting Arguments
Elaborate and explain HOW you plan to execute the solution. Here is my answer to the “HOW” question:
- Change from traditional marketing process to Inbound marketing methodology
- A customer-centric approach to sales
In other words, HOW is the proposed solution. That brings us the next step, of “WHAT”.
Write Down Actual Steps of Execution
To increase leads to customer conversion at least by 10% to help Chillibreeze meet the big goal:
1. Adopt inbound marketing methodology
- Create a content strategy that will educate, engage and answer prospective customers’ pain points
- Invest in a good marketing automation tool to help with the processes and metrics
- Expand the marketing team to execute the strategy and nurture more leads for sales to follow up.
2. A customer-centric approach to sales
- Diligent nurturing/follow up plans for Sales Qualified Leads
- Customized processes at the onboarding stage
- New customer engagement initiatives to turn customers to evangelists
The idea at each level is a summary of the level immediately above it. And there is a logical flow from one level to the next. This is, of course, simple and almost crude execution of the Minto Pyramid. Management consultants use this process to expose and gain a much deeper understanding of their customer’s problem and solutions. Yet in my quick discovery of the Minto Pyramid, just this high-level reading made me realize the power of this tool.
Steve Heuring, Partner at Audienz Marketing and a long time customer of Chillibreeze, puts it so succinctly in his latest article on how Minto Pyramid principle is a great way to tell a story.
This approach works well by choosing a situation and a main character your target audience can relate to, and then showing them how to overcome the challenge. “How” they solved the problem is with the help of your product.
No wonder then, this approach is still the go-to principle for consultants to present and effectively communicate arguments of their proposed solutions. A true eye-opener…and I am definitely going to pick the Barbara Minto book now!