What Factors Make Sales People Successful?

I recently shared a Linked In comment, and in my keynote presentations and workshops discuss, a large & intense formal commercial study of selling skills, that showed only two significantly important factors determine a sales person’s success…

  1. How hard salespeople work (calls, preparation, & face-to-face time in front of a prospect or customer, no ‘brass-plating’, procrastination, or poor time-management), and…
  2. The distribution of speaking time between seller & buyer (the greater the percentage of time the buyer spends speaking, the greater the salesperson’s sales success, relative to team peers’ success).

As a throw-away I mentioned that increased average productivity across the whole team of salespeople occurs if they have access to, and understand, properly identified market segments but I probably DDN’T emphasize the point enough that If a company really understands its market segments and responds accordingly, then all the salesperson really has to do is take orders… the selling is already done before the sales meeting.

What Factors Interfere with Sales People being Successful?

Multi-national corporations, in the main, already know a about the world-wide crisis in employee engagement: With only 24% of Australian workers engaged, and with 202% productivity gains to be had from the 76% unengaged, employee engagement & organisational alignment has become TOP priority, particularly in the wake of Millennials displaying even greater need for engagement, than generations past.

An issue that doesn’t receive enough attention is that 18% of any workforce is made up of “disengaged” employees – ones that deliberately want to “sink the ship”. and THAT is seriously lose sales and detrimental to future opportunity!

If silos are known to exist, any decent leader should be tearing them down, YESTERDAY!

But how often do we hear about disconnects between Sales & Marketing teams?

I’m betting silos between research and other departments even interfere with distribution of segment identification and recognition… that information isn’t shared, synergy is lost, and sales results end up being suboptimal across hundreds of industries.

It is an easy bet for me, I have uncovered plenty of situations just like this over my consulting career, from doing marketing audits, deficiency analysis and even in competition analysis… through to ‘war-stories’ from delegates to my workshops who confess this goes on far too often.

Often the problem stems from CEO’s who are too busy with distractions… too complacent towards improving productivity, too cynical to believe that a small investment in correction will deliver a significant ROI, or just fearful that they might be “exposed” as less than 100% competent.

How Badly Do YOU think Silos Interfere with Sales People being Successful?

I’d be interested in any comments, observations, cases in hand, or thoughts readers have as to silos, sales productivity and leadership, relevant to these thoughts.

By the way, I use an approach that has helped FMCG, transport & big pharma grow corporate profits by as much as $250M p.a. that can be used to help all sorts of businesses… If you want to have a peek, check out:

What is “Influencer Marketing”?

It only took Forbes 3500 years after the activity was first employed to discover “Influencer Marketing”… or so you might assume if you read a recent Forbes article published that insinuated the concept is radical, breakthrough and new.

It is such an awkward and silly expression, but curiously adopted by the masses. A range of people, from those who are non-discriminating and tolerant of lay-person interpretations, to opportunists who don’t know any better, have coined the phrase to attract their audiences to consider their opinion.

Those that “know” are aware that “Influencer marketing” is a means of describing promotional communication messages through celebrities and opinion leaders to deliver awareness, create interest, distribute knowledge, inspire liking and preference to coerce the recipient of that information to buy. This is done because it is human nature to follow and to trust those to who you believe you rely upon for that opinion.

A lay-person definition of the expression, “Influencer marketing”, being the means of describing the dynamic between a Group Opinion leader (GOP) and how they work within the context of the Multi-Stage Mass Communication model, has been extensively taught in Marketing courses around the world for the past 50 years.

Infamous snake-oil salespeople, political leaders and political institutions, throughout history, and recent and modern operational marketing communications specialists, have all utilized “Influencer Marketing” to help achieve their goals.

A Digital Expression?

The immature or forgetful among us who perceive the world didn’t exist before the internet and social media, may limit their thinking of Influencer Marketing to highly followed and liked, online, group opinion leaders:

Does it work?

Yes, I think many people, including me, have bowed to some authoritative opinion at some time in our buyer-decision-making lives. 🙂

Having survived the test of time, the tactic, that being using the influencer of a GOP to “bend” their followers’ behaviour, is proven.

How to Embrace, Apply and Implement “Influencer marketing”

I am joining forces with Entrepnr for their upcoming Influencer Marketing Asia virtual summit taking place on February 25-26, 2020.

I’ll be one of an array of their speakers sharing ideas, inspiration, and some tips on influencer marketing in Asia.

There will be in-depth presentations, case studies and extensive discussions from top influencer marketing practitioners, see for more details.

The summit is only a matter of a few weeks away. There are still tickets available, and if you are interested in attending this great event, I have a discount code that will give you a 30% off discount.

Click on the link to get the 30% discount to the Influencer Marketing Summit on Feb 25 and 26.

Delegate: Pass the buck

Pending: What the hell do we do with this?

Delayed: Forgotten

Urgent: Panic

Extreme Urgency: Blind Panic

Frank and open discussion: Flaming row

Analytical projection: Guess

Forecast: Guess

Long Range Forecast: Wild guess

Scheduled: Hoped for

Deficiency Analysis: Pointing the finger

Ambitious: Ruthless

Strategy: Low cunning

Shrewd: Devious

Profit: Profit

Profit before tax: Loss

Deficit: Staggering Loss

Industrial by-product: Our waste

Environmental pollution: Other people’s waste

Pilfering: Theft by employee

Fringe benefit: Theft by executive

Terminal payment: Golden handshake

Supplementary statistical information: Padding

  • Source Unknown

By Leigh Cowan, CEO of Leadership Empowerment

I was recently asked, “What are corporate marketing strategies?” so thought I’d share a summarial answer my own blog.

A properly led company starts and grows because it has a defined focused and clear PURPOSE. It embraces a VISION and undertakes a MISSION to strive for the achievement of that VISION. As it grows, it ensures it stays true to core VALUES by maintaining clarity regarding its IDENTITY and sets OBJECTIVES that satisfy these guidelines.

Marketing is the management of exchange and marketing strategies are the overriding approaches that the organisation will adopt as the means by which the OBJECTIVES will be achieved.

These strategies set the parameters for TACTICS that are employed to get the job done.

These TACTICS can be broken down into indivisible tasks that need to be completed to satisfy the above.

When strategic corporate guidelines are in place, diligently (if not fanatically) endorsed by the Board and all c-level executives, the following outcomes occur:

  • Higher levels of employee engagement
  • High levels of employee productivity
  • Less internal politics, silos, hidden agenda, and disengaged employees leading to lower staff turnover, less sick leave, lower stock shrinkage, higher customer satisfaction and better user experience from customer to trade partner.
  • Less “friction” exists between supervisors and their subordinates because everyone has a clever understanding of what is expected of them, what they should be doing, what decisions are the most appropriate… this means people can take control of themselves, self-manage, use their intuitive abilities and work more constructively and collaboratively.

Corporate Marketing strategies deal with Product, Price, Channels of distribution (Logistics and Communications), Promotion (advertising, sales promotion, PR and Personal Selling), Pricing Processes (including manufacturing, procurement), People (staff and service providers), Positioning (branding, image, corporate social responsibility, organisational reputation management) and Politics (external lobbying, industry, and internal politics).

If your corporate objectives are comprehensive, and your corporate marketing strategies are implementable, then you have a successful, sturdy and secure corporation.

Ask me for help with determining corporate strategic guidelines including Mission Vision and Purpose statements

The latest figures infer a 202% increase in productivity and 16-25% increase in bottom-line profits… too important to ignore!

The Marketing Blog for Advanced Marketers


What Factors Make Sales People Successful?

I recently shared a Linked In comment, and in my keynote presentations and workshops discuss, a large & intense formal commercial study of selling skills, that showed only two significantly important factors determine a sales person’s success…

  1. How hard salespeople work (calls, preparation, & face-to-face time in front of a prospect or customer, no ‘brass-plating’, procrastination, or poor time-management), and…
  2. The distribution of speaking time between seller & buyer (the greater the percentage of time the buyer spends speaking, the greater the salesperson’s sales success, relative to team peers’ success).

As a throw-away I mentioned that increased average productivity across the whole team of salespeople occurs if they have access to, and understand, properly identified market segments but I probably DDN’T emphasize the point enough that If a company really understands its market segments and responds accordingly, then all the salesperson really has to…

View original post 355 more words

The Co-dependency Between HR, Recruitment & Marketing

The Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis Remains – Why?

Yes, 60+% of employees are unengaged: 50% of them due to their boss, 34% because they don’t know or understand their employer’s mission & vision! BUT is this because 95% of leaders do not know the true meaning of #marketing?

Ideally, all leaders and executive recruiters SHOULD understand the proper definition of the word, “Marketing”, and the Hierarchies of Marketing. Not only are the two related concepts lynch-pins in organizational management, but they are also are crucial to CORPORATE GOVERNANCE. This knowledge assures leaders of a profound means of developing talent in the workplace for immediate productivity gains as well as succession evolution.

Marketing is NOT a synonym for Promotion

The great error some make is defining “Marketing” as meaning “promotion” or “advertising”, “smoke and mirrors, or “waffle and PR”, which only creates a whole world of pain for many executives.

Marketing is the holistic integrated management of the codependent dynamics of exchange

Both internal and external recruiters, who want to be professional as well as draft job profiles that attract A1 quality candidates, need to understand the real meaning of “Marketing”. It is the key to discerning between fast talkers without appropriate skills or productive marketing-proficient performers.

The “Right” Marketing Appointment

THE FIRST STEP in recruiting the PERFECT Marketing Executive means determining whether the role requires Administrative, Operational, Managerial or Strategic skills.

Do you want tasks done expertly with great attention to detail? That’s an Administrative marketer.

Do you want tactics developed that support and achieve your strategies? That’s an Operational role.

Do you need creative approaches to development of Marketing Objectives, incorporating new product development, pricing, channel management, marcomms coordination and control, market research, sales management, process strategy, positions, segmentation strategy, customer experience management, etc. This is the domain of a Managerial marketer?

How about corporate reputation, merger and acquisition, corporate branding, brand portfolio, market development, industry and competitive strategic governance, or to undertake an IPO? Now you’re looking for a Strategic Marketer.

The Hierarchies of Marketing provides a structure for these tiers on the broad universe of marketing and marketing talent.

Companies should no more be operated on by unqualified marketers than people should be operated on by unqualified surgeons.

Because many corporations have not understood this distinction… marketing personnel with admin skills have been pushed into more senior roles for which they are not suited, let alone qualified… and corporations have paid steeply for this error!

If you who want to know more, I put together an easy to read e-book that was first published in 2014 and is now in its 2nd edition… used across Europe as a text in some universities and a reference book in business schools and large corporations.

You can find it at…

It is HARD to change some people’s beliefs…

What is “Marketing”?

Many so-called “Digital Marketers” believe that marketing is a synonym for advertising and promotion.

That’s OK… if they focus on the implementation of online promotional tactics AND IF those tactics follow genuinely valid marketing strategies set by someone who understands the true meaning of the word, “Marketing”.

I am occasionally attacked by self-taught promotional people, lacking formal marketing qualifications, who insist they know everything about marketing without a degree. Some are digital marketing people who (I think) see this as “protecting their turf”…

Asking them if they would respect a medical practitioner who was self-taught without studying to become a qualified doctor, only seems to increase their determined resistance to genuinely grasping my point – they don’t see it as an effort to open their minds.

I’ve had digital marketing experts refuse to even consider the definition offered by the world’s leading marketing experts or representative bodies such as The American Marketing Association, Philip Kotler, Peter Drucker, Theodore Levitt: It appears, the world’s experts know much less than people who have worked in Google ads and social media promotion for as little as two years! (I produced my first web site in 1996, have built web sites since ‘00s – but would not DARE call myself a web development expert by any means.)

I ponder why it is that some feel is so necessary to discard 100’s of years of tertiary research and study, business acumen and volumes of proven corporate reinforcement, the revolution that followed the birth of the discipline of Marketing and the thousands of corporations that prosper by it every day.

I was recently chastised by someone, who promotes herself as a digital marketing strategist, despite lacking any marketing qualifications. She justifies her claim because she is a self-taught google analytics user. She has a certificate in an unrelated field, and just over two years administrative marketing employment experience. Boy, did she flame me for suggesting that a Quora question be referred to a genuinely qualified marketing expert. She rejected globally approved definitions and insisted she knew better.

How do you feel about the definition of the word, marketing?

Of course, PART of Marketing is the management of marketing communications. Within the marketing mix, it is called “Promotion” and under that activity (the promotional mix) are the skill sets of advertising, sales promotion, PR and personal selling. These four components, when coordinated together to create synergy, are the MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS set and represent one eighth of the function of “Marketing”.

When combined well, marketing mix synergy is formidable

Marketing takes a lifetime to learn and no-one person can ever master it!

When we think about ALL THE ROLES that fall under the umbrella of marketing, it becomes blatantly apparent that you could study your whole life and not know it all.

Advertising alone, is a lifetime learning curve: From David Ogilvy to David Droga, no advertising guy knows it all about advertising. In specialist disciplines as diverse as loyalty, pricing, logistics, packaging, personal selling, category management, direct mail… and hundreds more ALL marketing activities, no one can know it all.

But at least realizing the reach, co-dependency and significance of Marketing, people are more empowered to see where they true worth lies, and when to make observations and contribute valid perspectives rather than poor decisions.

Is Adopting the Hierarchies of Marketing a way forward?

A CEO from Geneva recently sent me a note, telling me how profound and insightful my e-book, “The Four Faces of Marketing” was, despite 22 years’ experience and his MBA, it was a milestone revelation.

An ex-CMO of Fuji Xerox, once told me “If only I’d read your book three years ago, it would have saved me three years of angst and frustration!”

My book was about the Hierarchies of Marketing (still available from Bookboon in 2nd edition) which explains a model my form uses to help clients structure their marketing departments and succession plan their marketing teams.

Are organizing a trade stand and drafting a corporate purpose statement both Marketing roles?

Is this a way forward for Digital Marketers and anyone else “in marketing” to move to a new respect for the meaning of the word?

Poor WW & Coles – Hard Frustrating Unsatisfying!

Spare a moment of sympathy for executives, senior management, C-suite leaders and directors of Woolworths and Coles.

Yes, they get paid well but at what cost?

For decades they have suffered in absence of the wisdom of the ages, best summarized by legendary strategist, Sun Tzu, who said…

“Tactics without strategy is the noise you make before defeat.”

Few people at either Coles or Woollies know what strategy is; many perceive tactics to be strategies.

A flotilla of strategy-qualified executives having spun through the revolving doors of Coles and Woolworths employment, and gone again; in frustration, meeting for coffee after retrenchment, echoing the words of those who have gone before, “It’s getting worse!”

You can only be sympathetic.

The conundrum is that everyone in-charge at both companies are operational A1 players. They know their business. They understand their operations intimately They sweat over very piece of data, every report. Every fact and figure they can gouge. They slave long hours. They grapple with silos, with politics, with hidden personal agenda, with bosses who don’t communicate well and suppress initiative.

Despite their best efforts, customer satisfaction is failing. KPI’s are increasingly hard to meet. Outperforming each other is hard enough, while Aldi continues to happily erode their market share… only slowed down by Metcash’s resistance to adopting blue ocean growth opportunities and FMCG suppliers’ willingness to surrender all their margin.

Where do you go when you’ve got nowhere to go?

Now Coles is abandoned by Westfarmers with Woolworths struggling in the wake of its Big W decay, Masters flop, and other lack-lustre performance outcomes.

Both are blinkered to the reality of their merchandising philosophies and combative relationship with suppliers, and the very stoppable (but not without strategy) flow of shoppers to Aldi.

Do what you always do… Get what you’ve always gotten

It seems incredible, doesn’t it, that the power of the two giants and the operational executive talent is unable to recognise their archaic approach to their problems.

Their resistance to change is formidable. Their unwillingness to accept they are tracing the 19th Century path of the American Rail corporation and the buggy whip industry, they are as resistant to change is News Corps and Fairfax were in the 90’s, they are determined they are doing everything right when they are doing a LOT of things wrong… just like Nokia, Blockbuster, Kodak and others…

When a past CEO of Woolworths warned them to beware of the ABC’s of Corporate Cancer, Arrogance, Bureaucracy and Complacency) their response was to evict him rather than heed his advice!

The Writing is on the wall

Lots of those that know, know! The wisest stakeholders abandon ship and the millennial naive are innocently walking into the web.

Tie will tell if I am right, but anyone reading this, who can observe a trend, may be shaking their head in acknowledgement of these observations.

Poor Woollies. Poor Coles. 😦