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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: http://bit.ly/OpAudit

The Australian Labor & Liberal Parties

The Australian Labor Party commenced in the 19th century, as a body representing the needs of trade unions and rural pastoral workers’ groups at that time. Often described as “a band of unhappy amateurs” it has oscillated between strong and vocal support for the White-Australia policy to multiculturalism in the pursuit of votes and power.

The Australian Liberal Party commenced early in the 20th century, formed by Labor dissidents, as an anti-Labor body, with policies of protectionism and opposed to socialism. It has held onto power with a series of mergers with groups varying from women’s movements, youth groups and dying or weaker parties with anti-Labor sentiment, such as the Country Party.

Why Labor & Liberal dominate now

Each was, however, basically formed and has survived on their match to the perceived needs and wants of the Australian population… polarising political preference to Labor vs. Liberal.

Law 8 of the Immutable Laws of Marketing, The Law of Duality, says, “In the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race.” Which is exactly what has happened. From the Workers Party of 1972 to the Clive Palmer United Party of 2019, emotive attempts to foster better government have been made with poorly structured and inappropriately managed efforts of wealthy egos, rather than objective strategists… with appropriate results. The issue is NEITHER Labor or Liberal offerings currently satisfy the existing and future needs of Australia. Voters feel it… hence, the rise of splinter parties, a senate ballot paper that is the size of a table cloth and record-low levels of primary vote.

Based upon the foundation and infrastructure, neither can ‘metamorphosize’ to be what Australia needs… which is not one, but two new and up-to-date political groups.

Inevitably New Australian Political Parties Will Evolve & Dominate

Sooner or Later Smart Politicians Will Make their Move

Law 10 of the Immutable Laws of Marketing, The Law of Division says, “Over time the category will divide and become two categories.”. Australia has observed evidence of this division in the Australian Labor Party Rudd/Gillard contest, before Labor closed public airing of disharmony. It also witnessed the appalling display of rot in the Australian Liberal Party through the Abbot/Turnbull/Dutton/Morrison evolution.

Discontent has never been higher and will continue to exist until a new Party, founded on current Australia values, rises to the fore.

The difficulty is that politicians are mostly graduates in law or political science and not business strategy. I have yet to meet a politician who thinks of Marketing as anything but advertising and promotion (the root of their problems). I have yet to see market research performed in politics as well as it is in FMCG (fast moving consumer goods). I have yet to see political parties embrace sophisticated management tools in the multi-faceted array of marketing communications… from media interviews and other publicity, with advertising (liberal does the worst ads possible), promotions (poor effort and transparent grandstanding) and personal communications (pride cometh before a fall).

I once mentored a PhD student doing her thesis on “what would happen if a political party utilised modern marketing methods) and the preliminary findings indicated it would rise to power and keep it indefinitely. (Sadly, she discontinued her PhD and the work was never published). Politicians have refused to investigate these findings.

Politicians Are Their Own Worst Enemy – at the Cost of the Country

The self-defeating dichotomy is politicians themselves. Revered motivational psychologist, David McClelland identified that politicians crave power and resist advice from outside their power circle… The “men won’t ask for direction” syndrome, magnified to many degrees.

So when you take modern, helpful, constructive, positive, professional and beneficial change proposals to political parties you get polite rejection base upon a “it is my ball and we play by my rules” response.

Even New Zealand’s PM, Jacinda Ardern, is likely to be guilty of power-driven motivation… it is likely that it just so happens she feels the same way as the greater NZ population, and being so in sync, has won the heart of the other parts of the world. However, there will come a time where her personal lust for power and optimal decisions will contravene each other… then watch out!

Australia’s Continuing Political Turmoil and the Way Forward

The truthful barrier to Australia finding wholesome, beneficial and universal (or as best as can be achieved) political leadership is old-fashioned resistance to change. Basically, things will have to get even worse before they get better… and in getting worse will create a legacy that will be difficult to undo or reverse. It will take a consortium of contributors, a very highly skilled team of strategists, and most importantly and difficult, a national representation by achievement-based leaders willing to stand for parliament… people who genuinely will put the good of Australia before themselves, who will check their egos, greed, and gratification and sincerely strive for an invigorated Australia.

The 5th “P” of Marketing is People

Jack Welch is quoted as saying, “The team with the best payers wins!” … a philosophy that helped Jack build GE into a word dominating power.

One of my earliest business management successes was when I ran a team of 120 people up and down the eastern seaboard. My HR strategy was simple… never stop looking!

I devoted 20% of my time to recruitment and training. If I found someone good, I would create a job for them. I wasn’t aware back in those days that 16-18% of any workforce is disengaged (actually trying to sink the boat) and I wasn’t nearly as good a boss as I am now, but I intuitively knew I had to keep working at refining my team to continue growing and to stop fires BEFORE they ignited.

The “C” in the ABC’s of Corporate Cancer stands for Complacency

Buy how many CEO’s do this? How many businesses pay attention to the necessary weeding out of disengaged employees? How many businesses have low-performing team members that are carried by colleagues or subordinates for years, if not decades?

As companies grow, they change. How many organisations keep c-suite executives who were perfect for the role when their business was small, but have long passed their level of competency?

I’m definitely not advocating disloyalty to long term loyal employees… far from it! But genuinely engaged employees are likely to recognise their shortcomings and encourage recruitment of new team members to provide new skills. There is, however, a complacency in organisations, and a misplaced loyalty where emotional support for a long-term employee displaces objectivity and recognition of that employee’s competency. This is a fatal perspective if it undermines competitive advantage or decreases employee engagement.

Building Great Teams

Nonetheless, Boards should be diligent in ensuring that disengaged and unengaged deadwood is identified and dealt with, rather than ignored or tolerated. New talent should be identified and recruited, and team members should be constantly monitored for ongoing performance with teams’ members rotated or replaced just as if they were professional sporting teams… well IF you want to win the premiership!

via Do you recall EVERYTHING you learned at Uni?

Do you remember EVERYTHING you learned at Uni?

Many graduates in business, who I have talked with, admit they don’t remember everything they were taught at Uni.

Some confessed cramming just days before an exam, scraping by with a “Pass” and forgetting much of what they learned within months, or weeks, if not days, afterwards.

Insightful ones have wished they remembered the lessons learned when years later they were faced with important decision-making on topics that were discussed in their final capstone subjects.

I certainly experienced this, even as a part-time student who enjoyed the advantage of learning and applying my studies as I went. When I taught at Uni, in particularly in my MBA subjects, I had to relearn and learn the subject matter perfectly, to make sure I was perfectly capable of explaining and elaborating on complex and advanced business models.

My own, most outstanding commercial successes have always been based upon the correct and loyal adoption of some valuable and profound business models, concepts and findings learned in my marketing, business and strategy studies.

40 years of Executive Know-How… crammed into 2 days!

I’ve collated these into a concise and helpful commercial “bundle” that I’m sharing in my upcoming workshop, designed to empower senior managerial, marketing, strategy and planning executives.

Marketing Training for Senior Executives

If any of my LinkedIn connections (or their network) would like to attend, and find out the keys, tricks, methods, tools, rules, laws and models that help medium and large companies make millions, I’ve posted the link below and would be thrilled to see you at the event.

If you’d like to know more, go to https://www.informa.com.au/event/training/a-practical-guide-to-marketing/

Thank you, Clive Palmer

January 29, 2019

United Australia Party has wasted $7M as a direct result of NOT understanding “Marketing”.

Thanks to Clive Palmer, the world of business, in particular, the world of #Marketing, can see FIRST-HAND how “Marketing” is MUCH more than just advertising, publicity and promotion.

Millions upon millions have been spent, with (in balance) superior advertising media buying, substantive media advertising and exposure, publicity and work or mouth exposure that is a PR promoter’s dream; all contributing to an excellent outcome in terms of brand awareness and unaided brand recall… KPI’s that might be used to paint a picture of a great campaign.

In reality, it is a MAJOR failure in “Marketing” and will secure nominal (if any) significant support for Clive Palmer or his Party, and (post-election) will be heralded as one of Australia most notable political failures.

Thank you, Clive Palmer, for proving the limited power of advertising, publicity and promotion in Marketing.

Thank you, Clive Palmer, for demonstrating how lay-people, who THINK they understand “marketing”, rather than relying on properly educated, trained and experienced specialists, waste millions spending on Marketing Communications, when they should be spending it on Marketing Research & Analysis, Product and Brand development, People development, Process development, Customer Experience, Path to Purchase, and so much more.

Thank you, Clive Palmer, for showing us that financial muscle has limited ability to sway buyers (in this case, voters) if the total offering doesn’t meet the needs and wants of the target audience.

Thank you, Clive Palmer, for redistributing your wealth to the marketing services providers who have profited, the media participants who have enjoyed the display, and for strategic marketing professionals who now have evidence that further proves their importance.

“Customers” are NOT identical. A “market” is only a corral of market segments. Until business leaders fully accept that fact, businesses will not do as well as they could, probably flounder at some stage, and ultimately fail as their competitors (who DO “get it”) out-manoeuvre them.

The Most POWERFUL tool in a business strategist’s arsenal is Market Segmentation

For years I have used market segmentation to successfully “breakthrough” and improve the direction of employers’ and clients’ businesses. Market Segmentation is the “secret sauce” which helps businesses find the best customers.

Multi-million-dollar outcomes have followed market segmentation. It simply is the single most powerful tool in the marketing manager’s arsenal of marketing tools.

Identification of market segments almost guarantees optimal decision-making

With superior segmentation, you can identify attractive market segments so you can target and position your marketing mix and best satisfy the needs and wants of your “preferred” primate target audience prospects. This helps you “marry” your capabilities and appeal to the potential customers who desire your unique offering. (Every offering is unique, but that’s another topic.) Market Segmentation secures sustainable competitive advantage and market dominance.

Better customer insight and segmentation

Using proven market research methods, Market Segmentation means you’ll best be able to deliver differentiation strategies that achieve brand loyalty and brand preference.

You can get insight into where your profits come from, how to improve them, and how to best spend your marketing budget to reap the greatest returns.

You get insight and direction for decisions regarding:

* Distribution strategies and channel management

* Product management strategies and brand management

* Pricing and discounting strategies

* Improving demand & identifying high return customers

* New product development

* Brand Equity movements and brand portfolio opportunities

And more!

Market segmentation studies help identify opportunities and threats, competitors and trends… all helping you maximise your competitive marketing advantage.

Are you doomed, or are you set up for success?

Outside of micro businesses (under $5M p.a.) if your business hasn’t undertaken a proper, professional segmentation study in the past three years, you’re cruising for a bruising.

Worse still, if you (or your business leaders) think “marketing” is a word that accurately describes “advertising” and/or “promotion”, you’re likely in for, or already experiencing, a world of pain!

Almost all of the most successful businesses in the world, certainly the most profitable and powerful companies, all undertake annual or bi-annual segmentation studies. It is typical to find businesses that have failed who neither understand the definition of marketing or undertake (proper) market segmentation.

Common Sense

When management meetings happen and someone says, “Everyone wants…”, “Nobody will…” or “Buyers prefer…”, you NOW you’re in trouble: Subjective opinion is no more than unsubstantiated assumption, and “assumptions are the mother of all mistakes”.

It makes perfect common sense to ask… to ask enough people to know, and then if you ask the right questions you get the right answers , and if you ask people what they want and they tell you… and you LISTEN… then it is an effort to go wrong.

Remarkably, this common sense escapes many operational executives who get caught up in micro-economic detail and “can’t see the wood for the trees”.

I wonder if this could explain why businesses fail, and why corporations don’t experience ongoing success and longevity.

Do you agree? Please comment and let’s discuss?

Remember these business quotes?

“There will never be a bigger plane built.” — A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin-engine plane that holds ten people.

“There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” — Albert Einstein, 1932.

With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market.” — Business Week, August 2, 1968.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

Over my career, I’ve helped many an entrepreneur solidify and achieve his/her dreams, not because I am particularly smart, but for the following two reasons:

  1. Religiously applying strict business analysis disciplines in strategic planning and being harshly objective to the predictive outcomes. If the figures don’t “add up” then no amount of determination and “positive thinking” will turn a lemon onto a diamond.
  2. Believing in the figures even if they seem far-fetched… Sometimes you just have to trust that “shooting for the stars might just land you on the moon”

Nowadays I spend as much of my time helping bigger businesses overcome their self-imposed, limiting perceptions as I do developing new perspectives… with many huge companies refusing to open their minds to their true capabilities.

 

Warren Buffet says this is the “ABC’s of corporate cancer” … A for arrogance, B for Bureaucracy and C for Complacency… My take on it is the wrong people are making top-level governance decisions, which is why my Hierarchies of Marketing model is so important for growth focussed leaders.

 

Anyone wanting a copy of my book on the topic should connect with me on Linked In and request one. Now in its 2nd edition, some people even declare they experience an epiphany after reading it.

It takes a special type of executive to to believe in breakthrough opportunity
It takes a special type of executive to to believe in breakthrough opportunity