fighting

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

There is a crisis of engagement. With 87% of employees disengaged worldwide, Gallup states in a 2016 report that “employee engagement has barely budged in years”. In the United States and Australia these figures are 68% and 76% respectively. These levels of disengagement represent billions of dollars in costs to organisations and governments.

Why are so many employees disengaged? How can organisations increase engagement? What effect do disengaged customers, students, welfare recipients and other stakeholders have on the bottom line and on organisational success? How can you find a superior means to overcome these engagement problems?

With a market in need of a viable solution, management has to address the symptoms, the foundations and find the solution, including a next generation of engagement tools.

Leaders MUST address the issues, the direct & indirect costs, the effect on customer experience, and the philosophies around minimising, and explore new & engaging methodology to deal with this problem.

MARKET STATUS QUO

Increasing employee engagement investments of 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year. (Source: Workplace Research Foundation). Employers are rapidly catching on to the positive ROI of investing in their employee engagement efforts.

Highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above-average productivity. (Source: Workplace Research Foundation). This is a huge part of where we see increased profits coming from. Kevin Kruse (@Kruse) coined a great term to define this ripple effect that employee engagement tends to have on an organization, he calls it, “The Engagement Profit Chain”.

Companies that foster engaged brand ambassadors in their workforce report an average of 2.69 sick days taken annually per employee, compared to companies with weak engagement efforts, reporting an average of 6.19 sick days. (Source: Workplace Research Foundation). Sick days can be very costly in the way of lost productivity and reduced workplace morale. Reducing these costs is just another benefit associated with employee engagement efforts.

Companies with engaged employees, outperform those without by 202%. (Source: Dale Carnegie). “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals. This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don’t work just for a pay-cheque, or just for the next promotion, but work on behalf of the organization’s goals.” – Kevin Kruse

Companies that implement regular employee feedback have turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than for employees who receive no feedback. (Source: Gallup). This is a big one folks! There are a lot of estimates on the cost of employee turnover, and honestly, that number is going to be different for each employee, location and company. The exact number doesn’t matter as much as the prevention of that cost. What is employee turnover costing you?

Only about 25% of business leaders have an employee engagement strategy. (Source: Dale Carnegie). There’s another powerful statistic. The benefits of building an engaged workforce are undeniable, yet so many companies haven’t made the investment yet. This disconnect seems like the opportunity for a strong competitive advantage over the other 75% of companies who don’t have a strategy.

The numbers don’t lie, organizations are going to need to invest in employee engagement in order to stay competitive, drive productivity and improve the bottom line.

THE FIRST STEP

Leaders need to develop sincere, motivating, inspiring alignment of teams for many reasons… Remove silos, undo secret agenda, create unity of effort, inspire initiative, minimise mistakes, etc.

At Launch Engineering, we deal with this under the “8th “P” of Marketing, “Politics”… were we recognise that Internal Marketing is key to Marketing Strategy & Planning. Readers should contact Launch engineering or visit…

http://www.launchengineering.com/MissionVision.htm

 

 

Brand Equity Grows with Business Productivity from People

Engagement Levels Around the World

Why Do Businesses Stray from the Proven Path to Making Billions?

I recall the adage, “Not advertising is like kissing someone in the dark… YOU know what you’re doing, but nobody else does.”

Market research tells you:

  1. If there are any kissable people in the dark,
  2. How to find them,
  3. What sort of kiss they would like, and
  4. How likely you are to enjoy it.

It is so, so easy for big businesses to make billions… why don’t they?

If research can tell you EXACTLY how to achieve your business goals, why doesn’t EVERY business do it?

THE FIRST, OF TWO REASONS, is that bad research has a GIGO effect (garbage in, garbage out). With most executives undertrained in how to brief research, appraise and assess its implementation, and interpret the findings (properly) in concert with strategic marketing know-how, research can simply go to waste.

The second reason is (in Warren Buffet’s words) because of “Corporate Cancer”… where arrogance, bureaucracy and complacency, combined with operational micro-thinking, dilutes or discounts the demand for, and reverence towards, market research.

In the high-profit, high-growth days of B2C (FMCG and Consumer durables), research was conducted with finesse, expediency, discipline, regularity and concise interpretation.

Nowadays, few executives demonstrate any respect for, tight management of, or scientific approach to the art of research … and the results speak for themselves.

We can all probably name brands that are weaker versions of what they were, and trace it back to a departure from the disciplines of marketing strategy built upon good research.

Where is the once-dominant Sharp brand? How long can Nestle last, relying on its long-term cash-cows? How out of touch and behind is Kellogg’s? What happened to Spillers? Where’s Ampol? Grace Brothers? Criterion Furniture?

The Hurdles to the Billions

Remembering that products don’t fail, businesses don’t fail, brands don’t fail… it managers making bad decisions who fail… It is possible to remove the hurdles for failure by opening business leaders’ minds to more productive and proven methods: Commissioning and utilising market research!

In 1983/4 when My Dog had failed to launch successfully for Mars, their Product Manager asked me for help. All I did was read the research overnight, and it was clear the positioning for the re-launch had to be “for fussy eaters”: 33 years later My Dog has not made less than $250M annual sales… simply founded on good interpretation of good research.

In 1994, simply reviewing the research data for Mersyndol revealed that 95% of sales came from the 5% of heaviest analgesic users, but Mersyndol loyal users were forced to buy another brand to avoid drowsiness. In a 20-minute meeting, my identification of this and suggestion of a “Mersyndol Light”, led to the launch of Mersyndol Day-Strength, that has generated around $200M p.a for the past 23 years.

All those billions came from objective interpretation of quality market research.

IF companies REALLY want the Billions, bad research won’t ‘cut it’.

Interpretation without the synergy of understanding strategic marketing science also won’t ‘cut it’. (e.g. Brand adoption theory, innovation theory, brand equity, brand loyalty, involvement, BCG Matrix, and about 100 other key models.)

But, with good market research… well planned, well conducted, well interpreted, and well respected and followed… the path to billions is simply “finding out what people want and giving it to them”.

How easy it that? So why don’t or won’t business leaders do it?

I think it would be healthy and beneficial for anyone to share thoughts, perceptions experiences, and concerns… or just comment…

 

Product launches should never fail

Those who follow me, are aware that I ascertain new product launches should never fail.

Of course this follows from the fact that products don’t fail… businesses don’t fail… it is MANAGEMENT that fails to do its job properly, who truly fail.

How Do Executives Allow Product Launch Failures to Happen?

But is it their “fault”?

Perhaps modern-day executives are victims of the business education they have been fed, or the hype delivered by self-promoted NPD ‘experts’ who push flawed theory upon susceptible executives.

Models that are popular these days include the new product development wheel (which I admit to having taught, in the past, at postgraduate level myself) and the Stage Gate model (the NPD wheel re-packaged to seduce operational marketing folk with summarial simplicity)… BOTH limited and incomplete as management tools .

Given the limited delivery of academic acumen, it follows when Product Development teams are employed according to their knowledge of such tools, when business teams meet, committees are formed, and decisions are made they are made on the premise that these models are valid; its no wonder that product launches end up being risky, or unsuccessful.

Its kind of like a meeting of the the flat-earth society…. every decision that flows is built upon belief in a model that is simply flawed… so outcomes must be equally as flawed.

Methodology that starts with “idea generation” as Step One…. is dooming you to an 80% failure rate.

  • Idea Generation must FOLLOW discovery of market needs, wants, desires and aspirations.
  • Idea Generation must Be founded on Purpose, Mission and Vision.
  • Idea generation must contextual to the resources available to the organisation.
  • Idea Generation must to FOLLOW discovery of market needs, wants, desires and aspirations.

“That stifles creativity and innovation” cry the masses of self-proclaimed innovation & ideas experts (some of who are clever guys).

So might it be, but there ARE better ways paths to new product development for commercial success than the two mentioned above.

Anyone, globally, should bookmark & use http://www.prelaunchchecker.com to ‘test’ if your product launch idea has merit…

For folks in South East Asia, click this link to find out about my 2-day Product Development workshop this June in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can find out more by visiting, http://www.yf-asia.com/product-development-for-bullet-proof-product-launch/

If every SMB used a QUALIFIED marketing consultant there would be  a LOT less SMB’s but a LOT more successful corporations. If not, they’d either be large businesses, merged businesses or different businesses.

Small businesses are, far too often, stunted by the limited skills, incompetence, or timidness of the Owner, CEO, major shareholder.

Qualified Accountants, aggressive Sales executives, IT buffs, Workplace bullies, proud tradesman and rich kids can all end up owning or running a business. They are not bad people, and CAN be successful business managers, if they open their minds to, and receive, GOOD business advice.

Did you know advanced marketing training includes CORRECT responses to make for differing market and business conditions, and the Strategic directions and setting certain business circumstances and avoided in others is an area MOST people don’t assume falls under the responsibility of Marketing Management?

Big companies support heavyweight bureaucracy , sometime crippling politics, excessive salaries in top heavy management structures, and other IN-efficiencies of scale because they embrace productive business disciplines and scientific business principles.

SME’s are more likely to make decisions based on emotion, limited experience and education, the way they’ve always done it, or the cheapest option (likely to be the worst choice)…

Only advanced marketing professionals possess the balance of training and skills in the broad plethora of marketing disciplines, that include:

– Distribution Analysis & Strategy
– Buyer Behaviour Analysis
– B2B strategic methodology
– Marketing Accountability Analysis (ROI, Forecasting, Performance Assessment, Net Marketing Contribution)
– Marketing Communications theory specific to the unique factors of an individual business – rather than those that may be seen to have worked for other businesses
– Pricing Methods and Strategies
– SCIENTIFIC New Product Development
– Understanding of the factors that generate Sustainable Competitive Advantage
– Marketing planning >>> Resource planning >>> Management
– Brand equity, brand portfolio strategies, brand life cycle, etc.
– STP (Segmentation, Targeting, positioning)
– Innovation types, product types, life cycle types, gap analysis..
– The right use of digital, when analogue is still better, and how to maximize returns from both media options

…. and so much more!

The great Conundrum of Marketing is that decision-makers often know so little about the depth and breadth of Marketing, and self-proclaimed marketing experts who are perceived to be good at “Marketing” when their strategic skills are all but absent, far out-number those with REAL skills and true knowledge.

When leaders find the latter, and IF they listen, THAT is when a business prospers… A GOOD Strategic Marketing Consultant will more than pay for themselves (many times over) – that is HOW to recognize a good one, and that is why SMB’s/SME’s should search for and hold on to, a qualified strategic marketing consultant.

Some of my followers might recall that I lectured in Marketing Planning at UTS Graduate School of Business between 2003 and 2009.

Others might remember I have written Marketing Plans for national and international companies, many FMCG,  pharmaceutical and consumer durables, a plethora of other big, small & medium companies, both B2B and B2C.

I may have mentioned that I routinely travel to Asia to deliver commercial workshops on Marketing Planning to executives of large national and international companies.

Consequently, I have spent some time and effort to develop an approach to Marketing Planning that takes:

  1. the profit generating tools from academic Marketing Planning, and
  2. the commercial implementation and reality-checked truths of Marketing Planning in the business world,

… and merged and coordinated both, to put together a Marketing Planning workshop designed to help professional marketing and strategic planning executives write break-though, winning marketing plans.

I’m delivering this  richly empowering “how to” this coming February 17 and 18, in Sydney, so I’ve attached a link to a page where you can get a brochure and more info, and I’d be thrilled if you, others you think might benefit, or professional colleagues who could do with some finesse in Marketing Planning, could attend.

I trust that you will give this some serious thought and, if its not for you, pass it on to someone who you think could use the knowledge.

You’ll be able to download the brochure, find information and booking options at..
http://j.mp/KOmktgPlans

And please feel free to comment with your thoughts on the content, or any questions.

“The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate them at your own risk”. (Reis, A., & Trout, J. – 1993)” still inspires debate, reflection and grounding among professional marketers.

In reality, it’s an empirically proven list of importance leadership tools for quality CEO’s to consider in the course of nurturing a business.

Entering my 40th year in business, I reflect more frequently on the absolute truth of Law 18, the Law of Success, that says, “Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure.”

One quip about consulting goes, “The people who want your advice don’t need it and people who need your advice don’t want it.”

This is so true with my existing clients right now… the one’s that collaboratively share, and open their minds, grow profitably and consistently…

Looking back over my career (this is not about me, per se, but demonstrations of real outcomes)

It was a humble executive that asked my to derive a strategy 30 years ago that has delivered $250M p.a. in sales for a FMCG brand that his company had fail on launch. It was humility that opened the minds of a large transport company, so I could create strategy that allowed them to find $250M in profit that had alluded them for years.

It was a humble pharmaceutical Marketing Director that opened his mind to my interpretation of academic models that created a new product line in analgesics that has generated $320M of sales in the past 20 years.

On the other hand…

It was sheer corporate arrogance that has stopped Australia’s leading retailer from securing $400M increase in EBT per annum since 2007.

It was defiant arrogance that had a senior finance executive turn his back on me when I suggested I might be able to help his bank deal with troubled divisions, resulting in a 2.5% slump in share price as a result.

When I warned Australia’s Childcare chain, there were indicators that showed they needed my help, told me they didn’t need help… two years before they went bust… the same with Sydney’s oldest confectionery manufacturer.

A few years ago leading Singapore Corporation told me they knew it all and pursued a 6-Sigma project. It ended up costing them $750K and they generated a 0.5% increase in profits as a result. Comparatively, my firm took the same idea to a similar corporation (without arrogant executives) in Thailand, that cost them only $150,000 and generated a massive 22% increase in profit.

When asked, as a child, what I wanted to be when I grew up, I naively answered, “A time and efficiency expert”. In my earliest learning years, I studied for a decade and a half to just to empower myself with the kernel of understanding that needed to grow for another 15 years.

Only in the last decade have I grasped that the key is political finesse and diplomatic charisma, COMBINED with street scars and academic knowledge, but the Catch-22 is that a single individual cannot possess both charm and ability. Arrogance is a cross that some bare openly and others try to conceal and other, still, deny exists.

Leaders can develop a culture that can hamper arrogance, but arrogant leaders will nourish it. Yet is seems unavoidable. Perhaps it is the business circle of life… creating opportunity for new, fresh organisations to grow, while mega corporations choke to death on it?

I’d be interested to hear what others perceive regarding Law 18, please comment, particularly if you have answers to dealing with Corporate Arrogance.