Guest View

SALES LEADERS, academics and commentators offer their personal opinions on current issues in the sales world. Do you agree with them? You can respond with a comment.

Addressing the UK’s sales shame

March 21st, 2019 by

To boost productivity it’s vital for companies to embrace an “everybody sells” approach and to harness the “hidden sales force” that is an energised customer service department. The UK is suffering a productivity crisis. Start-up companies and total early-stage entrepreneurial activity are still booming, but the number of high-growth companies in the UK has been steadily declining in the past… 

Towards a healthier sales model

December 18th, 2018 by

Pharma needs to transform the way it engages customers if it is to adapt to disruption in the healthcare landscape. For the past 20 years, I have been involved in pharma discussions regarding the need to radically change our sales and engagement model. The pharma industry has shifted from defining its customers as the physicians prescribing to patients to a… 

Lessons from the souq

September 21st, 2018 by

Techniques passed down the generations in ancient trading centres are still relevant today. Dating back some 5,000 years, Aleppo in Syria is one of the oldest continuously habited cities in the world. It was there that my wife Louise and I met Mohammed, a textile trader, six months before the civil war began in the summer of 2011. Mohammed offered… 

Prioritizing diverse perspectives

May 17th, 2018 by

Here’s how both women and men can help sales organizations achieve gender equality to build success. Most industry outsiders I encounter view our industry as a corporate boys’ club. It’s a common misperception that sales has a shortage of women. In fact, the sales industry as a whole is almost evenly split on gender lines, with women making up 49… 

With diversity comes great story responsibility

March 25th, 2018 by

Diversity brings the risk of fragmentation, but the best companies are able to project a single voice by telling a consistently engaging story. Today, an employee base with diverse experiences, skills and perspectives is one of your biggest organizational strengths. But like many good things, a diverse talent pool, for all the brainpower and energy and dynamism it adds to… 

Finding new ways to win new customers

December 13th, 2017 by

In the current uncertain climate it’s time for UK businesses to sell big, sell global and stay relevant. The pace of technological progression and the impact of globalisation are increasingly disorienting. Society One is one of the world’s fastest-growing lenders, but does not own the money it loans; Google is the world’s largest software vendor but it doesn’t own any… 

Is your organisation leaking value?

November 20th, 2017 by

The spiral of value leakage starts when organisations fail to focus on the customer and what they value. Instead, businesses should focus on creating “infinite value”. Peter Drucker is famous for making the following observation: “Because the purpose of a business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two (and only two) basic functions: marketing and innovation.” If… 

Transforming sales is not enough

April 22nd, 2017 by

If you’re serious about growth, transform marketing too. A few years ago, I was part of the management team that rapidly grew a mature outsourcing business in just one year, while increasing profitability too. Our strategy was to shift from being a reactive business, waiting for RFPs to arrive, to a proactive one targeting the specific accounts that would deliver… 

Digital bolt-ons not an instant service solution

January 28th, 2017 by

Although social media is becoming the customer services platform of choice for large organisations, many are not getting the basics right. The rise of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Facebook Messenger) is driving change in the way customer-service leaders manage their operation. In today’s digital world, customers are more fickle, delight in sharing their horror stories, and demand an instantaneous response…. 

Introducing the Digital Sales Funnel

November 29th, 2016 by

Introduced in 1898, the traditional purchase funnel no longer applies. Sales needs a lead-generation model for the digital environment. There is one perennial truth in sales and that is, salespeople have to prospect in the places their customers inhabit. This has led salespeople to visit exhibitions and conferences, attend relevant networking events and even knock on the doors at certain… 

Sales Leadership: the dynamic management of paradoxes

September 3rd, 2016 by

Leading modern sales forces requires us to develop synergies between paradoxes that may initially appear irreconcilable. I’m aboard the “Baie de Seine”, the ferry that covers the route Portsmouth–Bilbao. I am sitting at the back of the vessel watching the foamy trace it leaves on the sea and the seagulls that escort the ship, relentlessly defying the winds. It’s a… 

The impact of intelligent Win-Loss processes

April 4th, 2016 by

You may have lost the bid but taking the trouble to find out why helps build trust. There’s a growing interest in the value to be gained by conducting detailed Win-Loss analyses: the statistics we shared in the October 2015 edition of the Journal (see page 58) caught the attention of readers and when they were later shared online. However,… 

Diversity – my personal journey

January 28th, 2016 by

When it comes to diversity, are we asking the right question? A decade after setting up my business I won a “Women in Business” award. I was intrigued by my reaction: I was delighted to be recognised but uncomfortable with the notion of being singled out because of my gender. I remember a rush of indignation when asked in the… 

Increased sales scrutiny: are you ready?

October 31st, 2015 by

Sales should be a core agent of strategy, not just a vehicle for a given selling methodology. In my career, I have attended many strategy meetings. Very few articulate the implications of espoused strategies for Sales. Moreover, the process for introducing new initiatives often exacerbates the separation of the “strategists” from the “doers” in the field. The typical process is… 

Can’t pay, won’t pay!

July 1st, 2015 by

Why it has become commonplace for organisations to seek to avoid paying commission earned by salespeople? Commission payments seem so simple in concept: the salesperson wins a deal and the employer pays a certain percentage of its value to reward him or her for this success and the benefit it brings to the company. In reality, incentives are a minefield:… 

Bridging the gulf between professors and practitioners

April 7th, 2015 by

As sales continues to develop at breakneck pace, business and academics need to open channels of communication. For well over a century, there have been organised attempts to increase sales professionalism. The case for doing so is nowhere more engagingly expressed than in an editorial appearing in 1884 in the magazine of the Society of Commercial Travelers: “If we do…