Strategy and the Fat Smoker. Doing what’s obvious but not easy. David Maister. 2007. ISBN 9780979845703. This is a wonderfully useful book for anyone in a management role. The core thesis is like observing a fat smoking doctor. How could a professional who knows better get that way? From there David explores all the various aspects of knowing what needs doing but not doing it. This is so easily written, clear and articulate I defy you not to see yourself in these pages. I had th ebenefit of reading segments of this on David’s blog, and in small doses it was very powerful stuff. A case in point.. How many of you have commissioned a training program for yoor staff based on activities they seem to have trouble doing? Have you gone through a whole process of seeing if the company monitors, encourages and rewards the behavior? Do people want to do this? Do they know how to do this? Do they have the skills to implement and execute at this. Prior to the training do you know why they are not doing this? Here is the killer , ” Too often training is seena s an inexpensive way for a manager to look like they are doing something?
The chapter on hiring a leader is priceless. David suggests creating a list of either/or attributes and selecting those that the selection team wants. Eg Do you want/need a leader who is good with numbers versus good with people? Is a pragmatist vs a visionary? Is very self-confident vs is humble? Is primarily a hard head vs. primarily a soft heart? The list is extensive and his process really inspired. Buy it, read it , and get others in your management team a copy. So far its available for pre-order in the US.
2007 The Sales Force of the Future Study Results. Ben Ball . Dechert-Hempe & Company. ( A very good reference for retail trends) This just in. I heard Ben talk on the Advanced Selling Podcast ( Itunes) . In my experience manufacturers who sell to retailers are often at the vanguard of changes in the state of selling today. I will quote from the conclusions pp.
Retailers are already looking to manufacturers to provide creative, innovative ways to appeal to consumers by offering a compelling, differentiated value proposition. They expect strategic thinking based on consumer understanding and insight that results in programs that can be effectively executed in their stores. They do not want merely to be sold; they want help selling more to their customers. It is interesting to note that this retailer theme came across strongly in our 2002 study.
Manufacturers see the future as continuing to be a “selling” environment, albeit a more sophisticated one. They seem to think their future role will require attributes / skills that are similar to those they value / are good at today. They have begun to react to the shifting dynamic by attaching higher developmental priority to certain attributes that are highly valued by retailers. However, there are a number of attributes that will be increasingly important to retailers in the future to which manufacturers have assigned relatively low development priority. Many of these neglected attributes fall into the Creativity, Consumer and Demand Generation attribute groups.
Manufacturers who embrace the idea of developing the account management attributes that retailers are looking for will have to develop (or outsource) knowledge and skills that, in some instances, will lie outside of their traditional business expertise. But they will also be in a better position to work more effectively with their retail customers.
This corrolates to what we find with Precision Sales and Marketing Implementations . Once you define the entire value chain for your company/product, nothing speaks as strongly as showing exactly where you help your customer add value to his customer. Recently a client demonstrated a geometric increase in sales “weekly” through using part of this system. ” I just love it when a plan comes together! ” George Peppard, The A-Team.