Six Rules to Maximize Sales & Marketing Productivity by Pat Ryan

Posted on Jan 20, 2015 in Archive

General Electric Company was known as one of America’s best-managed companies for decades (up until only a few years ago)…  At the helm of this conglomerate for over twenty years was GE’s Chairman, Jack Welch.  He has become a legend, not only for providing stellar leadership, record growth and profits, but also for his strong personal philosophies – that he gladly “shared” with his team. 

As a General Electric Management Training Program Graduate who went on to spend six years with GE’s Aircraft Engine Business Group, I first learned of Mr. Welch’s powerful philosophies nearly 30 years ago while attending GE’s Executive Training Center in Crotonville, New York. 

These guiding principles have had a lasting impact upon my life and my career.  Applying these six principles to your business can maximize the productivity of your sales and marketing organization. 

Rule #1 – Don’t manage, lead 

  • Set expectations 

Does your team know what they are expected to accomplish – as a team and individually?  Goals should be set not just yearly, but also monthly, weekly and even daily, for some.  Most people need a game plan to follow.  There is an old saying: “The time it takes to complete a task expands as the amount of time given to do it expands.”  This is absolutely true for most people. 

  • Make them accountable 

Management must be disciplined when it comes to regular examination and measurement of the team’s progress. Sometimes, there is a tendency to confuse activity with productivity.  The fact is that some people don’t need to be overseen – but MOST DO.  So some oversight procedures must be implemented to monitor the individual’s and the team’s progress.  For example, Weekly Activity Reports (WAR) can be effective – if they are enforced, reviewed and substantiated.  It can also be highly motivating to post a “public” progress report to the entire team, so that everyone can see who is producing what.

Rule #2 – Be candid with everyone 

This certainly applies to all aspects of business, but we’ll focus on how this relates to measuring the progress of your team: 

  • Recognize success and examine failure

One of the most overlooked tools to boost morale and productivity in the corporate world is recognition.  Many people are more highly motivated by recognition than by money!  Pure, genuine appreciation of a job well done is the BEST way to make someone happy – and at the same time, create a desire to work even HARDER!   

At the same time, failure should NOT result in public humiliation, nor should it be brushed under the carpet.  People need to be “allowed” to fail – but not without learning something from it.  Lee Iaccoca, the former Chairman of Chrysler, once said, “The only BAD mistake is one that is made TWICE.”  It’s important to review things that went wrong to determine how the situation could have been improved.  Leaders don’t just create the vision and set the pace – they mentor future leaders.

Rule #3 – Change before you have to 

  • Reinvent Yourself 

Change is accelerating at an unheard of pace.  With each passing year, the amount of information we have to process is growing exponentially.  Consequently, businesses needs to adapt to this change faster than ever.  There is a choice: Become a victim of change OR put yourself in front of that change to take advantage of it.  Things that are working for your business today may not work tomorrow. Today’s “moneymakers” may not be tomorrow’s.  This means that you need to be in constant “experimentation” mode – with some part of your efforts.  Say, five percent of your efforts should be to constantly try new things to see if they will work.  

Rule #4 – Face Reality as it is, not as it was, or as you wish it were 

Again, this philosophy has many applications, but let’s focus on: 

  • “Pruning” your team 

Jack Welch had a strong philosophy when it came to this difficult subject.  He believed in the need to “prune” the bottom 10% of your organization each year.  Being part of GE’s management ranks, I can tell you that we were acutely aware of his philosophy.  That awareness made (some of) us work all that much harder.  Like it or not, the reality is that some people are not going to be performers within your team.  You have two choices: 1.) You can forever try to nurture them to success, or 2.) You can recognize that (as Jack Welch would say) “their talents will probably be better utilized in another organization.”

The reality is that EVERY organization is going to have turnover.  Sometimes it happens naturally.  Sometimes it needs to be addressed proactively.  Think of it this way: You can’t send a duck to eagle school.  He/she is still going to graduate as a duck.  The proper mentoring can create a peak performance team – with the right foundation.  But still, it is KEY to recognize that many times, not everyone is going to make it – and the earlier this is dealt with, the better.

Rule #5 – Control your own destiny, or someone else will 

Some people work harder.  Some people work SMARTER.  Giving your team the tools they need to succeed is critical to controlling the destiny of your organization. 

  • Leverage your Efforts 

Napoleon Bonaparte said, “The art of choosing men is not nearly so difficult as the art of enabling those one has chosen to attain their full worth.” 

Companies marketing to corporate training and HR have been guilty of woefully underutilizing their sales & marketing teams in one particular way:  The well-meaning use of poorly targeted, inaccurate lists.

This is true mainly because well-targeted lists simply didn’t exist in this arena – until we addressed the challenge.  Mentor Tech Group has painstakingly pinpointed corporate training, HR and talent management decision makers for over 6,500 US companies by building a list from scratch – one call at a time, one contact at a time, and on a case-by-case basis.  This can give you the opportunity to provide your team with the tools it needs to succeed.  (Click here to view MTG client testimonials.)

Rule #6 – If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete 

This is a Jack Welch classic.  GE is a conglomerate with its fingers in many business “pies.”  When Jack took over the reins of the company, he looked at GE’s many diverse businesses.  He made the bold decision that if GE was not #1 or #2 in a business, then they were not going to BE in that business at all.  That resulted in the sale of many of GE’s known businesses.  Despite many ensuing “rumblings,” GE was soon in the enviable position of having a portfolio of businesses in which they were the either the market leaders, or in the number two spot.  Not a bad idea. 

Key Questions to Ask of your Business to maximize the productivity of YOUR sales and marketing organization:

Is your business focusing on your strengths?  Are you “playing” in an area where you have a strong story?  Strong case studies?  Strong references?  If not, do you have a good reason?  Perhaps you do, but it’s worth considering that maybe you should be “playing your ace” right now… 

Onward and Upward… 

P.S.  Remember – Mentor Tech Group is a highly specialized company offering “best of breed” market intelligence to e-learning/corporate training and HR/talent management vendors.

To start saving money, please call us today at (651) 457-8600, Ext. 3.

Leave a Reply