Six Rules to Maximize Sales & Marketing Productivity by Pat Ryan

Posted on Mar 29, 2016 in Blog, Meeting/Event Planning, Principles of Success, Training and HR

Years ago, I attended GE’s Management Training Program, where I first learned about Jack Welch’s highly impactfulPat B&W photo  business principles.

As former Chairman of GE, Jack Welch was a legendary leader, largely known for:

  • Demonstrating effective leadership tactics
  • Achieving record corporate growth and profits (GE’s value rose by more than 4,000% as a result of Mr. Welch’s strong personal philosophies!)

It is those same guiding principles that have had a lasting impact upon my life and my career. You, too, can quickly and effectively maximize the results of your sales and marketing organization by applying several of Mr. Welch’s legendary business rules:

Rule #1 – Don’t manage, lead 

  • Set expectations

Does your team know what they are expected to accomplish – as a team and as individuals?  Annual goals should be set and broken down into quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. (Some people may even require daily goals to remain on track!)  Most people need a tactical game plan to follow. You may recall the saying, “Work expands to fill the time allotted.” This is absolutely true for most people, making them inefficient (at best). Without daily and/or weekly goals and action plans, reduced results are the best you can hope for.

  • Make them accountable

Management must be disciplined when it comes to regular examination and measurement of the team’s progress. Be careful! There is often a tendency to confuse activity with productivity.  The fact is that some people don’t need to be overseen – but MOST DO.  Some oversight procedures must be implemented to monitor the individual’s and the team’s progress.  For example, weekly activity reports 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!

  • About Mistakes

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, 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 need 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 addressed, 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 under-utilizing their sales and 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 top US companies by building a decision-maker database 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 and made the following bold decision: If GE were 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?
  • Do you have 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 a “best of breed” market intelligence database of corporate training and HR decision-maker contacts. Outsource to an expert in your business. Contact Mentor Tech Group to  request more information about our Corporate Training & HR Decision database.

Phone: (651) 457-8600, Ext. 3.

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