7 Rules to Maximize Sales & Marketing Success by Pat Ryan

Posted on May 24, 2021 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 impactful 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 (Under his leadership, 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 on my life and my career. (Unfortunately, the impact on GE was not so lasting after Welch’s departure in 2001 – but more about that later…)

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. 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.

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 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. 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. 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 – one call at a time, one contact at a time. This gives you the opportunity to provide your team with the tools it needs to succeed.

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

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 either the market leaders or in the number two spot. Not a bad idea.

It is important to acknowledge that GE has experienced tremendous difficulties since Welch’s departure in 2001, as evidenced by their tumbling stock. Former Businessweek editor and writer, John A. Byrne, co-wrote “Jack: Straight from the Gut” in which he highlighted key elements of Welch’s career.  In a July 2018 USA Today article entitled, “Jack Welch Successor Destroyed the GE he Inherited,” John summarized the GE leadership change as follows:

“When Jack Welch turned the keys of the General Electric Co. over to Jeff Immelt in 2001, GE was a well-run and greatly admired profit machine, stocked with exceptional management talent and innovative practices….”

“Jack’s successor, Jeff Immelt, was more of an outside CEO, eager to play public statesman in Washington, advising the President, giving speeches and collecting awards, and not enough like Jack Welch, who was a roll-up-your-sleeves CEO who reveled in operational details, asked the hard questions, cultivated deep engagement with his leadership team, and never suffered fools gladly.”

I am forever thankful for my experience, having attending GE’s Management Training school under Welch’s leadership. Like him or loathe him, Welch got the job done and provided critical leadership elements that can aid in the success of any growth-minded leader.

Rule #7 – (okay, this one is mine) Keep your marketing funnel filled with FRESH leads!

If you have an in-house database used for your marketing and sales outreach, chances are it has LOTS of outdated contacts and information in it. If you’ve been gathering leads for as little as 5 years or as many as 20+, you probably don’t have as many VALID leads in your database as the raw numbers would suggest. People change companies and roles a lot in the Training & HR industries. Odds are, your in-house data is pretty stale. That’s why you must always keep adding FRESH leads to your marketing funnel. Of course, if you need new Corporate Training and HR leads, Mentor Tech Group has what you need. Contact us today for a database demo to meet your marketing list parameters.

So, here are a few resulting 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 testimonials?
  • Do you have a FRESH list of leads?
  • 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 more than 40,000 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. 1.

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