Forecasting – Why VP of Sales is the Most Fired Position in Corporate America

The reason that the VP of Sales is the most fired position in corporate America is not because, as you might think, the sales forecast is the single most visible number. It’s because too many organizations and too many VPs succumb to the temptation of having multiple forecasts. The challenging one they think you can make, and the inflated one that no one believes you can make but the one they tell you because they don’t trust you to make the one that is challenging. When forecasting is a negotiation game, everyone loses.

Read More

Rationality is Crazy

Reason and logic, while they seem to form the basis of many sales and marketing campaigns, are not sufficient for their purposes. Why? Because we humans are not rational actors. Ninety-five percent of our thought is unconscious and dependent on frames, metaphors, stories and narratives that help us make sense of complex situations.

Read More

That Giant Sucking Sound

I once had a boss that sent me an email asking me to set up a meeting with him. His office was twenty feet away. Lots of passive aggressive thoughts went through my brain before I realized that in a single stroke, he had embodied the two biggest black holes of personal productivity in contemporary business; emails and meetings.

Read More

Found… Empathy and Bobbleheads.

In my previous post, I wrote about the value of empathy in business. To be clear, empathy is not agreement. It is an understanding of another’s position. It is also a form of caring which carries with it a responsibility to be strong about your own position. Sometimes this requires courage. The combination of empathy, caring and courage is a form of respect.

Read More


Empathy is the identification and the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person’s feelings, thoughts or experience. It seems to me that one of the things we are lacking in our society, as well as in business today, especially in the relationship between sales and marketing, is empathy. What if we remembered the other person is thinking, “Do you understand me, can you help me, and do I trust you?” Maybe we wouldn’t get lost on our sales and marketing journey.

Read More

At Play in the Fields of Business

3M has an unwritten cultural tradition that allows employees to spend 15% of their time working on their own ideas. This is time that managers can’t ‘second guess’ or override. The process, which has been in place over decades, breeds a type of thought leadership and product leadership that has been studied and emulated by many. It also makes the bean counters and upper management uncomfortable because they can’t always measure the immediate result.

Read More

The Secret of Becoming the World’s Greatest Lover/Marketer

A key characteristic of true thought leadership is sharing; sharing ideas, technology, knowledge, and intellectual property, all without the thought of immediate gain. It contains elements of passion, generosity and education. Ultimately, like brand, it is about what others say about you. You can’t say you are a thought leader or if you do, no one will believe you. It’s like saying you are the world’s greatest lover. Though that also has something to do with sharing, recognition comes more with simmering the sauce over a long time.

Read More

Our Segment? Anyone Who Will Buy From Us!

Targeting the right prospects is Sales and Marketing 101. In my experience it’s done poorly by both marketing and sales more than 75% of the time. There are two reasons for this.

How can you make sure you don’t fall into the trap of selling to the wrong segment? Read more.

Read More

Remember These 29 Things…?

On the eve of the mid-term elections, I am struck by the tactics for messaging used by the major parties and the parallels for Sales and Marketing. The first is that those that keep their message simple and consistent are much more likely to get their point of view accepted. The second thing is that we are all risk averse. Our little medulla oblongata (lizard brains) in the back of our skulls that generate our flight or fight response take precedence over our frontal lobes where reason happens. So messages based on loss or fear tend to trump those based on reason.

Read More

Would You Hire Stephen Hawking?

He is a world-renowned theoretical physicist who has developed theories of black holes and space-time. On the other hand, unless you are in the black hole business, he hasn’t really produced much of a practical nature. We can’t use his inventions in our cell phones, and we can’t teleport ourselves to Barbados. So what good is he?

Moore’s concept of Crossing the Chasm is overlaid with Maister’s concepts of service organizations to provide a solution to the common problem of applying the wrong company structure or resources to the business situation facing your company. You can then decide if Hawking is a good hire for you.

Read More