Make cents…

Way back in the day, I had the privilege of leading a sales organization that grew from 50 to 650 people and from 50mm to 1 Billion. We grew organically. We acquired one company, ANS, I believe was it’s name and messed it up so badly that all the sales people went elsewhere as did the revenue. We made plenty of other mistakes. Here’s what we did well.

We built loyal customers.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it. It is not. First you must recruit, attract, and retain great talent and great character. Second, you must fire your top producers that have great talent but character you can’t trust. Few leaders have a strong enough CORE for two much less for number three. Most leaders break out in hives when they hear about three – it sounds too much like free.

The third discipline for building loyal customers is consistently putting out great work and not making your customers pay for mistakes. Notice that I did not say your mistakes or their mistakes. Think “anding” here with few exceptions. “But that’s not fair,” your normal mind is gonna scream. Shouldn’t they pay for their mistakes? Shouldn’t we simply hide ours? Isn’t this just how business is done? The smart ones get ahead the weak ones get exploited…

I drove our CEO’s crazy, back in the day, because I gave out credits like candy. I made sure our sales teams told our customers why we were doing it. Here’s what happened. Our customers told their friends about this cool company that does business in ways that make no sense. Their friends called us. Funny, huh. So, leader, make sure your teams are producing great work. Take on projects that are beyond your teams capacity. Make them stretch and reach. The struggle is where strength is built, remember. And, do not make your early adopters pay. Price your stuff as straight forward as possible. Make it stupid simple. Tell your customers when they are making mistakes and even more importantly when you and your team are. Do not make them pay. Makes no sense, but makes perfect cents – just not right away.

Make less sense and someday you’ll make more. Make cents? Good…

3 thoughts on “Make cents…

  1. Long ago when Chet was being promoted to run B2B sales I was being promoted to run B2B marketing. I replaced the prior marketing leader and they put most of admin/ops/contracts/legal/product development under me as well – my job was simple. Keep the marketing department from being the “sales prevention team.” My job was simple – give Chet what he wanted, find out what his customers needed, and then give Chet more of what he wanted, etc.

    Not easy but simple. We didn’t need fancy brochures, bells & whistles, multi-page contracts, a big advertising budget, etc. We were there to make it easy for our sales team to sell and even easier for our customers to buy. If you are leading a B2B business, consider the above.

    And tell everybody the “credit” ALWAYS goes to your Chet …

    Together we improve.

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