Blog

27
Dec

Stop Setting Goals: Try ‘Systems’

No more goals? Really? A revolutionary thought–and perhaps more so because it comes from Scott Adams, the creator of the  cartoon strip, Dilbert. Adams’ running commentary on contemporary business life, though cutting, is nothing if not completely logical and even practical. Hard to believe we would more productive without goals. In the December 15 edition of Bottom Line Personal (bottomlinepublications.com), Adams’ comments resonate with the

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19
Dec

The Big Bang of Marketing and Sales

In 1993, the year our firm, Productive Strategies, was born, was especially significant for marketing and sales because of a “Big Bang” type of event:  A little-known piece of software-the World Wide Web-was released into the public domain by CERN, an organization headquartered in Geneva and itself little known outside scientific circles. CERN’s official name is the European Organization for

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19
Nov

Salespeople as Innovators?

Can your salespeople contribute to developing wallet-opening “great products”? The short answer is “Yes, they can.” The more important question is “How?” Selling is “outward looking.” It’s getting products and services out of a company and into a marketplace to increase the top line. New product development is ultimately “inward looking,” actually happening inside a company with greater or lesser

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11
Nov

Does Showing Up Still Pay Off?

Sometimes I find myself with a lump in my throat over a story I occasionally tell in our consultative selling course, FOCIS®, about a vintage United Airlines TV commercial. The commercial shows the boss, apparently an owner or CEO, talking to a room full of executives. He’s telling them about a phone call he received from a customer they all know

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4
Nov

Big Data, Small Ball, and Your Growth

Big data is a big deal these days because it offers unparalleled opportunities for companies to transform their relationships with their customers and develop new business-via lead generation, for instance-and others. The perception is that you have to be pretty big to take advantage of those kinds of opportunities. But if you run a smaller company, plenty of opportunities to play

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28
Oct

Can ‘Remote’ Re-Motivate Sales?

Once a promising trend, remote sales forces are now commonplace and for good reason. Locating salespeople in or near their territories can produce terrific (and much-needed) cost savings. But remote sales forces can be uncommonly difficult to manage, and cost savings don’t translate directly into a stronger top line. The far-flung productivity enabled by technology can sacrifice what professional trainers and

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23
Oct

Outsourcing for Law Firms

A timely, complimentary panel discussion exploring the pros and cons of “Outsourcing for the Law Practice” is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Union League Club of Chicago. To be more cost effective and productive, firms of all sizes are outsourcing tasks in a variety of areas: IT, office services, payroll, accounting, and others. We will explore

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21
Oct

Lead Generation: Nurture vs. Nature

Today, popular psychology holds that the personality of an individual human being is shaped not by genetics or by environment alone but by an uneasy collaboration of both. We’ve found that similar collaboration applies in business-to-business selling. To be promising, sales leads first need the right pedigree. They must come from the market a company sells to and face the problems

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14
Oct

Earning the Right to Close

Do you earn the right to close? We find that probably 75 percent of salespeople and other business developers do not. They may think they do because they show up, ask a few questions, and make presentations as if to say, “I’m here. Isn’t that enough?” Showing up is indeed essential. But it’s not enough. Even though Woody Allen did say,

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8
Oct

We’re 20 Years Old: Thank-You!

By Phil Krone I took the entrepreneurial plunge 20 years ago in July and launched my own marketing and management consulting firm, Productive Strategies, Inc. We knew where we wanted to go but not how to get there. We were fortunate that our clients taught us a great lesson about business growth that put us on the right path and

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