Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Found Time

My 4:30 Flight yesterday was cancelled so I rebooked on the 6:30 which was also cancelled (the glamour of business travel).  So could not make my board meeting today in person.   And worse, I had another meeting scheduled that I was so much looking forward to.  So I was upset.

I wasted time driving to the airport, waiting in lines, more lines, security just to drive home.

But I gained time waiting.  And I saved the actual flight time and renting the car etc.

The message is "it is not what happens, it is how we react".  It is much more positive for me to think of the saved time than the lost time.

I am now going to dial in for a 6 hour board meeting.  Perhaps I will use the power of while and pace the halls thus getting exercise.

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Book review - Sales Growth - Five Proven Strategies from the World's Sales Leaders

My experience in business is that sales can make or break a company.

The book comes at an important time for large corporations that are facing a challenging global market - how to grow sales. The book is written by three McKinsey and Company partners so the analysis is clean and full of good data but dry. The value of the book is designed for large, established companies. Over 120 Sales executives from Coca Cola, Salesforce.com, BMW and others are included in the book, in fact each chapter ends with an interview with one of those executives. The foreword was written by Marc Benioff, the CEO and Founder of Salesforce.com - his personal story is very compelling.

The five proven strategies are not surprising, but it's the examples and interviews that provide the most important insights. The strategies are:

1. Find growth before your competitors do
2. Sell the way your customers want
3. Soup up your sales engine (support sales with good technology and corporate resources)
4. Focus on your people
5. Lead sales growth (sales executives have to be on the front lines)

The book has a big focus on emerging markets and relates a sales joke that is worth retelling (you may have heard it before). It's about two sales people for a shoe company sent to an emerging market for research. One person comes back and says that there is no opportunity in the market because no one wears shoes. The other person comes back excited saying the opportunity is immense because "no one wears shoes." This joke starts a chapter called "Sell Like a Local in Emerging Markets" which goes into detail on the risks and strategies for growing sales in emerging markets.

This book would be most helpful for readers with a general interest in sales strategies for large companies or for sales people in such companies. The interviews and comments from the 120 executives is the most interesting aspect of the book.

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