Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Sales: Process or Art?

ManOboe Partners is admittedly a quantitatively and analytically driven consultancy, with our recommendations focused on making strategic changes that leverage rigorous analysis and information. We attempt to change our client’s internal behavior and external perception by helping create a more intelligent organization. We have also primarily worked with sales organizations, many who are looking to become more disciplined in their approach to their clients.

This has always been an interesting intersection since traditionally sales has been considered more of an art than a science. Writers like Dale Carnegie, Zig Ziglar, and Og Mandino, whose books are about building relationships, understanding customer needs, and the art of persuasion, are held with reverent regard by many in sales. We were recently debating this and we challenged ourselves a bit. Are we missing anything significant in our quantitative approach to rethinking sales organizations? Worse, is our methodology possibly harming the delicate juju found in top sales teams?

We feel that our approach is unique in the industry because we are taking into consideration not only the tangible impact of a data driven organization, but we also incorporate strategies that help foster intangible sales assets as well. Our mantra from our beginning has been that creativity is our top virtue and that collaboration is a critical element in organizational strategy.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review called Dismantling the Sales Machine validated our approach. The authors argue that a certain process-driven discipline has dominated current sales management thinking, based on scorecards and activity metrics intended to ensure compliance to an “established optimal behavior”. They state that sales managers can gain significant advantages by shifting emphasis towards “judgement of individual reps” and manager’s focus on “providing guidance and support rather than inspection and direction”. We agree. We feel that managers create outperforming teams by nurturing creativity and collaboration, which can be achieved by defining very clear strategies and goals, then using information and productivity tools to make client teams more effective. Managers should think of data and analytics as ammunition that can direct teams to perform in a more coordinated and intelligent way.

We feel that oversight metrics, while they can provide certain “fear” motivators, have the potential of harming a sales team in the long run.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Sales, Strategy | No Comments »

A New Year: An Opportunity to Refocus Our Work

Yesterday was the first day of the year, where many of us were either soothing our retched hangovers or waking up early to get a jumpstart on our new resolutions. Today, though, is the first work day of the year. Our heads are surely charged up with memories of our holidays or preoccupied with fiscal cliff politics and general health of our economy. I think today is a great opportunity to refocus ourselves on all the good work that enhances our human collective: creativity, innovation, collaboration, and open exchange.

These virtues are the only things that are going to move our global society forward, and the best thing is that we can all participate by integrating these into our daily work life, starting today.

We wish you a prosperous 2013, filled with success, health, and happiness.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Strategy | No Comments »

Challenging Your Creativity

I had the privilege earlier this year of participating in a very unique performance called ‘Choreography for Blackboards’, which had me drawing (and erasing) whatever came to mind on a standing blackboard for 90 minutes in front of a paying audience. You can read about my experience here:

I think everyone, especially those of us working in sterile financial services environments, should find opportunities to challenge our creativity. Creativity is a muscle that if not exercised, withers. It’s so important as a key differentiator in the marketplace.  When thinking about engaging and advising clients, it’s important to step back and think about whether you are providing the same canned story, or whether you have thought about creating the most innovative solutions. It’s way too easy to fall into routine thinking patterns.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Innovation | No Comments »