erichm

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Why Sales Organizations Fail

What prevents a sales organization from achieving success? After studying hundreds of sales organizations, I have found the answer to this question is directly related to the challenges associated with their development stage.<p>Every sales organization can be classified based upon whether it is in a …

Eight Essential Questions for Every Corporate Innovator

One of the first, and most lasting, pieces of career advice I received came from Linda Bush, my first project manager when I was a wee pup working at McKinsey & Company. “Ask a lot of questions,” Linda advised me. “You might think you are being annoying, but it’s the only way you learn. And trust …

Do Customers Even Care about Your Core Competence?

A provocative—possibly apocryphal—story has the late C.K. Prahalad, the guru of “core competence,” doing a strategy audit for a huge Indian conglomerate. The company, Prahalad tells the CEO, is simply too complex and diverse. It needs to shed a few divisions and find and focus on an integrative …

The End of Solution Sales

The hardest thing about B2B selling today is that customers don’t need you the way they used to. In recent decades sales reps have become adept at discovering customers’ needs and selling them “solutions”—generally, complex combinations of products and services. This worked because customers didn’t …

Dismantling the Sales Machine

Sales leaders have long fixated on process discipline. They have created opportunity scorecards, qualification criteria, and activity metrics—all part of a formal sales process designed to help their team members replicate the approaches of star performers. This is the world of the sales machine, …

Consultants Should All Get Real Jobs

I challenge all consultants to spend some time — at least a year — back in a “real” job, working shoulder to shoulder with the same kinds of people who pay for their advice. So few authors and experts are willing to do this, because they’re afraid. They know it’s much harder to be accountable for a …

Scan Gets $7M From Entree Via AngelList To Turn The Lowly QR Code Into A ‘Scan To Pay’ Gateway

Scan has raised $7 million from Entree and existing investors, including Menlo Ventures in its Series A round. It’s also announcing its new Scan to Pay service, which allows people to purchase items or donate money via a quick QR-code scan, regardless of whether a person — or even a venue — is …

How Good Management Stifles Breakthrough Innovation

We hear a lot these days about how big companies fail to innovate, but the truth is more complicated. A lot of companies excel at developing better products, yet these improvements are incremental. They’re not the breakthrough offerings that can jump-start growth and profitability. And companies’ …

Three Signs That You Should Kill an Innovative Idea

Whether you’re a digital start-up or an institutional entrepreneur, three simple heuristics offer an excellent way to determine whether a fledgling innovation initiative should be put out of its misery (and yours). Even if the innovation business case appears compelling and its numbers sound, …

Why Is Innovation So Often Synonymous With Disappointment?

Because a pure idea is a beautiful thing, and seeing it get mauled as it struggles to become something real can be highly disappointing. It’s painful to see your “bridge to the moon” end up as a mere woodshed.<p>Welcome to HBR’s new Insight Center: <b>Beyond the Breakthrough: Executing on Innovation</b>. This …

Four Areas Where Senior Leaders Should Focus Their Attention

It was getting close to lunch time and the people seated around the table — the CEO and seven of his direct reports — were clearly getting antsy. But it wasn’t because they were hungry. In fact, they’d been eating snacks all morning, mostly out of boredom.<p>The COO was at the front of the room, …

The More Things Change, the More Our Objections to Change Stay the Same

One of the very first articles in the very first issue of <i>Fast Company</i>, a magazine I started 20 years ago with Alan Webber, is a smart and entertaining list compiled by E.F. Borisch, product manager at a long-established outfit called Milwaukee Gear Company. Borisch’s article was titled, “50 Reasons …

Let Your Customers Streamline Your Business

<i>This post was coauthored by Lisa Bodell.</i><p>Customers appreciate simplicity. In fact, a number of recent studies have shown that it’s key to their loyalty and satisfaction. CEB reported in HBR last year that the most important factor in creating customer “stickiness” was “decision simplicity,” i.e. the …

The Best And Worst Exercises To Do When You Have A Cold

<i>By Amanda MacMillan</i><p>If you're feeling under the weather, exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing -- and it's true that when your body's already under a lot of stress, making it do more work isn't always a good idea. But in some cases, light to moderate activity may actually help you feel …

Closing the Chasm Between Strategy and Execution

Setting strategy is elegant. It’s a clean and sophisticated process of collecting and analyzing data, generating insights, and identifying smart paths forward. Done at arm’s length in an academic fashion, tight logic is the only glue needed to hold ideas together. The output is a smooth narrative …

Here’s What Really Happens When You Extend a Deadline

In June, the Obama administration pushed back the deadline for employers with fifty or more workers to provide health insurance for their employees by a full year — until Jan 1, 2015. Admittedly, the implementation of anything as complex as the Affordable Care Act is going to take time, and those …

How Women Drive Innovation and Growth

Women represent a growth market more than twice as big as China and India combined. They control $20 trillion in global consumer spending, own or operate between 25-33% of all private businesses, and earn an estimated $13 trillion. This “power of the purse” is growing rapidly; expectations are that …