Posts Tagged ‘management’


February 25, 2017 Leave a comment

As I have mentioned before, your contact database is your gold.  And it needs to be organized and prioritized.  It needs to be maintained and added to.  But it is not only customers or prospects that you need to keep track of.  You need to have Relationship Management (RMs) systems for anyone that you need to be in contact with.


Here are just a few off the top of my head:

  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – it has been proven that your customers (or clients) are your best repeat business.  Stay in contact with them, normally with an email newsletter.  To do this you need to keep track of their information.  An issue to consider is if the information is also in your financial system (Quickbooks, MS Dynamics, etc.) then who is the information owner and how do you keep them in sync.
  2. Marketing Relationship Management (MRM) – this is for your marketing prospects that you can do nurture marketing campaigns and inbound marketing campaigns to.  Sometimes these contacts are in your Marketing Automation solution like Hubspot or Marketo.  An issue to resolve is the connection between the MRM system and the CRM system when a contact turns into a sales opportunity and usually moves over to the CRM system.
  3. Partner Relationship Management (PRM) – you have all types of partners – resellers that sell your products/services, companies that you sell their products/services, associations you are a member of and maybe even vendors that you depend on.  You might consider having a regular email newsletter to partners (especially their sales team) so you can easily keep them up to date.
  4. Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) – there are many that influence your marketplace that you sell into.  Keep track of the individuals that influence your potential buyers. For example, if you are a law firm, influencers could be other lawyers in your area that could recommend others to use your firm’s services.    These could also include bloggers, consultants in your industry who might recommend your organization and members of the media.  Additional information to keep on influencers are Twitter id, blog URL and Instagram id.
  5. Hiring Relationship Management (HRM) – if you hire a lot of individuals you might want to keep track of individuals that you could hire someday.  This might be in your HR system of the people that you have collected resumes from.  In some cases you might hold networking events to attract talent to your organization.  Then you will be glad you had a database of their email addresses.  LinkedIn profile id information would also be helpful for these individuals.
  6. Employee Relationship Management (ERM) – if you are a big firm you might want to maintain a database of your employees (more than just in Outlook) so that you can provide information to your employees.  Make sure your employees get the same message you send to partners, customers, influencers and prospects.

Sometimes all of these contacts can be maintained in a single database with the same software.  If so, then separation of types can be done in reporting and measurement efforts by a type field.  Sometimes they are in specialized solutions just for that type of individual.  There are advantages and disadvantages to having all the information in one solution.  Depends on who using and how communicating.

No matter what software solution you use, make sure your staff is well trained on its use.  Especially best practices, terminology and naming standards.  As in any database, garbage in is garbage out.  Constantly remind your staff of the importance of an accurate relationship management system.

All of these databases should include at the minimum the following on each contact: first name, last name, job title, email address, organization, phone and location (usually state and country).  If you do mailing campaigns then the physical address would also be necessary.

Your database is a big asset.  Keep the necessary information you need on the people you should be contacting.  Let me know how you maintain your relationships.  Feel free to leave me a comment.

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Jack Welch Inspiration and Motivation

January 26, 2017 1 comment

jackwelchinspireWho is Jack Welch?
For 2 decades, during his time as CEO of General Electric (GE), he took it from a old, slow moving company of $14 billion to a $500 billion company that was willing to take risks. I read his book, Jack: Straight from the Gut.  If you work at a big company, it is worth reading.


I don’t agree with all of what Jack Welch says but here are 13 quotes that I agree with (and a quick thought about each):

  1. “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.”
    Don’t get stagnant.  Always be learning, be agile and change to stay competitive.
  2. “Control your own destiny or someone else will.”
    Don’t get complacent.  Keep changing and stay ahead of your competition.
  3. “Change before you have to.”
    Competitors are always coming after you, so change to stay ahead.
  4. “Be candid with everyone.”
    Be genuine.  Great leaders are genuine.  (My post on Genuine Leaders)
  5. “Culture drives great results.”
    Make sure you hire by culture and instill the right culture in your employees.
  6. “One of the jobs of a manager is to instill confidence, pump confidence into your people.  And when you’ve got somebody who’s raring to go and you can smell it and feel it, give’em that shot.”
    Develop your team and keep them motivated.
  7. “Only two words matter for leaders today: truth and trust.”
    Very important.  Employees need to trust their leaders.
  8. “Big companies can’t change quickly.  Every big company’s gotta be a small company in their head.  You want the muscle of a big company, and the soul of a small company.”
    Act big but think small and be agile.
  9. “You want people to think every day about speed.”
    Install a culture of speed so the organization keeps changing.
  10. “When they trust you, you will get truth. And if you get truth, you get speed.  If you get speed, you’re going to act.  That’s how it works.”
    If employees trust leadership then they will act faster which is necessary against the competition.
  11. “You backroom is somebody else’s front room.  Backrooms by definition will never be able to attract your best.”
    Convert your backroom into someone else’s front room and insist on getting their best. (My post on Outsourcing)
  12. “Finding great people happens in all kinds of ways, and I’ve always believed everyone you meet is another interview.”
    Always be looking and connecting with individuals.  You never know where you might find a future great employee.
  13. “There has to be structure and logic so that every employee knows the rules of the game.”
    Let your employees know the priorities, the culture, and how they should perform.

Hope you enjoyed these inspirational and motivational quotes by Jack Welch.  Which one caught your attention?  Let me know.

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The Secret Sauce to Leadership is Be Genuine

January 16, 2017 Leave a comment


One day I was told that the key to leadership is for a leader to be genuine.  I totally agree and thus the reason for this blog post.  A great boss or manager needs to be genuine to be a great leader.  They care about their employees and the organization they work for.  They focus on their employees and listen to them.  People gravitate toward genuine leaders because they can trust them.  Genuine leaders walk their talk every day.

People tend to stay at an organization if they work for a genuine manager. It has been proven that employees don’t leave companies due to money but rather due to people, specifically a bad manager, a bad leader. It is beneficial to the organization that they hire managers who are genuine.  And the organization should focus on educating managers to be genuine and getting rid of bad managers quickly before losing good employees.

So what does genuine mean?  The dictionary definition of genuine is: 1) actual, real, or true :  not false or fake <genuine gold> and 2) sincere and honest <She showed genuine interest.>.

Jack Welch, former General Electric, CEO, stated, “Only two word matters for leaders today; truth and trust.” I agree with this quote but my quote would be “Only words that matters for leaders today are be genuine.”

Some key points about Genuine Leaders (GLs):

  • They are Human.  GLs understand that it is OK to be uncomfortable dealing with tough decisions and people.  They need to show vulnerability to their direct reports.  GLs believe in the golden rule.  Treat others as you want to be treated.  GLs treat others with respect because they believe that they are no better than anyone else.  GLs focus on people and not on themselves. GLs are good at reading people and adjusting to make others feel comfortable.  They know that praise goes a long, long way.
  • They are Communicators.  GLs are good listeners. They focus on what is being said to them instead of preparing their response.  By listening and asking questions shows that they care about the individual and respect them. Employees want to be heard and listened to.  GLs respond back to their employees, quickly and efficiently.   They explain why tasks are necessary and communicate the organization’s priorities.
  • They are Honest. GLs don’t lie to their direct reports.  They might not be able to tell them everything, especially if the organization is a public company but definitely do not lie to them.  Being open with your employees makes them feel valued.  GLs follow thru and live up to their commitments.  GLs keep their promises.  They don’t make excuses.  If in budget for an employee to attend a conference and then the budget is cut where they can’t go, a GL explains the situation and offer alternatives.  They review status reports, expense reports and time off requests quickly and provide concise feedback when necessary.  Employee reviews are important and delivered on time.  GLs share information and knowledge generously.  GLs don’t cover up their mistakes or the mistakes of the organization.  They need to be as transparent as possible.
  • They care about the Development of their direct reports.  GLs are easy to turn to for advice and help.  They create opportunities for their direct reports.  They discuss and make sure that employee growth occurs (personal and professional).  GLs care about training for their direct reports.  They want their direct reports to be successful.  GLs discuss with their direct reports what training is necessary and makes sure it happens.  GLs take the time to instill company values and good work habits in their direct reports.  GLs give feed back in a calm manner, and makes sure that it is actionable.

A few relevant quotes:

“Great leaders know how to work the room and make every single person feel as if he or she is being spoken to directly.” – Travis Bradberry

“Great leaders don’t blame the tools they are given.  They work to sharpen them.” – Simon Sinek

A few other thoughts about GLs:

  1. Are confident in themselves and their ability
  2. Do not covet recognition and often give credit away
  3. Do not brag about their accomplishments
  4. Want what is right and not what is best for them
  5. Support their team by giving them the tools and knowledge they need
  6. Are not corporate yes men and do not copy the latest fads

How do you feel when the following happens:

  • You send a thoughtful email on an important subject to your boss and you get no reply, even though you see emails from your boss to others on less important topics
  • You submit a status report on time and it takes 2 weeks for your boss to review it
  • You submit a vacation request and it takes over 2 weeks for your boss to approve it
  • Your boss runs away from making tough decisions or avoids conflicts with employees
  • A project you are involved in changes and there is no discussion by your boss on why it changed
  • Your boss checks their phone constantly during meetings when they should be focusing on the discussion of those in the meeting
  • You are given a task with an unrealistic deadline, you work long hours to get it done and then the task is never discussed again by your boss
  • Your boss lies to you about the status of a project, an employment hire or a budget item
  • Your boss cancels a 1on1 meeting with you at the last moment due to lesser priorities or their poor planning
  • Your boss takes all the credit for something that was done by someone else or the team
  • Your boss says that training is a top priority but an educational training that you were going to attend is cut from the budget with no discussion
  • Your boss delegates a task to you without asking what else is on your plate
  • Your boss gives a task to you without giving you all the information you need to begin the task
  • Your boss assigns you a task without telling you the reason for the task and its priority

Do any of the above make you feel like a valued employee, that your boss is doing their job or that they are being genuine.  When the above happened to me (which they all did) I knew that my boss was not a genuine leader and it was time for me to leave the organization or move to another department.

I dedicate this post to my friend, Adam Shiell, who told me one day at work, “the secret sauce to leadership is be genuine.”  So true.  If you are a manager, I hope you strive to be a great genuine leader.  I will try to be the best leader I can be by following my words in this post.

I want to learn from you. What do you think is the secret sauce to leadership?  Share your leadership thoughts in the comments section.  Also send me your examples of when your manager has not been genuine with you.

Lessons About Life, Enterprise, from Baking Christmas Cookies

December 7, 2016 Leave a comment

Tom Peters wrote this great blog post that had this title of “Lessons About Life, Enterprise, from Baking Christmas Cookies.”  Highly recommend you reading it.  It is located at:


He wrote it in 1988 and it still applies today.  And it is one of the few blog posts that I printed off and keep in mind.  Tom is an expert on management and is someone that I follow.

He created the term “Managing by Wandering Around”.  I still follow that suggestion. In touch or bust. Make sure to stop by and talk to my employees often, visit clients and visit partners.

Here are a few quotes of Tom’s that I agree with:

  • “The problem is rarely the problem, the response to the problem is.”
  • “The very notion of ‘professional services’ hinges upon the … IDEA OF INTEGRITY.”
  • “Small courtesies. Kindness = Repeat Business = Profit.”
  • “To put the customer first is to put our people ahead of the customer.”
  • “The competition ain’t the competition: We beat ourselves.”
  • “Execution is a game of inches – Relentless wins!”

So, I am semi-cheating here.  I am not writing an original blog post.  Just providing some thoughts on the great post that Tom wrote which are:

  1. Engagement.  Don’t just talk.  Do.  A manager needs to get involved in the real tasks with their direct reports.
  2. A Plan.  Have a simple recipe to give direction.
  3. Art.   A plan is nice but be flexible.  It’s those little tweeks that really make a difference.
  4. Trial and Errors.  Embrace mistakes.  I became a better writer by my trial and errors with my blog.
  5. The Same Mistakes.  Learn from your mistakes.
  6. A sense of Humor.  It is OK to laugh at yourself and have fun with members of your team.  Don’t be too serious.
  7. Perseverance.  Be focused.  Focus on doing excellent marketing activities or whatever is your job function.
  8. Perfectionism.  Be creative and strive for perfection.
  9. Ownership.  There is no half ownership.  If you are the owner of a task you are responsible for it.
  10. Accountability.  “Until you’re engaged in all aspects of a job, you don’t fully engage.”
  11. Taste.  I do love Christmas cookies.

Hope you enjoyed this post and Tom’s post.  Happy holidays and happy eating.

Your Contact Database is Gold

January 15, 2012 Leave a comment

You collect contact information such as names, company, email address, phone number, etc.  all day long.  If not you should be.  You get business cards.  You get emails.  You read business journals.  You get phone calls.  You go to networking events.  You attend trade shows and conferences.  Put this information to good use.

Get it into your database whatever that is – either a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, Marketing Automation Solution (like HubSpot), Outlook, Constant Contact contacts, Quickbooks accounting system, spreadsheets (least preferred) or whatever.  These are the people you are going to market to.  The cleaner it goes in (no missing info) the better it will be in the long run.

Collecting is great, but use what you collect.  Email marketing is still important.  You need to communicate to your customers (clients) and prospects.  And don’t forget the media, your partners, your vendors and your employees.  You can’t communicate if you don’t have their information.  Again your contact database is gold.


Your Email Database

In most cases, your email database contacts are different than your CRM database contacts or your customers in your accounting system.  You need to periodically (preferably after every email blast or email newsletter that you send out) clean up the database.  Most email systems such as Constant Contact have reports that will show you the bounced email addresses.  Make sure that you clean up the email database and the database that this information came from.  You need someone at your organization that is responsible for cleaning up and adding to the database.

Your Customer Database

Don’t forget to look at your database of customers (clients) periodically.  You need to retain your current customers.   Analyze your customers by size, market, location (such as state), money spent with you, product/service lines, etc.  Guaranteed you will discover something that will help your organization.  Update your customer entry immediately if you receive a change of address form or hear that someone has left their employment.

Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)

Your social media networks are databases.  You need to clean these databases as well.  Search for new people to follow or connect with.  Remove followers or connections that do not add any value to you such as someone on Twitter that does not follow you and has not Tweeted in over 30 days. If possible get the people that are following you in your social networks into your email database so that you can communicate with them in ways other than social media.

I Know It is Not Fun

Cleaning up your database is like weeding the garden.  Not enjoyable, but absolutely needs to be done periodically.

Develop a system for tracking all incoming leads

Once a lead comes in (over the phone, at an event or on your website), someone has to be tasked with keeping track of the lead status so leads do not fall through the cracks.  Get the lead into your CRM system or Marketing Automation system (like HubSpot) quickly.  Lost leads are lost opportunities.  Lost opportunities are lost money.  Quick response is often necessary or that lead will go somewhere else.  So often great marketing campaigns have no or little sales follow up.  That’s wasted money and effort.

Converting leads into customers is how you grow your organization.  And for you to followup on leads you need a good contact database that is accurate.  Your contact database is gold so take care of it.

Check out my other blog post on divide and conquering your contacts.

Let me your thoughts on controlling your contact database.