Connecting With The C-Suite

Are you capable of having a C-Suite conversation? Anybody with the word Chief in their job title; be it with Executive, Financial, Technology, or Information these are the people that lead businesses.

Salespeople that can hold a credible conversation in the C-suite will open up more opportunities for themselves and the products/services they sell. What is interesting is that you might not be having those conversations directly with the top level of a company (your customers might be too big for salespeople to even get close), but if you are capable of having that conversation, the quality of interaction you have with your buyers will increase. And guess what, your C-suite insights will percolate through their management population, even ending up on the board’s agenda.

What does it take to pull off a C-suite conversation?

  1. Self-confidence. You’ve got to believe in your ability to have the conversation in the first place.
  2. Personal Presence. Look the part, tune into the required level of seriousness and formality.
  3. Expertise. Know your own offering inside-out, including a distillation into an elevator pitch (a 30 second nugget that nails what is distinctive about your offer).
  4. Deep Customer Knowledge. You must know the customer in forensic detail, both in terms of the buying relationship with you and what they are about.
  5. Market Awareness. Know the landscape, competitors yours and theirs, change drivers and pain points.
  6. Insight. You must have something interesting to say. Make connections, have an opinion, challenge orthodoxy.

SalesPathways hold a one-day workshop on building C-Suite capability; for more details contact us.

Do You Have ‘Apprentice’ Potential?

So Sir Alan has chosen Simon Ambrose to be his apprentice for the year. It’s been enjoyable viewing with the usual selection of quite nice people, fantasists and megalomaniacs fighting it out because ‘basically they fundamentally believe they can really deliver if they just get the chance’.
For people who interview potential employees on a regular basis the programme is gripping viewing, not least for the totally un-PC interview section. Choosing employees is never easy, even with the kind of intensive scrutiny available in the Apprentice as Amstrad have found.

Recruitment is often the biggest investment decision a manager will make in any year, and a professional decision is key. Clarity about what you want in new employees is important, with clear job and person descriptions supported by competencies making decisions easier, yet only providing a backbone for your decision.

Predaptive’s Assessment Centres provide organisations with best practice decision tools that give candidates every opportunity to show their best qualities and allow managers to make informed, objective decisions. This approach guards against unintentional bias and discrimination, as well as providing managers with a clear view of how to get the most from the employee(s) they hire.

To find out more about how Predaptive’s Assessment and Development Centres could work for you contact us.

The End Of The Neophobes

Rats are neophobes. If you happen to have a rat problem, and want a humane and organic, if not altogether neighbourly, solution, it pays to play on this. Disrupting a rat’s routine, by steps as simple as identifying a daily route and placing a different object such as a bucket or a gnome on it each day, preferably at different times, will soon stress the rat. Keep being inventively random in your changes and you’ll soon cheese off the rat so much that it will just up and leave, moving to somewhere close by, but with none of that pesky change.

The rat sees no benefit in the changes you’re making, there’s no upside to the rat, so why stick around when things are just complicated and confusing. You do need to be careful to get it right though.

If the rat sees a bird feeder on the other side of the bucket then it might just motivate him to walk around the bucket. If it noticed other, healthy, happy rats doing very well after climbing over the bucket it might make the effort. If the changes you were making happened in some form of predictable order, and built upon each other rather than each just replacing the last, the rat is likely to see the pattern and become less stressed.

If you introduce the new items steadily, moving them in from across the garden, the rat will get used to the idea, settle in to the new routine and see no reason to run off, so be sure to always spring each new change as a complete surprise to ensure you’re rats reach intolerable stress levels if you really want to be rid of them.

For more on how to introduce change into your organisation, contact us.

Performance Appraisal

During the last decade it has become apparent that intellectual understanding, knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge is the fuel for global competitiveness and growth. Increasingly companies are reliant on the knowledge and competence of the people who work for them as a source of competitive advantage. As they learn to their cost that all other forms of advantage, such as product innovation, capital utilisation and market expansion can be easily replicated by their competitors, the question of how to attract, retain, motivate and manage people has become a major focus of attention.


For Field Sales Managers, area or regional sales managers, and all other executives the ability to motivate and manage salespeople is of paramount importance.

The purposes of having a system for regular employee appraisal are:

  • To evaluate work performance
  • To acknowledge contribution
  • To identify strengths and weaknesses
  • To assess potential and
  • To agree future development

The system keeps employees interested, committed and motivated. It is also a primary and important instrument of two-way communication.

For each employee, it answers the questions:

  • ‘What is expected of me?’ and ‘How am I doing?’
  • ‘Where am I going?’ and ‘What can I do to improve?’


For more information on:

  • Avoiding Appraisal Pitfalls
  • Timing the Appraisal
  • Preparing for the Appraisal
  • Conducting the Appraisal Interview
  • After the interview

our Field Sales Management open programme is ideal for those at the first level of line management, many of whom will have the dual responsibility of managing and selling.

To book a place on Field Sales Management or to discuss further how Structured Training can help your organisation, please contact us.

Relationship Building Behaviours

Effective account development relies on the account manager having excellent relationship building skills.

A survey of companies found that the following are the most important relationship building skills they expect from supplier account managers:

  • Utilising Basic Selling Skills
  • Building Strategic Plans
  • Engaging in Self-Appraisal
  • Establishing a Vision
  • Consultative Problem Solving
  • Orchestrating Resources
  • Understanding Financial Impact
  • Aligning Strategic Objectives
  • Listening Beyond Product needs

You should assess yourself against these criteria and identify key development actions.

To help you manage Key Accounts in a way that produces more profitable partnerships why not attend our ‘Selling…The Essentials for Key Account Development’.

For more information contact us.