4 Sales and Marketing Practices that Prevent Company Growth
Sales and marketing teams might think they’re helping their company grow. What they don’t realize, however, is that in many cases, they unknowingly do the opposite. “Sales is expected to be the main growth driver within a firm, but more often than not sales acts as a growth brake,” says Guido Quelle, author of Profitable Growth: Release Internal Growth Brakes and Bring Your Company to the Next Level.

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Here is the edited transcript of a German radio interview on April 17, 2009 at about the German edition of Dr. Guido Quelle’s book „Plan Lead Grow – Systematic Approaches to Succcess“ which was internationally published in English in Summer 2009. (mr): “Dr. Quelle, your book ‘Plan Lead Grow’ is a compilation of articles from newsletters issued by the consultancy Mandat Consulting Group. A book complementing the newsletter – what is the purpose of this publication?”

Dr. Guido Quelle (GQ): “We have found that many of our clients print out the Mandat newsletter and read it over the weekend on the sofa or while on a journey. The best example was a client who told us he had taken the newsletter with him to Hong Kong and read it there. Someone else read it in South Africa. In the end, the regular flow of feedback motivated us to select the best articles from the Mandat newsletters and make a book out of them. The intention of the book is to provide manageable instructions, as concretely as possible, on how to address leadership topics, how to plan growth, and also how to make growth tangible.”

(mr): “The book ‘Plan Lead Grow’ actually brings these topics together in compact, easily readable form. Let’s take a look at the contents for a moment. The issue at hand is strategy development and implementation, leadership and change management and of course the topics of organization and processes. ‘Searching for core competencies’, you write, ‘after all we do know what our skills are’?”

(GQ): “Exactly. When we ask companies what their core competencies are and whether it makes sense to get to the heart of these competencies in order to say explicitly what makes up the success of a company, we often hear: ‘You know, Dr. Quelle, after all we do know what our skills are. Why would we want to conceive core competencies and why in the world would we want to talk about that?’ I am firmly convinced, and this conviction is supported by numerous successful projects, that it is fundamental for a company not only to know its own core competencies, but also to get to the heart of them. Let us look at the current situation for a moment: Right now, there is a lot of talk about “the Crisis”, and in our opinion there is no such Crisis at all. In some industries, which do not look especially promising at the moment, there are still some winners around and these winners stand out by truly knowing their core competencies and being able to get to the heart of them and expand on them to such an extent that the company benefits. The methodical approach used to discover the core competencies within a company holds within it the great advantage that even within companies it is possible to communicate why one takes up one item and lets another item go or sources it out. Core competencies as well as an awareness of and control over these core competencies therefore constitute a very important advantage for corporate success.”

(mr): “Crisis, crises, and the topic of change also play a very big part in your book. In practice, the use of teams is often required and then also implemented. You speak to some extent very provokingly about ‘Be cautious of pseudo-teams!’”

(GQ): “Yes, absolutely! I’ve been hearing for 20 years now that we need more teamwork and that teams are absolutely valuable. We clearly challenge that idea. Teamwork is indispensable in many project and job definitions, but teams, and the concept of teams, have meanwhile become quite overrated. Suddenly the entire company is a team, or a branch office with 200 people is supposed to be a team. We don’t believe that nor do we believe that every issue must be solved by a team. On the contrary, I feel that there must be soloists, who are individually strong and can also press ahead with issues individually. This is quite indispensable for corporate success. Aside from this, teamwork is required when a complex job definition arising from various departments must be handled in an interdisciplinary manner and there is a shared obligation to succeed, because otherwise we don’t have a team, but just a pseudo-team. If however a pseudo-team works on an assignment in a more or less committed manner but does not have a shared obligation to succeed, then it is just as easy to save oneself the trouble and set up a task force – that saves both a lot of money and time.”

(mr): “Proper organization also plays a role in growth, of course. There is another thought-provoking title in the chapter on organization and processes: ‘The organization follows procedures and the earth is flat’?”

Dr. Guido Quelle (GQ): In many companies, the organization is built up around the existing personnel, and we find that this is no good at all. In my opinion, it is crucial to first define the processes: How do we proceed? How should an organization provide its services? How should results be achieved? Only then can one talk about who is to play a role in these processes. All too often, concessions are made to the existing personnel, who must in some way be accommodated within the company, and so another box is added on to the organization chart. In our opinion, processes must be sufficiently tight so as to achieve reasonable results. The organization must be adapted to the processes and not the processes to the existing organization. That is a very clear-cut requirement and anyone who takes the organization as dogma and builds the processes around it commits a very grave error and throws away opportunities.”

Click here to read the interview in German or here to listen to the interview in German