Are you good at selling your company, products and services? The majority of sales and marketing managers answer ‘yes’ to this question, but the facts don’t back them up. A recent study by CSO Insights shows that almost 70% of companies aren’t able to generate useful leads. This shouldn’t come as any surprise. Things often go wrong the very first time contact is made. Compare the following conversations:

1. Hello Mrs Brown. It’s Tony Johnson here, account manager for New Technologies. We supply payment systems all over the world. I’m calling because I’d like to discuss how you could speed up payments in your sales outlets and reduce costs. I’d like to arrange an appointment to demonstrate how we can help you with our innovative, integrated systems.

2. Hello Mr Jones. It’s Pete Baker here from New Technologies. I’ve just read that you’d prefer a lower proportion of cash transactions in your shops. We recently completed a project for another retailer who wanted exactly the same thing. And after just four months he saw his cash payments reduced by 19.6%, and in busy periods his sales increased by 5.4% because of the shorter waiting times for customers. Are you free to meet me on Thursday next week to discuss how we can do this for you too?

Which of the above pitches do you think is the most appealing? In order to grab a potential customer’s attention and persuade them to take action, you need more than just a general chat about what your company makes and delivers. You have to put yourself in your prospective client’s environment and market position, and empathize with their challenges, etc.

Potential clients will only make time free for you if they believe you can possibly improve their business. To succeed at this, consider the following principles:

  • Understand you prospective client’s challenges and check to see if your products and services can offer a solution
  • Speak mainly about the impact on their business, and not about your product or company
  • Make sure your employees can adapt their sales pitch to the situation and role of the person they are talking to

Also make sure you adapt your actions to the prospective client’s willingness to buy: they might only want an introductory conversation; maybe they’ll soon be writing a call for tender; or perhaps they signed a contract with a competitor just two months ago?

Focusing on what the client really wants will put you in a better position to make a sale based on value rather than price. This won’t only reduce your sales cost; you’ll also get a better view of your forecast and increase your margin on every deal.


How did the Greeks and Romans manage to conquer such large territories? And what led to Spain, Britain and the Netherlands to colonising such large parts of the world so far away? The answer: a ‘winning’ culture shares a vision that is sufficiently challenging to enable the advancement and development of technologies, techniques and tactics (e.g. transportation, military technology / tactics, entrepreneurship, financial innovation), so they can turn their ambitions into a reality. These principles determine whether or not an organisation will succeed or be doomed to failure.

The same values and convictions

What drives your organisation forward is its DNA. Strong corporate DNA is the foundation for sustainable profit growth Corporate DNA is the core of what a business stands for, the reason it exists, and the way it achieves its objectives.

The corporate DNA shares values, beliefs and consequent behaviours that remain consistent and are not questioned, with strategies and tactics being adapted over time in response to changing market conditions. So make sure your organisation’s DNA is communicated clearly and explicitly, and avoid dilution over time. It pays dividends in the long run.

Open for change

Companies with a strong and sound corporate DNA are flexible organisations that are always learning. They are open to change and don’t see this change as a threat but as an evolution. All employees understand and support the strategy and work together to implement it.

Organisations with strong corporate DNA are better equipped to combat bureaucratic inefficiency and time wasted through fruitless internal discussions. This gives an organisation the space it needs to implement its long term strategy, and devote all its energy to performing: maximising turnover for the lowest possible cost, and focusing on the people that matter.

Motivated employees

Strong DNA also benefits recruitment. Companies often look for clones of best-performing employees who they think will be productive in the least possible time. But this approach doesn’t guarantee employees will actually be a good match for your organisation. It’s also true that training new employees in technical or industry-based skills is much easier than changing their beliefs, let alone changing the values that underpin their behaviour.

DNA-compatible employees are highly committed and motivated. They act in line with expectations, rendering lots of procedures and bureaucracy redundant. DNA-based recruitment will also prevent your existing employees from becoming demotivated.

Update corporate culture for better performance

If you want to introduce a corporate culture like this, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is our corporate DNA clear and accurate, and is it commonly referred to in day-to-day operations?
  • Do we have room to simplify bureaucracy and procedures?
  • Can we speed up decision-making processes and implementation?

If the answer to these questions is yes, you are ready for change.