Fresh, counter-intuitive, and incisive articles on B2B strategy, brand, marketing,
business development, and the customer experience.

How to Torpedo Your CRM System

angry businessman with document

Carl (name changed to protect the guilty) stood in front of my desk, furious. He was clutching two fistful’s of paperwork. If he’d had hair, it would have been on fire. Carl was a salesperson, and had been for years. I was his newly-minted boss, and the target of his fury. And it was …

Toxic Sales Training


Some of what passes for “sales training” is just plain dangerous. Actually, I would label it: Highly Toxic. It is toxic to sustained improvement, to sustained sales growth, and to the careers of those who recommend, endorse, buy and implement it. It is chosen with the very best of intentions, but it is worse …

Yes, You Do Need Stinking Badges


I love Bogart movies. And among my favorites is The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.Humphrey Bogart plays the character Fred C. Dobbs, a penniless American expatriate in Mexico who becomes a gold miner and strikes it rich with his two partners. Late in the film, trying to flee with the gold and losing his
RRD & CGX — The Strategy Behind the Buzz

Over the last few days, I’ve been asked more than a dozen times for my take on RR Donnelley’s pending acquisition of Consolidated Graphics (CGX). Frankly, I have been surprised by the number of people who found the announcement puzzling.  And most of the speculation has suggested that it’s purely a defensive move on …
What is the Future of Print?

What could arguably be deemed the strongest of the printing industry trade associations is now surveying its members, asking them to describe whether the future of “print” is grim or bright.  They will get a wide range of responses, and setting aside the value of reporting to their members what those members already think, …

Disaster Recovery: Keeping Your Customers

None of us wants to spend much time thinking about a potential crisis. The process of leading and growing a business is hard and stressful enough without playing “what if” games about disaster scenarios. But we do it anyway because we know that doing nothing is irresponsible and foolish. However, many of the disaster …

“You’re a Marketing Services Provider. Congratulations! Now What?”

Let’s face it: creating and running a “job shop” sort of business was less complicated. You really only needed to do three things well — sell enough jobs, process the jobs efficiently and accurately, and get paid for doing them. That meant a simple structure was enough. You needed someone paying attention to sales, …
Murders and Accusations or “Why not to do a deal at all”

No, that title isn’t a typo. Mergers and acquisitions are getting lots of attention again. That means mine will probably be the most contrarian voice on the subject. Over the past 14 years, I’ve watched 8 different deals up close. So let me apologize in advance: I’m not a fan of mergers or acquisitions. …
Really Great Deals! Eight Keys to Create One

“For every problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.”
― H.L. Mencken

Consolidation looks like the obvious play in a shrinking industry space: put two friendly competitors together, eliminate redundant / duplicative activities, pocket the savings and move along happily.  Sounds simple and neat.  Uh oh.

Newsflash:  M&A isn’t easy …