Did you know that the Internet was invented by the US Department of Defense as a means of communication if we were attacked by Russia? True, and it was in 1969. The WWW on the other hand was invented by an Englishman called Tim Berners-Lee in Switzerland in 1989. The Internet dates back to the 1950s and 60s, although few of us knew of it then as it was part of the American defense system.Now that the we are well in to a new decade I thought it would be nice to reflect a little bit on the history so far. How businesses have related, are relating and will relate to Internet: In 1999 it was maybe 5% of the brick and mortar business that had a website, and they all looked like brochure. In the early 2000 around 10% of the brick and mortar business had a website, and they still looked like a brochure. In the mid 2000 around 30% of the rick and mortar business had a website. Then something rear to happen. About 10% of those started to “get it”. They started to wonder if this website that looked like a brochure actually could bring some value and money to the business. They started to look in the concept of what we know as “Internet marketing”. And at this point in 2005-2006 the concept of “Internet marketing” started to become main stream. We started to reach what researchers call a “tipping point”, meaning that when x number of people use or do a certain this we all start to do so as well.Now at the start of a new decade we see about 50% of all businesses have a website, and a growing number of them stat to see that there are more to this “Internet thing” than just have a website that looks like a brochure. And my prediction is that in the coming decade we will see close to 100% of all businesses will have their own website, and a ever growing number of those will see and understand that the Internet is a fact of life and can actually grow their business. The question they will have to answer is: How to attract, keep and retain customers? And as a shift of awareness among most people the consequence will be that they will seek knowledge and people with the skills on how this “Internet marketing” works. We will literally see a wave off opportunity come in the next decade that we likely will see in our lifetime.And how will this affect us? Well for a starter if you even read this post you are way ahead of most people. You probably know the basics of Internet marketing (if not, you will find it here on this blog), and since there are no “official education” on this topics they will look to folks like YOU to help them. There are already a number of Internet marketers that are working as consultants to large international companies to help them, and to a VERY lucrative prize. I heard one of the most “famous” Internet marketers Frank Kern, and he told me that he had big multi national businesses paining him $100k and 15% of their revenue per year to do this job. That’s just to give you an example, and there are going to be a LOT of them in the next ten years. There are actually not enough of “us” to serve the demand that are coming, so GET READY.Just to give you an idea how good or bad it can go I will give you an example from my home country Norway (I love the four seasons). The two biggest airline companies in our country have a very different story the last two years, The “old” one SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) have had very bad results the last ten years, while the smaller one, Norwegian (Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA) are doing absolutely great. They travel to more or less the same destination, and are competing for the same travelers, but still SAS use way more money than Norwegian. And there are a number of reasons for that, but before I say anything go visit their sites and see if you can see any difference there? You did right? The most basic knowledge in the Internet marketing industry: Norwegian have an Op-In box.The funny thing is that most traveling with Norwegian is on their list, and when they have a “new” promotion they send it out to ALL of their subscribers. And they have it all the time. SAS on the other hand also have a place where you can sign up for a new letter, but you have to look for it. So if you ask the companies how many they have on their lists and how they use it, you’ll get two very different stories. And why do you think the results are so difference? Every time SAS have something to communicate to it’s customers they have to have a BIG campaign on TV, radio, newspapers etc. Very expensive, while Norwegian don’t need that much traditional advertisement because a great number off people get offer in their in-box. As simple as that. PS! I have not been in touch with SAS, so please feel free to make a good chunk of money by doing so.
Which is better, a sales manager who is benevolent, friendly, approachable or a sales manager who is strict, authoritative and a disciplinarian?Throughout a sales person’s career, he is likely to encounter many managers who fall into either category. A sales manager who is friendly and easy going acknowledges parity with members of the sales team, by emotionally interacting with employees on an equal level. The potential benefits of this, is greater trust, loyalty and effort. The friendly sales manager is more likely to have greater knowledge of all key information with regards to his department. The only problem with this way of managing a sales team is not in knowing information, but in affecting it. If targets aren’t reached or sales efforts aren’t maintained, a friendly sales manager has a problem in that he needs to motivate a change in attitude or process. By basing a management style on creating trust, the friendly approach is left open to abuse. This is not a problem if all sales personnel are 100% dedicated to the same effort, but in all reality, the members of a sales team will not all be singing from the same song sheet. Some will have their own ideas on how to proceed, some will only be interested in making minimum sales quota’s and some will have their own agenda. The greatest threat to a friendly manager is being taken for granted and in extreme cases ignored completely.This is precisely the reason that a proportion of managers choose to adopt a stricter and more distant attitude towards sales management. The idea of remaining aloof from people who are directly in your responsibility stems from the military train of thought where officers purposely remain distant from soldiers in their command. Maintaining discipline and making sure optimum effort is pursued is much easier if there is no emotional attachment to those under you. For the authoritarian sales manager, motivating change and attitudes in the sales force is not a problem. Rarely, is a sales manager with this attitude going to be regarded with much affection, and here is where the barrier to this method of management begins. The distance created in maintaining discipline creates the potential for loss of communication between sales manager and sales team. For members of a sales team under an authoritarian manager, there is always the likelihood that an “us and them” attitude will be prevalent. In such a case, there will be a protective and defensive attitude and the information the sales manager has at hand will contain information generated with this in mind.As with most things in life, things aren’t black and white, and this is no different with management. It is quite possible to amalgamate the two approaches of management and gain the trust and loyalty of the work force while maintaining discipline. By adopting a ‘mentor’ approach to management, a sales manager can be on a separate level to that of the sales team but also on a friendly basis. The key to sales management is knowing information and acting on that information at the right times. A sales mentor’s key goal is to gain information from the workforce and gain the trust in order for that information to be free and forthcoming. A sales mentors discipline stems from a driven need to improve the members of a sales team in the same way a teacher improves students, but is distant enough to be able to exert authority when it is needed.When someone becomes a manager, they don’t usually consciously decide what style of management they are going to pursue with all the permutations of what that style encompasses. To get this balance in management styles a manager has to understand that he is managing people that need different approaches dependent on their personality and experience. Managing by authority alone is managing the sales process irrespective of the personalities. This is the reason why so many managers choose such ‘black and white’ methods of management. Knowing that there are shades of grey in between means that a sales manager can interact with sales personnel and enjoy greater benefits to different management approaches. After all how many times have you heard that the greatest assets of the business is its staff. Then treat them as individuals and with respect and they will respect you whatever shade of management style you use at any time.