These are three essential parts of all businesses. The smaller ones may have one or two people wearing these hats, where larger ones have teams of people who do these functions well. It should be noted, that each function has to be managed, yet the skill sets that make someone extremely capable in one function may not translate well to another. Because the job demands are different, the person may not like doing that new function, which causes them not to do it well.
In fact, business is littered with failures when a company moves a successful person into a different role. Often, a company will take a very successful sales person and move them into management of the sales function. It is not uncommon for this change to fail for the person and company. The person would much rather be selling and making more money with commissions and bonuses than managing others. Or, they may just enjoy the interaction with others and the “winning” feeling that occurs when a sale is made. Managing others to do well, does not have that same uplifting experience for many sales people.
The opposite can occur in management. I have seen capable managers who do not thrive in the sales process. The pace, the juggling, the many “no’s” and the constant follow-up and schmoozing, may not be their cup of tea. I have seen many managers (and Presidents of companies), who should never be let near customers or clients.
I worked for a company who had a CEO who was so overbearing and egotistical, that he went to call on the President and CFO of a major client without telling the client manager – a huge sin. Our President was so offensive, he got into an escalating argument with their CEO over useless competitiveness. After he left, the CEO told his CFO who managed the relationship to “fire them.” So, it mattered not we were doing a good job for the client, we were fired.
Marketing is the same way as it differs from sales. It has many functions within its domain, including brand image, brand analysis, and advertising. One of the best examples of marketing success I can think of is the decision to market Alka-Seltzer. What is not known, is although now sold in pairs, only one Alka-Seltzer tablet is needed to cure your stomach ache. Yet, when coming up with an ad-campaign, the song “plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is,” was crafted. The marketing effort doubled the sales of Alka-Seltzer tablets. * A successful manager or sales person, may not be as successful in a marketing role, as it creates a different set of skills within the function.
The reason I am writing this today is we have a Presidential campaign with a man who is a very successful salesperson and brand market leader and a woman who has significant experience and competence in leading and governing. The salesman has numerous examples of failed management experiences where he has sold ideas he should not have sold and has actually misrepresented or overstated the potential success to the buyer. Unfortunately, people and other businesses have been hurt by these misrepresentations.
The manager has a track record of making things happen and delivering on commitments to people. Per the stories told by her husband and others who have known her, competence, collaborating and compromising have all been baked in her DNA and she makes it work by doing her homework, as self professed policy wonk. She will make the better President as she understands the job and knows it involves others in the governance process. On the flip side, he wants to win, but there are many signals that he may not want the job. I think he knows he does not have the temperament, patience or skill sets needed to do the job of President.
Let me close with a story a good friend and salesman told me about his mentor who had a thick Cajun accent. His mentor was a highly successful salesman who was heavily compensated on initial sales and less on recurring or renewal business. Although, he cared about recurring clients, he was more motivated by first time sales. So, he often misrepresented commitments just to make the sale. When my friend said we cannot do what you just said to the new customer, the mentor said, “I know, but we got the ‘oi-der'” which was his Cajun way of saying “order.”
There are many reason not to vote for Donald Trump, but I want people to think of this example. Trump wants to win the “oi-der” and he does not want all the other stuff that comes with it. He won’t do that part very well. On the flip side, I will use the phrase I used when I defined a very good consultant who did not knock your socks off in a sales meeting – “she is the kind of person, whose proposal you may not accept, but she is the person you will want to be married to.” That defines Hillary Clinton, who will make a very good President, as she works at it and knows the job.
*This comes from Malcom Gladwell’s collection of articles he wrote and compiled in a book called “What the Dog Saw.”