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The Sales, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship Imperative

May 2007 Corporate

Five years on, the Wiglaf Journal continues to pursue its mission to uncover, codify, and reveal winning practices in sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship. It is time to explain the motivation.

Lifeblood Responsibility

Revenue is the lifeblood of a business. Without it, the business will die.

Short-term financing in the form of personal investments, government grants, bank loans, and venture capital all have time limits. Once the business goes through these funds, the business must be able to stand on its own feet.

The only way a business can survive long-term is through its customers, and customers must be created and captured profitably. Without profitable customers, organizations wither and people loose jobs.

While many consider sales, marketers, and entrepreneurs to be unscrupulous manipulators, useless creatives, and unrealistic dreamers, the truth is that these people create and capture profitable customers.

Even the smallest point of reflection indicates that anyone with a job in a business has a salesperson, a marketer, or an entrepreneur to thank.

Visionary Action

Fundamentally, sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship is a visionary activity. It relies upon seeing an opportunity and taking the appropriate actions to capture that opportunity.

While most fields are firmly grounded in calculations, rules of thumb, and mechanical actions; sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship requires restructuring each of these to create an appropriate solution for a specific business opportunity.

It is not a financial calculation that can be solved from discounted cash flows or derivative instrument valuations. It is not an engineering problem that flows from the laws of physics, chemistry, or biology. Nor is it a production problem that depends upon leveraging assets and organizing labor. Sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship is a visionary action problem.

True, there are certain rules to successful sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship. There are loose rules like image matters, economics must yield customer value, the customer must feel as though they matter to you, and more. Then, there are mechanical rules like hustle because it will always take longer than you can afford, price must be set according to perceived value, less productive activities must yield to those which are more effective in capturing customers, and so on. But, between these rules there is plenty of space to explore new approaches. And, the perfect theoretical approach isn’t necessary nor always sufficient.

The synthesis of best practices and external information may yield visionary action, but the direct application of either is rarely sufficient.

A good sales executive and friend of mine says “showing up is half the game.” While many, including yours truly, have written about the motions to go through, we all know that this will only get us halfway to our potential. The other half requires visionary action.

Visionary action is having a vision and taking action to realize vision.

The basic two questions to be addressed with respect to visionary action are whether the vision is correct and whether the actions that you are taking will yield fruition against the vision. Neither of these questions can be answered through a mechanical application of historical best practices.

After visionary action on the path to success, lies perseverance and luck. Perseverance is under your control and the limitations of financing. Luck is always out of our control.

Expands Possibilities

Fundamentally, sales, marketers, and entrepreneurs are focused on solving other people’s problems. Neither an organization nor an individual is willing to give up its hard earned cash on a regular basis unless, through the exchange, a problem that has held them back from their potential or has otherwise caused them pain has been either eliminated or relieved.

By solving these problems, sales, marketers, and entrepreneurs create the opportunity for human civilization to expand beyond the limitations that those problems had created, and thereby they free us up to address new possibilities. In this sense, these are the very people that are currently propelling our civilization forward.

One might take issue with the above claim. I would quickly agree that scientists, artists, mathematicians, philosophers, historians, linguists, social scientist, and other thinkers provide original value to human civilization through their search for new truths. I would then quickly add that it is the sales, marketers, and entrepreneurs that, in the current structure of our society, convert and disseminate these hard won truths into value that we can all benefit from.

Nobility

In short, sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship are noble endeavors. At the Wiglaf Journal, we aim to serve this elite group of noblepeople.



About the author

Tim J. Smith, PhD is the Managing Principal of Wiglaf Pricing, and an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University of Marketing and Economics. His most recent book is Pricing Strategy: Setting Price Levels, Managing Price Discounts, & Establishing Price Structures.

Tim J. Smith, PhD
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