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Boardroom Insiders Executive Profiles Blog

New Research: Why High Performing Sales Organizations are High Performing

Posted by Lee Demby on Jun 27, 2013 2:33:00 PM

What are high performing sales organizations doing differently than everyone else?

An interesting new research report suggests that they fundamentally value and prioritize different sales skills.

Understanding customer business needs rated highest.

While almost every company trains in traditional areas such as sales process and product training, high performing organizations place much higher importance on developing their team's ability to have credible business conversations.

The research revealed that high performers:
- place more than twice the level of importance on developing business skills than other companies
- rate their sales organization as excellent or above average 3X more often in executive selling skills
- rate their sales organization as excellent or above average 4x more often in financial acumen

Download the full report from Executive Conversation, Inc.

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Amazing Takes Effort: The Case for Working Harder AND Smarter

Posted by Lee Demby on Feb 5, 2013 4:09:00 PM

We love the quote at right. While it has been attributed to a basketball coach, it applies to every one of us.

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You Don't Know What You Don't Know

Posted by Lee Demby on Jan 10, 2013 4:14:00 PM

Confident, optimistic and always on the go, typical sales pros have little time to ponder what they might be missing when it comes to knowing their customers.

We've actually heard a few salespeople claim that they know everything they need to know about their customers.

But our customers are learning that there is plenty that they don't know about the executives influencing their sale. Sales pros will do their homework researching the company and industry dynamics, but they are guessing what decision makers want to talk about. Guessing at what their priorities are.

Boardroom Insiders can help you learn what you don't know — uncovering what an executive decision maker wants to talk about. Her passions, personal interests, and business focus issues

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Sales Tips From Warren Buffett

Posted by Lee Demby on Dec 12, 2012 4:17:00 PM

According to Tom Searcy's book, "How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett--Lessons from the World's Greatest Dealmaker," Buffett uses basic research and insight to "sell" his deals, often winning out over competitors offering better terms.

For Buffett, it all comes down to this:

Profile Your Buyers — We sell to people — and people are irrational for different reasons. It's not enough to know the facts, have the best ROI or most effective solution. If you do not understand the individual motivators of all of the members of the buyer's group, he says, you are flying without the right instruments.

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Don't Let The Perfect Be the Enemy of the Good

Posted by Lee Demby on Dec 3, 2012 4:18:00 PM
Salespeople are always looking for a silver bullet — a resource that connects all the dots telling them who to call, what to say, and how to get them to buy. Business information providers of every stripe have positioned themselves as the silver bullet, but the truth is they deliver the same tired data — with very little insight.

The wisest know that the silver bullet doesn't exist — and that waiting for perfection results in no improvement at all.

While we don't claim perfection, we know that for enterprise sales pros, Boardroom Insiders is about as close to that silver bullet as you can get.  In fact, we've been called a "secret weapon" more than once. (View a sample profile)

Bottom line: Don't listen to those who brag about their "millions of records." Quantity of data points doesn't matter if the quality of insight isn't there. What's critical is your ability to get in the minds of decision makers when you need to.

Read how Citrix is using Boardroom Insiders to gain a competitive edge and contact us to learn more.
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Success Story: Citrix empowers sales teams with executive insight

Posted by Lee Demby on Sep 10, 2012 4:22:00 PM
"Boardroom Insiders is driving opportunities in areas we have not thought of in the past. The executive profiles give us the confidence to go outside of IT and demonstrate to the customer that we know their business. We can talk about specific initiatives that we previously did not have visibility into. BI is now 'baked in' to all of our playbooks, roadshows, and training. It’s really embedded in what we do."

— Rick Marcet, Senior Director, Sales Productivity, Citrix

The Client

Citrix is a leading provider of technologies for virtualization, networking, cloud and collaboration.

The Opportunity

Transform account planning from a "check box" exercise to an easier and better process that drives more sales within targeted accounts.

The Challenges
    • Build sales confidence outside Citrix’s comfort zone of the IT decision makers (e.g., CFO, CEO)
    • Build C-level relationships within target accounts
    • Uncover net new sales opportunities within the existing customer base

The Results

    • Consistent view amongst sales teams that account planning is easier, and more effective — quantity and quality have significantly improved
    • New sales opportunities uncovered
    • Executive insight has helped Citrix secure more C-level meetings and close more deals
    • Profiles are also being leveraged by regional marketing teams to drive marketing events and campaigns

The Strategic Fit

Boardroom Insiders executive profiles have enabled Citrix to “bake in” valuable executive insight into the account planning process. Knowing ahead of time what executives want to talk about has given the Citrix sales team — and Citrix executives—the confidence to up-level sales conversations from products and solutions to real business careabouts. Knowing the target executives' full professional story (personal interests, focus issues, key challenges), has given Citrix a competitive edge and is building long-term relationships.

Boardroom Insiders has helped Citrix transform account planning from a "check box" exercise to a critical and successful element of Citrix's sales strategy. According to Robert Brown, Senior Manager of Enterprise Sales Productivity, “We’ve had top-performing account managers tell us they’ve found fresh and accurate content from Boardroom Insiders that they could not find before."

Boardroom Insiders executive profiles are also being leveraged beyond front line sellers. According to Brown, “regional marketing teams are starting to use the profiles to understand customer priorities, which helps them design and drive more effective marketing events and campaigns.”

When Citrix CEO Mark Templeton met with a new account, "we were able to give him great insight even though we had very little internal information on that customer.” The senior marketing manager accompanying Mr. Templeton said 'You'd have to be crazy not to use this service.'"

Want to know more? View a sample or contact us at Lee@boardroominsiders.com or 704.756.0894.
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Fish in blue water

Posted by Lee Demby on Jun 10, 2012 4:24:00 PM

You are likely familiar with the popular business strategy book Blue Ocean Strategy. The premise is that many companies are competing in bloody “red oceans”…overcrowded industries with a handful of bitter rivals driving each other’s profit into the ground. Delivering complicated and cumbersome solutions, with lots of marketing hype and little innovation.

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The "moment of truth" for enterprise sales pros

Posted by Lee Demby on Mar 31, 2012 4:30:00 PM
Only professional sales reps understand this moment. The moment when they've finally earned the right to meet in person with THE most senior decision maker of their largest account.

Lee Demby




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Female CIOs: Part II

Posted by Lee Demby on Feb 14, 2012 4:30:00 PM
Two weeks ago we published a list of Fortune 250 CIOs who are women, along with some thoughts about why you should care. This post generated record interest, so we are happy to continue this topic, by completing the list of female CIOs from companies numbered 251 through 500.

One note: we inadvertently left out Dell's new CIO, Adriana Karaboutis (Dell is ranked 41 on the Fortune list). We also heard about a couple of other CIOs who have moved on, so we corrected the Fortune 1-250 female CIO list. Thanks to all our eagle-eyed readers for helping us out.

Now for the Fortune 251-500 list:

261: Norfolk Southern, Deborah Butler

264: Huntsman, Maria Csiba-Womersley

272: Ashland, Anne T. Schumann

277: Caesars Entertainment Corporation, Katrina Lane

318: Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Holly J. Morris

324: Winn-Dixie Stores, Maura Hart

327: Eastman Kodak, Kim VanGelder

338: Peabody Energy, Lina Young

332: Darden Restaurants, Patti Reilly-White

360: CMS Energy, Mamatha Chamarthi

362: NiSource, Violet G. Sistovaris

393: Franklin Resources, Priscilla Moyer

453: Big Lots, Lisa Bachmann

454: Con-way, Jacquelyn A. Barretta

465: General Cable, Coco Taliaferro

Also note the companies that fell out of the Fortune 500 ranks in 2011 that also have female CIOs:

Molson Coors Brewing, Karen Alber

Asbury Automotive Group, Teresa Divine

Fiserv, Maryann Goebel

Northern Trust, Joyce St Clair

P.S. We are not perfect and despite our best efforts to keep this list up-to-date, often changes are made without a timely announcement. If you notice someone missing from this list or see an error, let me know by contacting me at Sharon@boardroominsiders.com.

Sharon Gillenwater

Founder, Principal and Editor-in-Chief

Boardroom Insiders

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F-250 Female Chief Information Officers Approaching 20%

Posted by Lee Demby on Feb 6, 2012 4:34:00 PM
Women who achieve the rank of Chief Information Officer--in the Fortune 250 no less--are some of the most interesting executives we cover. IT has long-been a primarily male domain, as have the fields of science and engineering. In our profiles of these CIOs, there are many stories about being the only woman in the class, the department or the boardroom. They have defied the odds to reach one of the most interesting and coveted C-level positions, which everyone agrees sits at the influential nexus of business and technology.

Companies in the tech space are trying desperately to build relationships with CIOs. As consultants, we have counseled them to go after female CIOs as a special affinity group by creating a targeted program designed to reach and engage this elite group of women. So far no one is doing this well, as far as we know. In fact, no one seems to even realize that 19.2% of Fortune 250 CIOs are now women--up from 10% just a few years ago.

In the interest of supporting you, our customers, we are publishing the complete list of female Fortune 500 CIOs (or their functional equivalents) below, by Fortune ranking and company. In our next newsletter, we will publish the Fortune 251-500. If you are interested in learning more about these women, Boardroom Insiders publishes in-depth profiles of them all. To learn more, contact Lee Demby @ lee@boardroominsiders.com or 704-756-0894.

1: Walmart: Karenann Terrell (see sample profile)

2: Exxon Mobil, Ellen McCoy

9: Bank of America, Cathy Bessant

18: IBM, Jeanette Horan

19: Cardinal Health, Pat Morrison

24: Valero Energy Corp., Cheryl Thomas

33: Target, Beth Jacob

36: Boeing, Kim Hammonds

37: State Farm, Sandy Arnold

40: Johnson & Johnson, LaVerne Council

41: Dell, Adriana Karaboutis

42: Wellpoint, Lori Beer

44: United Technologies Corporation, Nancy Davis

47 Best Buy, Jody Davids

52 Lockheed Martin, Linda Gooden

56: Intel, Kimberly Stevenson

62: Cisco Systems, Rebecca Jacoby

64: Prudential Financial, Barbara Koster

65: Walt Disney, Susan O'Day

67: Sysco, Twila Day

70: Coca Cola, Ann Taylor

71: New York Life Insurance Company, Sue Ericksen

77: Aetna, Meg McCarthy

87: TIAA-CREF, Annabelle Bexiga

88: Delta Air Lines, Theresa Wise

102: Publix Super Markets, Inc., Laurie Zeitlin

104: Raytheon Company, Rebecca Rhoads

106: Travelers Companies, Inc., Madelyn Lankton

116: Motorola Solutions, Leslie M. Jones

119: TJX Companies, Kathy Lane

120: Emerson Electric Company, Kathleen McElligott

121: Xerox, Carol Zierhoffer

150: The AES Corporation, Elizabeth Hackenson

162: Dominion Resources Inc., Margaret McDermid

163: Amgen Inc, Diana McKenzie

174: CBS, Amy Berkowitz

177: PG&E, Karen Austin

191: Sara Lee Corporation, Ann Teague

203: Dean Foods Company, Barbara Carlini

205: Southwest Airlies, Jan Marshall

219: SAIC, Amy Alving

227: Thermo Fisher Scientific, Ina Kamenz

239: Unum Group, Kathleen Owen

240: Progress Eneergy, Inc., Dorothy Ramoneda

241: Praxair, Inc., Melissa Buckwalter

250: Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., Cora Carmody

P.S. We are not perfect and despite our best efforts to keep this list up-to-date, often changes are made without a timely announcement. If you notice someone missing from this list or see an error, let me know by contacting me at Sharon@boardroominsiders.com.

Sharon Gillenwater

Founder, Principal and Editor-in-Chief

Boardroom Insiders
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