What Makes an Effective Top Communicator

You are a top manager, a CEO, a Chairman, a Managing Director, leading an international company. We have seen in the previous article (7 Things CEOs Must Not Delegate) that there are communication that you should make in person. These are opportunities, but also risks. At stake is the future of your company … and yours!

Here are the key competencies that you need. You may use this as a checklist for yourself!

Empathy: You must be able to see the world through the eyes of other people, and understand their point-of-view – even if you don’t agree with it. If you want to convince, you have to adapt your information and argumentation to their expectations, mentalities motivations and abilities.


Projection: This is the ability to impact your audience, by the power of your personality and presence. A few “born leaders” are naturally charismatic …  the rest of us have to develop our skills and tools to achieve our goals! Your voice and body language play a big role in the way you are perceived. Many hi-tech audio-visual tools should be avoided or minimized, because they make your message impersonal.

Dialogue: Communication has become totally misused word: people think they communicate when they just inform. Communication is not a one-way-street; it is send-and-receive.  Well applied dialogue will always be more effective than monologue.  We don’t do it because we are afraid of losing control, but there are many ways to involve your audience. It is the best way to convince and to get commitment.

Emotional Intelligence: Most CEOs have a technical, “facts-and –numbers” education and background. Of course this is indispensable, but in some situations it can be a handicap! If your argumentation is too rational-based, you not only miss the point, you may provoke resistance. Emotions are not chaotic, but can be analyzed, understood, anticipated, and handled.

Pedagogics: As soon as you communicate outside your inner circle (management team, close associates), you have to make your information accessible. As Kierkegaard said: if you want to teach people, you first have to fetch them at their level. This means explaining, exemplifying, illustrating, etc. It also means simplifying – less is often more!

Cross-cultural adaptation: You may be quite effective in your home environment, but when you communicate with people of a different background, a number of parameters change. They may have different values, references, thought processes, priorities, habits, rules, etc. This is not only true of distant cultures (e.g. Chinese), but is often underestimated when it comes to neighbouring cultures (e.g. other Europeans). It is not just respecting a few “dos and don’ts” – it is learning to de-code foreign behaviours and building common ground.

Language: Obviously language is the main means of communication … but also of miscommunication! International business is mostly conducted in English, and most of the time, neither party is a native English speaker. So there are two sources of error: the way things are said, and the way they are (mis)understood. You don’t have to speak perfect English (few people do), but you must express yourself clearly and understandably. And you should know the main traps, like “false friends”: words that sound like one thing, but mean another!

Anybody can develop these competencies – not by reading books, but by action training and coaching. This is what we will propose to you soon.

Rolf Lennart Goldmann, Managing Director

Goldmann International Foundation for Image and Communication, Geneva


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7 Things CEOs Must Not Delegate



You are a top manager, a CEO, a Chairman, a Managing Director. You have learned to delegate a maximum number of tasks and decisions. Before, you had to do everything yourself, then you had some subordinates. Now you have a large office with many staff members. They shield you from the outside world; they take care of all day-to-day business matters. Your senior executives (vice-presidents, division heads, regional managers, etc) run their operations and take their decisions, in line with the strategies you decide with the support of your Board. Your domain is visions, strategies, major decisions, high level relationships.

Yet there is one set of responsibilities that you should not – cannot, must not – delegate: key communications. You may say you have a communications department taking care of press relations, public relations, shareholder relations, internal communications, etc. But there are times when the only acceptable communicator is YOU!

A shortlist of these situations would include:

  • Shareholder meetings: obviously, but many CEOs are just present, and don’t speak if they can avoid it!
  • Crisis situations: you should be well briefed, but those concerned want YOU and nobody else!
  • Major announcements: e.g. mergers, acquisitions, product launches – watch Bill Gates or Tim Cook!
  • Strategic change management: to your own people, without whom your strategies won’t happen!
  • Key negotiations: big sales, joint ventures – the teams do the groundwork, but YOU get the deal off the ground!
  • Symposiums and conferences: e.g. the World Economic Forum – this is where you manage your network and your personal reputation!
  • Analyst meetings: yes, your Financial Director may present the numbers – but YOU have to sell your vision!


Many CEOs find reasons not to do these personally: lack of time, lack of interest, lack of skills … You may have specialists who, technically speaking, can do them better than you – but they will always have one disadvantage: they are not YOU! And when the CEO fails to show up, people will say things like:

  • “He is out of touch with reality, up in his ivory tower!”
  • “He hasn’t got the courage to face the challenge!”
  • “He thinks we are not important enough!”
  • “He is just another technocrat!”
  • “He is not really in charge!”
  • etc etc


That was the risk side. Now let’s take a look at the opportunities:

  • No one is better placed than you to impersonate the company. Only YOU can really “sell” it!
  • Others may get lost in details, but YOU shaped the strategies, so YOU know best what is important and what isn’t !
  • People aren’t always happy getting the message through middle-managers. Be the Leader who inspires your people!
  • If some event tends to become routine, your personal communication can give it new relevance!
  • When things go wrong, people don’t want technicians or lawyers – only YOU can re-establish Trust!


Conclusion : put Communication where it belongs: at Top Executive Top Priority!

PS: In coming articles, I will explore with you what makes an effective Communicator, at home and abroad.


Rolf Lennart Goldmann, Managing Director
Goldmann International Foundation for Image and Communication, Geneva

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The role of the sales team within the Omni-channel marketing

Omni Channel

Among the latest trends in retail marketing we find the term omni-channel, which I like especially because it is a term that cancels the concepts separately from the offline and online on commercial terms, and what it proposes is a global and coordinated response to the final customer, being able to blend the best of the offline with the online environment, thereby achieving bringing vendor-customer relationship to a higher level.

But what is the Omni-Channel Retailing? And what is the role of the key vendors in this concept?

The omni-channel retailing is focused on creating a unique experience for consumers around all commercial channels involved in the purchase by a user.

Customers already interact with different channels simultaneously, either via computer, smartphones, tablets, television, radio, email, social networks, or the store. The customer has become very demanding in the process of purchasing because it has more information on any product or service needed. In fact, some may think that they have been spoiled a lot in recent years. The customer has become accustomed to buying through numerous and varied sales channels and gradually, shopping is easier and more enjoyable. And automatically they have moved these expectations to the area of customer service, sales team or after-sales service and obviously they require the same treatment and availability.

If according to the research from QDQ Media, 44% of mobile users who contact a business via Internet end up buying in their physical store. Are we going to jeopardize the closing of the sale for not having the best sales team?

The model change is that retailers are adapting themselves to these new consumer demands, implementing strategic and specialized supply chain software, with sales teams trained in skills and expertise in selling their products and services. So any detail, no matter how small, will be in harmony with what is transmitted in all channels.

The role of the sales team and the distribution channel within the omni-channel model is the ability to provide customization to the commercial response referred to customer needs and establish trusting relationships that generate longer and more satisfying business relationships. For this, there are specific education and training programs developed. In addition to traditional training about product and business management, there will be developed their skills in the mastery of the different channels that the company offers to its customers. This global training is essential to the customer experience at the point of sale to be as pleasant as possible and ending up in the desired sales.

As customers, we all like to feel special and this can only be achieved by a personal and professional attention. To do this, it is essential that in our physical contact with the company that has awakened us curiosity on the network, everything is prepared and coordinated to give us the best answer.


Pilar Punzano
Associate consultant

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Gamification: Challenges, Objectives and rating.

Gamificación: Retos, Objetivos y Puntuación

I admit it, I love the games and especially in tablets and phones. Games stimulate the mind, you develop new inter-actions and they are a challenge against yourself whose objective is improve yourself and find new ways to pass levels or screens.

What happens if we use the process of taking something that already exists (eg a web or a mobile application) and we integrate it into the game mechanics in order to encourage participation and increase the level of commitment?. We’re talking about Gamification and some companies are beginning to take this as a mechanical process innovation.

But …. what is Gamification?. According to Wikipedia, Gamification is the use of techniques and dynamics of games not recreational.

I would add, that is the use or employment of the game mechanics in non-playful environments in order to enhance motivation, effort, concentration, loyalty and of course develop other actions that are common in games.

Is anybody applying it? Yes. Market circumstances are constantly changing, thus, companies are demanding small changes to provide a better interaction in the sales process with the ultimate goal to have greater loyalty to our product / service and consequently to offer our customers a greater satisfaction in the purchase process. From my experience, we are applying this mechanism in some clients and is giving us good results.

I recognize that it is not easy for a company, the involvement of all employees to get to carry out a process of innovation (I believe this is the key to success), but I’m of the opinion that if we involve employees on new challenges where they see their efforts materialized and therefore rewarded (get points to obtain gifts, as if it were a game;) I’m totally convinced that a new business activity and a further strengthening of ties between employees will be generated.

Manolo Vidal
Associated Consultant

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Business Case Healthcare


Starting situation

A French multinational pharmaceutical contacts “Optimum” to evaluate its proposal for solving the decrease in its sales and the low performance of its commercial team.

The starting point was that this company was in a situation of decrease in nationwide sales asymmetrically in the 2 territories in which they had divided Spain. (East and West)
Customers of this lab are a finite number of medical specialists. Theseprescribers are starting new treatments in patientsthat are maintainedforlong.

Patients beginning treatment should be treated on a monthly basis for 5 years to significantly improve their quality of life. The laboratory business is based on the doctors that start their new treatments with its products, and that keep the therapies already initiated, actively.

This situation made that the sales team will base its sales performance, more on PR than planning its commercial activity and its scientific / commercial approach of the doctor visits.

Both the National Sales Manager and the Area Managers were not able to give a concrete answer to the General Manager on how they had obtained the results of the last period and how they would evolve sales in the coming years.

The General Manager, in addition to the problem of the decrease in sales, had no visibility into why, and his management team was not able to prepare a contingency plan

Optimum proposal

Optimum proposed an audit of the sales department, to accurately determine the current situation of the company and establish a plan of action.

Performance of the team of consultants from Optimum

  • The consultant team from Optimum conducted a commercial audit where they evaluated the following aspects:
  • The current market and the doctor specialists potential.
  • The potential of the 2 commercial territories.
  • The laboratory situation compared to its direct competitors and laboratories with molecules substitutive treatments.
  • The delegates structure’s composition.
  • The skills of the sales team.
  • What were and how the delegates execute the business processes: capturing new customers, cross-selling, increasing the use of the product, customer loyalty and customer retention.
  • The KPI Business Performance.
  • The way to analyze data and make decisions of Area Managers and National Sales Manager.
  • The effects of the product marketing campaigns and PR with the doctors.

From the results of the commercial audit and from the Lab General Manager the following decisions were taken:

  1. First, a commercial redistribution of territories, so that the commercial potential of them was symmetrical.
  2. Second, an adjustment of commercial structure, according to the New Territories and the actual market potential was made.
  3. Third, it became a new definition, in phases and performance indicators, of the various commercial processes that the team of delegates should run.
  4. Fourth, a homogeneous commercial management model was implanted and adjusted to the market, to the laboratory, and to the definition of new commercial processes to enable an analysis and decision making based on the KPI defined by Optimum.
  5. Fifth, the orientation of the communication marketing campaigns changed. We changed the way of communication, from a mere explanation of the product characteristics, to the patient benefits obtained by the use of the laboratory products.
  6. Sixth, the formation of the entire sales team was started. (National Sales Manager, Area Managers, and delegates)


Our collaboration on this project was of 2 years and the result was the sustained sales growth in a declining market situation (increased share), a commercial team focusing its activities on those aspects that contributed commercial results and a team of intermediate managers with an analysis methodology that allowed them to respond to the General Manager and to establish specific action plans that guaranteed them the achievement of its goals.

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“We forgot to sell”


Customers don’t call me – few customers come through the point of sale

The crisis has revealed the deficiencies of our sales teams.After more than a decade of prosperity, where customers grew and grew, where the problem was to attend all the demand generated by them, all of a sudden, they have stopped buying, at least, with the intensity made until now.

How we adapt ourselves to a new situation?

The truth is that bad…

The creativity of the sales teams has been left behind; we don’t know how to respond to new situations.
We try to apply old solutions of markets in a buying situation, to markets where to sell.

Until the beginning of the crisis, customers were buying under the criteria of “increased productivity”, “best performance”, etc. … and companies have equipped our sales teams of plot axes basing ourselves, like it couldn’t be otherwise, in these arguments, or put it another way, of these needs expressed by customers.

However, when the sales of our clients have been reduced, there has been an effect where these arguments have neither the strength nor the consistency they had.

“Why I want my factories to produce more if my productivity rate is 40% my capability”.

What do we do, how we respond to this?

Moreover, the trends have changed, where the price had a relative importance, now is a key factor. You have to argue, no longer the product and its benefits, but why pay more for our product, where the value added until now, has ceased to be.

What happened?

Many sales teams have abandoned good habits: Prospecting continues.

Why look for clients with all the work that give me the ones I have?

We hear this more often than we want. And this situation was sustainable in a market demand, with growth, as we had until mid-2007.

It is been over six years of adverse conditions and we still think that customers will come back… that once they begin to grow, we will also grow.

The ones that work with all kinds of companies have seen how some of their sales teams have complained about the situation experienced, but have grown stronger in their offices, defending and entrenching themselves, in many cases, on the new customer requirements.

Meanwhile, a small group of professionals have analyzed further and have put all the requirements to “mitigate” an adverse situation.

While some businesses have closed for lack of sales, others have sought new markets; many of them abroad, other have even innovated, but in any case, looking for new clients.
Something so obvious and so difficult to assume to countless sales teams involved in a continuous catharsis, from which they are unable to leave.

We have seen that, to compensate for the loss of customers, they have increased sales in the existing customers, reaching quotas really complicated to maintain and always with a significant cost in the margin of the company, but what is worse, a concentration of risk that no company can assume.
Increasing sales by reducing participation.

This is the key to success. To the extent that we are able to introduce new customers to our client platforms, we are able to sell a small part of their potential, we are guaranteeing the future.
To do this, we need to recover the healthy, though laborious, habit of prospecting.

In our experience working with our clients’ sales teams, we have seen how this work, vital to any commercial organization, not only has failed, but they do not know how to do it. Having teams that have failed to ever make it and where the situation of their companies is the result of an inaction prospecting.

“This prospecting does not work, I have called 30 companies and they have not taken the phone / have not wanted to answer”.

This is a standard answer from the salesperson.

We are aware that out of every 10 proposals that we make, we close a percentage of them, that out of every 10 sales interviews, we present proposals on a percentage of them, but we fail to understand that to get a new customer, we have to call a larger number of companies.
Any excuse, any job has priority over prospecting. Our teams tend to focus on the short term, given up the main task of the salesperson, which justifies his job, which guarantees the future in the medium and long term and what is worse … we have forgotten that prospecting is part of the sales process, which is the first step, without which all others are meaningless.

Juan Méndez
Associate consultant

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After the disruption are the sales


In the study of The Conference Board published in November 2013, the main CEOs of the leading global companies, mentioned that their challenges for this 2014 will be, the operational excellence, the talent management, the customer loyalty and the innovation.

These four challenges defined, pursue the excellence of the companies and are the effect of a simple question: What can we do differently? If the answer is NO, the CEOs know exactly that are leading an obsolete company, whose days or years are counted and therefore must make a big decision that has three options,selling the company, closing it as orderly as possible, or let the market close it.

Therefore, if the answer is YES, they can do things differently, initiating a corporate innovation process. This process can be incremental, improving the current processes, or disruptive processes, where the corporate business model is changed.

Many of these companies are addressing projects of disruptive innovation because their current business models are becoming obsolete, that is, they cannot improve their operation processes, or their logistics processes, or their relationships with suppliers, or their business processes, because they are already on excellence.

Mainly, disruptive innovation projects develop new products for new markets, taking advantage of their current business model capacity or, integrating or developing new production and design processes.
All this process of disruptive innovation ends with the sale of a new product into a new market, that may be our current business model or not.

This situation forces us to define new sales processes with new commercial maturing periods where we do not know in depth the buying motivations of users, influencers and decision makers, where the marketing stages are different and where we have no KPI commercial effectiveness to assess the optimum performance in the Go to Market.

Thus, a corporation that is not oriented to the management of business processes cannot exceed the challenge of marketing the new product or service resulting in the innovation process.

From our point of view, we consider that, in the process of disruptive innovation it should be invested the time and resources necessary to answer the key question subsequent to the previously mentioned

So now how do we sell this? With salespeople, through a distribution channel, under a digital environment…?

In our opinion, any implementation of a corporate innovation strategy should include from the client to the supplier of raw materials, giving answers to the following basic questions:

  • To whom?
  • What?
  • How?And after each question must be answered
  • When?Why?
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Optimum ventas open a new blog


Today we open a new channel of interaction with all those people and professionals who consider that “sales” are the lifeblood of any business or organization.

At Optimum, we believe that “Sales” are all those professionals who work with a customer in a personal or digital way, and that from this relationship may arise a purchase by the customer.To us, “sales” in companies are, CEO’s, CSO’s, Sales Managers, Key accounts, sales persons, the after-sales and customer assistant teams, in hotels, “sales” are the receptionists, waiters, (that make you increase the average of consumption), in NGOs “Sales” are Foundrising teams, or in private hospitals “Sales” are doctors who prescribe you tests in their medical center … In conclusion, in Optimum, we have a very broad view of what “sales” are, in companies and organizations and how they can optimize their results.

We want this space to be a melting pot of contents based on our knowledge, experience and views, as well as a place of contributions of all those who want to share with us their points of view, what they have done and how they have achieved their business results.

We will share with all of you, successful cases, white papers, conversations with people in the sales world, opinion articles and tools that can help you optimize your work if you are within the commercial sphere.
We would like to become the point of reference at a European level of all those contents related to personal sales, digital sales and the distribution channel development, from a general prism and from a specific sectorial approach.

We encourage you to actively participate in this common area of knowledge and experience within the sales field.

In Optimum, “We believe in sales”

David Galve
General Manager

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