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Wednesday
Jan162013

Mark Wilkes - Business Coach

 

Mark Wilkes

Mark has spent the majority of his career in the technology sector. He has served on a number of boards with a focus on Business Development.

Born in Wolverhampton, Mark's early career was at James Wilkes Ltd (a family printing business). The business was sold in the early 1980's following a period of industrial unrest, and having found himself out of work, he went back to college with the ambition of joining the RAF as an air frames engineer. Achieved a diploma in Communications and Systems Engineering, and distracted by success, Mark went on to complete a degree in Electrical and Electronic engineering at UWIST in Cardiff.

He moved to Bristol where he joined British Aerospace and worked as an engineer in manufacturing development. He was head hunted by Mitsubishi Electric and joined the sales team. After gaining an MBA in 1993, from Bath University (where he met his wife), Mark moved to Germany to join Samsung, where he spent 12 years, eventually becoming a director in the Semiconductor Division.

In 2006, he joined SiConnect, a fabless semiconductor start-up providing communication network technology. The financial crisis of 2007 caused funds to dry up and in 2008 SiConnect was sold to Poem Technologies of China where Mark became CEO. Having spent time in China, Mark returned to the UK and set up his first consultancy. In July 2008 he approached H Fine & Son Ltd, a textile engineering company, and subsequently joined the board.

Mark has been with Shirlaws since April 2012. He enjoys coaching and supporting people to enable the realisation of their goals. A cyclist and avid rugby supporter, Mark is also a keen sailor, and is always looking for a crew. He now lives in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, not far from the Beeches.

Take a look at Mark's articles and blogs below:

 

What does your Brand do?

What does your Brand do?

Does it create your position, support your product, channel and does it make it easier for you to sell?

Do you have a story board about who you are? Is it in your business from top to bottom?

If you ask anyone in your business or anyone who buys from you what you do, what do they say? What are you famous for?

If I asked you what do you sell, what would you say?


Three sales assets that make your business more attractive.

Sales and Marketing activity is most often associated with current revenue generation.  However, some fundamental processes and actions taken today will not only increase the efficiency of your revenue generation through sales and marketing but can also increase the asset value of your business. 

Three areas have recently come to mind from discussions with businesses I am working with or have worked with in the manufacturing sector.

 

Are Sales Guys Really Useless?

At often over 10% of revenue invested in sales and marketing this can often be the most significant single line item of overhead cost for any business and in manufacturing where margins can be tight this can be the difference between profit and loss.

I have a theory that the majority of this investment is wasted. This is based on engaging with a number of organisations and hearing some of the feedback from business owners reporting dysfunctional sales teams, money burnt on ad hoc adverting and attending trade shows poorly prepared for.

A number of companies have realised this and indeed have stopped any form of sales and marketing altogether. Certainly they continue to tick over, have good years and bad but do they ever reach their potential with this approach?

 

Do you have a Sales Story Board?

Do companies waste their money on Sales and Marketing? Without a Sales Story Board they do.

We have been working with an Engineering consultancy firm. As part of the support, they requested training on Sales and Positioning. Specifically they were looking for tips and best practice ideas that they could use to create quick wins. This seems a reasonable request.

 

What do your Sales guys do?

Have you ever stopped to think what your sales team actually do? Are they selling your position, or selling the content of a box?

If you ask your sales team what they do, what do they say? If I asked you what do you sell, what would you say?

 

I am third

I am third.

Reflect on your real position. What comes first? What should be second and where do you fit?

Family is first, what matters most to you is the way they are. Family  is hard to manage and they will test you.  Raise a hand and they will punish you. Step in when you are not wanted and you will be rebuffed. Offer opinion and they may listen. Tell them how and they will find another way.

Be third. Create the space to listen.

 

Accidental Passengers

I was recently working with a group of property management companies and we were looking at the issues related to positioning (what they are known for). We were talking about differentiating the service they offer. To do this we discussed the market, service, price and product that they offered.

We talked about the common characteristics. Among the terms defined was the word Accidental. Accidental Landlords were defined as people who did not start out to be a landlord but became one as a result of an interest in property. They see themselves as something else.

The term Accidental resonates with me.

When I meet business owners and start working with them the question I ask is Why?

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