Sales, Marketing and Client Management – Influence of the Art and Science of it


Sales, Marketing and Client Management are key functions that, when done right, help with continued sustenance and healthy growth of an organization.

What makes someone a great sales person or passionate client management professional?

While having the aptitude to truly enjoy the responsibility of these functions is a given, the blend of having an upbeat attitude, charisma and innate traits that go with being convincing and having superior negotiation skills go a long way. Certain traits are a part of the personality and other skills can be attained or rather, fine-tuned through training.

Generally, future performance in sales and client management roles are judged based on past performance. Considered a predictable indicator, there is only so much reliability you can attribute to this.

Coming back to the art of sales, marketing and client management, prowess in these areas is based on aptitude, attitude, personality-based traits and learned skills.

When you consider using the art side of sales, marketing and client management, decisions are made and acted upon based on gut reactions, and end results rely much on personality traits and learned skills to help drive closure.

However, when we come to the science of it; that is where you see an impact of the industry and solution/ product knowledge, technical prowess, understanding of competitive landscape, market dynamics and more.

In today’s world, data plays such an important role in not just decision making, but facts based decision-making. Efforts are made to understand and simulate client needs, in many a case even before, the clients themselves know of their needs! That’s where the science of marketing comes into play to educate clients about their unforeseen needs and then, propose solutions to fulfill such needs.

The science of it all helps differentiate impactful marketing, trusty and inspired relationships with prospects and clients and helps further build on pure transparency of relationships as true partners engaging in solving the same problems, and not as two counter intuitive entities playing the roles of a buyer and seller, where the relationship is based on individual organizational interests and revenue plans than working together as partners to solve problems to the benefit of both.

In the latter scenario, there is true cross pollination of ideas and experimentation of new solutions as true partners.

In summary, an understanding of market dynamics, competitive landscape, true customer needs, product and solution specifics in relation to solving customer needs go a long way in closing deals and maintaining long term reference able clients as true partners that mutually thrive. This knowledge differentiates true sales, marketing and client management professionals as trusted partners from those that rely purely on the art of it. It also has a very profound impact on industry and organizational acceleration in their respective realms of pursuit and immensely influences their success.

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Did you really say that? Hmm…that’s not what I heard!


Have you ever noticed that children demand 100% attention when they are communicating with you? Why children, try being a little inattentive with your spouse when in a conversation and see what happens!

Have you ever felt that you asked for one thing and received something different? What went wrong?  You thought you were clear in explaining what you wanted but how did it not get across to the other person? Did they not hear right or comprehend correctly? Or perhaps, were you not clear with communicating your expectations while you thought you were?

Communication & Comprehension are the crucial factors of discussion here. Mastering these ensures your professional & personal success. We live in a world of conflicting egos and hence, this becomes all the more important.

We, humans are a social animal and hence, social interaction is inevitable. Whether it’s in your personal, professional or social life, interaction is an integral part of relating with one another.

Communication is key, yet so little is done by us at improving our communication abilities and approaches. Communication is not just about knowing a language or understanding its application or mastering technical lingo before you start using it. Mastering a language in terms of how to write, read and speak doesn’t mean you have mastered the art of communication. Communication in itself has several subtleties that are to be recognized, practiced and honed upon in order to have total control on the interaction dynamics.

The real life application of communication is unique. In order to succeed at any relationship, you need to ensure you understand the other party a complete 100% and at the same time you ensure they understand you a 100% as well. Every little struggle, strife, altercation & collective frustration leading to something worse, is all a result of that 100% not being met.

Communication is a two-way street. Most of us let our ego drive us and make the mistake of trying to expend energy to get our point across. It’s not about you always talking. Have you tried to actually curb your urge to speak, control your emotions and listen to the other party? Even in a situation where you feel absolutely sure that you are right, it’s important to give space and the due respect to the other party in terms of lending them an ear. Mostly, in such a situation, just listening patiently & attentively might take the frustration and animosity out of the mix and you end up having a real conversation. Respect the other party. Listen, and then talk. Never let emotions get the better of you while you are communicating. Always ensure you validate what you have heard, especially when a reaction or deliverable is expected of you. When there are expectations of you, ensure you ask for instructions in written for validation of the communiqué.

Talking about emotions, communication is not just talking and listening. Body language & voice modulation, your tone & gestures; all are an integral part of a good communication mix. Although, you should never let emotions get the better of you while communicating, you need to relate the emotion through these intrinsic aspects of communication. They can be much more powerful than the literal aspects of the act of communication.

It is so important that you come across completely when you communicate, whether through the word of mouth or the word of your pen/keystrokes. Communication is all about clarity. A little distortion in understanding can mean a sea change in the after effects or actions as a result of that communication.

Whether you are communicating to your spouse, kids, family, clients, customers, peers, bosses, prospects or strangers; always ensure clarity of thought in your speech or written word. Relate the respect you impart by listening attentively and reacting carefully. Say what you mean and mean what you say and never leave anything unsaid unless you want your audience to read between the lines!

Would you rather lead from the front or follow through?

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Leaders and Followers are both vital to the fabric of any organization. As much as you need leaders to set the path and motivate others to follow through, you also need productive followers who are willing to listen, learn and execute on the plan set before them. No organization can do without one or the other.

The world is mostly made up of followers and a subset of leaders. Of course, leadership is a learned trait and most of us play both roles within certain limits.

Leadership is about:

  • Developing a vision, sharing it and building support around it.
  • Strategizing and planning execution to realize the vision.
  • Leading execution of the strategy while overseeing the completion of planned goals.

These tenets are universal to any organization and are mostly measured through fiscal success, I mean EBIDTA, profits, market share, stock value etc.

But, true leadership has other dimensions as well; corporate social responsibility and emotionally intelligent people management being two of these.

An organization that aspires for success ensures that every associate in the organization knows and lives the true reason of its existence. In order for this to happen, every leader in the organization, from the CEO to line management needs to imbibe and practice the principles of valuing the people assets of the organization. Customers and those that serve them are equally important to the organization. Motivating associates to perform to their potential by managing their individual hot buttons and then, channeling this work to meet the needs of the clients is the salient execution principle of any successful organization. This ultimately leads to the realization of organizational goals, the yardstick it measures its success by.

At all levels of management, a prime factor of success is optimal people management. The amount of effort put into strategizing and planning an organization’s path also has to be put into managing and growing the people assets who are instrumental in realizing the plan. With leaders that share in the vision and willing followers, any organization is destined to meet its set goals!

Finally, an organization has to think and act beyond itself.  Making an impact in the community it thrives in and standing up to be a pillar of the community’s progress enhance the perpetuity of the organization and take it beyond the plans it was conceived with. That, in sum is the true culmination of its existence and success.

Now, ask yourself some key questions to understand where you are and how you need to fine-tune your work style to get where you want to be;

  • What do you do for work? Do you believe in the vision set forth by your organization?
  • Are you a leader or follower?
  • As a leader,
    • How much do you value your team? Do you take time to listen to them or are you just giving instructions most of the time expecting follow through?
    • Do you treat your team with the same respect that you expect of them?
    • Is your team totally sold on your idea of execution so that it will be a success?
    • Do you know your team members’ hot buttons so you can work on keeping them motivated and provide direction and help in the realization of their goals?
    • Do you exhibit enough appreciation for what your team does?
  • As a follower,
    • Do you truly believe in the vision and plan set forth by your leadership? If not, do you question and make suggestions?
    • Do you listen and follow through per expectations? Do you go beyond?
    • Do you feel a valued member of your team? If not, do you express concern and work with your leader to ensure mutual transparency and work to build a plan to help get there?
    • Do you offer suggestions and new ways of doing things?
    • Can you be the best lieutenant your leader can ever find?

Find your answers, make your course corrections and let me assure you, the journey towards your goals will be as fulfilling as attaining them!

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You just cannot please everyone…


There is a story that I came across recently. You might have heard it before, but let me relate it to you.

There was on old couple riding along on a donkey when 2 onlookers commented on how cruel they were to overburden the animal. The husband got down and walked while the wife rode along. After a short distance, some other passersby laughed at them and wondered what a fool the husband was to walk and let the wife ride. Immediately, the husband asked the wife to get down and walk while he rode the donkey.  A few minutes passed by. They came across some more onlookers who thought it was very harsh on the part of the husband to ride the donkey while his wife walked along. Finally, the couple decided to walk along with the donkey. After another half a mile, a few people passing along laughed at them for having a donkey and not riding it!

What did you learn from this story? That, you just cannot please everyone no matter how hard you try.

In your personal life, you want to ensure your family’s happiness. Fair enough.

In your professional life, it’s about pleasing your customers but that again, has to be done within some reasonable limits. When you try to please each and every customer by agreeing to every one of their demands, you are not pleasing anyone since, what you offer does not meet the needs of anyone in particular. Hence, saying no to a customer is not taboo. You have to choose your customers so that they are a cultural fit to your organization and then, give your best to keep them.

Other than that, there are a myriad of professional relationships you balance as a part of your work life. It’s a learned skill to successfully maneuver these. Again, the fact that you cannot please everyone trumps. And the only way you trump in a professional setting is with sheer smarts, integrity and acumen to deliver results. Be yourself, be answerable to your inner self and experience confidence in what you say and do. You succeed as long as you are your true self. Any deviation from this to please anyone other than you results in a conflict within. And, conflicts with self do not nurture all that is needed to truly succeed. So, simply, be yourself and enjoy all that it brings your way!