17 May 2013 | Gregor McKelvie
I've just come of a Skype call with Ross - an ex-Tracks user who is cycling round the world. He sent me this photo and email a few weeks back whilst in Southern Europe. True.
Took this photo yesterday. Whilst poppies and flowers were growing in the fields all around, this determined little chap didn't need any earth or a source of water below his roots - a crack in the road was enough for him. For me this shows that determination and a little ingenuity, anything (or anyone) can flourish.
PS - We've got more photos lined up, but if you'd like to contribute just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
15 May 2013 | Gregor McKelvie
I was listening to a Mixergy podcast the other day where Andrew Warner (founder of Mixergy) was interviewing Clark Kokich (founder of Razorfish). There is a section of the interview that I think is very relevant to sales pipeline management. Clark is obvious a natural, but I think many people can learn from what he said in the interview whether you're selling products, services or raising finance.
Here are 3 snippets of advice (there is much more in the interview):
I just understand that you’ve got to create a funnel. If you talk to ten people and close one, that’s success. The nine rejections are just the steps along the way. I was lucky in that that didn’t bother me. I just kept plugging and plugging and plugging.
..any good sales person who is experienced will focus more on the top of the funnel than the bottom of the funnel. Because they’ll know that if they’ve got a lot of people in play and they have a good story and they’re good at sales some of them will become customers. At first I wasn’t so sure but after I got a couple of them on board then I said OK, I can do this.
You’ve got to be willing to close. You’ve got to be willing to ask for the money and stand there and wait for them to write a check. At first that made me uncomfortable but after a while I found it to be really fun. It was a challenge.
The full interview is here. If you haven't already heard of Mixergy then go to the site and have a look through the interviews. There are plenty of learnings from people who have been there and done it before in business.
09 May 2013 | Gregor McKelvie
Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager of Manchester United yesterday. As someone who has made a significant impact on the lives of many in and outside of football, he will be missed. Although, he is a football manager first and foremost, I think there are things that all organisations and leaders can learn from him. Here's my list:
No one can argue about his commitment to the club. If people see this in a leader it inspires confidence. He always spoke very highly of Manchester United and its values. When asked about how he felt when he was offered the job 26 years ago he said he "couldn't possibly turn the job down". He was committed from day one. I'm sure he had many hard days, but being truly committed to a cause is something that everyone respects.
When he arrived at the club 26 years ago he came with a vision. He communicated that to everyone in the club. Throughout the 26 years he has stood by this vision. I'm sure things have changed along the way, but a business without a place to go is just floating. And no one can say that Manchester United is just floating along.
Sir Alex believed in young people. He nurtured them. He disciplined them. He prepared them to face the challenges that come with being a Manchester United player. Ferguson is famous for bringing a team of "youngsters" into the first team. All those players would not be where they are today if it wasn't for Sir Alex.
Being loyal to Manchester United runs through the club. From ticket staff to the board of directors. Sir Alex is famous for standing by some of his most troubled stars. Eric Cantona being one of the most troubled! By standing by people when things are difficult it breeds loyalty and loyalty breeds consistency.
As Ferguson pointed out in an interview with the BBC in February 2013, some of his staff have been with him for over 20 years. Through his own commitment and breeding loyalty he retains staff. And although there are times when people need to move on, having a low turnover of staff is key to being successful.
In any business, people move on. It's a natural process. But knowing when is good and when it's not is a talent. At times when he has let players go it appears messy, but many of the greatest players he let go still have a lot of respect for Sir Alex. David Beckham describing him as a father figure is an example. Retaining people is important in business, but sometimes you have to just let people go too for the benefit of both parties.
Sir Alex is often described as a fierce character and an intimidating man. Most leaders are. But he took the time to get to know everyone. He was approachable. He helped people. There are numerous examples of where he has returned the calls of other football managers who are in need of help. Being kind with your time is a great asset to have in business.
As a footballer, I for one will miss having Sir Alex Ferguson as part of football life. But I have taken a lot from the examples above. I believe that any business can learn from Sir Alex Ferguson.
08 May 2013 | Gregor McKelvie
Last week we introduced a search feature. This has been a long standing request, so we're pleased that it is finally available. It's only the first iteration and there will be improvements, but already the feedback has been good.
Here is a quick overview of what it can do and what it can't do:
Some things that the search feature doesn't do yet includes:
Despite not having some of the functions above we think we've created a feature that makes Tracks easier to use and quicker to find deals
Let us know if you have any issues
03 May 2013 | Gregor McKelvie
It's bank holiday here this weekend in the UK. Temperatures are predicted to be high, so there will be many folk out camping. If you do do anything outdoors this weekend then hopefully you'll get some views like this of the Cuillins mountain range in Scotland. Courtesy of @sprezzat.