Welcome to Sales Leakage Consulting

Sales Leakage, Inc, was formed in 1996, by James Obermayer, it serves the needs of corporations in the business to business market place.  Sales Leakage is defined as preventable breakdowns and points of friction that contribute to unnecessary sales losses. Sales Leakage includes the many "leaks" which hurt sales productivity, reduce marketing effectiveness and waste the three most valuable resources a company has: time, money, and people.


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The Sales Lead Management Association is closing the voting booth at the end of the day on December 6th for the 40 Most Inspiring Leaders in Sales Lead Management. Winners announced December 15th.


Why is the Sales Process Such a Mystery?

It must be a mystery because so few companies do it well!

CRM failure is usually linked to a faulty sales process definition!

IStock_000019380676_SmallOne of the most common questions a sales consultant will ask, because so few companies have it right, is “What is your sales process?”  It’s a common question I ask and the answers are often evasive, confused, too simple, or too complex and they all have something in common: the sales process was usually created without the consent of or input from the people who use it - - the salespeople.

Considering that the sales process (also referred to as stages or steps) is used for the sales forecast, the basis for so much of the company’s operations, it borders on stupid that the salespeople aren’t consulted on either the steps or the language by which they will manage their business and future. 

Granted, some sales representatives welcome an obscure definition and structure.  It helps them hide, avoid embarrassing questions, and control what management hears.  However, it also obscures what management knows about the future revenue, cash flow inventory, and a host of other key business indicators…all because the salespeople were not consulted.  

 Sales Processes Cannot be Created in a Vacuum, or in the CEO’s Head

Understanding the sales steps that together make up the sales process should start with understanding how customers buy your products (a subject for another time), and then understanding how the most successful salespeople in your organization sell. 

While all salespeople have opinions on the sales steps, and while I listen to all the salespeople when determining these steps, I take special note of what the most successful salespeople say.  After many years in sales and sales management I have found that copying what successful salespeople do is much more reliable than copying what unsuccessful salespeople do.

I follow a process I call “co-creating” with the salespeople to determine:

  1. The customers’ buying steps.
  2. The sales steps for the company.
  3. The standardized language and terminology used for both areas.

We meet and we wrangle and generally make a mess of a white board until we get some agreement on these items. Only then do I run the results past the other sales managers, if any, past the CFO, the marketing manager, and finally past the other C-level executives. 

I return to the reps to discuss any suggested changes, and only then do we start to apply weighted averages to each sales step.  This provides the basis for the CRM system, and a reasonable forecasting system.

Why it’s Important

“In many years in sales and sales management I have found that copying what successful salespeople do is much more reliable than copying what unsuccessful salespeople do.”


Enter the CRM and Marketing Automation Systems

Once the customer buying stages are understood and the sales steps are agreed upon, the CRM system and forecasting model can be put into service with some confidence.  May I tell you a secret?  Most CRM systems fail because the sales stages are not well defined, are poorly understood, and are left to last-minute thinking.

Most sales steps for the CRM system are created by someone who is not consulting salespeople. If not caught early and repaired, CRM systems are fated to fail and be replaced, forecasting is weak and misleading, and revenue never seems to come in when it is most needed.

And all of this happens becaue someone left the sales step creation to the president, CFO, or marketing executives.

 Enter Marketing, Content and Sales Enablement

Once this is in place, I meet with marketing executives to present the final sales steps and get their ideas for a sales-enablement strategy to support the various sales steps.  This includes reviewing the options for content, which enables each sales step, and which may also be used in the marketing automation system. 

Slipping all of these pieces together resembles assembling a jigsaw puzzle, but it isn’t that difficult if you take your time, have the end goal in mind, “co-create” each step of the entire process with all departments in attendance, and agree on the language. 

Just remember, start with your most successful salespeople and do what successful salespeople do, both in the steps and the delivery of content.


A Lesson from George Patton: You Have no Choice But to Attack, Attack and Attack.

During challenging times,  from CEOs and presidents to marketing and sales managers each is confronted with one of two choices. 

  1. Will we defend, therefore shrink, possibly survive and in the process risk the death of our enterprise?
  2. Will we fight and take market share from those who choose defense and cannot manage their business?

If the company chooses defense it takes the chance it will save itself into a corporate graveyard.  If it survives it will most likely give up a large chunk of its market share to a more aggressive competitor. Those who took the option to simply survive by cutting back on sales and marketing and shrink the company may die a bankrupt death or barely survive to compete.  They must rebuild the marketing and sales departments and their credit lines.  Their future is bleak, but they may have a future if nothing else than to sell to a competitor who understands the meaning of the word attack.  

Why this matters:

Nobody ever defnded anything successfully!

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Sales & Marketing Industry Author & Businesses Move to Bellingham/Lynden

Whatcom County, WA - - Sept 25, 2014 - - James W. Obermayer, noted author, speaker and founder of the Sales Lead Management Association (SLMA) moved the association and his business, Sales Leakage Consulting, Inc., to the Lynden/Bellingham area this month. A four-time author and co-author of business books on sales and marketing, Obermayer said, “Moving these two businesses to this area has been a long time goal, and we expect to continue to be as successful here as we were in Southern California.”

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Maybe this is the formula for fiction.  Romantic fiction.  Women’s fiction.  When I think about it, however, this is like redemptive stories from successful people. 

Most successful people have done things wrong, they sinned, caused issues and problems for those around them and in their businesses.  

Why it matters

Marketing is a learned skill that comes from trial and error, and learning from others. Longevity in the discipline helps. Be a “learner."



Critical Mass Radio

Listen to the podcast here.

Learn about Jim Obermayer's history and journey to becoming the CEO of Sales Leakage and the creation of the Sales Lead Management Association.

Sales Leakage explained.



Why do some people have to pee on an electric fence before they learn?

Will Rogers said, “There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading, the few who learn
by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.”

IStock_000008142616SmallSo I ask, why do marketers, in spite of irrefutable evidence have to learn in the most painful way that there is a predictable return on investment for lead generation programs?

Some marketers run marketing programs without an attempt at an ROI and get burned when management wakes up and asks for them to prove the return on investment. And yet there is a plethora of information on how to prove the ROI.

(Image from iStockphoto.com)

Click here and see what Silverpop has to say in their white paper entitled: Show How Marketing Makes Money: A 5-Step Plan for Proving ROI

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Getting a donkey to drink?

Wisdom says, “You show him a drinking donkey.” How true it is in our relations with co-workers in Sales and Marketing, that we often tell, mandate, demand, coerce, force, pressure, compel, dictate and intimidate…but we seldom lead by example.


For instance: 

1. There is the sales manager who tells his salespeople to use the CRM system, but doesn’t use it herself.

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You can't sprinkle sugar on bull____ and call it candy!

Sometimes it doesn’t make any difference how much sugar you add to something it won’t change the outcome.   Sprinkle a little or a lot of sugar on bull___ and it won’t change the taste; you can’t make it into candy.   You have to start with meaningful ingredients.  Let’s take sales lead management (yeah, I know it’s a stretch, but read a bit more).


 C-level managers want to spend only enough on marketing to make forecast.  That’s it.  Anything more from their perspective and the money is wasted.   CFOs and CEOs only have a hint of an idea on branding.  To them branding is just another way for marketing to spend money without being held accountable.

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A movie on lead management?


Wouldn't this be nice?  But converting sales leads is based on follow-up by a sales rep, not something most reps do.  In fact

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Articles from theslma.com:
CRM, Whitepapers and More.

Meet Jim Obermayer

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