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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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."

In this process they suffered.  Of course, there may have been some success, but not total success.  No matter how they managed their lives and their businesses, they had suffering which they didn’t take the time to tie back to the wrong doing, the failures. 

Eventually they learned, matured and repented.  They changed and found salvation.  Through their repentance, they learned how to be successful. 

This formula isn’t a far stretch to those of us in marketing.  Take me for instance.  I have a degree in English literature.  After a short stint as a technical writer (interesting but not overly successful, although I did write the testing specs for the Wankle engine), I moved into marketing.   As a marketing specialist without training I sinned again and again:

  • I created inquiries for sales, but not qualified leads.
  • I launched marketing programs without telling the salespeople before they were launched.
  • I didn’t understand the principles of direct marketing until much later, so I created direct mail without a complete offer, with too much copy, and using bad lists.
  • I used lists for mailers that were old and had never been cleaned up.
  • I managed trade shows without understanding the reason for the show: leads.
  • I ran advertising without a call to action.
  • CRM systems?  I used a spreadsheet.

When it came to sins in marketing, I stumbled into 50 more than I care to mention.  But still, somehow, I wasn’t a total failure.   I tried and tried again, listened to vendors and agencies, and learned painfully slow.   I suffered, my sales reps suffered, my employers suffered, but for some reason they kept saying I was doing better than the last guy.    Repentance comes slowly when there is an ego in the way.

Frank Hill and Mike Simon taught me about qualified leads and more importantly managing those leads. Dan Kennedy in Chicago taught me about advertising, as did Bart Young.   Christel Hall taught me about public relations.   Wally Turner about sales.   Bob Crittendon taught me just about everything in marketing communications.  Russell Kern taught me about direct marketing.  Judy Johnson taught me about SEO.   Rich Hagle about book writing (he went through three books with me).   Susan Finch taught me just about everything concerning the web and social media (no end to this one).  

And I’m still learning.  The weekly SLMA Radio program teaches me and our listeners about marketing and sales. The first step in this process was listening to John Sturgis from Chicago tell me I was screwing up the lead management.  Bob Crittenden coached me when I probably deserved to be fired.  And the gentle, and not-so-gentle reminder from everyone listed above was that I was not perfect, but I had promise. 

The point is that my atonement was bound up in listening to and learning from others.    Reading an average of 20 books a year also helps.  Blogs help.  Conferences help.    What seems to have helped most was realizing that suffering through imperfect programs and listening to experts is the key to repentance and finally redemption.  As I improved I wrote books and articles, started an association, and interviewed 270 executives for SLMA Radio.

So for those marketing sinners out there, you will suffer; but in the end if you too are lucky, you will have good agencies and vendors around you and good mentors within your company, and you won’t suffer too much.

If you are open to whispered and sometimes shouted suggestions, maybe you too can reach a stage of repentance and learn, because marketing is a constantly changing game that can only be won if you go through the three stages of sin, suffering and repentance.   


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

Not enough proof for you? Try reading “Ways to Prove the ROI for Sales Inquiries” from Go-To-Market Strategies. 

Want something about social media? Try these case studies: “10 case studies that prove the ROI ofSocial Media” from Lauren Fisher of Simply Zesty.

I especailly like the blog entry, “Proving ROI is Simple,” from Bob Rose from 2007. The information is very pertinent. Whilst commenting on why managers don’t measure the ROI Rose said, “There are two reasons for this. First, we're very, very scared of the answer we might get.”Read the second reason here.

These are just four examples of how quickly you can learn how to measure ROI, but I suspect the real issue is, as Bob Rose said, most marketers are afraid of the answer.

If we can learn measuring ROI by reading, there are plenty of sources to do this, learning by observation must be undertaken with courage and confidence, learning my peeing on the electric fence is more akin to being fired because you can’t prove the ROI. I wonder which is the least painful?


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.

2. There is the marketing manager who mandates that ROI be a part of every lead generation program, but doesn’t do it for trade shows, webinars or pay-for-click advertising. 

3. There is the company president who demands that quotas be met, but cuts the marketing lead generation budget in the last three months of the year, every year.

4. There is the sales manager who coerces his salespeople to use the CRM system and then allows them to do double work by reporting on their sales funnel using Excel.

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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 only 25% of all leads are said to be followed-up.   Just think how sales would increase if you changed the follow-up policy from:

"Follow-up when you can" to "Follow-up 100% of the sales leads within 48 hours."   If you do this one little thing, sales will increase dramatially within 90 days.

This cartoon is from Stu Heinecke at CartoonLink, Inc. To boost your open rates on direct marketing using a cartoon, click here for a special report.

The sponsor for this Cartoon is LeadMaster.

For other Sales Lead Management Humor click here.

Readers are granted permission to use this cartoon (and others from the SLMA) in their blogs, newsletters, speeches, etc., if the SLMA logo and the sponsorship attribution are retained.


Are you the mediocre manager that is always at your best?

At the end of my February 26th, 2012 blog entry on the Sales Lead Management Association, (one of the best read so far) entitled “All know the way; few actually walk it. ~Bodhidharma,” I quoted Giraudoux’s famous saying, “Only the mediocre are always at their best.”  

IStock_000000796755SmallAs typically happens when we read something like this, we assume “the mediocre” is always someone else.  It’s certainly not us.  Now maybe that’s true in your case, or maybe it isn’t; maybe there are many mediocre managers, or just some with mediocre traits and results.   Maybe its just someone who continually cuts corners. 

I offer the following thoughts on what a mediocre sales or marketing manager can most often be accused of as it pertains to their work.   I think “the mediocre” marketing and sales managers (as regards to sales leads) possess these traits:

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Marketing Performance Drive Leads which drives sales!

Said another way, your marketing performance drives sales lead performance, which drives sales performance. Either way it works. 

IStock_000016044984SmallFailure starts with a lack of marketing performance, which is often due to inadequate budgeting. The root cause of inadequate marketing budgeting lies with executives who do not understand the causative effect marketing spending has on lead generation and sales performance.

Sometimes simple statements, as in the title of this article, are so obvious we overlook their implications. But executives can only understand these symbiotic relationships if they see a solid connection between spending and sales, which can only be proven by a solid sales lead management process. 

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