MCM Capital Partners Annual Executive Summit 2011

MCM Capital Partners 2011 Executive Summit

Even with improved corporate earnings and a healthy manufacturing output our CEO’s remain vigilant in managing controllable expenses to combat inflationary raw material costs.  In facing these challenges chief executives from MCM Capital Partners portfolio companies came together to listen, learn, and better understand how to grow revenue and continue to build shareholder value in our current economic climate at MCM’s 6th Annual Executive Summit held at the Nottingham-Spirk Innovation Center in Cleveland.  Each presenter listed below discussed relevant topics chosen with input from our portfolio company executives.  The topics discussed over the two day period encompassed current macroeconomic conditions, current trends in social media and e-marketing tactics, continuous sales improvement, and building an effective sales force.   

The day began with a presentation on the current macroeconomic environment by Mark Sniderman, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.   Dr. Sniderman is responsible for guiding the Bank’s economic research and community development efforts.   He served as senior economist for economic policy analysis for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee in Washington, DC, while on leave from the Bank.  Before joining the Federal Reserve, Dr. Sniderman held teaching and research positions as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.   A few of Dr. Sniderman’s observations are below. 

  1. The Fed expects moderate GDP growth of 3% in 2011 due to continued weakness in the housing market and lackluster unemployment. 
  2. The unemployed is out of work on average six months longer than normal and duration spells are the same whether the worker is college educated or not.    
  3. The Fed also has a moderate view on core inflation (excludes oil, corn and wheat) as they expect it to stay at approximately 2% in the intermediate term.   

The second speakers of the day were brought back again this year by popular demand.  Mark Goren and Greg Thomas from Point to Point Inc., a Cleveland based interactive marketing firm, discussed why thinking smaller is actually thinking smarter.  Mark is the founder and CEO of Point to Point. He combines a comprehensive knowledge of advertising, design and marketing with an in-depth understanding of marketing technology and applications. He founded ETI Software, a company that was later purchase by Adobe Systems.   As Point to Point’s Creative Director, Greg is responsible for guiding the creative thinking of the agency and its clients and for managing the agency’s creative staff of writers, art directors, and interactive designers and developers.  Point to Point has helped businesses be more successful and has helped clients such as McDonald’s, Goodyear, Sherwin Williams, Parke Hannifan, and many others growing their brands successfully.   A few salient points from their presentation are listed below.

  1. Consumers, not producers, have a greater and more immediate influence on public opinion.
  2. Companies that embrace customer connectivity will gain a much deeper understanding of how their brand is perceived by the marketplace.   
  3. Through technological advances, the consumers influence is continuing to expand and customer service is not a function, it’s become a guiding force.

The first day came to a close with Keith and Al Strauss from Sales Concepts Inc., a Cleveland based sales and sales management training firm.  Keith and Al spoke on continuous sales improvement and focused on training programs to improve the efficacy and efficiency of a company’s sales force.  Al founded Sales Concepts in 1987.  As Founder and senior trainer, he has been instrumental in helping thousands of negotiators and sales professionals improve their businesses through training, coaching and consulting on ways to do more paid business at much higher profits, in far less time.  Keith is the President of Sales Concepts and has worked with thousands of clients in over 400 industries, facilitating classes, working one on one with clients and delivering coaching over the phone.   A couple takeaways are listed below.

  1. They stressed the importance of a few key sales techniques:  understanding how to unearth opportunities, learning your potential customer’s problem first then finding a solution, learning the right time to walk away from a dead lead, and developing a system.
  2. A cultural change in a company’s sales force will occur only if the change starts at the top, uses a tested proven process, includes everyone, and provides ongoing reinforcement.  

The following morning the Summit came to a close with an open forum discussion on building an effective sales force led by Craig Jack, CEO of RMB Products.   Prior to joining the RMB, Craig was a senior executive at Thermo Fisher Scientific.  He was president of Nalge Nunc International, a manufacturer of high purity packaging, cell culture plastics, and general lab and consumer products for biotech and life science applications.  Most recently he was president of Thermo’s bioprocess production business, Hyclone Laboratories, a manufacturer of cell culture media, sera and bioprocess container systems.  A few highlights are listed below. 

  1. A company must first understand and define its goals in order to build a successful sales team.
  2. He posed a few rhetorical questions:  Is your company interested in growing with existing customers, growing with new customers, getting in to new markets, or all of the above?  In each case the selling skills are different and will influence the composition of the sales team.  
  3. Additionally he stressed the need to augment the field sales organization with the appropriate resources including, e.g. product managers, customer service, etc.   

The two day event was successful and all in attendance expressed their enthusiasm on the topics discussed and look forward to next year’s summit. 

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