Business and Management Skills

Product Innovation

Innovation is the mother of all business. If there are no (or not anymore) ideas, there will be no sales and therefore no future. Even this is a truism, it often astonishes me how frequently it is overlooked in the bulk of daily work routine of management.

I prefer an innovation process which involves the entire company on every hierarchy level. Only different viewpoints to the same topic provide you with the necessary volume of ideas to asses. It requires to keep the team's attention to continuously contribute their experience into the innovation process.

As a convinced business developer I am confident, that Product Innovation is the most important responsibility for the top management. It cannot be delegated to departments. Full stop.

Product Management

In a software company developing B2B product solutions I see Product Management as a bridge between Sales and R&D. On one hand you are giving the sales reps the confidence that they are selling a leading product and provide them with the necessary sales kits. At the same time the PM funnels all the various new feature ideas into a feasible specification package for the engineers, so that they are able to develop all of the great stuff in a not too distant future. And of course for reasonable costs and with premium quality... Sometimes it's like squaring the circle.

From a life cycle perspective, I found it extremely important for a product manager to be able realizing the end phase of a product. There is a risk involved in product management, as some product managers tend to continue inventing new features in a product which is already beyond its peak. Another reason why Innovation must be the prime task of top management.

Customer Services

The importance of professional Customer Services cannot be overestimated in terms of image and brand building for a company. The Customer Services team is fulfilling towards the customer what marketing and sales folks have promised before. Fails in this "moment of truth" can seriously damage the company's reputation. It was always my concern to highlight this to both teams and keep an eye on the consistence of setting and fulfilling expectations in any area of customer communication.

A close link between Customer Services and Sales also improves after-sales revenues and an early identification of further sales opportunities with the customer.

Research & Development

This is the place where colourful PowerPoint slides are turned into real stuff. We always achieved best results when the engineering team fully understood the business impact and strategy. Its worth spending the time to keep everybody in the loop and its amazing when you see all the goal-oriented contributions beyond the pure implementation of the specs. I must admit that not always I fulfilled this communication task well. With my todays experience I would not allow that my day-to-day business distracts too much from working directly with the engineering team. For me this is a key success factor in high tech companies.

Sales Management

My opinion is very clear. A successful Sales Manager not necessarily has to be the best Sales Rep. Sales Management is not strategic, it is tactical and fully result orientated. I appreciate that sales reps need time to develop customer relationship but prefer a tight tracking of sales activities by numbers. During my time in Sales Management I have heard every explanation why closing of a qualified sales lead is delayed and beyond own control. It is important to carefully listen but at the end of the day only signed orders pay the salaries of all employees.


Most probably I am a better Sales Manager than I have been as a sales rep. But of course in my role as a Managing Director you are always part of the sales process, especially in difficult situations or when large accounts need the appreciation and the commitment of the top management. This fits well, as my talents are more of the farmer type and not the hunter. Hunters of course are very important to conquer new territories or roll-out proven products quickly to a large number of customers. I always admired those fellow for their abilities.

So far, I worked with customers in the telecommunications and directory industry, from AT&T, BT or DTAG to France Telecom, ETISALAT, Telecom Malaysia, Telcom South Africa or Telecom New Zealand. All over about 60 telcos or service provider worldwide.

To reach all this large accounts far distant from your home market, it is of course essential to work close with local partners, especially in emerging markets. Partners maintain long-term relationships with their clients and provides you access. But all of this just happens if the partner's sales reps see a realistic chance that your product helps them to win and reach their quota.

Strategic Marketing

When I built up a Strategic Marketing group I focused the team on market research and lead generation. Market research helps a lot to identify trends and market potentials, justify strategic investments and provide the financial community with some forward looking numbers. At the same time, we always used the research to identify specific leads in new promising markets to feed the sales funnel with new prospects.

Marketing Communication

The way how to do Marketing Communications has dramatically changed since the introduction of Social Media. This is especially true for companies in the high-tech industry and regardless whether the business is B2C or B2B. The time of printing colourful image brochures or product catalogues are completely over and the material might in the best case survive in the form of PDF files.

Today I believe very much into Content Marketing as the cornerstone of SEO and Social Media campaigns. Content Marketing can provide more relevant information to customers and gains credibility. A very good book in this area is "Think Content!" from Miriam Löffler. Despite the English title, the book is written in German language.

Corporate Culture

The way people work together, what values and ambitions they share, is THE key success factor for a growing company. It's the engine to drive the extra mile. It comes not for free, takes time to develop and can be quickly destroyed by a few stupids. I have seen this multiple times. In small teams and corporate-wide.

In my view, corporate culture is characterized primarily by emotional rather than factual aspects. It has to do how people feel involved, independent from the formal hierarchy. Of course, a corporate culture cannot be created by order but the management can ensure a working environment which allows culture to grow. And like a good gardener, sometimes you cut some weed, dibble a new tree and water the soil.


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Intercultural Teams

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Quality Management

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