WHY DO WE NEED TO SELL?
Nobody is good at everything. Each human ability does not
appear equally in all of us. One person is good at some
things: another person excels at others. Each of us has a
somewhat unique Aptitude Profile. As producers, we are each to
some degree specialists. On the other hand, we have a
potential need or desire for a wide variety of human skills
and products. As consumers, therefore, our needs are diverse.
Each one of us is thus a specialised producer and generalised
consumer. So the only way we can equalise need and
availability (supply and demand) is to trade - to exchange
what we have for what we want. Trade thus enables all to
benefit from the specialised skills, abilities and possessions
of each. And the prime force which motivates this whole
trading process is the act of selling. We must sell to
WHY DO WE NEED COMPUTERS?
In my early days of prospecting for customers to buy computer
systems, I approached many small businesses who would come
back at me with an argument typified by the following
`Why do we need a computer? This firm has been around for four
generations. It is not much bigger than it was 30 years ago
and we have no desire to expand. Our products are essentially
the same as they were then, and modern machinery has if
anything made our production process simpler. We have never
needed a computer before, why should we need one now?'
A CHANGE IN THE MARKET
These people had seriously overlooked something. Having been
preoccupied with what was happening inside their enterprise,
they had become oblivious to what had been taking place
outside. Even if in this extreme example their business itself
had not changed in 30 years, its marketplace - the economic
environment within which it had to live and breathe - had
undergone a total metamorphosis.
So if, unlike most companies, their enterprise has indeed
neither expanded nor changed in 30 years, they may well be
able to exist without a computer to help them run the inside
of their business. But their marketplace - which they share
with the rest of the commercial world - most certainly has
both changed and expanded over the past 30 years. And if they
intend to survive and succeed in today's far larger and more
complex environment, they will have a hard time doing so
without the help of a computer.
THE WAY IT WAS
A century ago, business was a relatively insular activity. Its
skills were local, its supplies were local, its market was
local. It was not much affected by happenings beyond its own
local community, and certainly not by events taking place
outside the nation. There was all the time in the world to
assimilate new products and adapt to new technologies without
fear of being left behind.
In those days, almost every enterprise was in close social and
physical proximity to the local community which formed its
market and of which it was itself a part. The establishment
and maintenance of credibility, advertising, publicity and
sales functions were all a natural by-product of local social
That rather parochial economy was shrouded in the protective
mists of distance, time and cultural difference. Foreign
competitors had no access to the home market. They had neither
the means nor the strength to exploit it. They probably didn't
even know it was there.
THE WAY IT IS
But the situation today is very different. Advances in
telecommunications and transport technologies have laid open
our home market to the world. Today, a development in
California, a merger in New York, or a coup in Central Africa
can reshape a distant market over night - often with drastic
consequences for a business on the other side of the world.
Running a business today is thus no longer like sailing a
trader sedately over the seven seas where time was measured in
weeks: it is more like weaving a modern tactical combat
aircraft through the thick of a transcontinental dog fight
where a split second can spell the difference between life and
So while growing suddenly to the size of a dinasaur, today's
market has at the same time gained the speed and agility of a
The opening up of world markets has brought with it growing
competition from an ever-increasing number of competitors. In
striving to maintain competitiveness within this fierce
environment, companies have been forced to develop better and
better techniques and apply better and better technology both
to the products themselves and to the means of producing them.
AGE OF THE SPECIALIST
Advancing technology in turn demands a greater and greater
depth of knowledge on the part of those who put it together
and make it work. But to penetrate that greater and greater
depth, each individual involved must narrow down his own field
of view. He must become a specialist.
Thus the artisan who once made a complete product, and ran the
entire operation which carried it from raw material to final
sale, has had to give way to the technical specialist who
produces only part of a more complex and sophisticated product
using more advanced and cost-effective means.
A NEW APPLICATION
But while people can readily appreciate the use of technology
to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the more
tangible interior of a business, it has proved far more
difficult to show them how it can be used to probably greater
effect in helping them to survive, navigate and succeed within
the seemingly treacherous and far less tangible environment
A GROWING PROBLEM
What those in our scenario were probably not admitting - or
perhaps could not even see - was the ever-increasing
difficulty they were having in holding onto a once-stable
localised market where a sufficient number or orders trickled
in merely because they were the 'established' local supplier.
Now, they are increasingly having to go out and actively SELL
to survive - something they are not used to.
Or perhaps, whereas two generations ago their production was
distributed among a reasonable number of customers 'their own
size', it is now swallowed by just one or two giants. An
adverse decision by one purchasing manager could thus close
them down completely. Understandably, they feel vulnerable.
ANOTHER KIND OF SPECIALIST
A business can have the best workforce in the world. It can
employ the best technology. It can have all the financial
backing it needs. It can be producing humanity's most vital
need. It can have the most able management. But unless it can
sell what it produces, all is in vain. The sales order is the
point at which all a business's life processes begin.
Thus in today's complex and competitive world, it is upon
another kind of specialist - the salesman - that the survival
and success of a business increasingly rests. The best product
in the world will not sell itself. It must be sold by those
able to explain its virtues, establish its credibility and
close an order. These are essentially human skills which the
salesman must have.
THE MORE MUNDANE ASPECT
But for the human communication or social aspect of the
salesman's job to be effective, it must be supported and
backed up by another more mundane aspect of his job.
Before he is ever in a position to apply his social skills,
the salesman must first know who his prospects are and where
to find them. He must plan a campaign of approaches geared to
yielding the maximum possible number of orders. This more
mechanical aspect of the sales/marketing task does not rely on
social skills, but more on an ability to record, organise and
IT'S THE MARKET: NOT THE ENTERPRISE
Contrary to what many people think, the size & complexity of
this aspect of the salesman's job has little to do with the
size & complexity of his company: it is to do with the size &
complexity of his market. As competitors from afar infiltrate
his once-sacred local patch, he must cast his own net further
afield. And the size & complexity of his sales/marketing task
grows - whether or not his company grows along with it.
It is also to do with the product. As a product becomes more
sophisticated, its market becomes more specialised and thus
includes less prospects per head of population. This fact also
requires that the salesman cast his net further afield in
order to catch enough prospects to yield an acceptable number
of final sales. This in turn means that he must pass details
of more prospects through his sieve in order to end up with a
sufficiently large and adequately tuned 'hit list'.
A SUPERHUMAN TASK
So the salesman of today has to cover a county-wide, region-
wide, nationwide or even worldwide field. Obviously, he cannot
socialise with each of such a large number of prospects. Nor
can he rely on the chance social meeting as the means of
initiating and maintaining contact.
He needs to ensure that regular contact with a large number of
carfully profiled prospects is packed efficiently into a full
and exacting schedule. But under such weight of numbers and
under such stringent timing, it is easy for the salesman,
during a flurry of activity stirring in one corner of his
field, to overlook and offendingly neglect important prospects
And because of the instant person to person access afforded by
the modern telephone network, the salesman today can easily be
put on the spot when confronted by a caller whose name and
surrounding circumstances he cannot instantly bring to mind.
There are so many to remember, yet they must all be treated
and humoured almost as intimate friends. This aspect of the
salesman's task is thus becoming more and more superhuman.
TECHNOLOGY HAS HELPED OTHERS
The captain of the ancient trader could easily keep track of
where he was. Aided by no more than a compass, sextant and
charts, his own mind and hands were more than able in both
speed and dexterity to plot a new course for his sailing ship.
But what of the fighter pilot spotting an ominous radar blip
at 1000 miles and knowing that within 20 minutes he will be no
more than a puff of smoke unless he can lay in a complex
evasive manoeuvre that will take him four hours to work out?
Clearly, he cannot rely on his own ability alone using passive
instruments guided by his own mind and hands.
He needs instant high-technology help from sophisticated
devices which will, at the touch of a button, throw his
aircraft automatically into a precisely computed evasion
trajectory while at the same time unleashing a retaliatory
weapon system to destroy his non-human adversary.
Naturally, each step for calculating that evasive manoeuvre
had to be pre-programmed into the aircraft's flight computer
by its human designers. But they were merely solving a
theoretical flight control problem in the relative comfort of
their laboratory with all the time they needed: not facing
death at the hand of a missile.
TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP THE SALESMAN
As the fighter pilot, so too can the salesman be helped by
technology. Technology cannot replace the salesman's social
skills. A computer can never persuade the customer to buy. But
it leaves him standing in speed and precision when it comes to
sorting, organizing and extracting the myriad facts he must
keep on the prospects which make up his ever-growing and
MARKETEER is the salesman's flight computer. It is an
integrated system of computer programs which operate on his
personal computer or sales department network to take these
more mundane and mechanical aspects of his job off his
shoulders so that he can spend the time thus saved face to
face with his prospects. MARKETEER does not itself attempt to
control the salesman's market for him. It simply provides him
with the precise information he needs to enable him to control
his reactions to his market so that those reactions are to a
larger extent calculated rather than being solely intuitive.
A TECHNICAL CHALLENGE
Ten years ago, inspired by a keen interest in business as a
vital part of the social order, I applied the principles and
disciplines of science and technology to develop a 'systems'
MODEL of the Trading Process. This MODEL took the form of a
generalised Trading Unit (a typical business, firm or company)
set within a generalised Market Environment (the local,
national or world economy).
The MODEL maps the active elements of the Trading Process and
simulates the flow of cash and resources between them. It
forms the basis for the design of a complete range of business
software whose function is to monitor events in every part of
that Process as they happen, and present the businessman with
the precise information he needs to steer his enterprise
successfully and profitably within today's highly-interactive
and competitive world of commerce.
With engineering clarity and precision, the MODEL reveals that
the only way the financial side of a business is linked to its
physical or operations side is through its outside market.
This makes the market the central or focal element of the
whole Process. It is also the largest and most complex
element. It is the one which presents the businessman with his
greatest challenge and the one over which he has the least
That is why I took up the challenge of researching, developing
and perfecting a powerful software aid to cover this central
component of the Trading Process - an area so far largely
neglected and unexploited by the software industry. MARKETEER
is the result, Version 1 of which was completed in 1981.
Development continued and during 1986 and 1987 Marketeer's
software was completely re-written in the form of data-driven
finite-state machines. This technique gave the software an
ideal internal structure which was flexible, readily adaptable
and inherently multi-tasking. Now, after a total investment of
over 15,000 man-hours, Marketeer has reached Version 4 which
allows multi-user operation on a PC network.
Marketeer is a computer software package which automates the
organization and methods aspect of marketing and selling by
helping you to:
- Identify and define systematically your particular market as
a niche within the UK economy.
- Build up and maintain information on upto 32,765 real and
potential customers and suppliers.
- Classify these customers and suppliers in terms of your
- Specify the commercial profile of your ideal prospect for any
particular sales, marketing or purchasing exercise.
- Extract a shortlist of prospects from the people & companies
you have previously stored in Marketeer's database who fit
- Actively communicate with them either as isolated individuals
or collectively as members of an extracted target group.
- Watch the changing statistical structure of your market as it
grows and develops.
MARKETEER allows you to communicate with your market by direct
mail, telephone, telex, fax and electronic mail. All necessary
communications software is included. Marketeer also allows you
transmit and receive messages to and from remote computer
equipment by telephone line, through which it also gives you
access to public databases and electronic bulletin boards.
Marketeer's complete operating instructions are contained
within the software, those relevent at any point in a program
being directly accessible by a single key stroke.
Marketeer runs on an IBM PC XT or AT personal computer
equipped with at least 512k RAM running DOS 3.3 or later, a
360k floppy disk drive, a 20Mb fixed disk, the IBM
Color/Graphics Adapter and Color Display, an internal
clock/calendar expansion board and the special internal modem
provided for data communications and telephone autodialling.
Also required is a 15-inch wide draft quality printer with
tractor feed capable of 8.25, 10 and 16.5 character per inch
print and a correspondence quality printer with A4 auto sheet
feeder capable of 10 character per inch type. Marketeer will
also run on IBM PS/2 Models 30 and 35 and certain network
installations as a multi-user system.