Oliver Dax

Sales Training and Business Development

Why do we need sales training?

Good question. The simple answer is you might not. We don’t know yet. We’d need to sit down with you and understand what you’re trying to achieve and if you feel you have the skills to deliver it. If you’re hitting your targets, you’re making the most of every opportunity and your conversion rates and margins are all where they need to be, you probably don’t need us. However, if any of those areas could be improved, then we can certainly help.

What does it look like?

Our approach is a programme of regular short sessions over a period of weeks with repetition and reinforcement following on.  Typically one 2 hour session per week over 12 to 16 weeks. We focus on one specific topic, go out and try it, then the next session we reconvene, discuss, modify if necessary, cement it into place and move on to the next topic. The training is layered over the weeks to complete the playbook by the final session. Everything you need to know and nothing that you don’t.

We don’t want to be sales people

Who does? It was never my plan leaving school, but 30 years of working in the industry has taught me a great deal about how to deliver sales professionally, helpfully and successfully. We work with a number of clients who don’t consider themselves sales people, even though they need to generate business and without the right skills, their business could fail. That is why our approach is relaxed, consultative and always looking for an outcome that is beneficial for all parties. We often say that sales, when played correctly, is a game where everybody can win. Don’t worry, we’ll give you the skills and then it’s over to you to shape it into a style and a language that is comfortable for you and your clients.

We don’t know really have a plan and we don’t know where to go next?

If it’s a Business Development or a straight Sales strategy you need, then we can certainly work with you to build that. Without a clear line of sight of the objectives and a cohesive strategy, all your newly learned sales skills may come to nought. We gather the facts, agree the objectives, and together, build the plan that’s going to work for you.

We need a Sales Manager but don’t have the budget or workload to employ one full time, what can we do?

Welcome to our world. Getting under the bonnet of your business and bridging that gap between the Sales Team and the Board is a large chunk of our work. Often, all that’s needed is 1 or 2 days a week or even 1 or 2 days a month. We write the plan with you, set objectives and timelines and then we work as the ‘off the shelf’ Sales Manager, taking all the day-to-day work off your desk so you can get on with the business of actually running your business. Motivating and driving the sales team forward to deliver on the business objectives. We stay for as long as you need us and when the mission is accomplished, we’re done.  It’s clean, simple and effective. 

Margaret Oscar

Communications and Culture

Isn’t internal communications just about making sure you keep your people informed?

Internal communications is more than that. It’s about building and maintaining a robust and productive relationship between a business and it’s people, and that requires more than simply sending out information.

We already offer lots of benefits, why do we need to do more?

It’s not about the what, but how you do things. You don’t need to do more, you just need to do it differently because if you don’t have an internal communications plan in place and you don’t know the impact of what you say to your people, you’re probably wasting time and money.

How do we know when to look at this?

If you feel you have everything in place (plans, skills, resource, targets) but people are not performing, the chances are your internal communications isn’t doing it’s job.

We only have a small number of employees, do we really need to focus on this?

Your people are still your most valuable asset; in a small business or team it only takes one disengaged member to create a negative ripple in performance.

Ultimately, we’re a business so can it help with business performance and resilience?

A better employee experience leads to better employee performance – ultimately, that leads to better customer experience and business performance. That’s what internal communications is really about.

Andrew McNeill

Leadership and Mindfulness Integration

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is an evidence based technique that can help us to respond rather than react. This creation of a space between something happening and what we do next can change the outcomes for us, our clients and our teams.

Why mindfulness?

If you have issues around stress or staff wellbeing or you want to improve collaboration, creativity or resilience in your business, you should introduce mindfulness. Over 4,000 research studies have shown the impact on these outcomes and many others, including leadership.

Isn't it all hippies, cushions and joss sticks?

No. Organisations like SAP, EY, HSBC, GSK and Jaguar Landrover all have well established mindfulness programmes. The reason is straight forward. They recognise the evidence and they see the benefit this approach has for their organisation and their people.

Why do you link mindfulness with leadership?

Applying mindfulness to the way we lead can dramatically improve our effectiveness. Monkey’s Paw is one of very few consultancies able to link leadership with mindfulness. We can offer simple leadership services for example, advising on project or programme delivery and organisational design and we can support you in embedding mindfulness in the culture of your organisation, helping you realise the benefits mindfulness can offer.

Why would I embed mindfulness, rather than just offer training?

Having some staff with a mindfulness practice is great. It is likely that they will be (among other things) more resilient and collaborative. But if you apply the principles to your whole organisation, the impact could be far more substantial. Mindfulness can be applied to how you compile your reports, run your meetings, even have conversations with your colleagues. It can transform the culture of your organisation, improving well being and effectiveness.

Sawsan Khuri

Innovation and Cross-sector Collaboration

What is innovation?

Innovation is the process of generating ideas around a theme or challenge, selecting the most desirable, feasible and viable idea and turning it into a reality. The theme or challenge can be to develop a new product, a new market, or a new business process or culture.

How do I know my business needs an innovation specialist?

If your business feels like it needs a new energy, and the issue is not in HR, marketing or sales, then an innovation expert can first help you figure out what your business needs, and then work with you to solve that challenge.

My business is not in tech, is innovation relevant to me?

Yes. Innovation is relevant to every business. As long as you are selling a product to a given market, you need innovation, otherwise your business stagnates either when you have exhausted that market, when your product becomes redundant, or when the world around you changes and you need to figure out how to stay in business.

Can innovation help with business resilience?

Yes. In fact you need to include innovation at every step of your business in order to ensure you are always there with new products, new market or a new business process as your business grows.

Can an issue with diversity and inclusion be solved with innovation?

Yes. In this case the innovation challenge could start with how might you make your business more inclusive, for example. The process will go on to generate ideas with your team, select the most suitable idea(s) and set out an action plan to make it happen.

Jonathan Alder

Brand Development

What is brand?

Your brand is the experience that people have of your business. Good or bad. That customer experience is influenced by every interaction people have with your company, however large or small. It could be shaped by years of using your products as a loyal customer, or it might be formed in a few seconds by reading a single social media post.

In most sectors there is usually little difference between what rival companies are offering. ‘What’ you do is rarely enough to make you stand out. To create a competitive advantage you need to consider ‘How’ you do it, as well. Your brand – through your purpose and values – is a great tool for telling that story.

In times of uncertainty people are looking for something they can trust. Reliability. A point of reference. Something more substantial and durable than price. That’s where your brand gives you a competitive advantage. It gives you the opportunity to be more attractive, more appealing, more relevant and, ultimately, more successful than your rivals.

How can your brand build trust?

Your brand is fundamental to building trust. Understanding how to build trust in your business is always important. But it becomes even more important in a challenging situation.

All successful business relationships are built on trust. When priorities are changing and needs are shifting, it’s trust that will encourage customers to buy from you.

Trust is built on a clear “purpose” – one of the foundations of your brand. Your purpose is a statement that describes why you do business. It describes what motivates you. What this statement does is bring focus. It helps everyone in your business to focus on what you are trying to achieve, and consider their role in achieving that. With a shared purpose it is a lot easier for your business to display trust – and to be trusted by customers.

Trust allows you to do new things with confidence in the outcome. Even when there might be little evidence to support the success of that outcome. If you are looking at an uncertain future, your brand will build the trust you need to succeed.

Why is brand consistency important?

Your brand is fundamental to establishing consistency. There are two dimensions to consistency. The first is consistency in what your business stands for – the values that your business represents. This is captured in your brand strategy. The second dimension is consistency in how you communicate – the image your business projects. This is created by your brand identity. 

There are three benefits to developing a consistent brand:

Firstly, a consistent brand will build trust. The ability to deliver a consistent message, repeatedly, will reassure existing customers. It will also begin to build trust in new customers. This can be particularly valuable if you want to break into new markets.

Secondly, a consistent brand increases recognition of your company and your products and services. It will enable you to raise your profile more effectively, in print and online.

Thirdly, consistent brand saves time. You need a set of rules to follow, that explain how to use the elements of your brand identity. As a result of these rules, you can design your marketing material more quickly.

When should you rebrand?

A rebrand isn’t about changing your logo, it’s about changing perceptions. It’s your opportunity to change the way people see your business. Generally, there are only two situations when you need to consider a rebrand: When your business is changing; or when the sector you operate in is changing. To ensure you remain relevant to your customers in these circumstances, you might want to adapt the way you present your business. 

If there are changes to your business, they are usually something you have planned; the launch of a new range of products, a move into a new sector or perhaps a merger with another company. In these situations a rebranding exercise is a proactive step, to support the broader business strategy.

But changes to your sector are often unanticipated, and always the result of decisions and actions outside your business. This could be the arrival of a new competitor, changes to legislation or simply a change in customer behaviour. The impact of these changes is often (but not always) negative, and a rebranding exercise is part of the business strategy to solve the problem this unanticipated change has created.

Why is rebranding expensive?

Budget is often one of the first considerations for a business considering a rebrand. Many businesses look at rebranding as a cost, so want to keep it as low as possible. But rebranding should really be looked at as an investment in the long-term success of your business. As with any investment, you should expect to see a return.

To do this, you need to begin by having a clear understanding of what it is you want to achieve, as a result of rebranding. The more tangible the goal, the better. So something like, “increase turnover by 10%”, “win one new customer per month” or “break in to a new market”, is great. If you can attach a financial value to your goal, it helps you to see the potential return on any investment you make by rebranding.

When you have an understanding of the potential financial benefit of rebranding, it helps you to put the cost into perspective. “Expensive” is a relative term. The cost of rebranding might seem like a lot of money. But – if you do it right – the return you can generate should make it seem like a wise investment.