Brands: How to ruin your brand in one paragraph…

Brand and LiesLet’s ruin a brand!

Your company spends a great deal of money on developing its brand.  When I received an email at 9:57 AM from a representative of a company that ruins the company’s brand I act!

In one single paragraph, in the first sentence  the salesperson destroyed any chance of a relationship and the company’s brand.  if I did not like the vendor and if I have not previously communicated with the CEO, I would be naming the company.  I would also never use them and would tell you that their behavior is unethical, and if one took that behavior to the logical extreme, how could you trust them with your information.

Salespeople DO NOT DO THIS (ruin brands)!!!

Here is the first sentence of the e-mail, following “Hi Wayne,”

“I called earlier today about scheduling a brief web demonstration on [product]. “

So let us look at the events.  As previously noted, the e-mail was received at 9:57.  I was in my office since 7 AM that day.  My phone never rang.  I received no voice mails.

What is “earlier”?  9AM, 8AM, 7AM?  This e-mail went out at almost 10AM.  Therefore, our salesperson has time referential issues.  He (and it was a “he”) also has issues with the truth.

Why would I want to work with an individual who starts off a conversation is a bold face lie?  I mean, if it were imaginative and you were trying to win a date with me, well maybe – but it really would have to be creative!  But then again, I have been married for almost 30 years, so dating has not happened in a while.

Nonetheless, what school of sales suggests that you make bold face lies?  Exaggerations, of your product, its usefulness, its productivity quotient, maybe, but something so grandiose and easily fact-checked – I guess the guy thinks he’s POTUS?!

What I did, that you should do!

So, I sent the email to the CEO of the company with the following pre-script:

“This type of email degrades your brand.

This buffoon never called.  So, in his first sentence of his pitch he lies.

Shame on you for not managing your people and brand.”

Simple yet direct.  And the CEO responded:

“I appreciate you sending this to me. You’re right.

I’m looking into this today and changes will be made.

Thanks again for taking the time to provide this feedback. You could’ve easily just deleted and ignored this. “

He (the CEO) is correct; I could have deleted the email and never used his company.  I could be bad-mouthing his company, but instead I want him to learn of misdeeds, correct them, and make a better company.

Why?  Do I think I will get any favors?  No, I think I will get a better vendor, and that is money and time well spent.

Lessons Learned

Sales people:  Don’t Lie!!!!!

CEO’s:  Monitor what your Sales People are doing – they can kill your brand!

Potential Customers – Don’t stand for this type of salesmanship!!!!!  Demand honestly from vendors (current and potential).

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) can be of extreme usefulness to management as well as rank and file.  In fact, almost any item can be turned into a metric and measured.  But when are too many KPI’s detrimental?  Additionally, can there be wrong Key Performance Indicators or unfair Key Performance Indicators or metrics whose goal can’t be met?

KPI’s can run the gamut

One could literally have thousands of Key Performance Indicators.  Think about a company that sells items.  Every SKU is its own metric.  Each product group or type.  A metric on customer, customer type, customer location, salesperson, receivables and payables and the list can go on and on.  Let’s not forget the plethora of financial key ratio’s, which are themselves KPI’s.  Then of course we have metrics related to production, employees, vendors, budgets, taxes, revenue streams and an on-going joke on the long-running TV series M*A*S*H, toliet paper. Continue reading »

Six Ways to Curb the Costs of a Data Breach

Data BreachThere was a recent article in by the title as this article.  In the article, the author Rotem Iram uses the hypothesis about a data breach that “You can’t lose a customer’s or an employee’s data if you don’t have it.”  Essentially this article says ” A good offense will be your best defense.”

Data Breach

Therefore, you are a victim of a data breach.  As I have written previously, it is not an “if,” it is a “when” scenario.  How can you minimize the costs involved from both complying with federal, state and local laws and minimize regulator, if any, fines.

Mr. Iram’s contention, not to keep any data, specifically, data that will cost you money.

For example, if you do not keep customer’s addresses, you can be required to mail via the US Postal Service a letter telling them they’ve been hacked.

However, before he even proposed that ditty, he said destroy those records.  His example on the surface makes sense; but if he were a CFO and not the CEO of a company that provides Cyber-Insurance he would know you just can’t do that willy nilly.

His example, “In 2015, the health insurer Anthem and its affiliates served 69 million customers, yet when they were breached that year, they exposed 78 million records.  The extra nine million records most likely come from former customers.”

Now granted you can archive off-line old addresses.  You can even destroy records that meet the statutory maximum age.  However, he glossed over that point.

Not everything was off the cuff

He did make some very valid points.

  1. Make sure you log files capture the right data to prove that “even if they were attacked, no records were improperly accessed.”
  2. If you take credit-cards, make sure to only use chip readers. “MasterCard reported a 54% reduction in counterfeit card fraud costs at retailers who have switched to chip cards.”
  3. While he didn’t say this, I will suggest that you don’t keep records of the credit card transactions. Use a 3rd party merchant that is PCI compliant and just sends you the pertinent data for finalizing your order as being paid.  As Mr. Iram said, if you don’t have the data, you can be held responsible.
  4. If you get breached, get experienced people to work the breach, your response and the on-going public relations nightmare.
  5. Lastly, which really should have been the first thing mentioned in this article; implement state of the art counter-cyber intrusion systems. They may not stop a breach but they do show that you have done everything possible which could minimize any fines or court awards when you lose the law suit(s) that will be filed.

Marketing: Obvious false statements just doesn’t help!

Marketing ShysterMarketing

I just received this email… and it made me chuckle….


From: Eric Johnson <>

Subject: * SBA.NET.WEB approved at 3.75%

Good morning Wayne!

Just wanted to follow-up on our conversation that we had last November 11th, in regards to  SBA.NET.WEB’s new projects. We ran a D&B analysis and you scored 76 out of 80 which places you at the top tier in your industry. We still have  SBA.NET.WEB approved for a line of credit at 3.75% with access to funds for at least $324,646.00. These funds can be used for unsecured working capital lines of credit or new and used equipment purchases.

Call anytime to confirm exact numbers for your funds or simply click here to get a free quote.

My Best,

Eric Johnson
President of Financial Services

(949) 390-5411 Office
(949) 242-2697 Fax

“This communication is confidential and may be legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, (i) please do not read or disclose to others, (ii) please notify the sender by reply mail, and (iii) please delete this communication from your system. Failure to follow this process may be unlawful. Thank you for your cooperation.”

Copyright © 2017 US Business Funding
Our address is 1 MacArthur Pl #350, Santa Ana, CA 92707If you do not wish toreceive future email, click here.

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For a CFO, How Important Is Industry Knowledge?

Just quoted in CFO Magazine.


CFO Magazine

In our Proformative question of the week, Wayne Spivak, president and CFO at, writes:

How important is industry knowledge to the CFO? My thesis is that all businesses are about 90% the same. They all have cash-flow issues, budgeting, products and/or services, ownership (of some type), taxes, and compliance issues.

Yes, depending on the industry, sector or sub-sector there are differences (about 5%-8%), but CFOs as smart, energetic individuals can solve those issues by either a) learning them or b) using subject matter experts (which they will need regardless, since one can’t be a CFO and a SME on all subjects).

The last 2%-5% is company culture.

So, how important is industry knowledge to the CFO?

Answering the question, one consultant says while many skills are transferable across industries, the 90% level Wayne refers to above is likely lower.

Engineer in nuclear power station“There are many new-age industries emerging — high tech, data-driven service companies, a move to subscription revenue models, etc., that have nuances that not everyone has encountered in their careers,” says the consultant. “So in some cases I can see that the 90% level of commonality could be as low as 50% to 60%.”

Indeed, other respondents seem to think that industry knowledge is an imperative.

One European finance executive writes: “You don’t have to have it to begin with and you can certainly make improvements to a company’s bottom-line from a purely financial perspective; however, if you want to provide strategic business support to the CEO you better show you understand the industry.”

Agreeing, another finance executive says, “You cannot make the best decisions on numbers alone.”

But is industry knowledge really the expertise that the CFO needs to be a strategic partner to the CEO? A CFO responding to the post questions the premise:

“There is a propensity to conflate industry and business model,” he writes. [In my opinion], what is important is to understand the business model. Industry knowledge is much more constraining for the company and business models are easier to change or refine.”

He then provides an example: “In the SaaS world … where subscription models/contracts vary widely, [a CFO’s] revenue recognition knowledge from a different company may be useless to the new company.”

To see the responses to the question in depth or to add your own perspective to the conversation, go to the discussion on the Proformative website (registration required).

To find the CFO Magazine Article: