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Sales Prospecting

How Herschel Oppel Leveraged His Job Connections to Boost His Start-Up Sales

When Herschel Oppel left his senior position at Platinum Group to launch his own start-up, he knew that the secret to his success would be his ability to access CEOs at major retailers.

Nadine Todd



Herschel Oppel

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Vital stats:

  • Player: Herschel Oppel
  • Company: Retail Revolution Group
  • Past achievements: Group MD, Platinum Group (Holders of Jenni Button, Hilton Weiner, Urban Degree, Aca Joe and Vertical Clothing retail brands)
  • Contact: +27 (0)82 559 3004


In Brief

  • Understanding – and leveraging – corporate pain points
  • Systematic relationship building for B2B sales
  • The art of sales pipelines and the trick of always closing.

Inspire Yourself

Start every year by envisioning what your best year ever looks like. Once you have that, you can set your mission and targets to achieve that year. Without targets, you’re shooting blind, and you’ll never achieve phenomenal sales results. You need to know what to chase.

Related: Before You Quit Your Job, Do These 10 Things 

When Herschel Oppel left his senior management position at retail giant Platinum Group to launch his own retail consultancy, he knew that the secret to his success would be his ability to access CEOs at major retailers. As anyone who has worked (or tried to work) with corporates knows, accessing the decision-maker is difficult enough; holding their attention even more so.

“What’s become apparent is that reputation is key. Most of my industry experience so far was spent at the Platinum Group, and I’m not afraid to use it. I was instrumental in the turnaround of the Aca Joe brand, and that, along with 15 years of management and senior management experience, gives me credibility

I can leverage when asking for a meeting.

“CEOs and senior managers are incredibly busy. Before you approach a retail group or corporate, understand that you’re asking for a slice of very valuable time, so you’d better make the meeting worth their while.

“For me, that means that first meeting is never about the pitch. It’s a relationship builder. I use my contacts, network and in many cases LinkedIn to ask for a chat over coffee. I don’t indicate I have a sales pitch I’d like to share. This is all about the prospect, and sharing my story.

“Once we do meet, I tell them details about Aca Joe’s turnaround, and what I’ve learnt from my 13 years of annual trips to the UK and Europe, evaluating the best global retail brands. The more personal the better – relationships are built on personal stories, and credibility is the direct result of offering valuable ideas, so it’s a two pronged meeting.

“I want the CEO I’m meeting with to walk away feeling smarter and more informed for having spent an hour with me; I want them to return to the office with some new ideas about how the industry greats are approaching their sector, and how they can leverage those ideas in their business. And I want them to feel like they know me, and can therefore trust me.

“Based on this, I then ask for a second meeting, and that’s when I really come prepared. It takes a large amount of time and effort on my part, so I need to be sure that this really is a company that I want to do business with, and that is interested in potentially doing business with me, before I formulate the pitch.

“And then I become a mystery shopper at their stores. The best way to find pain points and devise solutions is to experience the brand. I formulate a strategy based on careful analysis of my personal experiences with the brand, benchmarked against international standards, and with a number of solutions ranging across budgets.

Again, I’m drawing on the first meeting, where if I did my job right, the CEO shared some of his pain points with me, enabling me to understand his business needs better.

Related: 5 Questions Struggling Entrepreneurs Must Ask Before Taking a Job

If I can’t prove the value I’m adding there and then, there won’t be a third meeting. Corporate decisions take time. Show the value upfront, build relationships, and don’t be afraid to leverage your networks and experience.

“At the end of the day, corporates are made up of people, and people do business with people, so be a supplier or partner they can trust.”

Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.

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Sales Prospecting

Empower Your Team To Make More Sales

The answer is not simple. However Leadify’s CEO, Grant Fleming shares several strategies that can help.

Grant Fleming




Much like the business cliché that your company is only as strong as its people, in marketing, behind every successful marketing campaign there is an empowered team. But how do you help your team increase their sales?

The answer is not simple. However Leadify’s CEO, Grant Fleming shares several strategies that can help:

1. Become clever at dealing with data

It is essential that teams have the right platform at their disposal to reach the agreed-to goals. Teams also need to become more adept at dealing with data to learn about their customers. Teams should segment data, send marketing messages and receive instant feedback to learn from. They should also optimise their messages and dig into the demographics of their audience.

2. Curate your audience

The above enables teams to curate, and continuously engage with their audience. One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is focusing their communication to a base, instead of cultivating an audience through learning from insights and feedback. This doesn’t foster an incentive to learn anything from one week or one campaign to the next. Teams end up sending out an email/SMS blast one week after another, with the same results.

Related: What Really Drives Sales Growth And Repeat Business?

3. Market more smartly

Rather than marketing ‘harder’, teams should be marketing smarter. There are a few ways to do this. Given teams have the appropriate automated marketing tools at their disposal, they can automate certain repetitive activities so that they continue to learn while the system executes.

Teams are also best served by breaking down their goals into measurable insights and build logical marketing lists (data lists) rather than lumping everything into one list. Often, splitting data by its original source works well, but so does sectioning lists according to category.

Consider using “Remarketing” for the direct marketing space too. This is similar to AdWords marketing, where teams ‘slice and dice’ their data, and insights about engaged audiences are retargeted using the platform.

The other options is “Long Run” campaigns. Here a campaign is live over a longer period of time, essentially establishing a level of cadence for direct marketing efforts. 

4. Do lean marketing

To empower your team, adopt a lean marketing process. This sees teams marketing in small batches, sending e.g. 2000 SMSs, reviewing the results, then another 2000, and then tweaking the marketing message if needed.

By sending five different marketing messages, your marketing teams will be able to whittle down to the top two that returned the best results, and then scale them up.

This, rather than just sending a million SMSs (for example) to your entire database, is a lean marketing approach that can help your team incrementally improve their efforts for an optimal return.

Related: What You Need To Know About The Lean Start-up Model

5. Value testing and metrics

Both testing and metrics are critical to helping your marketing team become more successful, with A/B testing in particular critical for learning.

When you tweak campaigns, resist the urge to make larger changes; these make it difficult to measure results. Rather do small-batch testing, even if it is just from your newsletters. Try and bleed the marketing messages out over a logical timeframe – don’t just blast out to the entire list in one go.

Regarding metrics, concentrate not only on the number of messages sent, but clicks and click-through rates as well as conversions, even if the latter happens down the line. Understanding these metrics across demographics is equally important, as this allows you to curate audiences that you can personalise marketing to.

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Sales Prospecting

3 Ways You Should Use Data Science To Skyrocket Sales

Sales business is getting harder and more competitive day after day. Both physical retail and e-commerce offer a wide variety of brands and products, which makes it more difficult for an average sales person to seal the deal with potential customers.

Olivia Ryan



Data Science

Sales professionals have to be clever and extremely analytical before even approaching their clients. That’s why they use data science to skyrocket business. Data science is a contemporary statistical model which seeks to provide meaningful information from large amounts of complex data.

According to the study, this type of business analytics is expected to generate almost USD170 billion in 2018. If you want to keep the business stable and highly profitable, you should consider embracing data science in everyday work. This post will show you 3 ways to do it successfully.

Prospect Analysis

Data science is based on artificial intelligence that has enough analytical power to give you remarkable insights into the traits of all prospects. Using this tool, you can personalise sales negotiations so as to match the exact needs of each client individually.

For example, data science will tell you the basic demographic features like age, gender, and location. But it goes beyond that and reveals income levels, professional titles, or personal interests based on online searches. All these inputs allow you to customise offers according to client’s preferences.

At the same time, you can prioritise prospects based on company size, predicted revenue, long-term potential, industry influence, or any other feature you might consider relevant to your business. This way, you can dedicate more time to the more important prospects and increase profitability just because you know who to talk to first.


It’s much simpler to sell products to existing customers than to attract new buyers. Data science can help you to upsell products and increase the profit using the base of loyal clients.

Related: What Really Drives Sales Growth And Repeat Business?

The system is simple – data science analyses the purchasing history and the preferences of every customer and suggests complementary products. That way, you make sure that your upselling suggestions stay relevant, which not only reduces bounce rates but also strengthens the base of loyal clients.

Create Ambitious Sales Quotas

Creating sales quotas has never been an easy job. Most companies are selling dozens of products in many cities, regions, or even countries, which makes it difficult for sales managers to manually determine ambitious but realistic quotas for their agents.

It’s actually one of the biggest reasons why managers underperform and fail to meet company requirements. However, data science makes this task a lot easier because it can automatically conduct the research and decide how much is enough for every sales representative in your team.

Company Aussie Writings uses data science to make sales forecasts and here’s what they say about it: “The new business analytics model goes through huge volumes of data within minutes, detect sales trends, and givesus a good plan for each agent, product, or region. With such powerful tool at our disposal, we don’t put too much pressure on sales representatives, but we also don’t have to worry about underachievement.”

The benefits of data science

Data science helps businesses to analyse potential clients more comprehensively and increases the odds of keeping sales high in the long run. It’s a perfect model for entrepreneurs who want to stay competitive in the abundance of brands, products, and services.

Related: Get Those Quotas Moving (Upward!) In 2018! 5 Things Your Salespeople Can Do

In this post, we showed you 3 ways you should use data science to skyrocket sales. Which tip could give your company the biggest boost? Let us know in comments and don’t hesitate to ask us if you need any additional information about this topic.

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Company Posts

Exclusive Offer: Get 50% Off For This Premium Masterclass On Influence And Persuasion

Sales are the life blood of any business and the ability to make sales is a critical component of a business regardless of its size. But one of the biggest ongoing challenges for many entrepreneurs and sales people is to find new business.

Matt Brown



matt-brown_sales masterclass

Special offer exclusive to Entrepreneur Mag readers

  1. Visit
  2. Just above the “Order now!” button, click on the “Use a promotion code” link
  3. Copy and paste this word in: MATTROCKS!
  4. Now you will see that a ticket is R125 instead of R250

What to expect from the masterclass

Over the past decade, many marketing options have been promoted as “sales prospecting tools” with very limited results for sales people. The reality is that nobody cares about you, your company or your products. They only care about if they can be better off from buying what you are selling.

Understanding how to influence and ultimately persuade someone to buy from you is the secret to sustainable sales success and business growth.

The Matt Brown Show partners with Sales Guru and The Influence Institute for this ‘one of a kind’ show. The expert panel consists of Gilan Gork, Expert Mentalist; Mark Keating, CEO of Sales Guru and Matt Brown, CEO of Matt Brown Media and host of The Matt Brown Show.

Together they will explore the topic of how to use influence and persuasion to get what you want in business.

Why you should attend

Every business owner will agree that in 2018 the ability to make sales is the ultimate game in business. Whether it’s selling a product or a service, knowing how to sell yourself and your ideas to decision makers is critical. With the competitive nature of a business, everyone should be learning more to get a competitive edge over their competitors.

Mark Keating, CEO of SALESGURU had this to say to entrepreneurs: “Do you know what sucks more than cold calling? Being broke”.

Gilan Gork, an expert in influence and the founder of the Influence Institute had this to say about influence:

“People under estimate the relevance that influence has in all our lives. From leadership to sales, from social to personal, and even the ability to influence ourselves in what we do every day in business.”

Who is the masterclass for

The Sales and Persuasion Masterclass is for entrepreneurs, business owners, small businesses, sales teams and anyone who sells a service or product or just wanting to learn how to sell themselves better.

The Show takes place on 4 April at Mesh Club, Rosebank, Johannesburg. Limited seats are available and we advise that you book your seat here today still to avoid disappointment.

“The ability to get what you want in business is a skill that anyone can learn but very few ever master. Understanding how to influence and ultimately persuade someone to buy from you is the secret to sustainable sales success and business growth”, said Matt Brown.

Follow Matt Brown:

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