A sales veteran with over 30 years of experience, Peter Gilbert is MD of HR Chally SA (, an international sales consulting company specialising in talent management and recruitment. He is passionate about sales as a profession and the identification of real sales talent who can really sell! Email him at
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Which do we need? More sales education or sales training?

Although there are an encouraging number of exceptions, tertiary academic institutions around the world have largely ignored sales, dismissing it as a craft or a trade, not worthy of...

By Peter Gilbert 13 Jul 2014

[2013 trends] Reinventing the sales function

Belatedly, sales - long the corporate stepchild - is emerging not only as a topic worthy of academic and executive attention but also as the business function where substantive improvement is not only doable but also capable of delivering extremely attractive improvements in shareholder returns.

By Peter Gilbert 17 Jan 2013

Building a great sales force

Many businesses are primarily sales organisations - nothing more and nothing less. They generally do not bring huge intellectual capital to the equation, they do not make anything, they have no factories to distract them, they generally have no complex supply chain to manage, they buy something or acquire the mandate to sell something, and then they sell it.

By Peter Gilbert 27 Nov 2012

The sales professional is the sale

What's the most influential factor in business-to-business sales? Surprisingly, it's you - the sales professional.

By Peter Gilbert 17 May 2012

What will the B2B salesperson of tomorrow look like?

The new sales professional has a new focus: demand creation, philosophical alignment, in-depth understanding of the customer's business, positioning, executive credibility and the ability to create business solutions that deliver demonstrable financial value to a customer's business.

By Peter Gilbert 14 Jun 2011

The most vexing problem confronting sales

In an increasingly commoditised and transparent global environment, it is becoming harder and harder for companies to maintain their profit margins selling traditional products and services. Well-established businesses are finding that product/service-based differentiation is more costly and difficult to maintain than ever before, and the resulting product differences are increasingly less meaningful.

By Peter Gilbert 20 Sep 2010

The changing role of sales in banking

Given the importance of "rainmakers" to the financial wellbeing of a bank, you could be excused for assuming that banks would be highly focused on recruiting and retaining the best sales talent available. But, you would be wrong!

By Peter Gilbert 22 Jul 2010

Differentiation in a commoditised environment

It is now a business truism that products and services are becoming commoditised more rapidly than ever before, and margins of most industrial businesses are under increasing pressure. Winning companies are, however, discovering that if you cannot differentiate yourself by what you sell, and you cannot differentiate yourself by how you sell, you will, by default, have to differentiate yourself by how much you sell it for.

By Peter Gilbert 1 Apr 2010

Turning up the volume of the customer's voice

In the 1980s, America wrested the America's Cup from New Zealand by resorting to radical change, and competing with a catamaran which comprehensively outperformed New Zealand's conventional monohull in the prevailing light winds off California. Much the same situation prevails in selling in recessionary markets.

By Peter Gilbert 9 Feb 2010

Beware the sales tsunami

Two trillion dollars worth of transactions every day. Planet Earth is open for business. And it never stops. Businesses selling to consumers. Businesses selling to other businesses. The global economy is expanding rapidly. Each year over fifty million businesses are created. It's chaotic, hyper-competitive. What does this mean for sales?

By Peter Gilbert 6 Nov 2009

Boost your sales performance: work smart

The old debate about whether salespeople are born or made rages on, but it is really a non-argument these days, and great salespeople require a combination of natural talent and the skills acquired through training, practice, coaching, reading, continuous self-improvement and motivation. Here are a few suggestions on working smart

By Peter Gilbert 27 Oct 2009

More to value propositions than meets the eye

Since the emergence of organised selling, generations of salespeople have been steeped in the traditions of FAB (features, advantages and benefits) and the old favourite, the USP (unique selling proposition). These simple concepts served generations of salespeople well. However, markets have changed, rendering these familiar, rather product-centric tools all but obsolete.

By Peter Gilbert 2 Jun 2009

The “secrets” of sales success?

Amazingly, I still receive a stream of advertisements, articles and promotional material promising to reveal “The Secrets” that will guarantee success in sales. As Jeff Foxworthy, well-known ‘Red Neck' comedian, said of Victoria's Secret (purveyors of sexy/scanty lingerie): “Victoria's Secret doesn't have a whole lot of secrets anymore.” I suspect that this applies, at least in some degree, to sales as well.

By Peter Gilbert 13 May 2009

The trouble with personality tests

Personality tests are a popular component of many organisations' hiring processes. As these tests contend to measure traits and characteristics that remain stable over time, it is intuitive to believe information regarding candidates' individual differences in these areas would be helpful when making selection decisions. Yet evidence supporting the usefulness of personality tests in the hiring process has been called into serious question.

By Peter Gilbert 5 Sep 2008

Peddler or sales professional?

Much of what we know about sales and selling originates in the US. As the early pioneers spread out across America and created many new and essentially rural communities, the first salespeople, the peddlers soon followed. This American experience has been, to some degree, mirrored in many other countries, including South Africa.

By Peter Gilbert 25 Aug 2008

The case for sales force transformation

It is becoming increasingly difficult for companies to differentiate themselves by what they sell. If they are unwilling to differentiate themselves by how they sell, then they will, by default, end up differentiating themselves by how much they sell it for.

By Peter Gilbert 13 Aug 2008

Types of salespeople: the display salesperson

In the fourth of my series on profiling types of salepeople, I take a look at the Quadrant IV or display salesperson, who is required if products are standardised, commodity products or services.

By Peter Gilbert 9 Jul 2008

Types of salespeople: the relationship profile

In this, the third of my series on types of salespeople, I take a look at the relationship salesperson (QIII), who is typically hard working, conservative in his or her views and very protective of “his” or “her” customers.

By Peter Gilbert 4 Jul 2008

Profiling the consultive salesperson

In the second of my series on types of salespeople, the focus is the quadrant 2 (QII) consultive salesperson. Consultive salespeople are amongst the most difficult to find because it is a conceptual sale, focusing more on business outcomes or results, than product features and benefits. Unlike closers, consultive salespeople often move comfortably into management roles.

By Peter Gilbert 19 Jun 2008

Types of salespeople: the closer

The Quadrant 1(QI) salesperson is the most famous (or possibly infamous) sales type - the closer.

By Peter Gilbert 10 Jun 2008

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