Can You Cut A Sliver?

I was reminded just now of a thoroughly decent chap called Dylan.  I met him around twenty years ago whilst he was doing a PhD on how small businesses make strategic decisions.  He is now a leading academic with specialisations including how such small enterprises become world-class.

About ten years ago excitement grew that SMEs could genuinely break-out globally from the limitless web opportunities opening up.  Computer Weekly reported on such hopes at the time. These high-growth, less constrained micro-multinational players were termed ‘sliver’ companies.

Such companies held traits that could be successfully adopted by many solution selling salespeople across their patch.

They focus exclusively on a tiny market or niche.  This leverages unparalleled expertise to discourage competition.  They push a significant technological leadership.  They tend to enjoy applicability on a global scale.  They pour huge sums into R&D.

In many ways these characteristics show one element on the roadmap to individual territory management success.  Adaptations could include:

  • be brutal with market definition, to the point of excluding potential business and maintain close relationships with each person that could buy
  • how can you demonstrate your individual expertise?
  • what is your specific technological (or procedural) edge?
  • can you tell relevant stories regardless of world-wide location?
  • what’s your personal equivalent of large R&D spend (what more can you do with your downtime)?

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