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About Michael Saklad

Early in my career I noticed that many good companies selling good products at good prices work hard to get customers to buy from them, yet too often see them go with competitors.

To change this outcome for clients, I investigate how corporate decision makers think and act when comparing and buying often complex offerings from them and from their rivals.

Combined with an understanding of my clients’ businesses and capabilities, I apply this knowledge to help them achieve the strategic advantage that leads to lasting, profitable growth.

I also apply it to bridge the critical gap that frequently separates the worlds of corporate customers from the worlds of technology vendors and can hobble that growth.

To this work I bring long experience and a proven process that together help clients make successful strategy decisions in highly competitive environments.

Behind this work stands my technical bent (I first took advanced math and physics at Yale); my subsequent degree there in the social sciences; and participation in the executive program in marketing management and strategy at Columbia's School of Business.

Over the years I have thus made a specialty of advising and coaching business-to-business companies, from global enterprises to local startups, on how to unlock their full potential from my offices in New York and Paris.

The Saklad Method

The in-depth interviews I conduct for clients with buyers at some of the world’s largest companies have led to fundamental realizations about why so many business strategies fail, and what to do about it.

I have distilled these realizations and their analysis into the powerful, disciplined process known as The Saklad Method. It applies across all industries and is described here.

This process has served as a flexible framework for helping clients untangle complex strategy issues and take decisive action in sectors stretching from computer hardware and software, business services, telecommunications, healthcare and genetic engineering, to public health and the environment, among others.

What sets my business apart

When clients call in a strategy consultant, I believe they want and deserve concrete results, not generic advice or cookie-cutter reports that gather dust on shelves.

Clients say my business helps them achieve these results better than other consulting firms by having a bulletproof process for analyzing problems; acute listening skills; the ability to hear and heed the customer imperative at every step in building and implementing strategies; and the capacity to provide powerful strategies and tailored guidance that solve their problems.

Delivering results

To achieve the results they seek, I advise and coach C-level executives, strategy officers, business-unit heads, product managers, sales-and-marketing managers and their teams at companies in the U.S. and Europe.

These organizations range in size from large enterprises like Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Perot Systems, Alcatel-Lucent and France Telecom to smaller firms like Bull Computer and startups like Grif and Transgene, among many others.

I show them how to:

  • Apply a disciplined process for thinking, planning and acting strategically

  • Develop strategies that provide solid foundations for profitable growth

  • Build differentiation into offerings to gain competitive advantage in customers’ minds and win their business lastingly

  • Bridge the growth-stifling divide that separates many vendors selling technology offerings from customers wanting to buy business benefits

  • Pick markets that offer the best opportunities for achieving success at the lowest risk

  • Focus minds and resources on supporting customer- and market-centered strategies

  • Define criteria for prioritizing capital expenditures that achieve strategic goals

In addition to advising and coaching executives and managers, I also execute projects for them where I have:

  • Spelled out the often complex, multilayer process that corporates typically use when evaluating, comparing and purchasing offerings from competing vendors

  • Identified the business benefits that corporate decision makers and influencers value when making buying decisions, and advised on designing offerings that deliver those benefits to outsmart rivals who concentrate on speeds and feeds

  • Detected and helped capture a large, unoccupied space in the minds of corporate customers that competitors didn’t see, which the client then turned into a $1 billion business in under 12 months

  • Enabled a global client’s management to make better-informed business, product and marketing decisions by providing a report with actionable information on the thought processes, selection criteria and buying behavior of 15 CIOs and IT managers I interviewed in the U.S. and Europe for the project

  • Helped a start-up understand why customers preferred competitors’ offerings through a report that revealed the critical gap between the vendor’s technical offerings and buyers’ business needs; and advised the client on how to close this gap and overcome customer resistance

  • Detailed the pressing issues facing 22 senior customer decision makers I interviewed, and provided guidance on the design and delivery of products and services to help the global client retain these large customers and win new accounts

  • Devised communications strategies that deliver value-proposition and differentiation messages to targeted groups of decision makers and influencers active in the buying process

A little more about myself

As an American, spending half my life in Europe has helped me learn the codes of different cultures, and how to apply them to viewing and solving business problems in new ways. Living in France has also made me aware of the diversity of local traditions, and brought me closer to the environment and the land on which we live and which nourishes us.

I have a long and abiding interest in Western classical music, chamber music in particular, and in the visual and performing arts of India, including Carnatic and Hindustani music. Someday I hope to learn to play the Carnatic violin of South India. But I fear that day is a long ways off!