Creating Your Marketing and Sales Strategies
Case In Point: Finis Conner, A Salesforce of One
In 1961 Finis Conner headed for California with $100 in his pockets. After a studying at San Jose State University he worked at the Memorex Corporation where he met his future business partner, Alan Shugart. Together they founded Shugart Associates in 1973, where they produced and sold 8″ hard disk drives. The company was sold to Xerox Corporation in 1977.
In 1979, Finis Conner approached Shugart to create and market 5.25-inch hard disk drives. Together they founded Seagate Technology and by the end of 1979 had announced the ST-506 drive. This drive is known as the father of all PC hard disk drives.
In 1985 Conner “went in search of a product to sell.” That product was the 3.5-inch hard drive. In 1986, Conner left Seagate, founded Conner Peripherals Inc. and built the first high-volume 3.5-inch disk drives. Without Conner’s pioneering development of compact hard disks, the current crop of light, rugged, powerful notebook computers would still be a dream.
By 1987 Conner Peripherals had sales of $113 million; the company had $256 million in 1988, $705 million in 1989, and $1.4 billion in its 4th year of sales. By Conner’s sixth year of full operations the company had attained an astounding sales level of $2.2 billion with $1.4 billion or 61%, of those sales coming from overseas.
In 1996 Seagate Technology and Conner Peripherals merged under Seagate Technology Inc. which became the single-largest company in the storage industry. Industry insiders said this of Finis, “Conner’s reputation as a salesman and entrepreneur was set.” Conner said this of himself, “What did it take to make these kind of sales? First, 95% sales ability and second, lots of hard work–as in 12 days a week of hard work with 400,000 air miles per year.”