Lagging productivity leaves Canada behind

January 23rd, 2011 by

I read an article in the Financial Post entitled, “Lagging productivity leaves Canada behind as U.S. rebounds, Carney says,” that outline the concerns of Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney that Canada’s failure to improve its competitiveness over the years won’t allow the country to “fully benefit” compared to a much-improved outlook for the United States.

Listed below are a few outtakes from the article:

• Outlook for global growth to four per cent in 2011, from 3.5 per cent. But the central bank governor said Canada is unlikely to “fully benefit” from the upgrade due to heightened “competitive challenges” the country faces.
• “We have lost competitiveness over a number of years,” Carney told reporters in Ottawa. “This is a product of the level of the currency. It is also a product of a relatively poor productivity performance vis-a-vis the U.S., but also … compared to other countries exporting into the United States as well.”
• The Bank of Canada said Canadian productivity, since the first quarter of 2005, has grown at an average annual rate of just 0.5 per cent, compared with 2.1 per cent in the United States.

I have firsthand experience of what Mark Carney is saying about Canadians lack of competitiveness; POIM makes lots of phone calls into companies that sell products and services asking if we can meet with them to discuss how they can improve sales and marketing productivity, and the response is not always positive. Listed below is a sample of some of the responses we get from companies when we ask if we can provide more information regarding improving sales and marketing productivity by implementing a CRM:

• doesn’t sound like something that would be of interest to them
• They do have a sales team there but not interested in learning about what we offer
• they have a sales team of 2 people and have no need to improve productivity as everything is fine where it is
• they have a sales team of 5 people right now but at this time she is not interested in learning more about what we offer
• Said he is quite happy with where things are at and does not feel a need to change
• was told they already have someone who looks after everything
• Spoke to GM who said he is the person who would be responsible for sales but has absolutely no interested in learning more about what we have to offer
• spoke to Stacey and he said that they have no interest in changing anything

I am not saying all companies need to accept my request for an appointment to speak to them about our products and services, but I strongly agree with Mark Carney that Canadian need to make productivity improvement a priority. If Canadians don’t change from “not interested”, “we have everything we need” and “don’t need to change” the negative impact will be significant.

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