About our founder

Michelle Strydom

Michelle Strydom

A global sales expert destined to sell, lead and coach
With a sales career spanning over 20 years, Michelle Strydom, the founder of The SMG Group, is a brilliant and accomplished sales and business leader with an impeccable pedigree, who’s mastered and honed her discipline at the coalface, as the head of multiple global sales and retention teams.

At the peak of her game, leading a sales team for a FTSE-listed multi-national, she took its closing average from 20% to a staggering 65% in just one year, and its retention rate from 88% to 97%.

Making her mark as a regional sales manager
With her vibrant personality and dynamic presence, it didn’t take long for her impressive people skills and precocious talent to be noticed: by late 1998, she had already risen up the ranks to regional sales manager.

Chalking up contract win after contract win, she routinely outsmarted the competition with her uncanny ability to close deals with even the most improbable clients, and with less than two years sales experience under her belt, she had already been awarded membership of the company’s elite Millionaires Sales Club.

It didn’t just end there, though. Having repeatedly “hurt” her rivals in her designated territory, the competition had noticed Michelle’s gifted talents too.

Career move to Fortune 500 multinational catapults Michelle into the big-time
In 2001, a FTSE-listed Fortune Global 500 company with an extensive global footprint approached Michelle with an opportunity she couldn’t refuse and in July of that year, she joined them as a sales manager.

During this time, Michelle’s exceptional selling abilities truly came to the fore, with one of her most memorable achievements coming when she signed up the same three global clients she had acquired for her previous employer—a testament to her outstanding sales skills and strong client relationships.

Another stand-out highlight for her was winning the “National Sales Manager of the Year” award consecutively in 2003 and 2004 for the whole of South Africa, together with CEO’s Awards for Consistent Service Excellence and Outstanding Performance.

Promotion to global position
With her unmatched skills a highly-prized commodity at global level, it was perhaps inevitable that she would be promoted to a global development director position in February 2005, based in Dubai, UAE.

However, she returned to South Africa for a brief stint in September 2009, when she was promoted to an executive board position as sales director responsible for sales and business growth in Southern Africa, selling solutions across all business sectors.

Global appointment sees Michelle head up the Middle East
Having not just survived, but excelled in, a decade-long stretch in sales, Michelle’s passion, thirst for success, indomitable determination, and sheer hard work reached a climax in 2011 when she was further promoted to the sales and retention director’s position for the entire Middle East – a prized executive position at board level that she served in for over six years.

Working with in-country sales teams, Michelle led a team of sales and retention professionals responsible for retention and business growth for all private and government sectors for UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Michelle chalks up some impressive numbers – and taps new business opportunities
During this period, her team gained over 230 new contracts in UAE worth over $275m in annual revenue, at a sales conversion rate of 60%, under her leadership.

Furthermore, leading the retention strategy for the group’s Top 50 clients, she dramatically improved its retention rate in the region from 88% to 97% during the same period.

Spotting an untapped niche opportunity in Qatar and Egypt’s healthcare sector, she also launched a new revenue driver for the group by capturing eight new hospitals in 2015 and 2016 exceeding $31m.

Drawing on her deep sales, retention and leadership insights, Michelle spreads her wings into her own venture
Having scaled the summit of global success, with so many impressive wins and awards under her belt in her illustrious 20-year plus career, Michelle is more than ready to take the next step in her career and excited at the opportunity to give back the expertise she’s acquired, helping executive leaders and their teams to maximise their human potential whilst optimising shareholder value and ROI.

Beyond her stellar career in sales, Michelle is also a proficient public speaker and presenter and won Toastmaster “Best Speaker of the Year” and “Toastmaster of the Year” awards back in South Africa.

Michelle loves to travel and, in the little spare downtime she has, escapes to the African bush to feed her soul.