Archive for the ‘Sales Model’ Category

Product Management vs Product Marketing Activities

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February 22, 2014 · by Ray · Business Solutions, Marketing, Sales Model

Titles really are a mess. What one company calls a product manager, another calls a product marketing manager. It is best to be aware of this and to focus on the activities required. Also where these people do not exist in an organisation other departments fill the void. So the activities may be performed (poorly) by technical, sales, operations or marketing communications.

Typically the title “product manager” is used to signify people who listen to the market and articulate the market problems in the form of requirements. And the title “product marketing manager” is usually assigned to those who take the resulting product to the market by defining a product marketing strategy.

In Crossing the Chasm, Geoff Moore defines (and recommends) two separate positions:

A Product Manager (PM) listens to the market

PM“A product manager is a member of either the marketing organization or the development organization who is responsible for ensuring that a product gets created, tested, and shipped on schedule and meets specifications. It is a highly internally focused job, bridging the marketing and development organizations, and requiring a high degree of technical competence and project management experience.”

 

A Product Marketing Manager (PMM) talks to the market

PMM“A product marketing manager is always a member of the marketing organization, never of the development group, and is responsible for bringing the product to the marketplace and to the distribution organization… it is a highly externally focused job.”

 

In reality, there is a blurring of activities and the captions used (talking and listening) are used for simplicity, clarity and guidance rather than laws. The activities performed by the roles are as follows:

Product Management Activities

  • Define Market Opportunity,
  • Define User Personas for individual products.
  • Create Product Requirements & Use Scenarios,
  • Analyse Competitive Landscape,
  • Define Product Differentiation & Position Product,
  • Create Business Case, Acquire Funding,
  • Create Product Roadmap, Develop Product,
  • Launch Product, Manage Product Lifecycle.

Product Marketing Management Activities

  • Articulate Product Objectives,
  • Articulate Product detail ( differentiation, positioning, applications, pricing and USP), Understand Market (needs, problems,& segmentation, priority, size, customer profiles and purchase processes),
  • Understand Competition,
  • Build Go to Market plan ( value proposition, sales process, select/create sales channels and objectives, message map, demand generation strategy, promotion strategy, sales guide, sales support & collateral, sales training, pipeline management, metrics, systems, budget, schedule),
  • Execute Plan ( launch event, launch team).
  • Conduct Win/Loss analysis.

 Director, Product Strategy Activities

In organisations where a Director, Product Strategy exists then they may take on more of  the strategic and less tactical activities.

  • Discover and validate market problems (both existing and future customers)
  • Seek new market opportunities by leveraging the company’s distinctive competence
  • Define and size market segments
  • Conduct win/loss analysis
  • Determine the optimum distribution strategy
  • Provide oversight of strategy, technical, and marketing aspects of all products in the portfolio
  • Analyze product profitability and sales success
  • Create and maintain the business plan including pricing
  • Determine buy/build/partner decisions
  • Position the product for all markets and all buyer types
  • Document the typical buying process
  • Approve final marketing and go-to-market plans

Sales Problems may point to poor Product Management & Product Marketing

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February 21, 2014 · by Ray · Business Solutions, High Performance Sales Team, Marketing

Sales problems are very visible.

 

Targets are not met. Customers are not acquired. Pipelines are not healthy. Forecasts are not met.

Often the immediate reaction is to blame the sales personnel. Typical questions are: Are they working hard enough. Are they working smart enough? Do they  have the right relationships. Are they looking in the wrong places. Do they understand customer problems?  Do they understand the product value? Can they present the value of the product effectively?

Diagnose, Create & Deliver

Diagnose, Create, Deliver

While sales personnel can always up their game, in many cases the root problems can be elsewhere. If Product Management and Product Marketing processes been ignored, or not done correctly then the following problems may be diagnosed

 

Diagnosis

  • Do product differentiators exist and are they understood?
  • Is product positioning clear and understood?
  • Have the correct target market segments been identified?
  • Is the product fully developed and bug free?
  • Does the product provide the whole solution for the customer or are partner products required?
  • Is the product perceived as too expensive?
  • Is the value of the product understood and presented well enough?
  • Are the value messages available for all of the key players in the customer organisation?
  • Do suitable message vehicles exist? Do sales tools exist?
  • Are there reference customers available that are acceptable to target customers?

Create & Deliver Solution

A solution must then be created and delivered. Depending on the organisation this may be done by Product Management and Product Marketing.

Product management is inward focussed and product marketing is outward focussed.

  • Utilise Differentiators – Articulate product differentiators, and combine with customer profiling and competitive analysis to position products correctly and to drive messaging.
  • Prioritise Target Customers – Utilise market analysis and product positioning to prioritise demand generation and sales activities
  • Finalise Development – Create project plan and obtain high level management sponsorship  to finalise development.
  • Create Whole Solution – The construction of the solution may be done directly or via a third party such as an integrator. In Early markets the customer will normally provide this function either directly or via a third party.
  • Execute Pricing Review – Ensure that value is demonstrated clearly by better presentation or if required a pricing reduction or re-organization.
  • Create Better Value Presentation – Include all the value elements and simplify presentation in line with the customer financial modelling. Include as a standard sales tool.
  • Acquire Reference Customers – Provide sufficient support to sales personnel to target and acquire reference customers.

Project management methodologies and tools can be used  as appropriate to deliver solutions efficiently and effectively.

Customer Service: The John Lewis Way

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john_lewis_oxford_street1

I recently had the pleasure of working inside John Lewis and experiencing first hand how they deliver customer service that’s admired. I enjoyed working with the company. The customers and staff (partners) are in general happy, very polite and helpful and the company has a great atmosphere which is a credit to them. This has not happened overnight. The trust that customers have in John Lewis takes a long time to build but much easier to lose. How have they created this? First are the founding principles of Customer Service in John Lewis –

“Be honest; give respect; recognise others; show enterprise; work together; achieve more.”

Then my impressions…

1. “We’re Based on the Notion that if we Treat our Partners well, it will lead to Good Customer Service.”

This is a simple idea but one few companies really put into practice. John Lewis implement it in a number of ways:

  • Partnership
    • Staff are called and treated as partners
    • All partners are owners in the business and get a yearly bonus based on performance
    • Managers served staff at Xmas lunch
    • Partnership concept breaks down barriers and creates meritocracy
  • Respect
    • Respect for each other and for customers is a core value within John Lewis
    • Managers and staff were generally very helpful to one another and to customers
    • No difference between how customers and partners were treated…indeed partners were often customers
  • Trust
    • Trust partners and empower them to do well
    • In general partners were given space to to their jobs and to succeed and
  • Soft Benefits to create family effect
    • Subsidised canteen, discount card, subsidised, sports , subsidised concerts, holiday homes etc…
    • Social club with great parties etc.

2. Empower Staff

  • Train staff well
  • Empower them to make do the right thing. This may be asking a manager or acting on the customer’s best interests depending on the situation. They are encouraged to think outside the box once the basics have been understood and acted upon. Staff are expected to show enterprise in the right context
  • Staff are product experts in their areas and have built up this expertise over time and through training.
  • Be honest – if you don’t know do not waste the customer’s time. Find somebody with the right answer. Bring the customer to the answer if required.

 

3. Get and Act on Customer Feedback

  • Headquarter staff spend a few days serving over peak periods. This helps to give better customer service overall but also gives them immediate insight into the problem areas that customers are facing.
  • Staff are expected to communicate issues regularly and many forums are created whereby this is done in a  formal way

4. Make Online and Store seamless

  • Returns for online can be done in store at any till with systems work behind the scenes to improve this process ongoing. This can be much better than having to repackage it and post it back to other online retailers.,
  • Maintain exceptional customer service online. Customers have access to people when they need it and can use Waitrose and John  Lewis stores to pick up their purchase rather than missing the delivery at home.
  • Online is becoming a huge part of the overall service offered by John Lewis allowing customers to purchase when stores are closed. The John Lewis Clearance sales started on Xmas eve.

5. Make Customers Life Easy

  • Shopping can be stressful and unpleasant in the wrong environment. John Lewis try to help make it a pleasant environment.
  • Create a calm environment that is pleasant to look at and products are easy to find. Do not overburden with selling messages in flash colours
  • Keep queues to a minimum by hiring temporary staff for peak times to help at till as and free up existing staff to answer questions and give advice. Also deploy HQ staff to help out.
  • Provide a customer collection point that will collect all customer purchases in one location to ensure that they are not overburdened with bags
  • Provide home delivery options from store
  • Provide delivery options to John Lewis or Waitrose stores
  • Provide extensive gift list and gift wrapping services
  • Staff are honest and if they cannot answer will say so but will find someone who can and will not leave the customer until they are assured that the customer is being served by someone able inside John Lewis.

6. Be Different

  • Never knowingly undersold
    • John Lewis will match competitor prices if evidence is presented that is relevant and reasonable.
    • Staff are empowered to do this on the fly with manager’s approval.
    • Systems will support on the fly one off discounting.
  • Have an exceptional returns policy
    • John Lewis customers are trusted implicitly and when they bring back a product that they are not happy with it is changed often without question. This could be abused but at a macro level this creates tremendous good will and indeed more purchases. Often customers need to see the product in the home environment before being really sure and if they could postpone or not purchase if the returns policy was too difficult.
  • Have an exceptional warranty on electricals
    • John Lewis provides market leading warranties on electrical items whilst maintaining competitive prices.. This has become more important a sthe options on the high street narrow.

7. Hire people who share the John Lewis vision

  • Hire people who will take on the values of John Lewis and take it forward. The gatekeepers that hire staff  into John Lewis have an important job to hire people that will not abuise the trust and respect gievn to them by partners and customers.

 

Achieving Business Growth

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Diagnose Challenges, Create Solutions & Deliver Results

Challenge

The overriding challenge in sales and marketing is “To deliver business growth”.

How to Address

Take the right approach.No one size fits all. So to be most efficient and effective it is best to:

  • Diagnose Challenge,
  • Create Solution & then
  • Deliver Results.

The challenges will fall into two broad categories

  • Enter new markets or
  • Develop existing ones.

Diagnose Challenge

The main ingredients of success are:

  • Strategy,
  • Sales team (& infrastructure),
  • Customer acquisition( tailored sales process, product value, & customer references)
Which of these ingredients are in place? If they are in place are they fit for purpose and achieving acceptable performance?

Create Solution

Following the diagnosis of the challenges a bespoke solution may be created.

Create/Develop Strategy

Planning means that subsequent action will effective and efficient.

  • Create customer profile,
  • Value proposition,
  • Go to Market strategy,
  • Sales process,
  • Sales team,
  • Targets.

Create/Develop Sales Team

This includes Leadership, Scalable Sales Model and Hiring the best people.

Leadership means that the team energised, have clear objectives, are fully engaged and deliver the required targets wit the required cost. The team is supported by a  scalable sales model which includes:

  • Sales Process based on Customer Buying Process
  • Sales Management System to to deliver forecasts and processes for coaching and performance management
  • Sales Automation that improves the efficiency of communication, customer database and reporting.
  • Marketing Integration for lead generation, sales tools,  messaging and effective market coverage.

Hire the best people. Utilise a clear and professional process to identify and develop people with high potential.

Begin/Develop Customer Acquisition

Customer Acquisition is vital for revenue Growth and the creation of references to enable later customers to be acquired more efficiently. Both are key attributes of business growth.

First ensure product delivers compelling value. as perceived by the customers. Then create or develop references.
To win major breakthrough accounts will require the creation of a tailored sales process based on the customers buying process. This will help harness the resources of the company effectively, manage communication and monitor progress.

Deliver Results

Results will be best delivered by effective leadership and professional project management.Leadership ensures that clear objectives are set and resources to deliver such objectives are secured.Then the team to deliver the results is engaged such that they are fully committed to deliver superb results.Finally the results are delivered with progress monitored and reported on at regular intervals to keep stakeholders informed.

Creating Customer Solutions

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February 22, 2012 · by Ray · Business Solutions, Sales Model

Understand: the Customer’s Business Model

A business model is made up of the following elements:

  • Customer Segments Served: Who are they creating value for? Who are their most important customers?
  • Value Propositions: What value are they delivering to customers? What customer’s problems are they helping to solve? Which customer needs are they satisfying?
  • Channels to Market: Through which Channels do their Customer Segments want to be reached? How are they reaching their Customer Segments now?
  • Customer Relationships: What relationships do each of the customer segments expect? What ones have been established? How costly are they?
  • Revenue Streams: What value are customers willing to pay and what are they currently paying?
  • Key Resources: What key resources are required by Value Proposition, Channels, Customer Relationships & Revenue Streams?
  • Key Activties: What key activities are required by Value Proposition, Channels, Customer Relationships & Revenue Streams?
  • Key Partnerships: Who are their Key Partners & Key Suppliers. Which Key Resources are they acquiring from partners? Which Key Activities do partners perform?
  • Cost Structure: What are the most important costs inherent in the business model? Which Key Resources are the most expensive? Which Key Activities are the most expensive

Diagnose: Pain Points

Diagnose where the customers pain points are in their business model:

  • Find new customer segments?
  • Create new value propositions?
  • Reach customers more effectively?
  • Increase Revenue Streams?
  • Provide new key resources or key resources with better attributes?
  • Increase key activities efficiency?
  • Replace one of their key partners?
  • Reduce cost structure ?

Create: Solution

Create a solution:-

  • Define benefits
  • Define investment
  • Demonstrate capability using references and endorsements
  • Communicate in customer’s language showing Return On Investment.

Communicate: Solution

Resolve concerns on solution, risk and price.

Communicate in customer’s language showing Return On Investment.

Deliver: Solution

Deliver the solution.

Use project management tools to manage delivery.

Demonstrate that benefits have been delivered. Ensure customer satisfaction.

 

 

The Art of Persuasion

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November 4, 2011 · by Ray · Marketing, Win New Major Accounts

Communication is a fundamental part of business and personal life. We now have many different ways of communicating from face to face to phones, social media, print media and  broadcast media.

With all of these communication channels we are trying to inform, persuade, motivate, coach and manage relationships.

I would like to review a very important element of commuication: the art of persuasion. And I will limit my focus to B2B communication (mainly).

Win:Win Framework

Communication is always within a context or framework which may be implicit or explicit.

For some the word persuasion has ominous undertones and a worry about being manipulated.

I am assuming, in this discussion, that persuasion is used within a framework that assumes a (win: win) or positive outcome  for both parties.

I assume that what I am persuading the customer to do will add value to the customer’s business and result in a (win: win) transaction.

Basic Persuasion Model

A basic persuasion model was constructed by Aristotle and consists of three elements:-

  • Credibility – relates to the character and reputation of the persuader.
  • Emotion or  Empathy – the persuader must have the the ability to identify and understand the other person’s feelings, ideas and situation.
  • Logic – relates directly to the logic of the argument.
This model may simple be but it may be applied to all communication channels. E.g. Advertising, Presentations & Meetings and one to one conversations.
The mixture of the three elements must be right for effective communication.

Appealing to Credibility

In appealing to credibility,  both the individual and the company he represents must be credible in the eyes of the audience. He must emit true sincerity.

Genuine sincerity means that you actually care about someone’s problems or concerns. It creates a certain amount of trust. And trust is the foundation of relationships.

The company builds its credibility on its successes and on its third party references. (In the B2B mainstream market (Early & Late Majority) positive references are key to credibility.)

The individual builds  his individual credibility with integrity, historical success (supported by  knowledge), skills and experience (as required by the audience). Initially the company brand will lend credibility to the individual but the individual must build and maintain his own over time.

In launching new products the phrase “Credibility before Visibility” is very apt. A lot of marketing and sales expense may be wasted in persuading the market to buy products that are not yet credible in the eyes of the target audience.

Appealing to Emotion

This using your heart as well as your head. It’s the ability to read emotions in others. It’s being able to experience from another person’s perspective. It is empathy.

It appeals to the emotions,  imagination and self interest in the audience. In some cases to feel what the presenter feels.

The message evoking an emotional response  may be delivered by words, messages but also by non verbal communication. The words may well be in the form of a story, a vision that transports the audience to understand the presenter’s point of view or to join him in envisioning the a particular part of the world as improved or as a better place. Music, colours,  films, graphics etc. may be used to emphasize and communicate the required message.

Non verbal communication can give wither a positive or negative response. Such communication is delivered via facial expression, eye contact, gestures, posture and body orientation, humour, proximity, paralinguistics (tone, pitch, rhythm, timbre, loudness and inflection of voice), dress sense, attitude & confidence.

Emotion also includes building a relationship and a rapport that can reduce barriers to communication and engender trust which is a foundation of all human intercourse.

Appealing to Logic

This means persuading by the use of reasoning. You present the proofs, or the supporting logic, for your point.
Three, or four at the most, key proofs are all that are required as an audience will not remember more.

Persuasion Techniques

Whilst techniques can be used to persuade they are most effective when supported by the persuasion model above. These techniques include structure, body language, speech, maintaining attention and the darker arts of weapons of influence.

Structure

  • Introduction – Frame the topic. Prepare audience to be receptive.
  • Narrative – a story in a form that is relevant to the audience that tells what you want them to do.
  • Argument – proofs and supporting logic.
  • Refutation – anticipate objections to the argument.
  • Conclusion – appeal to the audience for understanding, its action and its approval.

Body Language

Body language may be used instead of speech, to reinforce speech or when it displays (or betrays) a persons mood.
First impressions are important with impact made in the first few minutes.
We cannot not communicate. But regardless of what a particular expression or gesture means to you its ho the receiver perceives it that is important. Make sure your language is the right language.
  • Facial expressions
  • Gestures
  • Open or Closed Body Signals
  • Spatial relationships  – how close we are to our audience.

Speech

Non verbal aspects of speech are termed paralinguistics. They relate to the tone of the voice ad related cues such as:
  • Volume
  • Rate of Speaking
  • Tone, pitch and inflection.

Maintain Attention

If the audience is not paying attention you are not communicating, there is no communication and no persuasion can occur. Attention is best if it rises over time.

Most people have short attention spans.

Make the message memorable and understood.

  • Say what you’re going to say. Say it.Say what you said.
  • Keep it short 15 mins is optimal.
  • Avoid distractions, interruptions and breaks
  • Avoid large disagreements to what you say by ensuring that key members of the audience have been persuaded before the presentation.

Weapons of Influence

We have automatic behavior patterns that we use to simplify the modern world and enable action and void being frozen by too much analysis. These behaviour patterns make us vulnerable to persuasion by those who know how they work. These weapons of persuasion are part of thee dark arts of persuasion in that they do not always result in a win:win situation if used unscrupulously. In B2B selling , professional buying processes are designed to minimize or remove the impact of these weapons but they are used often in B2C selling.

We live in an extraordinarily complex and stimulated environment, easily the most rapidly moving and complex that has ever existed. To deal with it we need shortcuts. We can’t be expected to recognize and analyze all the aspects in each person, event and situation we encounter in even one day. We haven’t the time, energy or capacity for it. Instead, we must often use our stereotypes, our rules of thumb to classify things according to a few key features and then to respond mindlessly when one or another of these trigger features is present. Sometimes the behaviour will not be appropriate for the situation. But we expect the imperfection since the alternative is that we would be left frozen,  analyzing and miss the time for action.

According to Alfred North Whitehead “civilization advances by extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them”. These are the key weapons.

  • Reciprocity – “One good turn deserves another…”
    • People are more likely to give to you if you have already given to them
  • Commitment & Consistency – “Stay on course!”
    • We have a nearly obsessive desire to be consistent with what we have already done.
    • If I can get you to make a commitment (that is to take a stand, go on record), I will have set the stage for your automatic and ill-considered with that commitment. Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with the stand.
    • People are more likely to behave the way you want them to behave if they believe that this behaviour is consistent with an existing commitment
  • Social proof – “Monkey see, monkey do”
    • People are more likely to follow a particular course of action if they see other people doing the same thing
  • Authority –
    • People are more willing to follow instructions if the perceive the instructor to have authority or expertise
  • Likeability – “Jobs for the boys”
    • People give preferential treatment to those that they know and like
  • Scarcity
    • Rare items and opportunities are much more attractive than commonplace equivalents.

 

Reward Systems

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September 22, 2011 · by Ray · High Performance Sales Team, Sales Model

Three Steps To an Effective Reward System

A Reward System is the most basic communication from Management to its employees and Management need to ensure that what the Reward System is  actually saying is what they had wanted to say.

To create an effective reward system it is best to follow three steps:

  1. Define the required performance
    • Convert values, mission statements and strategies into tangible goals
    • Convert goals into actions
  2. Devise comprehensive metrics
    • Tracks actions and assessed progress towards goals
  3. Create financial and nonfinancial reward systems
    • Meet employees needs
    • Reinforces metrics
    • Aligned with company goals
If it can be defined in actionable terms it can be measured and anything that can be measured can be rewarded.

Step 1: Define The Required Performance

Making Mission, Vision and Principles ActionableOne very effective tool to make visions,missions, goals, and priorities actionable is the bull’s-eye exercise, so named because it is depicted as a three-ringed target as shown. In the outer ring go the goals and initiatives you are trying to make actionable eg customer satisfaction. In the inner-most ring goes the output of the exercise–that is, descriptions of specific employee behaviours  that are deemed necessary to achieve the desired outcomes.
The middle ring reflects the fact as people begin to identify behaviors, they usually go through an intermediate stage in which they find themselves describing thoughts and emotions instead of actual behaviors.
This approach delivers benefits:
  • Testing  Employee Buy-In to Top Mission/Vision/Principles and how realistic and real they are.
  • Creates More Effective Delegation
  • Lays the groundwork for more effective organizational processes
How many goals should be set? Well basically as  many as is required by the stakeholders. A lower number has the benefit of better focus and simpler monitoring and reporting and probably better performance overall. But the real world may require more.
Goals need to be set with with reference to competitive performance and market opportunity. Stretch(but realistic) goals are motivational and force the adoption of radical solutions and higher performance.
But management must not overreact to failure to achieve stretch goals and need to ensure that the stretch goals have a positive impact  on performance (is it better with stretch goals?) and to understand what meaningful progress has been made towards the goal.

Step 2: Devise Comprehensive Metrics

Do not make major changes to the Reward system without first upgrading the metrics to ensure that performance can be measured. The strength of the reward system depends greatly on the competence of the metrics.

“Management gets what it inspects, not what it expects”

If something isn’t measured, you can’t give people feedback about it and they can’t improve.

In designing a competent measurement system there are  major tradeoffs:

  • Control vs Development
    • Performance data can be used for both control and development but not at the same time.
  • Rating vs Ranking
    • Rating systems compare people (or organizations) to articulated standards
      • Pro: Does not hinder teamwork. Gives a company wide view of performance.
      • Con: Can enable shirking of evaluation decisions and over time all personnel can end up as high performers according to the rating system whereas in reality they are not.
    • Ranking systems compare people not to expressed standards but to other people.
      • Pro: Forces Managers to make tough evaluation decisions
      • Con: Penalises managers who have overall better staff than another dept. It can discourage teamwork.

Sales Metrics may well be a mixture of rating and ranking. For instance all sales may be on a rating system but also there is a ranking system which offers a prize for top three sales people at the yearly sales management event.

Step 3: Create Reward Systems That Work

“Rewards are anything that increases the probability of a future response”.

Consider money and feedback. Both are good rewards. Offering money to do something increases the likelihood that it will be done. Feedback enables people to systematically improve their performance. But whilst the high performers get most of the money rewards, the low performers tend to get most of the feedback. The key point is that some of the powerful rewards that can be offered are non financial but are often overlooked or discounted by management.

These are also known as intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Intrinsic rewards produce more intangible forms of recognition such as personal satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment, personal control over one’s work and feeling that one’s work is appreciated. Extrinsic rewards are external, tangible forms of recognition such as bonuses, pay rises, promotion and sales prizes.

A Reward System  could and should include Financial (Extrinsic) and Non Financial (Intrinsic) Rewards.

  • Extrinsic – Financial Rewards
    • Pro: Most people will go to great lengths to get more money
    • Con:
      • Commodity. Only a limited amount of money to go round. Tricky to administer.
      • Does not promote engagement.
      • Uncontrollability. Almost all performance measures contain some level of uncontrollability i.e. outside the control of the team member.
      • Interdependency. Most outcomes are the result of work by many people.  How much was done by the team member.
      • May stunt creativity and team work for complex tasks.
  • Extrinsic – Prestige Rewards
    • Increase stature of employees in eyes of colleagues and others
    • Pro: Cost effective. Not a commodity. Can bind employee to company
    • Con: May not be valued by all. Scarcity of Rewards.
  • Intrinsic – Job Content Rewards
    • Include Clear Feedback, Increased Responsibility, New Challenge, Trust, Recognition, Autonomy, Opportunities to participate in Decision Making, Grow Professionally and do interesting and important work, working in a positive respectful environment, working with talented motivated people, working in a company with a clear vision, working for a good boss.
    • Pro: Unlimited availability. Engages team.
    • Con: Not much. Can sometimes be taken for granted.

A good reward system has key components:

  • Availability & Eligibility
    • Eligibility is intentional unavailability
    • May only be available to certain categories of people. Motivates people to climb the organizational ladder
  • Visibility
    • Must be visible at a minimum to those who receive rewards
  • Contingent on Performance
    • Rewards should be based more on performance than on seniority, titles or organizational membership.
  • Timeliness
    • To be maximally effective, rewards should be received soon after the reward-worthy action has occurred.
  • Reversibility
    • Ideally should be able to take back a reward you shouldn’t have given
    • Or at a minimum the recipient should not get it again
    • Dangers of rewards being taken for granted

Using Value to Sell Complex Services

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Value must be recognised by the customer - use his rules.

Selling Complex Services

Services are invisible, intangible so how best to sell them?

By describing clearly the value that they can bring to the customer.

This is done by estimating the value to the customer, the investment required and describing how a customer reference has received similar value .

Value Proposition

The delivery vehicle for communicating value is known as a value proposition and can be used for all kinds of sale but is particularly useful for complex services sales.

It is normally used initially in prospecting to get the attention of an executive and to get agreement from him to assign resources to work together on an evaluation plan. This will include the  creation of a detailed business plan to ensure that it is the right decision for the company.

Simple Example

A very simple value proposition example using the services offered by O’Brien Business Solutions is shown below.

We believe that Customer A should be able to

  • Achieve Business Growth by a minimum of 15% in the next year 

Through an ability to:

  • Launch New Products and Services
  • Create a New High Performance Sales Team
  • Win New Breakthrough major Accounts & create positive references
As a result of
  • a Business Solution designed and implemented to deliver delivering Sales and Marketing programmes.
For an investment of
  • £YK.
Based on the assumption of:
  • an 1 year contract and a start within 2 weeks.
  • a similar Business Solution to Customer Reference A where a Business Growth of  20% was achieved in the same timeframe.

A more complicated BPO example

We believe that  Company A should be able to

  • Increase efficiency by 10% resulting in a 5% increase in profits per annum.
  • With an upside of 
    • Improve knowledge sharing, security and workforce effectiveness

Through the ability to

  • Design and implement new business processes using the latest technology

As a result of

  • Outsourcing specific document intensive processes in HR, Legal & Supply Chain departments

For an investment of

  • Set up – £XM set up
  • Ongoing –  Annual Service charge of £YM

Based on the following Assumptions

  • 5 Year contract
  • Set up in Yr  1
  • Relevant staff transferred according to TUPE.
  • Benefits realized in years 2-5.

Best relationships are based on value

Value is referenced throughout the sale. It may well start with a straw-man, built using data from a previously successful customer or reference and extrapolated to address this particular customer.  It will be developed as the sale proceeds as more detail on the solution is developed and information on the assumptions is discovered.  In some cases, some pilots may need to be implemented to test some key assumptions in the value equation.

The best relationships in business have the delivery of value as their foundation. A sales person that is perceived to consistently deliver value (advice, information, solutions) will be better placed to form better relationships.

Value flows throughout the organisation

A Goal/Objective for the CEO flows down to the CMO and down  to the marketing department.
For instance the CEO may have an objective of increasing the average revenue per user. This will be come a lead generation objective by the marketing department and an opportunity conversion objective by sales. A Value chain may be created to move from clearly known objectives at the top of the organisation to create new ones lower down the organisation.

Selling Complex Services into the Early Market

Selling into the Early Market is characterised by no or very limited customer references that will underpin the value proposition.

Whilst the Early Market is also characterised by buyers that are more innovative and as such prepared to take a risk, they do need some rationale for taking a decision to proceed.

Services do have more difficulties here than say selling a product like a piece of equipment in that a piece of equipment can be tested by a third party and the benefits verified.

Complex services such as BPO require at least one customer reference before the value proposition mat be truly verified. And as such it underlines how important the customer references are and therefore it is worth the company putting a lot of resources into obtaining the first contract an delivering it.  It is worth noting also that it will take time before the benefits can be calculated and therefore will take time before the contract can become a true customer reference.

What can be done in the absence of a customer reference? A number of options can be explored:

  1. Start with a  good relationship and trust as a foundation?
  2. Can you use process that is being done inside (selling) company’s own organisation?
  3. Does the new process utilize a core competence of the (selling) company? For instance a new technology that will improve the process. Examine its use in customer processes and obtain results.
  4. Utilize Market research to verify the value proposition.

There are two methods to achieving the market research:

  1. Find market research by a respected third party that will verify the claims made in the value proposition.
  2. If adequate market research is not available then conduct bespoke market research that will verify the claims made in the value proposition.
Using the information and the market research to build a model with clear assumptions,  a value proposition straw-man may then be created. For an innovative customer, or one that has a pressing issue that requires resolution this will be sufficient to proceed.  Normally they will require the assurance that sufficient support will be provided to address any unforeseen problems efficiently.

Web 2.0

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July 5, 2011 · by Ray · Cloud Computing, Digital Marketing, Web 2.0

Web 2.0 Framework

Web 2.0 is a convergence of social and business practices rather than a technology transition. In fact many of the technologies that make up Web 2.0 were available during the early 90s.
The elements that make up Web 2.0 are as follows:

  • User-generated content
  • Rich Internet applications (RIA)
  • Social Networking
  • Cloud Computing
  • Web-centric development and architecture models
  • Data
  • Mashups
  • Scale free and long tail
  • Mobility

In a little more detail:

  • User-generated content: Wikis, Blogs, Communities, Photos eg Flickr, Videos eg YouTube Collaboration and Collaborative Technologies
  • Rich Internet Applications: Practices, Technologies and Frameworks.
    • Techologies include: HTML, HTTP, CSS, Javascript, AIR, Silverlight, XHTML, Ajax, JSON,
    • Frameworks: JQuery, RubyonRails (RoR), Dojo, Yahoo Widgets, Google Gadgets.
  • Social Networks: Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Friendster, Ning, Jive, Socialtext, Awareness, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Social Networking standards and interfaces.
  • Cloud Computing: Compute and storage infrastructures are available to use as utility rather than within one’s own infrastructure. Can include computer hardware, platform service and  complete applications (eg Salesforce.com) as an external service.
  • Web-centric development and architecture models: |Web 2.0 provides a different way of building applications.. Applications are hosted with a fast feature velocity (ie features added much quicker timeframe  – days rather than months), use development methods such as agile and scrum, have massive scalability, use frameworks such as Mapreduce, Hadoop and BigTable and use interfaces such as JSON and REST.
  • Data: Content Aggregation, Syndication and Federation via RSS and Atom. Analytics. Trending towards Semantic Web and Web 3.0.
  • Mashups:Web apps are increasingly becoming mashups where content is combined, annotated and aggregated from different sources.
  • Scale Free and Long Tail: The Applications are scale-free. Websites must cope with peaks in usage and must not crash under the occasional heavy load. The long tail is the concept that. although there are some products (eg new books, music, movies)that are popular and sell a large number of single products, there are also smaller markets that prefer many related products that are rare or less well known.
  • Mobility: Mobile phones , Tablets and mobile phone networks have become pervasive and all powerful.

 

Lead Generation Terminology

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May 25, 2011 · by Ray · Lead Generation

Target Market

The Target Market or Target Market segment is a list of companies  (B2B) or consumers (B2C) that possess the required buyer profile that make them pre-disposed to buy the product.

Territory

A territory is  a part of the target market which has been allocated to a  sales person or sales team.

A Lead

A lead is a  potential opportunity sometimes known as a prospect – For example, a person met at a conference who expressed interest, or someone who filled out a form on the company website.

Lead Conversion (Or Qualification)

If the lead is qualified and the salesperson and decides to pursue it, the lead is “converted,” and becomes an opportunity. ( Note that the term conversion is used somewhat loosely and in many cases in Digital Marketing does not end up with an opportunity but with a (more qualified) lead that still requires further qualification before it becomes an opportunity.

An Opportunity

Opportunities are the sales and pending deals that are tracked in that Sales Pipeline or Funnel. The pipeline is built by adding more opportunities will contribute to the forecast.

Opportunity Qualification

Opportunity Qualification means that the prospect has provided information and performed certain actions that show that they are  at a minimum in the market for the product, have the budget to buy and are willing to do  so within a reasonable timeframe.

Qualification is tailored to the specific sales process which is itself  aligned to the specific buying process in place.

In a simple B2C eCommerce transaction the qualification is a very simple process.

In B2B solution selling the qualification is a process that may be spread over weeks or months that forms a large part of the sales process due to the relative complexity of the buying process.

For instance in B2B solution selling:

  • A Lead may be qualified initially by an internal telemarketing team who may deem it good enough to pass on to the field sales team.
  • The Field sales team would initially qualify the company known as a suspect to avoid confusion with the term prospect. At this stage it would enter the funnel as a qualified suspect.
  • Further levels of Qualification would then take place with the other members of the buying team such as the Sponsor (Person Driving the Project) and the Power Sponsor (Normally at Executive or C Level).

An Account

An account is the company or consumer that makes the purchase. An account may deal with several opportunities.

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