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    Create Platform for Growth

    Add Skills to Create a Platform for Growth

    Creating and growing a new revenue stream or a new business uncovers a demand for a lot of skills that are required simultaneously...and maybe difficult to find, to manage and to trust. The ideal is to find an individual or individuals that possess the required skills. This reduces the headache of management and improves efficiency and effectiveness.


    The following are the Skills normally required to create a Platform for Growth

    • Leadership
    • Sales Management
    • Account Management
    • Product Management
    • Product Marketing
    • Project Management
    • Marketing Communications

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    Leadership

    Leadership

    What is leadership? Leadership is about how you manage your self and help others to be at their best, how you create a vision of the future, how to engage people to an objecvtive and finally about delivery of results.

    Aristotle defined leadership as requiring Knowledge, Skills and Practical Wisdom - the ability to see the good and realize it in a specific situation. All three are necessary and mutually supportive.

    Montogomery defined leadership as:
    “The capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence”.

    Peter Drucker states "Your first and foremost job as a leader is to manage your own energy, and help manage the energy of those around you".

    The last comment shows that first you must be at your best, enthusiastic, confident, buzzing. You must have positive energy. This will mean that you are in control of yourself and best placed to help others to be at their best. This is the platform on which success as a leader is built.


    What does a leader do? A leader is required to achieve an objective. For instance the sales leaders overall purpose is to deliver business growth. This is achieved with the following ingredients:

    • Set achievable but challenging Objectives ( or targets)
    • Engage his team to accept these objectives wholeheartedly and in good spirit and then to
    • Deliver the performance necessary to achieve these objectives.

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    Sales Management

    Sales Management - Create a High Performance Sales Team

    Sales Management performs the following functions:

    • Hire the right Sales People and support with a Reward System and appropriate metrics.
    • Create a High Performance Sales Team by combining Leadership with a scalable Sales Model.

    Sales Management will create:

    • A High Performance Sales Team that delivers
    • Targets (Revenues, Margin, Market Share, Customers & Costs
    • Accurate Forecasts
    • A Healthy Pipeline
    • With Market Leading Costs

    Sales Management will call on the following

    • A Hiring Process
    • A Reward System
    • Leadership including Performance Management
    • Sales Process Implementation
    • A Sales Management System to enable Diagnosis and Coaching
    • A Sales Automation System to enable efficient storage and distribution of information
    • Marketing Integration for Lead Generation, Market Coverage and Sales Tools
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    Business Development & Account Management

    Business Development & Account Management - Develop Excellent Customer Relationships

    Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships. The Account Management role is normally to extract the most value for the organisation from a particular set of accounts or in some cases just one large account.Both are dependent on developing excellent customer relationships based on value encapsulated in a solid Value Proposition that is understood and agreed by the customer.
    This is most powerful if backed up by Positive Reference. In turn the objective is to develop all accounts into Positive References
    Territory plans are used to focus on the best potential Accounts. Account and Opportunity Plans enable the best use of company resources to create the most effective Value Proposition.
    A tailored Sales Process enables effective selling of complex service solutions. It combines leadership, teamwork, good communication to deliver optimum effectiveness and efficiency. This section assumes that the processes and systems described in the New Sales Team section are in place.

    Business development is the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.


    The following principles will be used with the Sales Process:- areas:

    • People:- Creating relationships and gaining the trust of people is the foundation for success.
    • Choosing the right Competitive Strategy:- Based on product maturity & value, your relationship with the customer and the competition.
    • Managing Key Players:- Understand their needs, how they vary over the sales cycle and the appropriate messages to deliver.
    • Qualification:- More time in qualification ensures that the solution proposed has best chance of success. Lead with value then continue to focus on value throughout qualification.
    • Negotiate and Close:- Prepare well. Ensure value is recognised by customer as compelling.

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    Product Management

    Product Management - Listens to the Market

    Titles are a bit of a mess so the terms Product Management, Product Marketing are used interchangeably in some organisations. The following is what I have used as a good guide. "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".

    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.


    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

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    Product Marketing

    Product Marketing - Talks to the Market

    Product Marketing (And Product Management) - Creating a High Performance Sales Team

    While sales personnel can always up their game, in some cases the root problems to poor performance may be elsewhere. If Product Management and Product Marketing processes been ignored then the sales team may well be inefficient and ineffective.

    Product Marketing - Increasing sales efficiency and effectiveness

    “A product marketing manager is always a member of the marketing organization (sometimes a separate organization or sometimes within sales), 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.”


    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 tools (guide, sales support & collateral, sales training) , pipeline management, metrics, systems, budget, schedule),
    • Execute Plan ( launch event, launch team, develop sales tools).
    • Conduct Win/Loss analysis.
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    Project Management

    Project Management - Waterfall to Agile

    In managing a project to develop and deliver a product the traditional way of delivery are methods such as PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) which is a widely used project management method that provides all of the essentials for running a successful project. It is sequential in that one task is finished before the next starts and the product is delivered at the end and is managed by a plan. Traditional plan based sequential methods are known as generically as “Waterfall”.

    A new way of developing and delivering products is Agile. It is a term commonly associated with software development but has become more and spread into many other business areas. The Agile Manifesto was published in 2001, building on work throughout the 1990s, which summarised the core philosophy behind agile development philosophies. Are Waterfall methodologies like PRINCE2 still relevant in an agile world? Well, no… it is still very relevant for two reasons:

    • Certain projects do not require an agile approach
    • Certain projects prefer a blended (waterfall and agile) approach. It was seen in my post that the term Water-Scrum-Fall has been termed to indicate that the market currently seems to prefer ( or pragmatically accept) such a blended approach.


    PRINCE2

    PRINCE2 is not the only option when considering a traditional methodology but it is a popular one and one that blends in well with new Agile project methodologies such as the Agile project management framework which is derived from DSDM.

    PRINCE2 is a formal, structured approach to project management. It recognises that there are three major levels of activities:

    • Direction (Management Sponsorhip)
    • Management (Project Management)
    • Delivery (Solution development and delivery)

    The major focus of PRINCE 2 is in management and direction. Delivery it treats as a black box because it may be internal or external. Prince2 does not dictate how delivery is done but it does state the expected communication and deliverables.

    Blended Approach

    PRINCE2 can be used to manage the project and Agile methods can be used to deliver the solution. The two methods are entirely complementary; they touch only in the definition of what constitutes a “workpackage” – and they even agree on how big that should be!

    Agile Only?

    In some cases the requirement may be to go completely Agile. This is possible as long as the direction provided is agreed and sufficient for the company leaderhip.

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    Marketing Communications

    Marketing Communications - Increase Sales Efficiency

    Stimulate Interest

    Early in the sales process Marketing can deliver messages to the market to stimulate interest to pave the way for sales engagement.

    This begins with market segmentation and the creation of a target list based on the product differentiators, the product maturity, the competition and company resources. This will lead to sales territory creation and allocation. Marketing at this stage will also design the message (based on product or business solution differentiators) that is to be used, the vehicles used to carry it and the responsibilities for delivery.

    Marketing will then run campaigns to stimulate interest and generate leads using the messages created. The vehicles may be offline or online (digital). Offline vehicles include Trade Shows, Events (e.g. Seminars/Webinars) PR, Direct Mail & Advertising. Online vehicles include Search (both Organic and Paid) Display Advertsing (on websites relevant to the product), Email, Blogs, Website (main and Product microsite), Social Media.

    Greater efficiency and effectiveness may be gained using an internal sales or telemarketing team for lead conversion or qualification. Qualified leads would then be passed on to the field sales team for development as Opportunities.


    Communicate Value & Reduce Risk Concerns

    During the sale, Marketing can deliver the company message on value to all of the key players of an opportunity very effectively and efficiently to help reduce concerns on risk.

    The salesperson can get bogged down in the minutiae of a deal and be too busy to deliver messages to key players at key times throughout the sales cycle.

    Key information such as case histories and industry endorsements during the prove stage of the sales cycle can help significantly to reduce risk concerns.