38 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2021
    1. Senior management’s commitment and participation are vital for an organization to become market focused but not sufficient for prolonged success. For maximum results, the market-focused mind-set must invade the entire organization. For example, consider the employees at a Weyerhaeuser sawmill located in the small community of Cottage Grove, Oregon. Far from headquarters in Tacoma, Washington, the general manager of this mill started a program that distinguished his operation from Weyerhaeuser’s other mills in terms of productivity, product profitability, and morale. A cross-section of Cottage Grove employees, from the general manager to forklift drivers, began spending a week at a time as “employees” of their customers. The shipping manager, for instance, ended up working on the receiving dock of a California distribution center. Customer-service representatives worked as a sales assistants in Builders Emporium and Home Depot stores. They were there to look, listen, and learn—not to sell.

      They brought back insights that enabled them to distinguish their mill. They began to wrap their lumber in plastic and paint the ends in a distinctive color. They learned to load the lumber onto railway cars in a way that made it easier to unload. Buyers soon found that they were dealing with field and telephone sales personnel who not only understood their problems but also frequently anticipated them. In customers’ minds, Weyerhaeuser’s lumber became different from any other. It became a branded item in an ocean of undifferentiated offerings.

    2. alco and Betz encouraged managers to spend time investigating customer needs. Over time, both companies concluded that taking over the water-treatment process themselves would result in benefits all around. So they each developed service businesses. For a monthly fee, Nalco and Betz offered to become the industrial facilities’ on-site partners, guaranteeing the best available handling of all water-treatment issues. Customers could focus on their core businesses. Betz and Nalco would provide not only the chemicals but also highly valued technical services. Did customers approach Nalco and Betz management and say, “We wish you would take over our water treatment?” No. It had never occurred to them that a supplier could eliminate their frustrations. Nalco’s and Betz’s managers, by focusing on their customers’ problems, saw the potential benefit themselves. In fact, the idea wasn’t accepted by all customers right away. Both companies spent several years convincing customers to give up their water-treatment functions. But the new businesses they created turned out to be immensely profitable.
    3. Originally, both Nalco and Betz thought of themselves simply as manufacturers and distributors of chemical products that were used in water-treatment processes. Like many such companies, they dropped bags and drums of chemicals at receiving docks and charged by the pound. They competed on the basis of price, service, and quality of products. Fortunately, Nalco and Betz both had cultures that encouraged senior managers and sales representatives to spend a lot of time in the field listening to customers. As a result, top-level executives became more intimately familiar with their customers’ needs. And it became clear that industrial users did not want to deal with water-treatment problems. Maintenance department personnel, for example, wanted to focus on boiler and steam problems, the core of their duties. They did not want to go to water-treatment conferences. Nor did they have time to read the manuals on the subject.
    4. Customers can describe their experiences and define their immediate needs. But only you can interpret their data and help them solve their problems. Being market focused is about your own creativity uncovering and solving your customers’ problems. Creative managers must bring insights and expertise to their customers’ problems.
    5. Without the personal involvement and interest of senior management, it is unlikely that these options would have surfaced. From a practical standpoint, they look like much too big an investment to serve the needs of just one customer. And think of the leverage needed to advocate and nurture such radical options through the existing Chevron structure. Isn’t it the stuff of which career-ending moves are made? But if the benefits for the mining company, the chemical company, and Chevron are large enough, any such investment can justify itself in short order. And that’s just one chain. Chevron is still investigating its options in this area, and its plans currently remain confidential. But imagine the degree of strategic freedom created for the company by these senior level insights. Chevron has moved away from the win-lose game of commodity negotiation and entered the win-win world of differentiation.
    6. Four simple rules can help managers practice market-focused management. 1. Recognize that ‘customer’ means more than the next step in the distribution chain. An important corollary: do not think of your marketplace offering as a commodity. The first step to being market focused: recognize that your customer is more than the next step in the distribution chain.
    7. Wireline’s managers might have spotted the need for segmented services by analyzing the company’s market in a traditional way. But it is very difficult for a large, established corporation, especially one with a fixed culture like Wireline’s, to commit to significant organizational change when that change involves a down-market move. As Wireline’s general manager put it, only the direct experience of spending a day with the San Antonio dentist, from a morning at the office fixing cavities to an afternoon walk in the oil patch, compelled Wireline to redesign its truck and move beyond its elitist mind-set to compete in the smaller property segment

      visit your clients like a human to human connection

    8. When senior managers spend a day in the life of their customers, the rewards are twofold. First, the experience generates new insights into business opportunities, reawakening managers’ instincts and challenging their senses. It also becomes the catalyst for action. Rather than looking at their customers through a one-way mirror, market-focused managers feel their customers’ stresses, joys, disappointments, and rewards. From this personal involvement comes the conviction needed to drive organizational change.
    9. There were to be still other surprises. In the middle of the afternoon, the Chicago printer told the Woodbridge team, “One of the most irritating things for me is the fact that you keep delivering paper in 100-inch rolls. My printing press is 95 inches wide. The first thing I do is chop off 5 inches of product, which creates a lot of scrap and an additional labor operation. I’ve been complaining about this for years.” “That’s news to me,” said Woodbridge’s manufacturing vice president, glaring at the sales rep. It seemed that communication gaps also existed at Woodbridge. “It would be worth studying the engineering to see if we could align the width of our machine with yours,” the Woodbridge engineering services manager said. “Our machine, as far as I know, works only for printing and packaging applications, and most of your colleagues must have similar presses. The only reason we made the paper as wide as we did is that it is generally accepted in the industry that the wider the machine, the cheaper it can make the product.” “If the engineering study works out, we could charge you by the usable square yard rather than by the pound as we do today,” the marketing vice president suggested. “I would like that,” the Chicago printer said, beaming. “I sell square inches of printed stuff, not pounds.” The two sketched out the rough parameters of the engineering, the new economics of the redesigned paper machine, and the associated pricing.
    10. To the surprise of the soup contingent, the first battery of questions didn’t touch on paper or printing. Instead, the Woodbridge delegation asked questions that focused on soup manufacturing and marketing: problems they had, issues they faced, how they could increase their own profit.
    11. Top-level managers need to spend a day in the life of key customers in their distribution chains. There is no substitute for managers’ instincts, imagination, and personal knowledge of the market. It should be the essence of corporate strategy. Only in that context can analytical devices like customer-satisfaction indices, market-share data, and benchmarking results become servants rather than masters. And only with market-focused leadership can companies continuously and quickly reinvent themselves to meet new market needs.
    12. This failure to listen carefully to all customers, to empathize with their needs and desires, results in reduced service levels, streamlined product lines, and uniform product designs. It inadvertently favors cost reduction at the expense of individuality, even when market needs point toward greater customization. What’s more, managers who are not market focused often come to the conclusion that there is really no fundamental difference between their offering and that of their competitors. Commoditization, the natural outgrowth of all competitors fighting with the same weapons, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And commoditization is why so many industrial companies that embraced time-based competition or reengineering may have realized short-term gains but have ended up destroying their industries’ profit margins. If all competitors fight with the same weapons, the natural result is commoditization and declining profit margins.
    13. Finally, unless senior executives make market focus a personal, strategic priority, they will not initiate organizational change, even if all data indicate that such change is warranted. Most top-level managers routinely spend time visiting customers. But all too often, these visits are superficial; the managers don’t invest the effort needed to understand and empathize with the customer. They may have preconceived ideas about a client’s situation and, as a result, may not ask imaginative, probing questions or separate significant kernels of information from the overall picture.
    14. Another danger is that most managers do not understand the distinction between information and knowledge. Even if they include information from all points on the distribution channel, most general market data do not show a manager how each customer relates to the next or how customers view competing products or services. Managers faced with too much general information tend to average results, blur boundaries, and miss distinct, segmented market opportunities
    15. Each link in the chain right down to the end user is as important as the next. Only market data that reflects desires and needs at every step can give senior managers the kind of comprehensive picture they need to make informed, accurate decisions about new services, product positioning, and the like. For consumer goods companies like Coca-Cola, Gillette, and Nike, the chain is short, so even information that doesn’t reflect all steps will probably be on or near target. But for industrial concerns, several steps removed from the end users of a finished product, such an error can result in a grossly inaccurate portrayal of the market.
    16. . Each link in the chain right down to the end user is as important as the next. Only market data that reflects desires and needs at every step can give senior managers the kind of comprehensive picture they need to make informed, accurate decisions about new services, product positioning, and the like.
    17. A senior executive’s instinctive capacity to empathize with and gain insights from customers is the single most important skill he or she can use to direct technologies, product and service offerings, communications programs, indeed, all elements of a company’s strategic posture. Bill Gates, Akio Morita, Sam Walton, and others brought this ability to the enterprises they founded. Without it, their ventures might have been short-lived or at least far less successful.
  2. Apr 2021
    1. We know the audience for such games is limited. In order for us to produce games up to our standards, we rely on a direct sales model. Our games are not designed for traditional distribution or retail channels. The vast majority of all copies produced will be sent to Kickstarter backers or to people who purchase games through our store.  This means we can spend many more resources on the game's physical production without having to worry about retail viability.
    1. While there are people using the app in imaginative, social, and subversive ways, something about its over-all tone seems predetermined—a natural outgrowth of the “creator economy,” the performative intimacy of influencer culture, and the Silicon Valley hype cycle. (Some of the loudest hype men are those best positioned to profit from the hype.) It is hard to shake the feeling that everyone on Clubhouse is selling something: a company, a workshop, a show, a book, a brand.

      So, yes, a ringing endorsement then....

  3. Mar 2021
    1. Colleagues throughout the organization, andespecially those in administrative and leadershiproles, should also practice it so that evidence canguide key decisions. This is also true in the areas ofmarketing and sales, which thrive on the creationand circulation of bullshit.

      Bill Hicks would have approved of this.

  4. Feb 2021
    1. For years, retailers, no matter what time of day or year, have offered sales and advertisements that lure bargain-drooling customers in the doors.
    2. For instance, when faced with a 60% off, 12 hour only coupon that reduces a $1,200 winter coat to $400, you can’t help but rush to the store to buy it, even if it is 95 degrees out. A few things are happening here. For one, the $1200 acts as an anchor price that psychologically forces you to realize you’re getting an enormous deal at the $400 price point. Plus, the promotion limiting the time the offer is available forces you into an impulse.
  5. Oct 2020
    1. The process of onboarding employees often presents unique challenges for sales organizations. Sales reps are often remotely located, so in-person live training for new sales employees can take a heavy toll on already-strained department budgets — particularly if training needs to be delivered small audiences and tailored to specific roles or regions. Video helps to address the specific problems associated with training sales reps by enabling organizations to create a training video library with up-to-date product information, best practices, scenario examples, role-play sales demonstrations, and more for everyone from entry-level sales reps to the most experienced executives. Sales training videos can also improve your new hires’ ability to retain the information that they’ve learned. According to recent research, the retention rate for visual information is about 65%, while the same rate for text-based information is just 10%. Researchers credit interactive video content and the ability to learn at one’s own pace for the increased information retention.

      Training and onboarding new employees in a remote environment is essential. Video training improves retention from 10 to 65%. Improving retention for new employees provides quicker ramp up time and lowers defection rates. Rating 7/10

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  10. Jul 2019
    1. s such as JavaScript are more difficult to com-pile than statically typed ones. Since no conc

      Test comments

  11. Jun 2019
    1. It has been our nonprofit technology company was started in 2011 the goal, the problem we're trying to solve is is essentially to bring collaboration to the web at scale

      Hey, the point you should have made here.....

  12. Dec 2018
    1. Here’s the simple sales framework I used to answer “sell me this pen”. Memorize it for yourself. Find out how they last used a pen (gather info) Emphasize the importance of the activity they last used a pen (respond to info) Sell something bigger than a pen, like a state of mind (deliver info) Ask for the buy (closing)
  13. Jun 2017
  14. Mar 2017
    1. The therapist-client relationship, I'd suggest, even at its prickliest, is simply not going to produce the stress and pain that can occur when contending narratives meet.

      I'm reading this article very much from the perspective of a former B2B telemarketer, which is the extreme opposite end of the therapist-client relationship. 1) People (especially gatekeepers) hate telemarketers, and 2) people hate spending money, especially when someone else is trying to get them to do it. So much of our strategy was about sidestepping, trying to reframe the situation so it's now outside of their steadfast narratives and making it seem like we're building understanding and mutually helping each other out. Though it's pure deception--my product was terrible and those jackasses with the pocketbook could burn for all I cared.

      I almost want to call up my asshole former boss, a former stockbroker from New Jersey who was all about the hard sell, and chat him up about this.

  15. Jan 2016
    1. Ami Bloomer's new company Clozer provides on-demand sales representatives globally.

      Ami herself currently calls it "the Uber of sales". But that must be a very loose comparison. Anyone who can drive a car could work for Uber, but salesmanship is a talent.

  16. Jun 2015
    1. 8 Profound Marketing Lessons I Learned From Selling at a Food Market

      A great article of basics for any stall-holder, the lessons can easily be applied to non-food...