Success Feed

Get ready for the Real Time Economy

In this five minute video, Seth Godin shares the latest busines trend. On one hand, the time gap between need and satisfaction is shrinking, on the other hand the market has become more tribal. The consequences of this trend are: 

1. To become the top choice in the real time market, we need years of preparation 

2. To capture the real time expectations of our customers we need real time technology tools (real time analytics) 

3. To insure relevancy in real time we need to subscribe to the right connections. 

 


Success in Real Time

While science fiction writers lead us into a world we'll never see in our lifetime, historians remind us of a world that existed before we were born. Technology however leads us into a far more interesting space: real time. 

Here are just a few examples to illustrate that point. When we are hungry, we go to Yelp and find a restaurant in real time. When we see a breaking news event, we go to Twitter to learn what's happening in real time from citizen journalists. Banks are implementing technology that allows people to manage their money in real time. Big Data technology allows real time analysis and pattern recognition that leads to faster and better decisions. Online technology shows us what our customers are doing on our website in real time. For example, Hubspot's new sales tool Signals tells us when an email has been opened by the recipient in real time. A great opportunity to connect with a prospect instantly. 

Real time analysis is not only used for business, but in many other fields. For example, this month, the State of Nevada installed special sensors in snow plows that deliver information to a data center that combines real-time street information with data from radar and computer weather models to get a real time look of present and emerging winter road conditions. 

A company called 94Fifty created a basketball with special sensors that gives the player instant feedback for every pass or shot, tracking ball speed, shooting angle and ball rotation. Real time feedback does wonders for improving performance. 

To tell us how Marketing in Sales is moving into the real time space, check out this five-minute video interview with David Meerman Scott, the author of Real Time Marketing and PR. 

 

You can connect with David, our keynote speaker, at our next Sales 2.0 conference in San Francisco on May 5-6 and shake hands with him in real time.  

 

When salespeople should say "no"

In the January issue of Selling Power magazine in the Cloud we published a cover story with Seth Godin. To enhance the experience with our content we now add video interviews that I think you will find very helpful. 

In this short video (3:44 min) Seth explains why saying no to client builds trust and why accepting a no from a client can help you build a stronger relationship. 

 


Five Sales Personality Types and How to Incent Them

Cabrera_newToday's blog post is by Christopher Cabrera, CEO of Xactly Corporation, the industry leader in sales compensation automation.

 

If your company hasn’t been making its numbers and your employees seem disengaged, it’s time to examine how to incent them uniquely and appropriately.

A big part of building a successful sales team is building a comp plan to suit your team members’ individual needs. Let’s look at the specialized roles that round out your team and how to optimally incent your team members.

1) Hunters

A hunter is your “traditional” salesperson; he or she probably cold-called you to get the job and followed up persistently. Hunters are bold and thrive in the field, where they can hunt new business. Their main task is to nurture leads and close deals. To incent hunters properly, make sure that a large portion of their target salary comes from variable pay. Among Xactly users (more than 500 emerging to enterprise companies) the average hunter pay mix is 50 percent fixed and 50 percent variable.

A recent PR Newswire article, “Motivating Your Sales Force: Do Bonuses or Commissions Work Better?” cited an AMA study that compared bonus-at-target plans to commission-beyond-target plans and found that “sales improved by 24% when the sales reps were switched to the commissions scheme.” Why? The key to optimally incenting hunters is to break down any barriers to performance. A common barrier that companies set up for hunters is a capped commission plan. The organization may believe it’s protecting the budget, but the reward isn’t worth taking away the motivation for hunters to knock it out of the park.

2) Farmers

While hunters stay hot on the trail of new business, farmers harvest deals by nurturing existing clients, keeping customers happy, and cross-selling. You’re guaranteed a lower churn rate when you have talented farmers focused on consulting and renewals. To reward farmers properly, you want to motivate them to up-sell – without taking advantage of the customer with unnecessary up-selling. This can be tricky. With the optimal pay mix, you can avoid both overeager farmers trying to sell nonessential products and complacent farmers so satisfied with the annuity stream from their patch that they forget about growth. Farmers’ incentive compensation plan should have a 60/40 mix of growth and annuity reward.

3) Prospectors

Without consistent leads streaming through your pipeline, deals (and therefore cash flow) are sapped. This leaves reps vulnerable to falling short of quota. The prospector’s job is to ensure a plethora of qualified leads so that hunters can focus on doing what they do best – closing deals. To inspire the best performance from your prospectors, you need a plan that incents them to always find new leads. You don’t want to pay for just leads; that’s a prospector trap. You want to pay for closed business. Construct your plan to reflect this need with a healthy 60/40 mix between leads and revenue. Worried certain prospectors will score a few high-revenue deals and put their feet up for the rest of the quarter? Add a control, or threshold, on credit for big deals.

4) Specialists

This sales-support role is absolutely critical. You don’t want a rep getting tongue-tied because the demo and sale are too complex. Back your reps with specialists to help answer industry-specific questions and address technical challenges. When it comes to incenting the role that some have referred to as the “brains” of the team, pay should be primarily base. Specialists need to provide the best advice possible to the rep and the customer. To fulfill their purpose as the trusted advisors, they can’t have too much variable pay, or you won’t be motivating desired behavior, you’ll be turning your specialists into hunters. To incent the specialist, measure the quality of closed business, and compliment with a measure of the intrinsic value of a deal to the customer.

5) Captains

Depending on the size of your organization, you’ll need multiple captains to keep the team aligned and working toward company objectives. Just as all football teams need a coach, every sales force needs a captain. This person’s tasked with looking at the team holistically, discovering outlier reps, and keeping them focused on the deals and goals that matter most. When it comes to compensating captains, their quota should be less than the sum of all their reps’ quotas combined. Adjust your captains’ quotas for new hires and open slots; you don’t want a captain to be so fearful about not making quota that he or she will keep poorly performing reps on the payroll or hire inept candidates just to fill a seat. With an opportunity-based quota for managers, you incent them to build their “A” team, not to just build a team. 

Incent according to these personality types, and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running going into the next quarter.

Check out our featured guide, “Bring Your A-Game,” for a more detailed study of building your best sales team. 

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Lean Out: 3 Steps to Increasing Revenue in Your Company

20063a0Today's blog post is by Dan McDade, author of The Truth About Leads.

 

 

ThetruthaboutleadsRecently, over a cup of coffee, Dan Waldschmidt (Waldschmidt Partners) and I talked about the herd mentality that causes many well-intentioned businesspeople to follow the crowd blindly – often in the wrong direction – based on one so-called expert or another proclaiming that “cold calling is dead” or “content is king,” as though it were all that simple. Dan subsequently published a blog post called “Sometimes the experts are idiots. So just go be awesome.” Read the post, but here are some thoughts he shared.

He wrote about some dubious statements:

“In 1899, Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the US Office of Patents, astutely noted, ‘Everything that can be invented has been invented.’ Since then, 7,673,820 inventors have received patents from the USPTO.

“In 1943, Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, observed, ‘I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.’ As of June 2010, there were approximately 1,966,514,816 computers connected to the Internet – accounting for roughly 28% of the global population.

“In 2007, Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, proclaimed, ‘There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.’ Since 2007, Apple has sold almost 430 million iPhones. Microsoft has only sold about 2% of that number.”

Also in his blog post, Dan advised the following:

“You should keep dreaming big dreams. You should refuse to believe that things won’t change.

“What you feel doesn’t need facts yet. It just needs you to believe. To believe so passionately that you move past logic, criticism, and everything that you think is possible in the pursuit of making it reality.”

Dan also shared these ideas with me:

“My problem with the crowd mentality is that it lacks an authentic environment for replication. From weight loss to financing to working from home and business growth, experts will try to convince the crowd that the expert's plan is easily replicable. Even if the experts are sincere, they are sadly misguided.

“Regardless of the specifics, the crowd mentality focuses on what everyone else is doing, rather than what each specific member of the crowd should be doing. Adherence, rather than creativity, is rewarded, and that by itself is a pretty big problem.”

There was a time when “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.” Today, it seems that nobody ever gets fired for abandoning outbound marketing in favor of inbound marketing. It’s now possible for marketing to pass a higher quantity of poorly qualified leads to sales faster than ever before. The result: sales mostly ignores the avalanche of poorly qualified leads that scored high enough (according to the marketing department) to be sent to sales as marketing-qualified leads. One marketing organization we work with passes thousands of leads to sales knowing that only 1.28 percent of what is sent is qualified. Honestly, people – this has got to stop!

There are three things that organizations can do to stop the insanity:

  1. Sales must proactively accept or reject marketing leads within 48 hours of receipt. If rejected, a judicial branch made up of senior marketing and sales executives, along with a C-level executive (in larger companies), should determine if the lead did not meet the agreed-upon lead criteria or if sales follow-up was insufficient and/or ineffective. This will reduce lead leakage by not allowing a lead to go into a black hole. Neither marketing nor sales can maintain the status quo. Statistically backed accountability will drive continuous improvement.

  2. Once a lead is accepted by sales, a realistic close rate should be agreed upon and worked toward (including eventually working toward improving that rate). Ask reps today what percentage of qualified leads they can close, and they will tell you 60–80 percent. What they are really saying is that they will close 60–80 percent of the leads they thought they were going to close. According to some industry analysts, average companies close about 20 percent of sales-qualified leads, while best-in-class sales organizations close closer to 30 percent. No sales rep wants to take credit for losing four out of five times, so organizations do not have visibility into lead status unless the lead is close to being won or it is too late to do anything about it. Sales reps will sell more when they are focused on fewer opportunities but held accountable for the process their company has put in place for lead pipeline and forecast movement. Without step 1, step 2 is impossible.

  3. Kill the insane preoccupation with the lead-definition “god” called BANT (budget, authority, need, time frame). In The New Solution Selling by Keith Eades, there are two important “truths”:

            “The not-looking buyer has great potential.

            “When the salesperson sells into latent pain, that salesperson has an excellent opportunity to set or define the buyer’s buying requirements.”

    Yet most companies’ sales reps are uninterested in leads unless they are BANT qualified. Unless you are selling an inexpensive solution or a commodity, you are too late to the game when you wait for a lead to be BANT qualified. But here is what “general-interest lead” means to different audiences:

    AVERAGE SALES REP: “No budget, no timeframe, no interest in working it. I would rather take someone who is nice to me to lunch, rather than work strategically on a sale.”

    ELIGHTENED SALES REP: “Authority [decision maker or coach influencer] and need or pain [backed by some form of compelling event] – I’m on it! I know that I have a better chance of closing a strategic deal when I’m in early. Let my lazy brethren fight for the crumbs.”

Break away from the crowd! The next time you hear someone say, “Seventy percent of the buying process is complete before sales needs to get involved,” respectfully but forcefully disagree. Do something different, because following the crowd is not going to work. As Dan says at the end of his blog post, “No one can stop you if you won’t be stopped. Choose to be awesome.”

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How Much Value Do You See in Social Media?

Today, the combined market value of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter is more than $162 billion. That’s a huge value for companies whose customers create content that their friends, followers, and connections avariciously consume (often while they probably should be doing something else).

Last week, Dave Kurlan, the author of Baseline Selling, wrote an interesting blog post about how salespeople don’t get traction with social media. One passage struck a chord:

“It's time that we stop expecting sales to increase as a result of CRM, social selling tools and email.  They are great tools, but none of them replace actual selling, and even worse, all of them serve as distractions, false safety nets and busy work that must be completed before salespeople are caught up and can get on the phone.”

Kurlan’s findings are based on compelling information. He states that there is a lack of correlation between the use of social-media tools and key sales metrics. (Note: Kurlan’s company, Kurlan & Associates, has more than 1,400 Twitter followers.)

Kurlan’s source can’t be brushed off; the information is drawn from more than 10,000 sales assessments from more than 200 industries. 

As the daisy chain of CRM-related apps expands dramatically (many companies now use 15–20 different "sales-productivity enhancing apps"), salespeople are spending more time with information that's either pushed to them or they access at will.

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Salespeople find social media interesting at first, but they often get lost in the execution.

 

Social media can turn into a subtle thief of time, demanding our attention and luring us away from the path that would move the sale forward. It is easy to think that social-media tools were created to tickle our egos, and when I hear people brag about the number of Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, and Facebook friends or “likes” they have, I begin to wonder if salespeople are paying more attention to growing their social-media metrics than their customer base.

Jill Konrath (16,800 Twitter followers), the author of SNAP Selling,  explains in a recent video, "What You Need to Know About the Rise of Social Selling", that social selling is about four things:

  1. Building a strong online brand
  2. Gathering sales intelligence
  3. Making connections
  4. Sharing good stuff 

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Jill Konrath talks about the rise of social selling. When will we hear about the fall of Facebook?

George Dans, author of the book Just Close It!, shared his reluctance to keep up with Facebook; he’s thinking about shutting down his connection to more than 1,600 friends (he has 43 Twitter followers). Dans spoke at our last Sales 2.0 Conference, and I am willing to bet that he’ll soon follow through with this plan. I personally love Twitter (5,800 followers) and LinkedIn (3,400 connections), but like George, I don’t see Facebook’s ROI in business. 

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George Dans believes that there are too many “likeaholics,” and he thinks of quitting Facebook.

Award-winning sales blogger Anthony Iannarino  (more than 31,000 Twitter followers) frames the issue of social media in a different light in his blog

“The new tools are amplifiers. They amplify what you already are. If you’re a pitch machine, always pushing how wonderful your product, your service, or your solution is, the new tools will amplify the fact that you are all about you. It takes something negative and amplifies it, making it even more negative than it already is.”

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Anthony Iannarino has more than 31,000 Twitter followers - a big megaphone for his blog that’s read by 45,000 salespeople.

Koka Sexton, a social-media guru and marketing manager at LinkedIn, says in the following YouTube video that “social selling is just being able to leverage social networks in a way that accelerates your deal cycles, as well as gets you more connected with your network in a way that can open new opportunities.”

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Is there a LinkedIn study that refutes Dave Kurlan’s claim? Is social selling something that helps social-media companies more than salespeople?

The fact that Koka Sexton has 30,000 Twitter followers and this video got only 123 views makes me wonder if social metrics matter.  We know that the combined market value of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook is more than $162 billion, but what value are these companies creating for their customers? 

We love to invest in dreams.

At the heart of social media is the dream that connections can turn into relationships, and relationships are the foundation of business. The reality of the digital economy is that we are working for two businesses: one is our business, and the goal of that business is to create customers. The other business is to serve and interact with the software products in the cloud that we need to deploy in order to attract, engage, sell, and service our customers.

And here is the challenge with all things in the cloud: the more we train our minds on the cloud, the less traction we have under our feet to move sales forward.

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Get Executive Sponsorship for Your Great Ideas

LisaG_2_v2Today's blog post is by Lisa Gschwandtner, Editorial Director at Selling Power. Follow her on Twitter @SellingPower20.

 

Many sales leaders have great ideas about how to help the sales team improve or exceed its goals. No matter what your idea is, it probably represents an investment of time or money (or both) to carry it out.

In February of 2012, two sales leaders, Ken Powell and Jim Neve, had a great idea for SunGard, a financial-services company: undergo a complete sales transformation. The plan was to maximize channels, sell the broadest set of solutions, and go to market in a coordinated manner -- all with the goal of creating a sustainable revenue engine.

All told, Powell and Neve planned to invest about $4 million to purchase technology solutions and work with vendors who could help them achieve their goal. In a workshop at the recent Sales Performance Management Conference in San Francisco, Powell said that a key element of success was to secure executive sponsorship. Here are five tips he shared for getting the boss to support your great ideas:

1) Align your idea with existing strategic priorities.

You’ll have a much better chance of convincing executives to support your idea if it complements stated goals for the organization. Given the challenges SunGard faced at the start of the sales transformation, it was pretty easy to make a strong case for building a sustainable revenue engine. As long as you can connect the dots, your company’s strategic goals could be a great springboard to garner enthusiasm for your idea.

2) Don’t ask for new money.

There’s a budget for your idea -- it’s just sitting somewhere else right now. Before you ask your boss to divert funds from other departments, however, make sure you truly believe your idea will bring the highest value to the company. If you don’t feel that way, wait for a better idea to strike.

3) Build an internal coalition among peers.

The boss isn’t the only person you should be chatting up. Build a coalition of support among your colleagues for your idea. Ideally, they’ll talk it up without your involvement. Powell calls this “seed planting.”

4) Offer your boss at least three options.

Powell said it’s rare that he doesn’t provide executives a list of at least three options, along with a list of the pros and cons of each. The reason is simple: if the boss feels he or she had a part in crafting or selecting the idea, it might be easier to secure support for execution. Allow your boss to decide in which direction the company should go.

5) Present and refine those options multiple times.

As a rule, don’t expect to get a yes from top-level executives on the first go-around. In fact, Powell says it’s a good idea to assume that execs will be either neutral or negative about your proposal. Use the presentation as an opportunity to test and refine your idea. Although it can be frustrating when the boss doesn’t see its value right away, taking the time to listen to feedback and refine options can get you one step closer to yes.

You don’t have to embark on an idea as lofty as a sales transformation to try out Powell’s advice. Investments in change (even tactical ones, such as outfitting the field sales team with mobile devices) typically require resources and internal support. Use these tips to get buy-in from the boss and make your mark as a great sales leader.

For more behind-the-scenes information about SunGard’s sales transformation, download this free white paper

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Let's Stay Positive On Social Media

Since my wife, Laura, and I founded Selling Power in 1981, it was our objective to create a positive platform for the professional sales community. So imagine my surprise when this tweet from a sales consultant appeared on my timeline: 

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The 18 characters “Totally disgusting!” sounded like an alarm. But what’s alarming is the complete inaccuracy of the tweet and the harm it caused to us. After working diligently for over thirty years to serve the professional sales market, I was – and am – alarmed that anyone would send such a thoughtless and malevolent message. But that’s the downside of social media.

That tweet was fired off prematurely. At the time, the conference speaker line-up and the agenda was still a work in progress. Of the final 26 speakers, our sponsors selected 14 and of the 10 remaining speakers that we selected, 5 are women.

In the years we’ve been publishing Selling Power, we’ve reached out to the sales community to cover every innovation and tried to keep ahead of the market. One of the areas we began covering back in the mid ’80s was women in sales. We profiled or interviewed many who’d made a significant contribution either to sales or to motivating others to succeed, including (and here I list only a few because to list them all would take up the rest of this post) Mary Kay Ash, Venita Van Caspel, Meg Whitman, Anne Mulcahy, Danica Patrick, Maria Sharapova, Mary Lou Retton, Jackie Joyner Kersee, Oprah Winfrey, and many others. We also profiled many women sales managers and reps who were doing well in the field. In fact, we wrote our first cover story on women in selling in 1983. Who else was doing that?

Our company, Selling Power Inc. employs more women than men. Over 2/3 of our staff are women. My wife is the editor of Selling Power magazine, one daughter is the editorial director and another daughter is VP of Sales and Marketing and she also runs our Sales 2.0 events serving over 2,000 sales leaders in four different locations in the US and the UK. I don’t have the slightest bias against women, and I would not want my daughters or wife to be discriminated against. The ratio of women to men running our Sales 2.0 events is 90% to 10%. 

Staying Positive

It’s easy to fly off the handle, tap out 140 characters, besmirch someone’s good name and efforts, all in order to get some attention or a reaction. After all the hard work we have done to support the entire sales expert community, it’s dissappointing. And does no good for the sales community. We’re about building, not tearing down. We’re about staying positive in the face of adversity, not dragging people into a  muddy bog.

Within days of Jill’s first tweet, a number of women sales trainers, consultants and authors joined her crusade, not knowing that the conference agenda was incomplete, and not knowing that our hands are tied when our sponsors decide who in their company, or of their customers, would be best suited to represent them and provide useful insights to the audience. 

Jill Konrath founded the group of 30 women sales experts some time ago with the goal to “share news.”

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In the past we have offered a number of Sales Shebang members free passes to our events and shared their expertise with our Selling Power audience in print and online. Two Sales Shebang members have previously spoken at our events, and a third is joining us at the upcoming event.

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I have had the privilege of contributing and working with some of the most amazing women in America like Oprah, Hillary Clinton or Mary Kay Ash and I deeply appreciate their contributions to our world.

Do we withhold our support of women for any reason? 

Jill Konrath admitted in her email that she’d held a grudge against Selling Power magazine because seven years ago, we researched and featured the top earning sales keynote speakers and all of them were men. Jill wanted to see us feature more women sales speakers. Any magazine subscriber can go online and within minutes find that Selling Power has written about Jill Konrath and her work at least ten times in the past ten years. (Search “Jill Konrath” on www.sellingpower.com.)

What’s really behind all this brouhaha?

Jill Konrath is a respected thought leader in the field of selling. She has written books that have helped thousands of salespeople improve their professional skills. We also share her view that not enough women get promoted in corporate America and we agree that we are going through a period of equalization. As more women move up to sales management, American business will grow, sales will improve, and the power of women will rise. I applaud her vigilance and I’m glad we were able to correct the initial misperceptions that started this whole tweet-o-rama.

So here is the happy ending. A 140-character peace offering from Jill Konrath that was tweeted yesterday:

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I think the US Government should take as an example how regular people can figure out how to reach across the aisle to resolve differences. We need more thoughtful, positive resolutions in this world where it’s easy to tear things down, but difficult to build something of value. That’s what we’ve always tried to do at Selling Power and that’s what we’ll continue doing in the future.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

P.S. I hope to see you at the Sales 2.0 Sales Performance Management Conference in San Francisco, Oct 16-17. It’s not too late to register today. As a way of thanking you for reading all the way to the end I am offering you this special discount code SPMCircle to get 50% off.

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Seven Strategies for Maximizing Account Success

Today's blog post is by Ron Snyder and Marty Levy. Ron Snyder is the President of Plan2Win Software. Marty Levy has held various VP of Sales positions in Silicon Valley companies.   
 

One of the most important sales battlefields is the account. Winning an account is more than winning a deal.  In account management, you are seeking to earn a position of trust that enables you to grow and build your business over an extended period of time. Maximizing your share of the dollars each of your most important accounts spends in your product/service area is a key driver of overall sales success.

The strategy decisions you make that position you to participate in and win an ever-increasing share of your customer’s business are critical.  Account managers should carefully choose the strategies that will, over time, yield the maximum results.

There are seven fundamental account strategies. To select the best approach in each case, you must analyze your position in the account, the account’s needs, and the competitive situation. This gives you the highest probability of success and optimizes your use of time and resources.

One of these strategies will be primary in your approach with an account.  You may also consider applying more than one of these in combination with your primary strategy in more complex or changing account situations.

  1. Defend and Grow
  2. Land and Expand
  3. Direct Attack
  4. Niche
  5. Change the Game
  6. Maintain and Support
  7. Develop Over Time

1. Defend and Grow

When you are established in an account, it is critical to defend your base so that you do not lose account share, future revenue potential, or influence in the account. From a strong account position, you build on your successes and promote the impact they have had on your customer’s business.  In defending your base, you are establishing a foundation from which you expand your presence and increase your share of wallet (the percentage of dollars spent in your area of expertise) at the account. Use this strategy to grow your business by mounting sales campaigns designed to expand your position in the account into other business units, functional areas, and departments.

2. Land and Expand

This strategy is used in accounts where you do not have an established position. Here, the objective is to win the first piece of business, creating a foothold in the account, and use that foothold to expand. It is critical to make this installation/use of your product or service successful. Then use this success to expand to other users, business units, functions, departments, etc. in the account. Ensure that early users achieve maximum benefit from your product or service, and communicate those successes. Use the benefits gained and referrals by that set of users to establish a strategic position that supports your expansion effort with others in the account.

3. Direct Attack

This approach is used for capitalizing on a strong market or technical position or for displacing a competitor. You must determine your significant advantage and build an account plan that delivers the benefit of your advantage to your account. Knowing your account’s needs, business goals, and priorities is fundamental to the effective use of this strategy. These account scenarios typically pit you directly against your competition. Effective and intensive use of your company’s resources and external resources is necessary to win the deal and ensure a strategic position.  Focus, engage, and attack the account’s needs for which you have a significant competitive advantage.

4. Niche

The objective is to demonstrate that you are the expert or leading provider of solutions for a specific problem, industry, or vertical market. Here, your company and solution address a clearly defined, often narrowly focused need or problem. You target a specific area within the account, such as one business unit, function, department, or even individual. To manage your resources effectively, it is especially important here that you focus on only those accounts that match your target account profile.

5. Change the Game

Bringing to your account unique insight on a business issue or industry dynamic will provide the opportunity to change the game to your advantage. Changing the way your account views its needs and how to solve them is your objective. This strategy dramatically builds your credibility as a trusted source of valuable perspective in your domain and weakens your competition’s position. Thus, it makes it much easier to become the preferred provider of the solution, regardless of your previous position at the account. As long as key decision makers can be influenced to agree with your perspective, you become the only choice.

6. Maintain and Support

If you have no significant new growth opportunities, then applying substantial resources to win marginal new business opportunities is not justifiable. Identify objectives for the account that maintain current business levels without overcommitting your resources in pursuing marginal incremental revenue. Your objective is to maintain a reasonable level of business with the most cost-effective deployment of resources.

7. Develop Over Time

In this scenario, the account has the potential to be very important to your business; however, there is either no compelling event driving the customer to buy now, or the customer is satisfied with its current solution. Good information about your account will provide insight into your opportunity potential. You anticipate having a better chance to win in the not-too-distant future. For example, you may be waiting for a new product/technology to be released. You position your offering to be the future solution of choice by investing now in building relationships and champions at the account.

In Conclusion

It is very important that you select the appropriate strategy for each account. Develop and implement a plan based upon a strategy that enables you to optimize the use of your time and resources and maximize your results. With a focus on the long term, your strategy will determine the action you take to win business now and develop a trusted relationship with the customer.

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Oracle OpenWorld Focuses on CX

Why is it that although 91 percent of executives want to be considered customer experience (CX) leaders, only 38 percent of them have started on any CX initiative within their company. As such, it is not surprising that the most-common challenges to starting CX initiatives include a lack of funding (32 percent), an inflexible technology infrastructure (28 percent), and a siloed organizational structure (25 percent, according to the 2013 “Oracle Global Customer Experience Survey.”)

This year, Oracle OpenWorld San Francisco has a specialized focused area around customer experience, CX @ OpenWorld.  This new focus area will provide sessions, mini presentations, interactive journey mapping workshops, and demos to help customers deliver a quality, targeted customer experience. Attendees will be able to learn, share, and network with Oracle executives, customers, and partners. Hear about CX trends as well as strategy, solutions, and technology.

Attendees will be able to explore the content by six different tracks:

  • Sales
  • Commerce
  • Service
  • Marketing
  • Social
  • Customer Experience Strategy and Design

Presentations will be given by top industry companies such as AGInteractive, Accenture, Avaya, Capgemini, Deloitte, Infosys, McAfee, SapientNitro, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, and many more. Only CX @ OpenWorld offers such great content all in one location.

Program highlights include:

  • Dedicated CX zone for CX/CRM, Moscone West, Level 3
  • 140+ CX sessions across CX Strategy and Design, Marketing, Sales, Commerce, Service, Social and Industry tracks
  • Cloud and on-premise application content, including Oracle ATG, Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Eloqua, Oracle Endeca, Oracle Fusion, Oracle Knowledge, Oracle RightNow Cloud Service, and Siebel
  • 15 Customer Journey Mapping workshops
  • CX Exhibition Experience
  • CX Industry Showcase Pavilion
  • Meet the Experts sessions

Don’t miss out on the largest business and technology event of the year, Oracle OpenWorld.  With this specialized focused area, CX @ OpenWorld, it will provide all of the industry experts and knowledge under one roof.  To register, visit the event website.

Sponsors Include:

Accenture
SapientNitro
Capgemini
Deloitte
Infosys
Tata Consultancy Services
Wipro Technologies

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