THOUGHTS

April 2013

Strategy. Two elements of strategy when going to market are target audience and message. Lately I have seen where getting these right makes for a successful campaign and where getting either of them wrong leads to failure. Picking the target audience seems simple, but it is often done on a very broad brush approach: “All companies with more than $200m revenue” for example.  Sometimes it is done this way because no one is sure of the sweet-spot.  That’s OK provided there is constant feedback from Marketing and Sales to refine the list.  Sometimes it is done because there is no time/resource to refine the list and sometimes it is because nobody really cares and the campaign is just a tick the box exercise. Messaging is more complex.  It encompasses elements of the target audience, perceived painpoints, capabilities of the product being offered and customer outcomes to be achieved.  Looking for the right outcome is very important.  I worked with a client selling a monitoring product.  The target group was carefully assessed and then triaged to ensure maximum return.  The messaging was around the importance of monitoring.  The campaign was failing, after three weeks there was only one lead. Time to stop and listen to the market.  A number of contacts had talked about the fact that monitoring was being done by their outsourcer, but that they, as clients, had little visibility of the monitoring and any new reports they wanted required a change request and additional money. After some brainstorming we changed the messaging from monitoring to providing an auditing capability to “keep the bastards honest” and leads started to flow.  Same product, same targets, different message, very different results.

March 2013

It’s amazing what a bit of process mapping tied to technical capabilities can do. Client produces lead reports in Word format.  Using existing processes, which are mainly manual it takes between 20 to 50 minutes.  By changing the process and using some plugins and Word macros it now takes 23 seconds.  And no typing mistakes!

February 2013

One thing about SaaS; you are stuck with system bugs until the SaaS company fixes them.  I have a client at the moment that needs to manage a lot of callers working on behalf of a number of different clients.  This necessitates carefully segmenting campaigns for data integrity and security reasons.  Currently the ability to filter caller queues by campaign is broken.  Doesn’t look like being fixed soon, so I have spent time designing a workaround which is not elegant, but works.  Pragmatism.

January 2013

Nice break over the holidays. Further to my CRM thoughts in my last post I had an interesting experience over the last two weeks.  It involved a large partner we are working with.  They have implemented a CRM system designed by corporate in the US. The system is slow, it is difficult to use, the callers in the telesales/telemarkting part of the company have found it so hard to use that they dump leads into an Excel spreadsheet, do their calling and then type into the CRM when they have time. So why is it like this?  I spent some time talking to the users and managers and the answer is simple: It was designed by a bunch of head office people for global reporting, not to make the job of the callers easier and not to manage clients in any holistic way.  The tail wags the dog.

November 2012

CRM It is interesting to work with companies wanting to implement “a CRM”. It is probably worth while looking at what a CRM system is not, before looking at what it is, or can be, and where it brings value to an organisation. A CRM system is not a silver bullet A CRM system is not a set and forget application A CRM system is not a piece of software A CRM system is not a database A CRM system is not a reporting tool for management A CRM system is not a lead generation tool A CRM system is not a sales appointment calendar A CRM is made up of all of the above apart from the first two items.  But it is so much more.  The biggest factor for a successful implementation of a CRM system is the culture of the organisation.  Everybody that touches a customer, prospect, lead or contact has to believe that they make a difference. The data within a CRM needs to be kept fresh and that is the responsibility of Sales, Marketing, Pre- Sales, Post-Sales, Professional Services, Logistics, HR, Finance.

October 2012

One of my favourite topics is that of building a closer relationship between Sales and Marketing. If you want to have an idea of how close the two departments are within your organisation, ask yourself the following questions: 1. What does Marketing consider are the characteristics of a good Lead? 2. What does Sales consider are the characteristics of a good Lead? 3. What is the delta between the answers to Q1 & Q2 above?  If the views are very different there is an obvious disconnect.  Time to talk. 4. When you have sales training (do you have sales training?) are marketing staff involved as well?  How can marketing staff really understand reps’ challenges if they don’t understand the sales cycle? 5. How good is the feedback from Sales to Marketing on Lead quality?  Note: “The leads were crap” is not good feedback as it lacks actionable information. Grab a coffee with the rep and talk through the problems.  See what can be done. 6. How often does marketing management attend sales meetings?  Marketing management should be looking for the pain reps are feeling and working to alleviate the problem.  SPIN methodology works inside an organisation as well as outside.  Another reason to have marketing staff present at sales training. 7. Who determines the messaging for marketing campaigns?  Sales?  Marketing?  Joint effort?  Marketing have the skills to maximise the impact of the message.  Sales have the experience of talking to clients every day and seeing first hand what messages are received best.  Time for more coffee. Finally, from experience, the business relationship between the Sales Director and the Marketing Director has the strongest correlation with how the two departments work together.  Makes sense.

September 2012

Finally bit the bullet and built myself a website. Designing the site was the easy bit, the hard stuff is content.  It has always been my contention that websites are easy to set up and difficult to maintain. By maintain I mean keeping it fresh and interesting, not the IT maintenance stuff which is necessary, but not sufficient for an interesting presence. I have found myself at times resisting setting up a corporate website and/or blog, even when I was Marketing Director.  Not because I thought they were not needed or that I am a Luddite, but because I knew the site would be built in a flurry of activity and excitement and that two months later nobody - from the MD, to Marketing, to Sales, to Tech Support and to Product Management would have the time or inclination to write good content. If you are going to do anything in the corporate world think about how the process will run next week, next month and next year.  Is it sustainable?
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© Naviga Business Solutions 2012
This cartoon sums up the problem with processes that I have railed against most of my corporate life. Processes that don’t add value should be taken out the back and shot.

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