Are you tired of the
doom and gloom that is being thrust upon us on a minute-by-minute basis
from the media?
Even during the Great Depression, some of the most successful industries
got their start (e.g., motion pictures) and companies survived and
thrived (e.g., Proctor and Gamble). Did they do this by slashing their
marketing and service budgets, keys to growth and customer retention?
NO! They got aggressive and took market share away from those companies
that pulled back (in the eyes of the market and customer).
It is my belief that you get what you focus on. Focus on doom and gloom,
and you get more of it. While individually we cannot control the global
economy, what we CAN control is our attitude and what we do on a daily
basis to bolster the foundation of our companies and personal lives. It
is in this spirit that we embark on a series of articles focused on
thriving while others are hunkering down.
In the words of Warren Buffett – "Be fearful when others are greedy
and be greedy only when others are fearful." It is time to be
greedy, by going after the opportunities others are leaving behind.
We hope that you enjoy this series' first article, by Brent Larlee.
If you'd like to ensure that you maintain a high-level of market
presence and customer loyalty, give us a call. We'd be happy to discuss
our highly pragmatic programs that result in improving top-line growth,
your customers' experience and the operational performance of your firm.
2009 - Planning For Success
Part 1 of 2
Brent Larlee, WaiHaka Strategies LLC
I have to admit that I'm a glass-is-half-full optimist. In fact, I have
been accused of looking at a half-full-glass situation and arguing that
it was closer to a three-quarter-full glass situation. So, it is with
that back drop as a dues paying member of Optimists Anonymous that I
have been troubled so much with all of the economic trouble that has
been in the news recently. It is not that I have my head in the ground
and can't see that there are major issues with the US economy and the
global economy, but my view is to focus more on the opportunity than the
problem. Unfortunately, it has been tough to focus on anything but the
problems with the news coverage, but I also know that with problems come
As businesses look at their 2009 planning process, the major question is
where the opportunity will come from with respect to revenue growth,
profits, sustainability, and survivability. This is not the time for
anyone to put blinders on, but rather the time to take an objective
assessment of your market, the products and services you offer, and
competitive alternatives available to your prospects. Then use all of
this information to align your resources (people, products, processes,
and investments) to make certain that you deliver value to your clients.
If you were losing market share during 2008 because your products and
services were inferior or were overtaken by new innovations or product
offerings, then 2009 will be a very miserable year for you. Businesses
will need to operate, but they will scrutinize purchases with a
different lens – do I need this product / service to operate, and if I
buy this product / service will it help me make / save money? Taking out
of the equation the quality and selection of your products and services,
the real question becomes whether or not you have an effective
marketing, sales and support model. Looking at all of the ways your
business interacts with the customer, especially with respect to
Sales Effectiveness, will impact your success in 2009.
For this reason, you should take an objective assessment of your Sales
Effectiveness using these stages and components.
Business Strategy: The first thing to review is the
business plan and strategy for the company. Managers of component parts
of a business often fail to take into account the overall business
strategy and how it might impact their individual department or area of
the business. Perhaps you are in a position to impact, or change, the
business strategy; otherwise you should simply worry about understanding
the strategy so you can set up your 2009 plan in the context of the
overall business strategy. Some of the questions you should be asking
What are the big picture objectives for the business?
Are there new vertical markets, products, or
initiatives that will be rolled out in the next 12-24 months?
What types of operational or structural changes are
being made, and do these impact my area?
How might my department better support the overall
business strategy for 2009?
Analyze 2008 Results & Project 2009/2010 Desired Results:
After you have an understanding of the overall business strategy and how
it will provide a framework for getting to the destination, the next
step is to define the destination – where are you going? This really
involves two pieces of a puzzle: first, where did you come from (or the
results from 2008), and next, where are you going (or the desired
results for 2009 and perhaps into 2010). Your results from 2008 are
critical to understand how and why you achieved the results last year,
and this understanding will guide you to craft a plan to achieve the
desired results for 2009. Some of the analysis you should perform on
your 2008 results include:
What were the results on an annual, quarterly,
monthly, weekly, or daily basis? For the time periods that are
relevant to your business, get an understanding of how the results
varied over time. Pay particular attention to any seasonal factors
in how people buy.
What were the results on a regional or territorial
basis? Understand how different geographic factors and competitors
impact the results. Also, get a sense of which managers and
individuals are your best performers.
What were the results by vertical market or industry?
Determine if certain types of companies purchased more of your
What are the results by account? If there is an 80/20
rule at play in your business, then determine the 20% clients that
are your best (measured by volume of purchases) customers.
What are the results by product / service line? Get an
understanding of which products and services are purchased most
often by your clients.
What is the average purchase or deal size? Depending
on how purchases are made, you might want to look at annual
purchases versus initial purchase, and it might be more relevant to
look at median size if you have some significant deals that throw
off the average.
What are the average close rates and length of your
sales cycle? In addition to simply looking at the end results, you
probably also want to review the results based on conversion
percentages – marketing campaign pieces to leads, lead to qualified
prospect, qualified prospect to proposal, etc.
All of these questions should also be evaluated against each other in
matrix form. For example, if you can analyze the difference in results
for products by region, or territorial performance based by time period,
or conversion rates by manager, or any of the other combinations of
different variables, then you have a much better handle on the meaning
of the results.
Once you know where you have come from (2008 results), you can develop a
road map to your destination (2009 desired results). Simply assigning a
budget or quota number to a manager or individual will not help them
understand how to get there. Most sales executives and sales reps drink
their own "Kool-aid" and they will not take a critical look at how past
results will impact future performance, and then you are dealing with a
mentality of wishful thinking or the belief that simply working harder
will yield better results.
Stay tuned for the second part of this article where we discuss a few
more concepts, including aligning your organization - people, processes,
strategies – to best achieve your desired results for 2009.
Introduction - End the Doom and Gloom
+ 2009 - Planning for Success
+ Recommended Reading
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Entrepreneur Magazine article
Go Big or Go Home by By Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor
Dad and other books. Mr. Kiyosaki stresses that in a poor economy,
marketing is that much more important, as it will differentiate the
winners from the losers.
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The true proof of our satisfaction with Craig's services is that we will
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