Archive for the ‘Strategy’ Category

Creating a customer-led company culture

June 17, 2014

Customer-led CultureEmpowered customers are shaking the foundations of industries everywhere. Compared to the old way of doing business, today’s customer revolution is driven by a set of self-reinforcing, customer-first paradigms.

In this new order customers set the agenda by establishing the terms of engagement; customers increasingly provide inputs for new products and services, which they assume will come personalized for them; customers expect companies to listen and learn from their everyday experiences and get respect when things don’t go as planned. In this emerging world a customer-led marketing culture can be a company’s competitive edge.

While a few companies “get it”, most still need to adapt to these unusual and fast-changing times. At such firms CMOs and other business leaders should consider several steps to develop and foster a customer-led company culture: (more…)

Customer-led marketing is your competitive edge

April 8, 2014

Customer RevolutionCountless companies across industries claim to focus fully on serving their customers. Only recently however, has the balance really shifted, putting customers firmly in the driver’s seat.

Whether they are consumers or business buyers, today’s customers are often more tech savvy than the companies that serve them. They have increasing access to insightful, comparative information on suppliers and their offers; they now have the ability to express satisfaction or shout out their discontent to friends and peers and they are ready to switch providers when needed.

To serve today’s generation of consumer and business customers, companies must accept that customers are now in charge, and winning their business means creating a customer-led marketing culture. (more…)

How Cisco is focusing more on business to better serve its B2B clients

August 20, 2013
Cisco Logo

How Cisco is focusing more on business to better serve its B2B clients

While Cisco has continued at the forefront of the IT infrastructure industry with its salespeople continuing to convert leads and gain market share, over the past few years a growing number of deals were being lost on account of not being able to rely just on reputation, but also having to compete on margins or features.

According to Cisco’s director of Enterprise Marketing, the sales teams were no longer just dealing with their traditional buyers – IT Managers, Directors of IT, or Head of Wiring / Operation, but they were increasingly coming face-to-face with their clients’ CMOs and CIOs.

How would this impact their marketing and sales approach? (more…)

Want to sell more? Make it easy for your B2B customers to buy

June 25, 2013

Want to sell more?In a recent article we discussed the power of consultative value selling for jointly exploring and creating more relevant customer propositions that offer personalized value.

While this powerful technique is especially suited for complex offers and relies on direct interactions with prospective clients, it requires a sales force skilled in the practice of identifying and selling value to clients. More importantly, it is part of a larger, customer buying-decisions process that spans various distinct yet interrelated steps.

In order to help clients make the best decisions when buying, companies must provide a relevant, streamlined process anticipating the multiple demands and requirements of the various client stakeholders involved in the decision-making process.

Anything else will result in confused and frustrated prospects that may eventually turn to a savvier competitor when buying. (more…)

B2B Tech Companies: Marketing is about more than just supporting sales

June 5, 2013

Marketing is more than just sales supportLast week, along with 250 other marketing professionals, I had the pleasure of attending the ICT Marketing Directors’ Club (CMIT) annual Forum in Paris.

This association of mainly French-based, marketing and communications professionals from dozens of small to large technology companies includes marketing directors from international firms like Adobe, Alcatel-Lucent, IBM and Sharp.

This year’s forum focused on the main challenges and opportunities in marketing over that past 10 years. In particular, the topics discussed dealt with various outbound marketing activities: Creating market positioning; Generating leads in the digital age; The challenges of channel marketing, and how to manage branding and reputation on and offline.

While the forum was very interesting and informative on the whole, examining the discussions more closely, the topics addressed related mostly to generating sales and business growth; an important yet partial function of the marketing practice.

The main part missing was the key role that marketing plays in generating client and market insights to direct strategy, to in turn create new value for customers, and ensure satisfied, return customers. This is the added value of marketing. (more…)

Connect with your clients to co-create new value

May 27, 2013

Connect with your clients to co-create new valueThis past week I attended Salesforce.com’s Customer Company Tour in Paris, where they showcased the various products and services that form their Customer Company vision.

During the introductory keynote presentation, Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris laid out 5 questions that companies must answer in their quest to become a customer company.

Viewed more broadly these issues are about becoming more relevant to clients by connecting, listening and collaborating with them through direct, interactive relationships, leading to the co-creation of more relevant and unique customer value propositions. (more…)

How a market-focused approach leads to products that customers value and will pay for

May 21, 2013

Products customers love

Innovation and new product development are hot topics in today’s market, especially in technology sectors like IT, software, Web, telecoms, and related areas.

Every organization has its own approach for developing new offers to bring to market. Today’s firms invest up to 15-20% of revenues on R&D, depending on the sector, for creating, testing and trialing new technologies and new products.

At the same time, when it comes to developing new products, what matters is not just the amount of resources allocated to new product initiatives, but how they are applied. (more…)

Externalize marketing? Why it makes business sense

May 6, 2013

Externalize marketing? Why it makes business senseMarketing has become more specialized and strategic than ever. Customers are more vocal and increasingly deal with companies on their terms; New companies can serve clients in new markets and compete with established ones more easily, and companies have an increasing range of ways to create and deliver targeted value to their clients, while precisely measuring the effects.

To thrive in this ever changing, high-stakes world, business leaders must invest in professional marketing capabilities to better serve clients and compete.

So what what does this mean for today’s technology firms? (more…)

Intel: How a tech leader can lose its mojo

April 17, 2013

Intel - How a tech leader loses its mojoAs one of the powerhouses of the personal computing revolution, Intel, along with its partner in crime Microsoft, came to symbolize the Wintel era of increasingly powerful (read energy-hungry) and standardized (read price-driven) desktop and laptop computers.

Despite the rise of smartphones and more recently tablets – both requiring small, low-cost, low-power chipsets – Intel continued to back its PC-driven empire, which continued to crumble at a historic double-digit rate.

Following the release of it’s latest quarterly results on Apr 16, this translated to a -17% decline in net income, its 5th consecutive quarterly fall.

How did this tech leader like go from great to dismal and how could they recover? (more…)

The power of consultative value selling: Get from “maybe” to “yes”

April 11, 2013

The power of consultative Value Selling. Get from maybe to yes.Today’s technology companies use different commercial approaches to attract clients, with some more effective than others.

Examining most commercial pitches reveals consumer and business propositions that are constructed in one of the following ways:

  • Direct sales propositions focus on the features and characteristics offered to clients by a product or service. (e.g. a PC with 2GHz processing speed)
  • More on-point client proposals focus on the practical benefits that clients can receive from buying a given product or service. (e.g. a quicker and higher performing PC)
  • Even more relevant propositions highlight the favourable points provided by an offer relative to the next best alternative. (e.g. a quick and high performance PC offering more choice of software than a Mac)

However, the most client-driven proposition is one that resonates with a customer’s particular needs and demands, offering them what they really value. (e.g a PC that provides “the right mix of performance, design and value-added services to meet your everyday demands.”)

Designing and selling a custom client value propositions is especially applicable for complex offers, where clients have a lot to consider, and for uncertain times, where they may need to be fully convinced before buying.

So how can companies get more clients from “maybe” to “yes”? (more…)