Driving Into the Chasm

While crossing the chasm applies to technologies and products across an industry lifecycle, Stocking’s corollary is that it can also apply to a single customer or client. It’s not only the industry or technology that goes through a cycle, individual clients and customers do as well.

If you are concerned about the lifetime value of a client, you have to bring new ideas, services and products to your existing base, otherwise they are going to forget about you and go somewhere else. It’s surprising how often this happens. When it does, you’ll often find yourself driving into your own chasm.

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Curiosity. Killed the cat? I doubt it.

I have the great opportunity to interview many sales and marketing professionals. One characteristic for evaluation that isn’t on most corporate interview regimens is… how curious is the candidate? Why is this important? If you are not curious and not asking questions then you are not learning, and your chances of succeeding are limited.

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Giving Thanks

Thanking customers and clients for their business is Marketing and Sales 101. But it’s rare when we do it with sincerity. One of the most successful marketing campaigns I’ve been involved with was sending personal thank-you notes to over 1400 customers. The benefits were twofold…

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Burning Down Your House

There is a law of project management and business development that states that there will be four crises during the course of any project. This extends to most endeavors whether they are marketing projects, sales cycles with prospects, the relationship between sales and marketing, building a business, or even a marriage. Stocking’s corollary to this law is that you will be responsible for at least one of those crises. Why? It doesn’t matter. The real question is what are you going to do about it?

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Can Your Pacemaker Take a Licking and Keep on Ticking?

It would be odd to hear a medical pacemaker company say their device can “Take a licking and keep on ticking,” (an old Timex tagline) Or maybe not. It’s something I would want if I had a pacemaker. Alternatively we could say that the device has a mean time between failure of .63 trillion seconds. Which will you remember?

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The Top “3” Reasons Not To Read This Post

If you’ve looked at many marketing blogs recently, you will notice post titles that have numbers in them. While they entice us, I wonder at the subliminal message they send. The “numbers” title is focused on generating “numbers” of hits or eyeballs. Isn’t the issue really getting sustained and satisfied readers or prospects? Numbers are fine, but would you rather have 100 prospects and 1 sale, or 10 really good prospects and 5 sales?

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Postscript: Sales Force Automation – It’s Not About “The Data”

If you are responsible for the oversight, administration or operations of a SFA or CRM, repeat after me: “It’s not about the data.” Repeat, “It’s not about the data.” Your data will never be perfect. It will always be out of date. When your boss asks, you will never be able to run a query on. “All the left handed prospects with birthdays between 1980 and 1990,” because you know you only have those prospect’s children’s names in your data base, and not the prospect’s actual birthdays. Too many people obsess about the quality of their data as the first thing to fix. This is like worrying about the quality of the html code for your website.

Final Postscript for senior management: If you are saying your data is crap, you may not be helping and may actually be hurting your chances at establishing a process that can help you sell more stuff. Crappy data is a symptom. You don’t need to treat the sysmptom, your need to treat the causes.

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Sales Force Automation Diagnostic Question #8 Who Owns the Bear?

Who owns the SFA system? Oversight, Ownership, Administration and Change Management.

This could easily be the first question. It’s essential to know the differences between the above. If different players don’t know their roles or responsibilities, then nothing gets accomplished. In many organizations, failure becomes a matter of not clearly assigning roles.

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Sales Force Automation Diagnostic Question #7 Can the Bear See Himself?

The old adage is still true, when you have to invest more energy into something than you get out, you tend to stop doing it. This is especially true with the use of SFA by sales people. As an adjunct to the last diagnostic question on whether the system is easy to use, the number one request from sales people is “let me see my own stuff.”

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Sales Force Automation Diagnostic Question #6 Do the Bears even like Blueberries?

My first experience with Sales Force Automation was when a VP of Sales asked me to make it work for his people. As with most important challenges, he indicated I had very little time for this change. I knew this demand would be an obstacle to diagnosing the real problem so I decided to buy myself some time. I went to his top three sales people and asked, “If they could change just one thing about the system, what would it be?”

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