Dont be One of the Three, Start Your Startup with SMstudy

How can you keep from being one of the three?

A stat being tossed around a lot these days is that three out of four startups fail. Such odds even seem favorable when compared to direr (and possibly more realistic) observations that “nine out of ten startups fail.” Neil Patel made that claim on Forbes.com, suggesting that “entrepreneurs may even want to write their failure post-mortem before they launch their business.”[1]

What causes these failures?

A look at more than one hundred essays by the CEOs of failed startups two years ago revealed to Fortune.com “that the number-one reason for failure, cited by 42% of polled startups, is the lack of a market need for their product.”[2] Most inventors and innovators imagine that they are providing something people need—the next best mousetrap. Yet, according to these CEOs, there was a clear misalignment between imagination and market reality.

How can someone avoid that threat?

A look at other items in the poll—pricing/cost issues, poor marketing, ignoring the customer and mistimed product launches—provides a clue. The one thing that all of these threats have in common is that they are sales and marketing issues. They are all things that are discussed in SMstudy’s Marketing Strategy, volume one of A Guide to the SMstudy® Sales and Marketing Body of Knowledge (SMBOK® Guide).[3]

Marketing Strategy has an entire section titled “Analyze Market Opportunity,” which would definitely help avoid the problem of having a product without a market.  Pricing and cost issues can be addressed with knowledge gained from the section on “Determine Pricing and Distribution Strategies.”

The book discusses PESTEL Analysis, which entrepreneurs can use to evaluate macro-environmental factors such as political,economic, social, technological, environmental and legal factors that affect the successful and timely launch of a product or service.

Writing about “Ten Essential Startup Lessons” for Entrepreneur, John Rampton includes as his number 7, “Become a salesperson. If you want your startup to succeed, then you must sell. You’re going to have to market the company’s product to employees, investors and clients.” Then he asks, “But did you ever take a ‘Salesperson 101’ course in college?”[4]

The complete SMBOK® Guide is more than just “Salesperson 101.” It includes books on branding and advertising, digital marketing, corporate sales and market research. For the inventor, innovator and entrepreneur, the six books that make up theGuide give insight and direction for turning their product or service into a business—a business that has customers.

Offering some “Startup Advice” on BothSidesoftheTable.com, Mark Suster says, “When you start your company the very first question you need to ask yourself is which kind of customers do you want to serve.” He discusses going after elephants—what others call “whales”—when one really needs to hunt deer. It’s a great analogy and explains one of the reasons startups often have “suboptimal results.”[5] Defining the market and identifying market segments is covered at length in Marketing Strategy.

A Guide to the SMstudy® Sales and Marketing Body of Knowledge by SMstudy is not a collection of inspiring or amusing anecdotes about sales that hit the stratosphere; they are practical, process-oriented collections of processes and best practices that help companies create and develop sales and marketing plans and departments that succeed.

SMstudy also offers courses online and in mobile apps that put the information entrepreneurs need where they are when they need it.

How can you keep from being one of the three . . . or one of the nine? Start your startup with SMstudy.

 

[1] Patel, Neil. (1/16/15) “90% of Startups Fail: Here’s What You Need to Know about the 10%.” Forbes.com Retrieved on 2/12/16 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2015/01/16/90-of-startups-will-fail-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-10/#185237c255e1

[2] Griffith, Erin. (9/25/14) “Why startups fail, according to their founders.” Fortune. Retrieved on 2/12/16 from http://fortune.com/2014/09/25/why-startups-fail-according-to-their-founders/

[3] http://www.smstudy.com/SMBOKGuide/overview-of-SMstudy-guide

[4] Rampton, John. (7/25/14) “Ten essential Startup Lessons That You may not have Learned in College.” Entrepreneur. Retrieved on 2/11/16 from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235905.

[5] Suster, Mark. “Startup Advice.” BothSidesoftheTable.com. Retrieved on 2/11/16 from http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/on-entrepeneurship/

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Five Exceptional Examples of Product Placement in Hollywood Movies

postThe European Union defines product placement as “any form of audiovisual commercial communication consisting of the inclusion of or reference to a product, a service or the trademark thereof so that it is featured within a program.” Product placement is one of the most effective methods of advertising because it has a viewing audience of nearly 100 percent. While TV advertisers lose many viewers who take breaks during commercials, movie viewers pay attention to product advertisements because they are engrossed in the film. The growth of product placement in movies has been phenomenal over the past decade. The U.S. is the largest and fastest growing paid product placement market. It generated revenues of $1.5 billion in 2005, $2.9 billion in 2007, and $3.7 billion in 2008.

Lets look at five exceptional examples of product placement in Hollywood movies that stood out in terms of seamless integration with the storyline and benefit to the brands.

  1. Wilson (Movie: Castaway) “Castaway” took the concept of product placement to another level by using a brand name for a character. When Chuck (Tom Hanks) gets stranded on an island, he finds a Wilson volleyball from one of the boxes that was in the plane. He paints the ball and turns it into a friend and companion named “Wilson.” One of the original volleyballs used in the movie was auctioned for $18,500 to the ex-CEO of FedEx Office, Ken May. Wilson launched a joint promotion at the time of the films release boasting the fact that one of its products was co-starring Tom Hanks.
  1. Sears (Movie: Man of Steel) The 2013 blockbuster “Man of Steel” holds the record for the most occurrences of product placement in a movie. Apparently, the producers signed around 100 deals with promotional partners. One prominent example of product placement in the movie is a Sears store. Supermans father uses Craftsman tools and works at Sears. One scene includes a Sears store being blown up. Sears used this opportunity to create a Guinness World Record for the largest number of people assembled in one place dressed as Superman by gathering 566 employees in Superman costumes at the companys headquarters.
  1. McDonalds (Movie: Pulp Fiction) – The 1994, Quentin Tarantino movie “Pulp Fiction” is arguably one of the best movies ever made. One bit of iconic dialogue centers on McDonalds. While discussing cultural differences among nations, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) reference the Quarter Pounder and Big Mac.
  1. Omega (Movie: Casino Royale) Product placement in James Bond movies isnt new. Omega is one brand with a long history of association with the Bond films. It started in 1995 with “GoldenEye,” in which Pierce Brosnan wore an Omega Seamster Quartz Professional watch. The trend followed as Brosnan flaunted different models of Seamster in later films. Daniel Craig, the current 007, has also worn the Omega Seamster in all of his Bond movies and even mentions the brand name Omega in “Casino Royale.”
  1. Starbucks (Movie: Youve Got Mail) The 1998 romantic comedy “Youve Got Mail” famously placed two brands in the storyline–AOL and Starbucks. In the movie, Tom Hanks is shown drinking coffee at Starbucks and even makes a reference to the coffee giant in the dialogue: “The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who dont know what the hell they are doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.”

Effective Methods of Determining Sales Force Size

In most companies, the sales force is the most critical part of the business; thus determining the sales force size is critical in planning for sales governance. Although the corporate sales team is one of the most valued assets of the company, it can also be expensive to maintain. Increasing the size of the sales force may increase sales volume but at a higher cost to the company. It is therefore necessary to determine the optimal sales force size. The size of the sales force will also affect territory design.

The three most commonly used methods to determine sales force size are as follows:

Breakdown Method

This is the simplest method among the three. In this method, each member of the corporate sales team is assumed to possess the same level of productivity. In order to determine the size of the sales force needed, the total sales figure forecasted for the company is divided by the sales likely to be generated by each individual.

However, this method fails to account for differences in the ability of salespeople and the difference in potential of each market or territory. It treats the sales force as a function of the sales volume, and does not take profitability into account.

Workload Method

The workload method is also known as the buildup method. In this method, the total workload (i.e., the number of hours required to serve the entire market) is estimated. This is divided by the selling time available per salesperson to forecast the size of the sales force. This method is commonly used since it is easy to understand and to recognize the effort required to serve different categories of customers.

However, this method also has some shortcomings. It assumes that all accounts in the same category require the same effort. Other differentiating factors such as cost of servicing, gross margins, etc. are not considered after the accounts are categorized. It also assumes that sales persons are equally efficient, which is generally not true.  One way to overcome this shortcoming is to adjust the sales force size, determined in the last step, for efficiency. The sales force can be classified into different categories based on their efficiency and the actual number of sales persons required can then be calculated with this adjusted number.

Incremental Method

The incremental method is the most precise method to calculate the sales force size. The underlying concept is to compare the marginal profit contribution with the incremental cost for each sales person. The optimal sales force size as per the incremental method is when the marginal profit becomes equal to the marginal cost and the total profit is maximized. Beyond the optimal sales force size, the profit reduces on addition of an extra sales person. Therefore, sales people need to be added as long as the incremental profit exceeds the incremental cost of adding sales people. The main shortcoming associated with this approach is that it is difficult to estimate the additional profit generated by the addition of one salesperson and is therefore difficult to develop.

Thus sales force needs to be properly organized, motivated and compensated in order to have the right size to do the workload, alignment to cover all needs, and keeping them happy and selling. At the end of the day, they are the ones who get the customer to give up their money for the company’s product or service.

To read more articles about sales and marketing, visit www.smstudy.com/articles

Increase Your Online Success With An Effective Website

An effective website is a critical component of a company’s overall online success. Company’s website serves as the central hub and foundation for its online activity. With a plethora of available website designs, the digital marketing team must determine the appropriate and optimal design and message.

Besides having a basic understanding of the technology on the website, the digital marketing team must also consider the following facets of creating a website.

Consumer Perspective

  • Relevancy—Age, cultural nuances, geography, and other demographic factors of the target audience will influence the type of content on the website.
  • Usability Design—The digital marketing team must take into consideration how technically savvy its target customer is. If the target customer does not generally have the appropriate comfort level with technology, the team should design a simple, text-based layout with easy navigation and basic features. If the target customer is comfortable and familiar with the Internet and computer use, a more intricate, interactive, and information-rich website can be implemented. The design of the site should depend on the expectations of both the users and the company. In some cases, the development might focus on consumer engagement, while in other cases, the design might be oriented toward supporting task-oriented behavior such as the ability to make changes to one’s account, purchase a product or service, and so on.

Site Development Perspective

  • Purpose—Companies maintain a web presence for a variety of reasons. While some companies use websites as their main method of selling their products, other companies have an online presence just to support their business, message, and brand position. There are companies that use websites as a public relations (PR) tool, to enhance brand value in the minds of their customers, or to evaluate product feedback from customers that may help in understanding customer needs, general communications, product updates, and sales. The digital marketing team is responsible for ensuring that the website is designed to meet the overall strategic objectives outlined in the Marketing Strategy.
  • Planning—The digital marketing team must work with the website development team to plan the execution of the website, beginning with creating a storyboard for the website; listing functional requirements; building the database structure; developing wireframes; and determining hypermedia linkages, search engine key words, graphical design components, user interface designs, audio/video sources, animation, and text requirements and formats.
  • Performance— The digital marketing team also must consider the logical design of a good website, compare the performance of competitor websites to identify best practices, check for effective performance across browsers and operating systems, and perform usability testing of the website to ensure that it is easy to use.
  • Maintenance—Websites create an online presence for a brand, so the marketing team must ensure that the website is maintained and tested regularly. Downtime on a website may adversely impact the direct online sales of products and may also taint brand reputation in the minds of consumers.

The brand messaging on the website has to be in-line with the overall brand message and must stay relevant to the target audience.

All About Decision Tree Analysis

Decision Tree Analysis is used to evaluate the best option from a number of mutually exclusive options when an organization is faced with an investment decision. The finance team can use this tool while evaluating a number of potential options, such as which product or plant to invest in, or whether or not to invest in a new initiative.

The Decision Tree schematic is tree-shaped diagram which is used to understand a statistical probability or a course of action. Each branch of the decision tree signifies a possibility or occurrence. The structure of the tree depicts how one choice leads to another.

Advantages of Decision Tree Analysis

  • This tool allows the team to clearly lay out and consider all available options, including a “Do Nothing” option, which is often ignored although it may sometimes be the best option.
  • It is relatively easy to visualize the costs, benefits, and probabilities linked to all options to help facilitate focused decision making.
  • Additional options can be added without impacting the evaluation of the other branches throughout the tree.

Disadvantages of Decision Tree Analysis

  • In situations where there are many options to consider and each option has multiple possible outcomes, creating decision trees becomes a complex process and may require the use of software, rendering it a less-than-useful tool for strategic discussions.
  • In some trees, even a small variation in an expected outcome or probability can completely change the results of the analysis. Therefore, obtaining accurate information is critical to the usefulness of this tool.
  • This tool sometimes requires complex preparation, as well as extra time and effort to determine the various possible outcomes for each option, and to explicitly delineate each decision node and possible outcomes and options from those nodes.

Channel Performance Measurement: A Close Overview

Channel performance measurement is a key activity when a sales organization employs different types of channel partners. In more complex multi-channel structures, it becomes even more important due to the number of people, processes, and roles involved. The performance of a channel can be measured across multiple dimensions. The parameters that are measured usually are effectiveness, efficiency, productivity, equity and profitability of the channel.

The various channels have different purposes in the value chain; however, each task needs to support the overall corporate goals. As the number of channel partners increases, it is difficult to ensure that the channel partners are performing their specific roles as effectively as required. For example, the goal of a business might be to increase the number of strategic accounts. However, in order to gather maximum possible commission, channel partners might be engaged in getting the maximum number of accounts possible with total disregard towards prioritizing the acquisition of strategic accounts. It is therefore important to audit the channel partners and incentivize them for activities that are aligned with the corporate goals. The channel performance should also be judged on the ability to fulfill given tasks. A few carefully chosen metrics can give a good indication of the performance of each channel.

The channel performance measurement is primarily a four-step process.

  1. Define the Sales Objectives
  2. Determine Channel Performance Metrics
  3. Set Channel Partner Targets
  4. Manage Channel Performance

 

1. Define Sales Objectives

The first step in channel performance measurement is to define the sales objectives for the company. These objectives are outlined and discussed in sales meetings to ensure a shared understanding between members of the marketing and sales teams.

2. Determine Channel Performance Metrics

Evaluating the performance of a distribution channel depends largely on the agreed upon performance metrics. Choosing the right number and type of performance metrics can help to monitor and improve the performance of channel partners. These metrics provide an understanding of how well the channel partner is doing in reaching its performance targets.

Though it is possible to evaluate a channel on hundreds of performance metrics, this would make reporting and analysis of the performance a cumbersome job. When determining channel performance metrics, a key performance driver, such as sales or units sold, should be chosen to identify and measure the most important tasks. A series of performance metrics are then decided based on the key performance driver.

3. Set Channel Partner Targets

After overall sales objectives are defined, it is important to assign specific targets to each of the channel partners to ensure they are in alignment with the overall objectives. Properly set targets provide a benchmark to measure channel success, monitor performance, and take corrective action to meet expectations. Each channel partner has a specific role towards fulfilling the overall sales objectives. Performance targets should be set to reflect the channel partner’s contribution to the overall objectives

4. Manage Channel Performance

This is the final step in channel performance measurement. It uses the agreed upon goals, assigned performance targets, and identified performance metrics to manage channel performance on an on-going basis and to identify the performance shortfalls of the channel partners. During this step, management gains an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each channel. Management can then take corrective action to ensure efficient performance of the channel.

The success of a channel and its efficiency are determined by the efficiency of channel intermediaries in delivering goods and services to customers and the quality of services offered in the process. Developing a comprehensive marketing plan that provides clear and concise direction about marketing activities and strategy is critical to the organization’s success.

To learn more about Channel Performance Measurement, visit www.SMstudy.com

Content Marketing Pt.1: Marketings New Weapon of Choice

It’s official! Traditional “interruptive” advertising (both online and television) isn’t so hot nowadays. On the other hand, content marketing is emerging as the weapon of choice for brands who are in it to win it. Over a series of posts, we will explore the ins-and-outs of smart story-driven marketing, what it looks like when it’s done right and its importance in the social media landscape.

First, let’s mull some basic statistics that will illustrate how bad it really is for interruptive advertising. For television, the prospects are grim: one third of millennials already report not watching broadcast TV (originally reported by the New York Times in October 2013) with the numbers of people willing to break up with television at an astonishing high rate of 16 percent year over year (YOY).

And then there’s digital. Recent data show that online (and mobile) advertising isn’t on fire, either. According to the Contently Playbook, banner ad click- through rates (CTR) come in between .10 and .04 percent, some of which most likely represents some bot activity. They also state that ad recall (banner ads specifically) is abysmal with 86 percent of consumers unable to recall the last ad they saw.

To drive the sorry state of digital ads home, Contently states, “You’re more likely to survive a plane crash or join the Navy SEALs than click on a banner ad.”

Ouch. So much for the bad news.

Ready for the good news? Content marketing is a very attractive alternative to interruptive advertising and recent findings offers the numbers to back up its current lofty status in the marketing community. Business2Community reported content marketing driving traffic with 68% of consumers. In addition, they noted that “up to 55% of consumers are not only attracted to custom content but most would buy the products or services of the content provider.”

If these numbers persist, the future of content marketing looks quite rosy, indeed. There are, however, a few things to be aware of when venturing into a content marketing strategy.

One important issue with content marketing is the emergence of Peak Content, a phenomenon we reported on in February. At the time, we quoted author Kevin Anderson’s 2014 definition: “Peak Content is ‘the point at which this glut of things to read, watch and listen to becomes completely unsustainable.’” As of March 2016, we are still noting the trend.

The unprecedented rate at which people are posting content online is one quick example of Peak Content. Taken from the infographic, 24 Hours on the Internet, it’s reported (and this was in 2012) that 2 million blog posts are published every day. That’s 720,000,000 blog posts a year. With numbers like these we quickly see why quality is paramount to rise to the top of the content pile.

Additional evidence comes from the marketing data company TrackMaven that reported social media channels are suffering from lower engagement. They acknowledge low quality content is contributing to the decline.

The report states, “Most content fails at the content creation stage. Smart content can overcome bad distribution, but smart distribution cannot save bad content.”

Marketers either already know, or are catching on quickly, that high-quality content is the way to achieving greater engagement, including increased CTR, sales and all the other good stuff a company or brand likes to see.

In a nutshell, all signs point to the need to bring your A game when embarking on content marketing.

Now that we know it’s working, how is it being done? More to the point, how is it being done well? In regards to content creation, options vary. A company may decide to use experts in a given field, hire freelancers, create an in-house team or create a unique cocktail of creation options that work with the brand’s needs and resources.

In our next post we’ll explore the growing “virtual newsroom” where content marketing is “beat” based and provides the space and structure for the highest-quality journalism-style content marketing…and the growing relationship between journalists and content marketing.

Stay tuned…

For more articles on sales and marketing, visit smstudy.com.

Photo courtesy of Florian Klauer, Unsplash.

Sources:

“Third of Millennials Watch Mostly Online Video or no Broadcast TV” Andrew Beaujon, Oct. 10, 2013, Poynter. http://www.poynter.org/2013/third-of-millennials-watch-no-broadcast-tv/225528/

“24 Hours on the Internet,” digtalbuzz blog, March 13, 2012 http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-24-hours-on-the-internet/

“Marketers Are Creating More Content, but They’re Not Sure Why,” Natalie Burg, March 8, 2016, Contently https://contently.com/strategist/2016/03/08/marketers-creating-more-content-not-sure-why/

“The Ultimate Content Strategist Playbook No. 1: Evangelizing Content and Setting Yourself Up for Success,” Contently, https://contently.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/150303_Playbook.pdf

“Your Social Content is Failing. So now what?” Kara Burney, Feb. 5, 2015. http://trackmaven.com/blog/2015/02/data-backed-proof-that-social-media-content-is-failing-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/

“8 Hard-to-Ignore Content Marketing Benefits (Infographic),” Jomer Gregorio, Oct. 20, 2014, Business 2 Community. http://www.business2community.com/infographics/8-hard-ignore-content-marketing-benefits-infographic

Get the SMstudy, not Nuts

When creating a brand for your company do not use an American celebrity to shoot chocolate bars at innocent bystanders. Apparently Mars, the company who produces Snickers chocolate bars, did not get the memo.

In July of 2008, Snickers UK launched a commercial starring Mr. T, an American actor and one determined (and brave) speed walker. In the commercial, Mr. T crashes through a building, in what appears to be a supped-up pickup truck, and pulls up alongside a young man wearing tight yellow shorts. Mr. T proceeds to open fire with what appears to be a Gatling gun, pelts his victim with Snickers bar “bullets” and yells, “Speed walking?! I pity you fool. You a disgrace to the man race. It’s time to run like a real man.”

The commercial was pulled after just one week.  The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group, criticized Mars for spreading, “the notion that violence against LGBT people is not only acceptable, but humorous.”

Mars could have avoided this marketing failure by taking a look at Marketing Strategy, book 1 of the SMstudy Guide®. According to the book, “Brand perception refers to how prospective and current customers react to seeing or hearing about a company’s product or brand and how the company is perceived within the market. Leading organizations across industries realize that a powerful brand is one of their most important business assets, so they work hard to maintain a positive brand perception as it helps to increase sales and improve profitability.”

This was the second commercial in a three-part campaign entitled, “Get Some Nuts.” Mars had envisioned Mr. T as the face of the Snickers brand, but instead they were branded the company with the face of homophobia. Snickers could have avoided this issue by performing surveys as explained in Marketing Strategy. “Brand perception can be measured using a variety of approaches, but it is mainly measured via research surveys that question participants about the perceptions of the company and/or its products. Surveys typically gather quantitative and qualitative data. They are conducted to help companies understand how their brands are viewed in the market and to identify the brand attributes that are preferred by customers.”

The intention of the “Get Some Nuts” campaign was to target men and their masculinity. In order to be a real man you need to be tough and aggressive like our good ole pal Mr. T. Mars could have avoided yet another blunder by sticking to Marketing Strategy. As stated in the book, “Once a company has identified all market segments, explored the competition, and then compiled the details of competitive products, it should then analyze the various segments and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats faced by the company in order to identify the target segments in which the business would be most competitive. This process involves identifying the type of customers a company plans to target and the product categories under which it intends to create products.”

In this case, the campaign did not just humiliate homosexual men, which makes up 1.8 percent of the male population, but also men perceived to be “wimpy”. The campaign only targeted men that are rugged and tough, which does not help a company when it comes to forming target segments.

Companies can benefit from providing their employees with the knowledge that can be found in the SMstudy Guide®. If only Mars had been aware of what a Sales and Marketing certification can do for its company, they may have eluded a very big marketing fail.

For more information and resources about Sales and Marketing visit SMstudy.com.

Opportunity: The Mirror Image of a Customer

The ever changing market trends and varying demands of customers have propelled companies to think out of the box and foray into market each time with new, updated or upgraded offerings that would outplay its rival products/services. In an attempt to capitalize on market, companies deploy numerous instruments and analytics to measure their efficacy level in several aspects of business. The latest being what we call “Opportunity Analysis”. As marketing professionals say “every non customer is an opportunity and it remains an opportunity till he/she becomes your customer.” So basically every customer as well as non-customer is opportunities. So if a casual conversation converts into sales conversation and that ultimately turns into a lead and further a customer/client, it’s called winning a customer and vice versa.

Customer win/loss analysis is a process of understanding why sales opportunities are either won or lost. A careful win/loss analysis is a cost-effective and less time-consuming tool to understand how customers perceive value. The perceived value by different customers is the deciding factor whether you win a customer or lose.  While customer need analysis is the most basic arena where sales people are often taught upon, but marketers argue it is not always the need that gives rise to a sale.

The process for win/loss analysis starts after a sales opportunity has been won or lost. A meeting is held with important stakeholders and includes the sales, product, account management, and customer service team members. After this meeting, the win/loss analysis interviewer must know the details of how the lead was generated, the events that took place during the sales process, and the product or products discussed. Customer interviews also need to be scheduled immediately after the opportunity has been won or lost to ensure maximum recall from customers about their experience in the sales process.

Here comes the customer feedback which is of utmost importance as the resultant responses devise the sales strategy for future. The customer feedback may be collected regarding customer perception in the areas such as

  • Performance of the corporate sales team: Company must know what role its trump cards played in the sales process. After all corporate sales team is the interface between customer and the company and loopholes in the same might result in downfall of future sales.
  • Marketing materials: Here the focus in on marketing assets that the company has. Feedback on the same helps in improving quality of Marketing Assets, Company has to offer.
  • Sales process: Feedback on the sales process is the stepping stone for future sales strategy. Profiling, generating leads, presentation, negotiation are some of the major areas where customer feedback counts a lot.
  • Product features: Customer feedback on product features informs seller analyze the product’s sales value proposition and whether seller needs to reposition the product with additional features or continue the existing one with regular up gradation.
  • Comparison with competition: This is something where the customer’s feedback drives the marketing strategy experts contrive better action plan to deal with competitors.
  • Pricing: Negative customer feedback on pricing can only be partially side-lined if the company is offering optimum value in comparison to its competitors at a given price and the product has some unique sales value proposition (e.g. i Phone). But if the customers feel availability of another product with same features and utilities at a cheaper price, then it is nothing less than a warning bell for the seller.

Customers change and so does their perception and demand. It’s important for sellers to consider each potential customer as an opportunity.

“To learn more about Customer Win/Loss analysis and related analytics, visit “www.SMstudy.com”.

Out with the old, in with the new

20 years ago people had to be convinced to use the Internet. How often did we hear the question, “What would I use it for anyway?” It’s comical to think that people needed to be convinced to use the Internet considering nowadays people can’t survive without it.

The first smartphone was released in 1992 by IBM. It was considered a smartphone because of its virtual assistant capabilities, but the smartphone of today is light years more advanced. The timeline is a little blurry, but many would say that the first actual smartphone was the Sidekick, released in the early 2000s. Smartphones in existence prior to the Sidekick were for corporate professionals, but the Sidekick advertised to a younger market. Teenagers no longer had to wait until they got home from school to sign on to AIM to speak to their friends, the capability was right in their pockets!

In the last 15 years the smartphone technology has increased rapidly. According to Monica Anderson at the Pew Research Center 68 percent of adults in the United States use a smartphone. 88 percent of 18-29 year olds own a smartphone while only 78 percent of the same age group own laptops or desktop computers. As the use of smartphones increases there is less of a need for a laptop or desktop computer. And why would you need one, when a smartphone is just a smaller computer?

Mobile technology has been advancing at a very fast pace. The average American uses a smartphone to view product reviews, make price comparisons, and find information about products while they are shopping in-store. With consumers increasingly using technology on the go, a company’s Digital Marketing Strategy must be designed to take full advantage of this consumer trend, especially in consideration of a recent study released by the Daily Mail stateing that smartphone users check their phone 85 times per day on average.

Google coined the term Micromoments for all the times smartphone owners use their device. This could be to a simple check of a notification that popped up from a news organization or using the phone to check reviews before purchasing a product. Companies must capitalize on these moments if they are looking for consumers. The trick is to ensure customers and potential customers have access and are able to land on a company’s mobile version of their website when they are using their mobile devices. So, businesses must ensure that they have a mobile-friendly website.

The following factors will ensure a company’s website has the right design for their consumers:

Usability and Design – Organizations with established large scale websites have recognized the growing need for compatible tablet and mobile-accessible content and have implemented updates to their websites to reduce and streamline content and website size in order to be more suitable for mobile-accessible devices. Nevertheless, this approach is sufficient only for sites that provide static, one-way dissemination of information. As more customers demand interaction via mobile devices and tablets, the usability of these updated sites could diminish.

Performance – The advent of these devices has also provided companies with an opportunity to gather more personal data from their users, and in turn, push relevant, context-driven content. Such mobile-optimized content must load quickly on mobile devices to ensure that the performance expectations of consumers are met.

The rapid rise in smartphones, tablets, and Internet-enabled wearable devices has led to a shift in web design approaches, with web development for these devices becoming a much higher priority than it has been in the past. The advancement of technology only brings more opportunities for businesses and consumers, so join in!

Sources:

Victoria Woolleston, “How Often do You Check your Phone?” October 26, 2015. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3294994/How-check-phone-Average-user-picks-device-85-times-DAY-twice-realise.html

Brad McCarty, “The History of Smartphones,” http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2011/12/06/the-history-of-the-smartphone/#gref

Jason Duaine Hahn, “The History of the Sidekick: The Coolest Smartphone of All Time,” September 11, 2015. http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2015/09/history-of-the-sidekick

Monica Anderson, “Technology Device Ownership,” October 29, 2016. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/29/technology-device-ownership-2015/