Customer Manufacturing Group
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Improve Your Sales Management  

Changing the way you think about managing your sales function can be a scary undertaking, especially when asked to think of Sales as a manufacturing process.


As the world 'outside the box' becomes more chaotic and unforgiving, Sales is forced to find new ways to solve the old efficiency problem.


By applying manufacturing principles that manufacturing adopted decades ago to streamline and improve production, Sales can effectively manage and improve their process as times continue to change. The best way to understand this is to look at an example straight from the factory floor.





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Customer Manufacturing Update
February 2015

Dear Mitchell,


Here is your February Customer Manufacturing Update. Several people asked us to continue to send these out mostly monthly, and if we don't have a new paper, to feature a paper from the archives they may have missed.

This month's paper is on Sales Management and specifically how to improve sales forecasts. It was written originally by our team member Neil Reckon back in 2001, and we believe you will find it enlightening and relevant today.

If you'd like to communicate directly with Neil on this topic, let us know and we'll set something up for you.
When Is A Thank You Not A Thank You? 

While flying we notice that US Airways has been promoting their affinity credit card. At the end of each flight they provide the opportunity to apply for the card. The script is reasonably good so the flight attendants, who we assume mostly do not like the idea of "selling" anyway, can do a good job with the copy.


However, on a recent flight we noticed they had either added something to the end of the script, or we had just tuned out and missed it before.


The last line (or thereabouts) is to let you know that this affinity credit card (which they will make a lot of money on) is their way of "thanking us" for flying with US Airways.


Really? We guess that just about sums it up. You make them money and they think you should consider it an honor and a privilege to be allowed to fly with them or use their affinity credit card. What an industry ripe for disruption.



Three Rules For Making A Company Great


In the authors' quest to give valuable advice they undertook "rigorous research ..." that involved "...a statistical study of thousands of companies." Their research found three fundamental rules that make companies great.


Before we state the rules, one needs to be clear that their findings are based on the number of companies who achieved superior results using a particular approach, and this therefore determined the "rules." That is, the more companies that were successful with an approach, the more likely it was to be a "rule." Turns out they only found three rules that matter.


The rules:

  1. Better before cheaper. That is, compete on a differentiation other than price.
  2. Revenue before cost. That is, focus on increased revenue not lower costs.
  3. There is no rule three, only the first two count.

Amazing findings until you think about the basis of the research and their conclusions. They found more companies were successful with a differentiation strategy than a cheaper price strategy. Big surprise ... not.


There are many ways to successfully differentiate a product or service, but there is only one low price leader. So in any given market there will always be more companies than one that are successful with differentiation, so that strategy will always have more successful companies than the one low price leader.


Ditto for revenue before costs. There again can only be one lowest cost producer, while there are many ways to grow revenue by varying price and volume. Again no surprise that there are more successful companies with revenue growth strategies than the one lowest cost producer.


It is amazing what one can validate with biased statistics.


The Absurd Power Of Branding ... Or Not


Our US readers likely know that Steven Colbert is changing jobs. As such, we thought we would use one of his rants about branding to make a point.


A while back, Stephen Colbert took aim at what he referred to as the absurd power of branding. In truth we believe he, as others do, has mistaken celebrity with branding.


His particular rant was about Kanye West's clothing line with A.P.C., and specifically his $120 Hip Hop T-Shirt. The shirt is described as: "Collaboration between A.P.C. and Kanye West. Very loose T-shirt in Egyptian cotton. Short sleeves. Ribbing at neckline. Reinforced neckline and shoulders. 'A.P.C. KANYE' silk screened inside neckline. Washed Egyptian cotton jersey. 100% Cotton."


A quick online search found Egyptian Cotton Shirts, and for $23.50 you can have what appears to be an identical shirt. Appears is the operative word. What makes one shirt worth almost $100 more than the other?


One shirt has Kayne silk screened inside the neckline and the other doesn't. Is that worth $100? Apparently. Is that branding value? No, it's celebrity value. And as long as Kanye West is a valuable celebrity, that premium can hold.

But, celebrity value can be fleeting.


Lance Armstrong wrist bands anyone?


Don't confuse celebrity with brand. Is a celebrity a brand? Sometimes. Can a brand be a celebrity in its own right? Occasionally. But the two concepts are different, and marketers who miss that do so at their own peril.


Missed Opportunity?
Free Reading Guide

If you have a copy of our book Value Acceleration, you can download a free reading guide to help you and your team get the most from the book. (And btw, the book is also available in a Kindle edition.)

We appreciate your feedback to help improve these

Updates. If there are others you feel would benefit from this issue, use the Forward email link just below on the left.





Mitchell Goozé


Customer Manufacturing Group, Inc. 

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