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Customer Manufacturing Update )
Creating Competitive Advantage Through Marketing/Sales Process Improvement

October 2007
in this issue
  • What's Keeping You From Closing More Sales?
  • Advertising That Works and Some That Doesn't
  • Can You Get Better Results From Your Marketing/Sales Efforts?
  • How Well Do Your People Negotiate ... Really?
  • Closing Thoughts
  • Dear Mitchell,

    Here is your October Customer Manufacturing Update. This month we're looking at improving your sales close rate.

    If you have friends or colleagues who would appreciate receiving this e-zine, feel free to forward a copy to them using the "Forward e-mail" link at the bottom of the e-zine.



    What's Keeping You From Closing More Sales?

    Too many potential buyers with a clearly identified need, want, and demand, as well as an appropriate budget still don't buy. Modern sales methods have helped sales professionals target the right customers, surface their needs and present an appropriate solution. Despite this, sales close rates are still quite low.

    This month's white paper, Stones In The Road, provides an understanding of why this situation continues to exist, and what to do to eliminate it.

    Advertising That Works and Some That Doesn't

    Much is made by many ad agencies of their creative efforts and the awards they win for those efforts. While we appreciate great creative, we have always been skeptical of awards, since the real goal is sales, or at least moving the prospect further along their buying process. However, our commentary has usually fallen on deaf ears (or made ad agencies mad at us).

    At last ... vindication. The September 3, 2007 issue of Business Week reported an interesting story about ads that don't get skipped. This story was about TV ads that get watched versus skipped. (Even if you don't use TV as an advertising medium, we believe there are lessons here.)

    Finally, there is an actual measurement of TV ad watching. What is it? Not AC Nielsen, but rather TiVo. That little box knows if you fast forward through your commercials or if you watch them. TiVo offers a service called TiVo Stop||Watch which monitors the viewing habits of 20,000 subscribers.

    What has TiVo learned? What the great advertisers of the early days of TV learned a long time ago: Direct response ads work. It's about the offer and the message, not about the creative. Who has the least fast-forwarded ad so far: CORT Furniture Rental.

    These ads aren't funny, they aren't emotional and they aren't particularly clever. And they didn't cost much to produce. They just deliver a message and usually an 800#. I think the great ad men (or if you watch USA Network: Mad Men) would tell you, this is no surprise.

    What else seems to matter? Getting the ad in front of the right audience. Which suggests that media planning is more important than creative.

    You can ignore these findings if you want to (and many Super Bowl advertisers in 2008 will undoubtedly), but it seems to us that Advertising 101 is alive and well. Find a value proposition, deliver it concisely and directly to people who are interested, and results follow.

    May not win your ad agency any Cleos, but then what results are YOU looking for anyway?

    Can You Get Better Results From Your Marketing/Sales Efforts?

    If you're ready to move beyond gut feel and guess work to drive your marketing/sales management, this one-day workshop is for you. Discover how to increase sales and lower your marketing and sales costs by applying proven process management principles to marketing/sales.

    Competitive advantage comes from being better than the competition where it matters. Too many companies still spend on marketing and sales rather than invest in marketing and sales. Why? Because what to invest in is driven by gut feel or guess work. The hoped-for investment too often becomes just another expense.

    In this breakthrough workshop, we will show you proven methods to move from spending to investing in marketing/sales. We will teach you how to get started using proven process management principles to make better decisions in marketing and sales.

    You will leave this workshop with real actions you can go take the next day to get better results.

    These hands-on workshops are being scheduled around the U.S., the UK and Canada.

    How Well Do Your People Negotiate ... Really?

    Many of our clients suggest that their sales people are being out-negotiated. Some of our clients feel their buyers are being out-negotiated, and vice-versa. We find that most people believe they are better negotiators than they actually are.

    And, again, vindication is ours. (A theme this month maybe.) The September 10, 2007 issue of Business Week (apparently we like this magazine a lot this month) reported on some research on negotiation done by researchers at Duke and the University of Chicago.

    In a simulation using buyers and sellers in an industrial sales setting, the researchers found that both buyers and sellers under-estimated how much the other party was willing to move in their negotiations. Buyers who felt they had hit the lowest price available, often paid substantially more than the seller was willing to offer based on pre-determined "walk away" criteria.

    There is a tactic in negotiating that suggests you not make the first offer. The researchers found that when the first offer was made it was much too high. Their recommendation, if you have to make the first offer, be VERY aggressive. While you may offend the other side, the benefits outweigh that cost.

    We conduct highly tailored negotiation training for both buyers and sales people. If you'd like to discuss your needs with us, we are happy to do so.

    Closing Thoughts

    We appreciate any feedback you can provide to help us make sure these Updates give you value each month. Feel free to respond to this e-mail with any comments or suggestions for future topics or ways we can make these Customer Manufacturing Updates more valuable to you.

    Thank you for your interest, and if we can provide any additional assistance in sales, marketing, strategy, or innovation to help you increase your sales, let us know.

    Our mission is to help you improve the performance of your System to Manufacture Customers.

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