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Sales & Marketing , Art or Science

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High tech start ups face a challenge as they begin to take their ideas to market. How can they get the market to buy their new product? They face a difficult transition from being R&D-led to becoming a business dependent on sales to fuel future growth.


This is an extended version (the original had 7 slides and 38 words) of a seminar delivered to the Harwell Oxford Technology Entrepreneurs Forum. There is also an A4 handout on my web site http://www.salestransformation.co.uk/insights.html .

Published in: Business

Sales & Marketing , Art or Science

  1. 1. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | © Consilium Consultancy Limited 1 Sales & Art or Science?
  2. 2. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | © Consilium Consultancy Limited 2
  3. 3. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | Electronic jewellery? An extreme focus on customer experience ► Obsessive attention to detail ● Watch the video on the latest iPhone salivating on the diamond tooling that produces the chamfered edges ► The thrill begins with the box before you get to your iPod ● Vastly over-engineered, with almost mitred corners ● A lid that overlaps the base so much that the box opens with a natural damping effect © Consilium Consultancy Limited 3
  4. 4. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | ...backed by a brilliant business model ►Everything you want in Apple’s secret garden ● Buy music on iTunes, you pay ● Buy music on iTunes, the artist pays ● It’s the same for the books, apps and the rest everyone pays Apple ►Result! ● Apple had the highest capitalisation on NYSE in 2012 peaking at $646Bn ● (Exxon regained supremacy in January 2013) © Consilium Consultancy Limited 4
  5. 5. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | © Consilium Consultancy Limited 5
  6. 6. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | The “Mac Book Air” of the 1970s ►This was the portable typewriter of the 1970s ►Beautifully packaged ● Integral case in matching red ● Retracting keyboard to reduce the size ● Colour coded components ►I had just graduated with a degree in Architecture ►I wanted one! © Consilium Consultancy Limited 6
  7. 7. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | How would you sell the Olivetti today? ►Collectable? ● Yes ►Practical? ● Oh come on, the Amstrad word processor can do more than that ►Useful? ● Perhaps as a doorstop (or to prop up part of my bookcase as my sad looking old Olympia does) © Consilium Consultancy Limited 7
  8. 8. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | ►Don’t think like a businessman ►Think like the customer ►In this case think like a kid! © Consilium Consultancy Limited 8
  9. 9. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | © Consilium Consultancy Limited 9Thanks to Richard Seymour of Seymour Powell for this idea Hey, that’s really cool, no power cords to lose, totally intuitive, you don’t even have to wait for it to power up; you just put paper in at the top and the words come straight out. I could use that while I’m backpacking across Bhutan on my gap year!
  10. 10. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | © Consilium Consultancy Limited 10 Smartphone wars
  11. 11. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | How they compare ► A real keyboard! ► Pushes email ► Really good encryption … so good BBM is the rioters’ smartphone of choice! ► Designed to work with corporate IT ► Lose it and you can remotely wipe your data ► Really stylish ► Does email ► Loads of apps ► Loads of cool features ► Intuitive ► Designed to be an object of beauty © Consilium Consultancy Limited 11
  12. 12. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | What it feels like: an unequal battle ► Logic ► Work ► The office ► Work at the weekend or on holiday ► Lust ► Leisure ► Home and holidays ► Have fun while you work © Consilium Consultancy Limited 12
  13. 13. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | © Consilium Consultancy Limited 13 But who wants this written on their gravestone?
  14. 14. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | © Consilium Consultancy Limited 14 What? Most high tech start ups start with “what”: the product they have sweated to develop. Unfortunately most prospective customers are swayed by something else … this isn’t the place to start.
  15. 15. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | © Consilium Consultancy Limited 15 What? How? Nor is this, even if you sweat blood!
  16. 16. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | © Consilium Consultancy Limited 16 What? How? Why? YES!Be clear why you are in business. Make it clear your mission is to help your clients solve a problem, perhaps that this is the first product of many. ● You will supply additional services where they are needed, or forge alliances to deliver “a whole solution” ● You are interested in delivering a benefit to your customers ● You are not just a “one trick pony” So start with why you are in business, be prepared to explain how you deliver the benefits, and then explain what it is you are offering
  17. 17. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | Sales & Marketing Process © Consilium Consultancy Limited 17 Idea Develop Position Launch Sell Generate Enquiry Follow up Proposal or Quote Negotiate Deliver Once initially with occasional refreshes 10s, 100s, perhaps 1,000s of times
  18. 18. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | Marketing and the devil © Consilium Consultancy Limited 18 Having sweated blood, perhaps mortgaged your house, you now have to get people to understand what you are selling ‒ to the extent that they want to buy. You’ve probably been advised to get a marketing specialist to help position your product and launch it. A good consultant will at times seem like your enemy ‒ playing devil’s advocate denying that your brilliant idea is obvious. Perhaps suggesting that your product is incomplete. Worrying about the semantics of the exact way you describe things. Insisting on understanding the culture and habits of the customer. Questioning how many customers there really are. Obsessing about customers and their requirements pays ‒ think Apple! Idea Develop Position Launch Sell A good marketing advisor will act as Devil’s Advocate to test your ideas, and then help you develop persuasive sales arguments.
  19. 19. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | Six Sigma* Selling © Consilium Consultancy Limited 19 Hardly anyone makes the perfect sales call. Let’s assume most of us are 60-70% effective. If we can raise this by 10% at each stage over a five stage campaign we would end up about twice as effective. Getting the message correct is important, delivering the message consistently can be even more important ‒ you are going to do this tens, hundreds, perhaps even thousands of times. When you last lost some business did you call the prospect to find out why? Better still did you get someone independent to ask why on your behalf? Continuous improvement really does work. Try it! *Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. Source Wikipedia! Generate Enquiry Follow up Proposal or Quote Negotiate Deliver
  20. 20. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | © Consilium Consultancy Limited 20 Art or Science?
  21. 21. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | © Consilium Consultancy Limited 21
  22. 22. Consilium | s a l e s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n | © Consilium Consultancy Limited 22 Pictures courtesy of Microsoft clip art, Wikimedia and others. Sales and marketing Coaching Consultancy Training More sales and marketing insights here Determined to help my clients achieve the success they deserve.

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