Tag Archives: sales management

Target Marketing: Enhancing Your Sales and Marketing Effectiveness

By Jill J. Johnson

Jill Johnson - target marketingYour customers can be grouped according to a variety of different identifiable characteristics that reflect their specific needs and interests. These needs and interests impact their attitudes toward purchasing decisions. Each of these groups is called a target market. Target marketing is the response to identified market needs. These needs will differ for groups within the total population and they can change over time. Target marketing can turn challenges created by changes in our economic environment into opportunities to better achieve your organizational goals.

While it may seem very limiting to narrow your market, the truth is you cannot be all things to all people. It is difficult and costly to develop effective promotional messages or reach your most likely purchasers if your target is too broad.

There are three major components to developing effective target marketing for sales results. First you have to clarify your market segments. Then you have to engage in data mining to verify the market opportunity really exists. Finally, link your target market to your operating, sales and promotional strategies.

1. Clarify Your Market Segments

A solid framework for evaluating your target market incorporates many different variables to develop your customer profile. The key is to begin to identify the distinctive patterns of attitudes, desires, concerns, and decision-making criteria for them. By understanding these elements, you can focus your marketing approaches to more effectively reach your target audience and to influence their purchasing decisions. Customers are more likely to identify with messages specifically tailored to their individual needs.

Target marketing typically incorporates an assessment of the demographics of your customer base. There are many demographic variables that can be easily identified and measured. A few examples for a consumer market include such aspects as age, gender, income or marital status. Business customers can consider aspects such as employees, revenue, or years in operation. Knowing where your customers live or work is another method for evaluating your target market. Geography is typically combined with demographics to measure market size.

The psychological profile is an exceptionally important variable in target marketing. Understanding your customer’s personality, buying motivations and interests provide powerful opportunities to develop communication messages designed to trigger a buying response in your customer.

Other variables may influence your customers’ purchasing decisions. These can include generational differences or customer brand loyalty. They may be highly influenced by other people being involved in their purchasing decisions. Do you need to position your marketing messages to influence decision influencers too?  Clearly assessing these target market segments provides a gateway for creating better marketing messages to ensure your customers and their decision influencers are compatible with your options.

 2. Data Mining

The second critical step to developing your target markets is to quantify your market size. You do this by data mining. Data mining involves analytically reviewing your internal customer and comparing it to external market information. Look for patterns and relationships to help understand your customer’s buying patterns and opportunities to influence them at each stage of their buying decision cycle.

Start by reviewing your Internal Customer Data. Prepare historical summaries reflecting several years of data. Most people only look at one year of data—this is not sufficient to help you determine if your market has achieved its maximum potential or is on a decline. Look for trends and patterns. What types of profiles can you create of those who buy from you? When do they buy? Who is most profitable to you? Start evaluating how effectively your marketing approaches reaches them and matches their purchasing decision approach.

Then, conduct a detailed review of the available External Data. Assess how your current customer profile matches up with the real market opportunity. Do the demographics show a potential for long-term growth? Does the data show anything else that might impact your sales success?

3. Tie Your Target Market to Your Promotional Activities

Promotion must be customer oriented and matched to how, why and when they buy. Where do they look for information to solve their problem or meet their need? It is not about what you want to sell them. You will need different marketing messages for those who are at the awareness stage gathering information than those who are ready to make a final purchase.

Match each of your promotional efforts to your target market. Clarify in detail how it benefits or provides value to them. What needs of theirs does it meet? How does it meet their needs in ways your competitors cannot?

Make your prospective customers understand how you will help them solve their problems or meet their needs by using your target market insight to customize your promotional messages! Tie your promotions to their decision-making cycle and move them through their purchasing decision-making stages in a deliberate and effective manner. Heal their pain points!

There are numerous promotional options beyond sales activities that can help you communicate with your target market. These include advertising, public relations, social media, collateral materials, direct mail, email campaigns, website, tours, presentations, networking, participating in community events, open houses, trade fairs, using giveaways and generating referrals from satisfied customers.

The effectiveness of how you communicate your value to your customers and key referral sources will determine your ultimate sales success. Communicate with them in the ways they expect. Develop a matrix to clearly define each target market you want and need to influence. Then identify how you will use each promotional opportunity to communicate with and influence each market segment.

Final Thoughts

Using target marketing provides you with a disciplined approach to crafting highly effective marketing messages that have the potential to drastically influence your sales. The process of target marketing is on-going and dynamic. You have to work hard to keep up with your market and discern when it is changing. Changes can be subtle. You will need to adjust your strategies to change with them or you may have to find new customers to remain a viable business.

Jill J. Johnson is the President and Founder of Johnson Consulting Services, a highly accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant, and author of the bestselling book Compounding Your Confidence. Jill helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted more than 4 billion dollars worth of decisions. She has a proven track record of dealing with complex business issues and getting results. For more information on Jill J. Johnson, please visit www.jcs-usa.com.

The Three Values of Great Salespeople

Put on Your C.A.P. and Evolve as a Leader in Sales

 By John Waid

John Waid-values of salespeopleDon’t you wish you felt like someone wasn’t trying to merely sell you something and instead was really on your side and wanted you to be happy with what your purchase? Wouldn’t a world with less pushy salespeople be nice? The best salespeople don’t simply adhere to acronyms like ABC—Always Be Closing—or the X-step processes that remove the humanity from sales interactions. The majority of selling is not technique, but plain old people skills.

When people are asked what makes for a great salesperson they’ll often cite characteristics like listening, asking great questions, caring more about the buyer than themselves, building rapport and being liked as people, handling objections well and shutting up. These are all behaviors that can be found in the three values every great salesperson must possess.

Let’s dispel the myth of what selling is. Most salespeople will tell you that they sold something and yet, if you think about it, they did not sell anything without someone buying. Selling is not the action, so really, salespeople could be called facilitators of buying. “To sell” sounds aggressive and can put the customer in a defensive position, and the inherent “tricks of the sales trade” often leave buyers with a sour taste in their mouths. There is a better methodology that goes to the core of why we sell in the first place—and it’s one that is not financially-driven. Believing in and selling a product or service that can improve an aspect of a buyer’s life should be the primary motivator for salespeople. It’s much better than selling just to hit a sales target or benchmark.

Once you establish a purpose aside from financial gain, there are three distinct values and some adjoining behaviors that drive the best salespeople. The acronym CAP is easy to remember and you will see that after we talk about all three, you or great salespeople you see will have on this CAP every day.A positive mental attitude and deciding to like everyone for something is something that is not only great in sales, but also in life. Click To Tweet

What is the first value? Are you curious? The first value is Curiosity.

Curiosity is the value that drives the best to want to know what is behind the reason why people are buying something. Why do some salespeople create rabid fans around buying their products and services when others do not? It’s because these salespeople add value.

Let’s pretend you have a paperclip company that sells plastic paperclips in ten colors and three sizes. Let’s also say that these paperclips are three-times more expensive. The first salesperson, Jim, goes to call on clients and pushes the paperclips. He has yet to meet his numbers. The second salesperson, Jenny, goes in asking questions to the business owners like, “How important is organization to you?” “How and why could organization help your business be even better?” “Why is being innovative in business important?” Jenny has resolved to selling an organization system and innovation in what most would see as simple clips that really do not warrant spending three-times more money on. Jenny is excellent at asking great open-ended questions and listening for the last drop to uncover value for the client in her products, whereas Jim is simply pushing paperclips.

Developing an attitude of curiosity to help build value for the customer along with the two key behaviors of great open questions and listening can lead you to enjoy selling like Jenny much more than Jim.

The second value is the one that makes you do all the right things and not cut corners: Accountability.

Accountability is an attitude that exudes success. Think about how much better you could have done in school if you had prepared before each quiz or exam, finished reading and taking notes on every textbook and gone to every class and asked for help when you did not know something. You might have gone to a better school and possibly had an easier life. Have you ever tried to build a piece of furniture without first reading the instructions? How long did it take you to build the furniture and how painful was it?

The best salespeople prepare in writing and are meticulous about preparing their territory plans, target accounts, their positive mental attitude, materials, open questions, objection handling, etc. There is a great story about a sales manager that went out on a field ride with one of his sales reps. As they were on the road the manager asked the rep if he had a catalog of the products. The rep said it was in the back seat. The manager then started on the first page and asked if he had a sample of that product with him. The answer was no, so the manager ripped out the page and threw it out the window saying, “I guess we won’t be selling that product today”. He threw the whole catalog out the window after going through this exercise several times. The lesson learned here is that preparation is 90 percent of success and if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

The third value is a love for people through great People skills.

Is it more important that you like the customer or that the customer likes you? Before you rush to answer the question, think about it a bit. How is the customer going to like you if you do not like them? Having a positive mental attitude and deciding to like everyone for something is something that is not only great in sales, but also in life. We spend much of our time interacting with people and if we do not do this well it can cause a lot of heartache. Many of the most successful salespeople create rapport and learn to mirror the behaviors of others for better understanding of them and themselves. The ability to create likeability is the first step in creating “trustability”. Helping people to buy is not easy when they do not like you.

So there you have it. These three values and the adjoining behaviors are key to sales and even make for a better life. Put on your sales C.A.P. daily and you’ll begin to see a boost in relationships, a boost in your numbers, and a boost in your satisfaction as a salesperson.

John Waid is the founder of C-3 Corporate Culture Consulting, a keynote speaker and author of the book, Reinventing Ralph. With a specialty and passion for corporate culture, sales and global business, John believes culture is the engine that drives companies to better results, higher morale, and increased profitability. An active speaker, trainer and subject matter expert, John Waid holds an enduring belief that corporate culture is the key to success for companies. For more information on John Waid, please visit: www.CorporateCultureConsulting.com.

1+1=7: Leveraging Value-Based Healthcare for Positive ROI

By Gregory T. Reinecke

Gregory T. Reinecke-healthcareChange is about change! In the healthcare industry, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 included another definition for clinical success. The government determined success to mean a patient does not return to the clinic within thirty days of original discharge. This is now old news. Yet a survey in 2017 showed that 59 percent of healthcare organizations (up from 33 percent in 2016) still had concerns about the Affordable Care Act. The consensus was that dealing with this move from a volume-based care requirement to a value-based one is still of concern.

The shift from fee-for-service to a value-based model is driving change and a rethinking of doctor/clinic and patient relationships. With change you are forced to review allocation of resources, investment strategies, and even to do more with less. In this changed landscape—in a value-based environment—how do you define ROI? Where do you invest?

With a greater awareness and focus that past practices in treating and releasing patients will need to be revamped, new consideration on non-clinical patient information has become important. In the current approach, the doctor is concerned with the patient in a one-on-one relationship. In the new environment, the interaction with the patient goes beyond the clinic and into non-clinical areas.

What is in the patient’s home environment that supports or does not support healing and wholeness? What external factors are detrimental to a patient’s ideal recovery? These factors have been noted to include social and physical determinants. How does one sort these new factors and determine where to invest?

Value-based healthcare clearly shifts the practice to include more people-side intangible factors—into areas not as comfortable for the medical practitioner. The practice of medicine deals mostly with specifics, not with non-specifics such as feelings and emotions. The new practice of medicine is moving into a full partnership with intangible factors, especially social determinants that affect success of healing and wholeness for a patient.

A 2018 report of data collected from 300,000 Americans identified factors that create healthy living environments. They reported that only twelve factors contributed to 90 percent of the variations in the well-being of people across the country. These factors were related to demographics, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment.

It is clear the welfare of patients is no longer focused in the clinic, but has broadened into a holistic, community enterprise. You have heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child; now it takes a community to help people heal! No doubt this recognition of the broadening healthcare enterprise may be part of the reason 59 percent of health providers find the new healthcare expectations challenging.

As a means to begin to understand how to peel back this onion, we have looked at what options healthcare organizations have in making change. A good place to start is to follow where we currently spend money and use resources and then decide where we need to reallocate funding for the new healthcare needs. So which investments might lead to a more applicable and responsive patient care program?

In every organization, there are seven types of investments available. In the outline below, we view each of the seven investments from the perspective of the current Fee-for-service focus to the Value-based focus. For each investment, we have imagined what change result might be desired. The first five capitals followed with asterisks are people or people-derived investments.Understanding the patients’ demographics as well as well as geography will be important in characterizing diverse subgroups in communities under consideration. Click To Tweet

HUMAN CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Patient is a number
  • Value-based: Patient is a person
  • Change desired: Consider a clinical team focused on what an ideal (people focused) value-based healthcare system could be

RELATIONSHIP CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Transactional: buyer (patient) and Seller (doctor)
  • Value-based: Familial: cooperative solutions, especially post-clinic
  • Change desired: Need to better engage patient in their community; build relationships, understand subgroups

SPIRITUAL CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Formal (culture, satisfaction, norms)
  • Value-based: Informal (family-like: culture, satisfaction, personal, relationships)
  • Change desired: Need a support network for patient: partner and co-fund with community groups for health and wellness; environmental integration

CUSTOMER CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Cordial formal service
  • Value-based: Collegial informal service; partnering together for health
  • Change desired: Need a new mindset to think health and wellness, holistically; see patient in their environment.

ORGANIZATIONAL CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Clinic and equipment support
  • Value-based: Invest to support patient beyond the clinic
  • Change desired: Need to imagine ways to connect/build wellness infrastructure to include community partners and ancillary health groups

PHYSICAL CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Focus on clinical needs and technology
  • Value-based: Invest in post-clinical and discharge needs
  • Change desired: Need to fund ongoing support, such as with out- patient wellness support to include wellness integration aides

FINANCIAL CAPITAL

  • Fee-for service: Revenue generation first
  • Value-based: Patient satisfaction followed by Revenue generations
  • Change desired: Need to fund ongoing support, such as with an out- patient ‘wellness’ aide

We have previously shown that an investment on either the task or people sides requires an investment on the opposite side to reap optimal ROI.  For example, an investment of new technology requires an investment in people to maximally exploit the technology. Or if one invests in people to do work, look for ways to invest in materials or technology to help people optimally perform. Since 71 percent (five of seven) of the investment opportunities are on people or people-derived assets, investment opportunities are mostly on the intangible, soft side.

Value-based healthcare investments are thus people-side ones. Understanding the patients’ demographics as well as well as geography will be important in characterizing diverse subgroups in communities under consideration. In order to plan for investments, a strategic approach is needed to tactically allocate resources. We believe that what underpins an effective tactical response is knowledge and understanding of situations and challenges on the ground. They directly affect why people get sick but also can expose the environmental factors that will slow their recovery and adversely affect ROI. Proactively responding to complex challenges at the core must fundamentally go beyond traditional 1+1=2 solutions and embrace a broader range of intangibles into the equation. Depending on the desired change result, one invests accordingly. With this mindset, we are certain that the ROI will be better than 1+1=2, and more like 1+1=7!

Gregory T. Reinecke, President, GeoDimensional Decision Group LLC has over three decades of experience delivering powerful value-driven solutions focused on ROI to healthcare, public safety and government agencies. GeoDD creates solutions that help clients manage risk and solve difficult problems, utilizing big data, geography, geospatial engineering, plus social science and demography to reveal new solution possibilities. For more on Gregory T. Reinecke, please visit www.geoddgroup.com.

The Cost of Poor Performance

Why failing to train your employees costs a lot more than you think

By Evan Hackel

Evan HackelMany people have heard this story, which has become a legend in the training industry. A CEO and department head were having a brief conversation after their monthly strategy meeting, where the focus was on employee training. The CEO said, “What if we spend all this money training our staff and they leave us? And the department head replied, “What if we don’t train them and they stay?”

A simple, but pointed, response. If you spend a lot of money on people and they leave, that’s not an optimal outcome. But if you don’t train your employees and they stay, it costs you a lot more.

A franchise group, comprised of more than 2,000 stores, experienced this training quandary first-hand. The head of sales had a simplified approach to hiring. He simply hired salespeople who had worked at other stores that sold the same kind of products as were sold at his stores. His assumption was that the experienced salespeople he hired were pretrained and that hiring them would save a lot of time and expense. Plus, there would be no need to acquire the tools that were needed to implement a training system. What if we spend all this money training our staff and they leave us? Click To Tweet

His decision to hire experienced salespeople made sense, but it was flawed. The fact that those salespeople had experience didn’t mean that they came armed with the best-selling skills or factual product knowledge. But after a few years of using his hire-the-experienced approach, he saw that he wasn’t achieving the kind of results he wanted. He sensed the size of each average transaction on the selling floor was too small. Buyers were not becoming repeat customers. Plus, his stores were receiving negative comments online about the quality of their customer service.

Because he could see that the skills of his salespeople needed improvement, he took the plunge and brought in an experienced training development firm that developed a program of e-learning for salespeople to train them to increase the size of the average ticket size, to improve their closing percentages, and to provide better customer service.

The performance of the salespeople his company trained was dramatically better than the performance of experienced sales people he simply hired. Plus, he soon realized that training was giving him another benefit: because he could hire high-energy, high-potential employees, not only those with experience, he was building a much stronger and enthusiastic salesforce.

After a year, the average annual sales made by company-trained salespeople had in many cases outperformed seasoned professional hires by $200,000 or more. When he factored in sales and contribution margin improvement, the people trained in-house produced about $80,000 a year more in profit. With an average five-year tenure for each employee, the training was worth $400,000 more in profit dollars.

That is another way of saying that the cost of not training each salesperson amounted to $80,000 a year for that company. So what really happens if you don’t train people and they stay? It means you’re going to be losing a lot of money.

Why Do Trained Salespeople Produce More Income? There are many reasons. Trained salespeople:

  • Close more sales
  • Generate larger average sales
  • Sell fewer products at discounted prices and more products at list price
  • Make fewer mistakes
  • Sell the right products, reducing the cost of returns and product replacements
  • Build customer relationships that result in more repeat business
  • Generate more positive reviews online
  • Increase your net promoter scores
  • Help keep morale and productivity high among all your employees, because people don’t like to work with untrained people who don’t know what they are doing.

What does poorly trained salespeople cost? Not training people costs money a lot of money.

Training Is Not Just for Salespeople: Training has a major impact on customer service practices across a variety of industries. Consider the often headache-inducing business of at-home product installation—one that would certainly benefit from customer service-focused training. The basics, such as explaining to customers the details of the installation process, an emphasis on clear communication prior to the start of the job, and of course, conveying the importance of punctuality can boost customer retention. Training staff to be cognizant of their customer service practices can also increase referral business, which can be worth extra hundreds, thousands, or even millions to your bottom line.

Every Untrained Employee Costs You Money: ROI on training is dramatically greater than most company executives believe it will be. In simple terms, if a trained worker becomes 100 percent productive and an untrained worker is only 60 percent productive, you are losing $40,000 in value on every $100,000 of business you conduct.

In Closing: Not training is hugely expensive—far more expensive than training. In your company, you should look for all the opportunities where proper training can dramatically increase profits, reduce waste, and provide an outsized ROI for every training dollar you spend. If you start to look, it’s nearly guaranteed you will find many more opportunities than you expect.

Evan Hackel is CEO of Tortal Training, a firm that specializes in developing and implementing interactive training solutions for companies in all sectors. Evan created the concept of Ingaged Leadership and is Principal and Founder of Ingage Consulting, a consulting firm headquartered in Woburn, Massachusetts. To learn more about Ingage Consulting and Evan’s book Ingaging Leadership visit www.ingage.net.

Vulnerability is Money in the Bank

By Todd Cohen

Todd CohenMany factors can affect one’s feeling of comfort and security for their jobs and livelihoods: A shifting and unsteady economy. Tumultuous global events. The unforeseen and unpredictable can shake one’s confidence to the core.

You see the same phenomena with anyone who has something to sell—which is all of us. Regardless of what you are selling—a product, a service, and of course, yourself, there are unfortunate instances of people taking any business and not quality business. Why? Your internal fear of allowing yourself to be vulnerable and accepting the business and responsibilities you know you can deliver at 100%.

Where things begin to veer off track is when people think they are going to lose their jobs or lose a sale (which is the same thing) they hold on tighter to them or take any deal. In doing so, you stretch yourself thin and tend to accept more and more responsibility. Subsequently, when people assume more responsibility than they can realistically handle, they become inefficient and less successful. In other words, holding on tighter in an attempt to ensure job security is actually harmful and professionally destabilizing.

What this means is that you cannot and should not attempt to be everything to everybody! When you try and to do it all, you wind up making bad decisions, which leads to settling and a feeling of unhappiness and dissatisfaction with your choices. In that event, everyone suffers: the client, the employer, your colleagues, and you. All because you’re hanging on so tight that you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable. In other words, a strong indicator of any success is your ability to be vulnerable and know your strengths, your weaknesses, and having the courage to walk away when necessary. It’s about having the bravery to embrace one simple concept—you will be more successful when you can successfully articulate your position and say “no” when you should. This is a simple concept that is in actuality very difficult to do.

Become vulnerable, improve job security, and get more at the same time. When people think of sales, the words “aggressive” and “pushy” can come to mind. It’s a product of many poor experiences dealing with sales staff. “Vulnerable” isn’t a word that you would often associate with sales—and that reason alone proves its importance. Vulnerability allows your clients and customers to view the entire sales industry through a new prism.

So how can you let go, become vulnerable, and actually improve your standing with your clients and colleagues? In a sales culture, everyone knows they play a vital role in the sales cycle. And regardless of whether their role is visible or not, it is an essential part of the sales ecosystem. In some cases an individual’s contributions may not be immediately seen, but he or she knows that their role is essential to clients ultimately saying “yes.” This is the essence of sales culture.

In organizations that are more siloed—and thus highly dysfunctional—there are people who believe that gripping very tightly to their jobs and staying beneath the radar will increase the odds that they will be “okay.” Here’s the problem with that theory. You are more likely to be seen as a valuable member of the company if you know and can communicate your specific area of expertise and stick to it. When you can communicate your value proposition in a compelling way, you make yourself vulnerable and more secure at the same time. Why? Because now people know what they are “buying” in you and you can now do a much better job.

Consider these points:

  1. Vulnerability is Tough: Letting go is hard. But by holding on to all the responsibilities, or taking any business that comes your way, you increase the chances of becoming mediocre because you can’t do it all—and you don’t have to. Being vulnerable means that you are able to say “no” to the so-called opportunities and business that are not actually quality business.
  2. Vulnerability is Nobility: Your ability to be vulnerable is noble. People want to deal with others who know what they do and know what they don’t do. In this way, being vulnerable earns you respect. Plus, you’ll find people will want to have you as part of their virtual team. When you are engaged to do what you do well, you increase your security, your role in the sales process, and the customer experience. Vulnerability is the desire to ask someone for feedback and be prepared to hear the answer and not be defensive. Vulnerability and defensiveness are diametrically opposed.
  3. Vulnerability is a Professional Skill: It takes a high degree of professionalism and maturity to know that you contribute in a certain way and in other ways, you don’t. Knowing where that line is and when not to cross it is the hallmark of a true professional and someone people want to buy from or someone people want to work with.
  4. Vulnerability is Cool: A sale is a complex series of interactions among people who all contribute some form of intellectual capital to the sales process. And it is through these interactions that clients or prospects get what they need to say “yes.” When you accept that staying focused on your own area of expertise is valuable, you’ll be at peace with being vulnerable. Most important, you’ll be confident and on your game. The sales team and the client will see this and they’ll say “yes!” Vulnerability is indeed money in the bank.
  5. Vulnerability is Attractive: Simply put, people will buy you and from you when they know you are real. Showing your authentic self and communicating plainly and directly is the key component here. People want to know that you can identify with them and that you understand them. Being truly vulnerable means that you are not afraid to show yourself.

Allow yourself to let go and reap the rewards that vulnerability affords.

Todd Cohen, CSP is an accomplished and sought after speaker, sales culture expert and author of Everyone’s in Sales and Everyone’s in Sales; STOP Apologizing. Todd’s dynamic and motivational presentations are based on the foundation that regardless of career path or position, everyone is a salesperson. Since 1984, Todd has led sales teams to deliver more than $850 million in revenue for leading companies including Xerox and Thomson-Reuters. For more information or to book Todd Cohen for your next meeting please visit www.toddcohen.com.

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