Monthly Archives: July 2011

An industry analysis provides you with a comprehensive picture of the most significant macro trends. This information will help inform your next step, which is searching for a target company or companies within that industry. The analysis includes: industry focus, industry plans, success factors and solution components.

Using the categories from the Five Forces Analysis, let’s look at my mutual fund industry analysis.

  • Competition: The mutual fund industry is an increasingly competitive one; due in large part to substantial market opportunity presented by retiring baby boomers, as well as continued economic instability.
  • New Entrants: While genuinely new entrants are relatively few, many established firms have increased their activities in this market.
  • End users/Buyers: As a result of the industry’s new efforts and products, customers have many more choices than before.
  • Suppliers: The most significant suppliers here are suppliers of client relationship managers—both new to the industry and seasoned professionals.
  • Substitutes: In this industry, an important substitute product is the Separately Managed Account (SMA) or Unified Managed Account (UMA). SMAs/UMAs are individual investment accounts managed by “money managers.”

View my mutual fund industry profile , including several potential solutions that I identified.

Since industry trends are constantly changing, you have to work to stay on top of them.

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a orchestra

Why is it that some salespeople make loud noises in their selling process? Answer: they’re trying to lead their customers’ orchestra rather than being a part of the orchestra.
Solution – sell the way that works for your customer by selling in a way that complements their organizational culture.
So how you do that? First figure out your customers’ organizational culture then adapt your solution to complement that culture.
I use a model that identifies four types of organizational cultures and then suggest what is most important to that type of culture. Those four types are outcome, ethics, systems and vision. Naturally most every organizational culture cares about each of these aspects. The key is determining which of the four is dominant.
Your judgment beds to be nuanced and situational as the differences are small and very important; and it depends on what services/products you are trying to sell your customer.

    The four types are as follows:

  • Outcome: if they are more focused on performance and beating the competition, then power and positioning are critically important to them.
  • Ethics: if they are more focused on involvement and participation, then purpose and people are critically important to them.
  • System: if they are more focused on process and consistency, then plans are critically important to them.
  • Vision: if they’re more focused on innovation, then product and purpose are critically important to them.

Are you able to consistently create an environment where you can make beautiful music with your customers?

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So you’ve decided on an industry to pursue, or had one assigned to you. Now it’s time to research, collect, document and analyze information from a variety of secondary sources, such as Hoover’s First Research , Fast Company, LinkedIn and industry Web sites.

What information should you be looking for? The Five Forces , as created by Harvard professor Michael Porter:

  • Competition: The intensity of competitive rivalry is usually the major determinant of the competitiveness of the industry.
  • New entrants: Profitable markets that yield high returns will attract new companies. These many new entrants will eventually decrease profitability for all companies in the industry, leading to a flattened rate of return across the industry.
  • End users/buyers: The bargaining power of customers, defined as the ability of customers to put the company under pressure, also affects customer sensitivity to price changes.
  • Suppliers: The bargaining power of suppliers. A situation in which there are few alternative suppliers or resources is likely a source of advantage to the supplier.
  • Commercially available substitutes: The availability of suitable products outside the realm of the common product boundaries within the industry increases the tendency for customers to switch to alternatives.

Now that you’ve gathered the pertinent information, it’s time to conduct your analysis. Click here for an example of a Five Forces analysis I did of the mutual fund management industry starting on page 4 of my e-book Targeting the Best Prospect .

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Are you a sales executive interested in winning more new customers, retaining your current customers, increasing your share of wallet with existing customers, and, ultimately, increasing market share by growing your sales, profitably?

Are you ready to push your salesforce to do the required research and analysis work thoroughly and methodically?

If so, then you should read my e-book. It covers the key stages of selling—strategy, process and tactics. The sales process described here contains tried-and-true steps that are familiar. What makes my process unique are the techniques, tools and, more importantly, the practical application.

The ultimate key to success is how well your salesforce executes.

The four key stages of selling are:
1. Identifying the Best Prospect: Researching
This is the foundation stage, which consists of research using secondary sources. The first step is researching the industry; the second step is researching a target company within that industry, going below the surface to discover how the company really functions.

2. Opening the Door: Prospecting
This stage is all about marketing in a broad and integrated way. This phase includes obtaining referrals, using a CRM, aligning marketing and sales, developing e-mail and phone campaigns, using social media effectively, calling on the C suite, nurturing prospects, taking advantage of trigger events and networking.

3. Winning the Deal: Influencing
The third stage deals with first-hand discovery—primary research and its application. Learn about building relationships with company insiders, knowing your competition and how to position yourself to win, creating and presenting a compelling solution that links to your customer’s CSF, proving business impact, preparing and presenting a winning proposal and conducting a win/loss review.

4. Building on the Win: Leveraging
In the final phase, you learn how to deepen and widen your relationships with your new corporate customers, so that you under-promise and over-deliver. Then find out how to use that success to win more business with your customers. We focus on current customers, because based on my research and experience, the win rate over the competition is five times higher with current customers than with new ones.

Want to learn more? Read my e-book, Identifying the Best Prospect: Researching .

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