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How selling professional can stop struggling to create and keep profitable customers, simple strategies that turn every business relationship into profits guaranteed.
Whether you offer a hard product or service, just listening to the customers desires isn't going to produce a profitable product. Often customers want things that aren't practical to produce, it will take creative ingenuity to provide what customers want while keeping costs low enough to be profitable. Involve your employees in product development (especially those close to the product) and you can increase internal buy-in while gaining a commitment to quality that customers will notice.
(Continue ... Involve Employees For More Complete Product Design)
Being the Best. The October edition of Ideas!, an email newsletter by staff of the Sonoma Institute, offers 11 tactics and tips from going from good to great at the individual level. How can leaders become -- or remain -- the best? [Fast Company Now]
As far as business relationships are concerned, it all comes down to individual actions. While companies can lend credibility to individuals it is up to that individual to prove or disprove that assigned value. Fast Company provides a great summary of a Sonoma Institute offer of 11 tactics for going from good to great at the individual level.
(Continue ... 11 Tactics For Going From Good To Great At The Individual Level)
It's a wonder anything gets done in business today, often staff are worn out on internal issues before they even reach revenue producing tasks (such as serving customers.) How often do you see problems where there shouldn't be any?
(Continue ... Internal Bickering Only Wastes Resources)
Mark Jenkins. "Maps encourage boldness. They're like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]
What does Mark Jenkins the author adventure travel book The Hard Way know about business strategy? Probably very little, but as a travel writer he knows the importance of a good plan, accurate maps, and clear objectives. How else would he reach every corner of the world and live to write about it?
(Continue ... Maps Encourage Boldness And Make Anything Seem Possible)
Economist reveals a recent study showing a solid correlation between strong executives and corporate profits. While a few executives are vilified in the public eye, hundreds more are working away to improve their organizations. Successful executives lead employees toward tangible objectives, they cultivate peer relationships, and can be prosperous in any industry.
(Continue ... Executives Contribute To A Companies Success)
Often I talk about members of volunteer organization as if they were customers, and customers as if they were members. As far as executive relationships are concerned these two groups are one in the same. Similarities between members and customers include:
(Continue ... How Organization Members Are Similar To Customers)
Members of a community are silent most of the time. Does your community facilitate learning about fellow members even when they don't want to speak out on their own. Often these quiet members want others to know about them but are too shy to do it themselves.
(Continue ... People Who Are Silent Are Important)
Your members (customers) must be able to control their own community experience, relationships, and involvement. Let them stop anytime, or even become more involved as it is appropriate to them. Help members be a part of something larger while retaining their own individual freedoms.
(Continue ... Members Must Control Their Community Experience)
Group members don't like to cause discomfort to other members in order to reach their own desired results. This perceived discomfort leads individuals to be less involved. In most cases, individuals would rather withdrawal than impose discomfort on others in a group situation.
(Continue ... People Do Not Like To Impose)
Members of a community differentiate themselves by forming smaller organized groups that represent sub-interests on a community theme. The larger the group the more probable these subgroups will exist. Sub-interests are a healthy part of strong group dynamics in any community.
(Continue ... Communities Actually Comprise Of Many Overlapping Subgroups)
Accenture integrates multiple customer relationships with a marketing campaign. Announcing its new relationship with Tiger Woods as a spokes person, a new customer, and a representational character of a particular product line they reach out directly to their key buyers. Executives will be familiar with Tiger Woods, the entire strategy demonstrates good use of psychographic filters profiling.
(Continue ... Be Represented By Those Your Customers Are Familiar)
Phil Wolff presents key points on relationship building opportunities in a new venture that could make a huge difference in the quality of recruits your human resources sees. Monster with its 40 million accounts is launching a Networking service designed to connect job seekers and employers.
(Continue ... Relationship Value Of A Networked Hiring Community)
Business and the "Tragic" View of Human Nature. I recently finished Steven Pinker's book The Blank Slate. The chapter on Politics struck a chord with me, as Pinker put into words something that... [BusinessPundit]
Rob May makes a great point that managers must be able to tailor their tone, attitude, strategies, and tactics to individual situations. I think the same is true for executives in technology based companies. Relying on the latest fad or technological advancement to solve current problems makes outside factors a determining factor of internal progress.
(Continue ... Business And The "Tragic" View Of Human Nature (Abstract))
Aristotle. "All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind." [Quotes of the Day]
Are your people dumber for working at your company? Some managers expect employees to leave their minds at the door to focus on over-developed business processes. When Aristotle said, "All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.", it sounds like he is talking about modern business.
(Continue ... Smarten Up Your Greatest Assets)
According to a study by Perseus Development Corporation, over half of all weblogs are abandoned after two-months. Among many reasons, most weblogs loose the interest of their readers or the publisher. As powerful as weblogs can be, they can be much better if you work on these areas.
(Continue ... Over Half Of All Weblogs Are Abandoned)
A business-to-business website is more than a visitor experience, it is a tool that reduces times spent in non-customer activities. Your website will consists of more than what a customer sees, it includes integrated tools for improving communications with everyone involved with serving that customer. Here are a seven things your business-to-business website should do, if it is going to build stronger relationships:
(Continue ... 7 Things A Relationship Building Website Should Do)
There are some great similarities between your employees and members of a nonprofit organization. Most volunteer organizations don't need more members, they need more activity from those they already have. This article focuses on getting volunteers more active, it has some application to keeping your very best employees
(Continue ... Keeping Members And Employee Volunteers Active)
You can grow customer relationships in business-to-business by featuring them to a common end-users. These simple strategy can grow purchase volumes, product acceptance, and the size of your market. If you haven't considered it already, look at ways to help your customer increase the demand for your product.
(Continue ... Grow Customer Relationships Through A Common End-User)
Blogging is a valuable medium for one-to-one interactions, but it's not the end all solution for customer communications "the experts" preach. Most of your customers don't know or care what a weblog is-- yet alone want to read the rambling of your sales team. Common with communications tools, you must provide for the desires of your readers while offering actions desired by the publisher.
(Continue ... Blogging Is Just One Of Many Communication Tools)
Five Ways to Jump-Start Your Company's Ethics. Want to make a real difference in your organization? That is going to take some hard, serious work. Here's where to start. [Fast Company]
I agree with Toffler and Fast Company senior writer Jennifer Reingold that it's going to take some hard, serious work improve ethical corporate behavior. In their article, Five Ways to Jump-start Your Company's Ethics, they present some of the weakest ways to address corporate ethics-- but in all fairness, they provide a great starting point for all executives to consider.
(Continue ... Five Ways To Jump-Start Your Company's Ethics (Abstract))
While I have no comment on the presidential campaign of Howard Dean, it is interesting how his campaign is using the Internet. Fast Company's Linda Tischler provides an insightful sidebar quoted here:
(Continue ... Building Diverse Communications Channels)
Proper segmentation can produce profits from niche markets inside your current customer base. A variety of data management strategies are available, each one with its own unique value to your organization. What strategy will you use to identify new opportunities for your business?
(Continue ... More Market Segmentation Strategies For Profits)
What you know about your existing customer can reveal hidden niches of profit for your business. Using segmentation strategies you can identify profitable customers and shift your sales efforts to those most likely to purchase. Here are a few data management strategies to produce more with what you know--
(Continue ... Carving Out More Profits With Segmentation)
If you have an newsletter, make it easy for new subscribers to join. I frequently find newsletter that I think are interesting-- spontaneously I look for some way to subscribe and read more later. If potential subscribers can't easily figure out how then most will just leave.
(Continue ... Do You Make It Easy To Join Your Newsletter?)
Shana Alexander. "The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous." [Quotes of the Day]
Executives are often separated from their companies socially because of their own accomplishments. Individuals in leadership roles are seen as difficult to approach, even intimidating in nature. Here are some tips for executives who want to stay in touch with their employees.
(Continue ... Ways For Executives To Stay In Touch With Employees)
Using of a common guideline helps improve clarity and consistency of your business message. I've written about the value of weblogs for the professional business-to-business company, now here are some guidelines to improve the content of your weblog. Consider each idea for improving relationships through the Internet with both customers and employees.
(Continue ... Blog Writing Style Guide For Businesses)
In the dot.com build-up websites for business-to-business companies were consider revolutionary tools to change everything about the way we do business. Common models included enablers that reduce delays in a supply chain, low cost training resources and marketing tools. How successful has your web strategy been?
(Continue ... Successful Implementations If Internet Technology)
Do-Not-Call site has AT&T web bug. Trust us - we're a phone company. Web tracking link found in government Do-Not-Call site. [The Register]
Often perception is more dangerous than actual fact. The Register, a UK based technology publication, announces AT&T included a small tracking device in the popular Federal Trade Commission's Do-Not-Call page-- the article raises suspicious concerns of the relationship between AT&T and the commission (FTC). AT&T has a lot to lose from changing in telemarketing law, Is this a conspiracy?
(Continue ... Perceptions Of A Relationship Could Harm Your Business)
Community Services for Enterprise Blognets. Some of the services you might want to bring inside to help your blognets grow and prosper. The list grows, changes, and is not complete. [a klog apart]
Phil Wolff lays out a useful framework for enterprise blogging as a tool to share information inside your organization. You must consider these points when implementing a weblog for project management or knowledge collection.
(Continue ... Three Weblog Service Categories For Enterprise)
Trade-shows represent a customer interaction point where you can reach a large number of decision makers. However, this type of event can be very expensive without an understanding of what it is and a solid plan to cultivate sales from it. Follow this brief guide for trade-show success.
(Continue ... Positive Steps To Trade-Show Success)
According to Dennis Frahmann, trade show marketing represents as much as 17 percent of business-to-business marketing communications budget, but companies need to improve their handling of trade show leads. Frahmann is senior vice president of integrated marketing communications at Best Software, Irvine, CA (USA) and spoke recently for the Direct Marketing Associations B-to-B Marketing Conference in Tucson, AZ (USA). Learn more about what his comments mean to your company.
(Continue ... Improve How Your Company Handles Of Trade-Show Leads)
Tips for the Internal Champion. You have to get real-time project information to team members on the road, technicians on your shop floor, or employees around the world. [PSAPortal News and Opinion]
Tips for the Internal Champion (Cook, Steve. Getting Executive Buy-In) provides useful strategies for implementing a project management portal, but are appropriate for any other software based management system. The common theme is executive buy-in, a critical factor in any implementation that works toward stronger relationships.
(Continue ... Role Of Executives In Software Implementation)
I frequently see marketing materials and news releases boasting about the stronger relationships gained by using product A or method B-- most of these materials are unclear about what exactly that means.
(Continue ... Conveying The Meaning Of Relationships In Business)
Interesting insights on kinds of information sources used in making critical decisions as affected by the structure of their compensation package (University of Arkansas, Vikas Anand) included: (Study conducted on high-tech firms)
(Continue ... Executives Minimize Risks That Affect Their Compensation (Summary))
A helpless desk. IT support personal builds strong support relationship only to get in trouble with established system of performance. [Advice Line by Bob Lewis]
A reader writes to Bob Lewis about a information technology (IT) support person who is regularly praised for great performance and attitude, but is pressured by his manager to stay within the ticket tracking system. Most IT departments have a centralized tracking system, but frequently technicians handle end-users problems directly without tracking them-- even develop relationships with those supported doing work above and beyond the call of duties.
(Continue ... Reinforce Praise Worthy Performance Not Tracking Systems)
Go fish! in the resource pool. Resource pools assume that people are a sum of their technical skills without considering interpersonal skills that contribution to work completion. [Software (Management) Process Improvement]
Resources pools praised by some are poor for business relationships. Treating employees like simple tools or exchangeable machine parts is never good for productivity. For effective employees you must consider each on interpersonal skills in addition to quantifiable skills.
(Continue ... Resource Pools Are A Bad Practice)
Scandinavian Proverb. "Go often to the house of thy friend; for weeds soon choke up the unused path." [Motivational Quotes of the Day]
How much action do you send to your strategic partners? Is the new business they are sending you sufficient? Like many things in life, unused resources expire and pass away from your sight. Strategies to improve the value of partner relationships:
(Continue ... Improve The Value Of Partner Relationships)
Serving customer communities online. Lee LeFever has written a blog entry on serving customer communities online, in which he provides some practical advice and tips. [Column Two]
Lee LeFever does it again with an excellent article about points to consider when establishing an online community and the benefits of such community to the bottom line of your organization.
(Continue ... Serving Customer Communities Online (Abstract))
Best Practices -- More Than Meets The Eye. The visual workplace's unheralded benefits include an empowered workforce and sustained manufacturing improvement. [Industry Week - Articles & Columns]
Jill Jusko writes about Gwendolyn D Galsworth's book Visual Systems: Harnessing the Power of a Visual Workplace (1997, AMACOM) in explaining the aspects of a work environment that is self-explaining, self-ordering, self-regulating, and self-improving-- because of visual devices. The original article explains how visual systems can improve employee productivity.
(Continue ... Visual Systems Increase Employee Productivity)
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