Thursday, 22 June 2017

For top sales force performance, treat your reps like customers

Companies that excel at sales growth are tightly focused on developing the talent they need by understanding how sales reps really work.
With as much as half of a company’s value creation resting with the sales force, sales-team effectiveness is crucial for growth. In fact, our research shows that the sales experience is one of the top drivers in customers’ purchasing decisions. And best practice has revealed that companies focus as much on the rep experience as on the customer experience.

Realizing that value, however, has become a lot harder. The sales landscape is more unpredictable and studded with multiple influencers, channels and buying options. Digitization is changing buyer behaviors and leading to more complex sales activities. Guiding decision makers through all the nuances and considerations requires sellers to demonstrate deep subject-matter expertise and the ability to quickly customize a message to each customer.

These challenges call for a new set of sales skills, training, and tools. Companies are having trouble filling that void, however, because many of them lack the means to identify and cultivate the skills they need. Performance can vary by as much as six to seven times between top- and bottom-tier sellers, yet few organizations have metrics that show why. As a result, hiring choices are often based on gut feelings, while development and training often default to methods that have been in place for years.

To better understand how the best sales leaders manage talent, we developed a “sales DNA” tool. It tracks and analyzes the talent-management practices of more than 100 sales organizations as well as the traits and attributes of over 15,000 sales representatives across a range of transactional, consultative, and other sales environments globally. The results reveal that organizations with the fastest growth know who their top performers are—surprisingly, many businesses don’t—and know the personality traits and skills that correspond with success. They’re also far more likely to customize outreach, tools, and techniques to the needs of different teams. In fact, as we analyzed fast-growing organizations, it became clear to us that top-performing sales organizations treat their salespeople like customers.
For rest of article, read HERE.


Saturday, 20 May 2017

Experiencing customer service ...

"Everyone has a quality product and everyone has good service.  But customers will not walk into a competitor's showroom and have an experience like ours."


Telstra boosts international brand recognition.

Telstra has retained its crown as Australia's most valuable brand despite a marginal decrease in brand value and a significant slump in enterprise value.
The formerly government-owned telecommunications giant, which is ranked 125th in Brand Finance's Global 500 most valuable brands list, remained Australia's top brand despite what was a challenging year for the company with a series of outages across its networks.
Telstra's brand value came in at $14.3 billion, down from $14.6 billion last year, but still enough to hold onto the top spot comfortably. In 2016, Telstra pipped Woolworths to top Brand Finance most valuable brand list.

Telstra's branding efforts among B2B decision-makers in the international market have made great strides. Its international brand recognition grew to 26% in 2015 from 10% in 2014. This growth was underpinned by a simpler go-to-market products and services strategy, backed by its success in integrating Pacnet's network with its own. It now has the right network and services capabilities to help grow the brand further internationally.

Telstra's new brand campaign demonstrates growing success

Not only does Telstra enjoy a large share of its domestic market, but also its international brand recognition is increasingly getting better. For instance, the service provider has grown its brand awareness in Asia-Pacific from 8% in 2014 to 32% in 2015. With the integration of key acquisitions such as Pacnet progressing well, Telstra has launched a new brand campaign with a focus on the magic of technology. This helps it improve the customer experience, which remains a key measure of its success, as well as helps it create better ways to empower everyone to thrive in a connected world.
Underpinning that is a desire to transform from being a telco to a technology company, and to be the architect of a "better way" to do things. This means that Telstra will focus on helping companies create transformative innovation, reach global markets, liberate the enterprise workforce, optimize IT, and secure networks.
The new brand campaign nicely complements modular products and services as they become available in the market. Enterprise customers can expect the following:
  • A simpler customer engagement model. The new brand campaign highlights the ease of doing business with Telstra. Ovum believes this is accurate. By unifying product teams across geographies, international customers will have more of a voice in terms of service innovation, creation, and propagation. Moreover, management and support will become a more streamlined effort in the near to mid-term. Telstra is also investing in global service desk capabilities – this will make it easier for the service provider to support superior SLAs and better customer experiences.
  • Telstra to drive greater innovation with Telstra Programmable Network. The brand promises to bring transformative innovation and help optimize IT for customers. This is reflected by Telstra's almost complete integration of Pacnet's network with its existing regional and global networks. The launch of the Telstra Programmable Network is the culmination of that effort. It is also using dedicated teams to migrate customers off Pacnet onto Telstra, or, where the Pacnet capability is superior, to migrate that component to the Telstra Programmable Network. It aims to complete customer migration in 2018. The Telstra Programmable Network's advantages are many, but key innovations that will guide its development include automated, on-demand, and real-time provisioning; ability to control the Telstra Programmable Network using UIs; a consumption-based model (pay per use); and the use of analytics to provide customers with data from the network and tools to interrogate and exploit the data.
  • Mobility and securitycapabilities as key differentiators. Mobility and managed security services (MSS) sit across its modular international connectivity, platforms, and applications layers. While Telstra does not own international mobile networks, it offers managed mobile services including its IoT platform to regional and global customers with the aim that global customers will create IoT applications off its IoT platform. It has identified MSS as another key regional and global requirement, and it is adding key capabilities to its cybersecurity team. While some of the buildouts of global services (mobility, IoT, and managed security) are a work in progress, it intends to invest significantly in global product availability. Enterprises will see a more comprehensive buildout of MSS, mobility-as-a-service (MaaS), managed public cloud, and cloud contact center in the near to mid-term.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

United Airlines, a public relations that went very wrong.

Shares in United Airlines' parent company have dropped after footage of a screaming passenger being dragged off an overbooked plane went viral.
Stock in United Continental Holdings dropped by more than 4% at one point on Tuesday, and at one point nearly $1bn (£800m) was wiped off its value.
Its CEO defended employees' conduct and said the passenger had been "disruptive and belligerent".
But the company has come under intense criticism online.
Outraged customers have threatened in droves to stop flying with United and the CEO's response to the incident has been pilloried.
Share prices recovered slightly later in the day, but were still below opening prices.
[For rest of article, read HERE]

Monday, 27 March 2017

The heartbeat of modern marketing : Data activation and personalisation

We’ve come a long way from “People who bought this, also bought that.”
Consider the experience of a representative customer we’ll call Jane. An affluent, married mom and homeowner, Jane shops at a national clothing retailer online, in the store, and occasionally via the app. When visiting the retailer’s website in search of yoga pants, she finds style choices based on previous purchases, the purchases of customers with profiles similar to hers, and the styles of yoga pants most frequently purchased on weekends. She adds one of the offered yoga pants to her shopping cart and checks out
With the exception of a follow-up email, most interactions with the customer stop there. But here’s what this example looks like when we activate Jane’s data: Three days after her online purchase, the retailer sends Jane a health-themed email. Intrigued, she clicks the link and watches a video about raising healthy kids. One week later, she receives an iPhone message nudging her to use the store’s mobile app to unlock a 15 percent one-day discount on workout equipment. Though she has never bought such items at this retailer, Jane takes advantage of the offer and purchases a new sports bag. What began as a simple task of buying yoga pants ended up being a much more engaged experience.
Such data-activated marketing based on a person’s real-time needs, interests, and behaviors represents an important part of the new horizon of growth. It can boost total sales by 15 to 20 percent, and digital sales even more while significantly improving the ROI on marketing spend across marketing channels: from websites and mobile apps to—in the not-too-distant future—VR headsets and connected cars.
[For rest of article, read HERE]

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Considering a career in marketing research? Why not?

This blog was written by Naomi Potter, Research Executive
As the youngest research staff member at DJS Research, I like to think I have a bit of a different view on working within the market research industry.
I joined the company through the graduate scheme last year, shortly after I graduated from the University of Aberdeen. Throughout my time here I have received so many titbits of good advice, and they have really helped me to settle in and progress. Therefore, I thought I would share my four biggest lessons from the last six months in the hope that they might be of some use to you, particularly if you too are considering a career in market research

Market research careers DJS Research

Lesson 1: Say yes!
The most significant, yet simple, piece of advice I have received was to take opportunities for as many things as possible. By following this mantra, my experience has absolutely rocketed. Amongst some of the weird and wonderful things I have been involved in, I have: been thoroughly lost on the way to a remote sawmill, interviewed students alone in Glasgow for a week, managed a hall test in Hull, presented at the headquarters of a leading energy supplier and watched a member of the Royal Family fly a helicopter ambulance. All of these experiences materialised because I challenged myself to step outside my comfort zone. Funnily enough, these are the instances that have provided me with the best opportunities to develop.
It has also helped me to create a lot of time and space for myself to grow within the role. By taking as many opportunities as possible you develop along a steep learning curve. I have found it helpful to fully consolidate new skills by seeking feedback from colleagues. At DJS Research, there is a real sense of team spirit so I find that this is an easy step to make. Taking the time to digest the experience makes it much more valuable in the long run.
Lesson 2: Variety is the spice of life
Now I have covered what you might need to put in to your career to reap the greatest rewards, let me tell you why I think my job is absolutely fantastic…
I couldn’t tell you what an average day in market research looks like. This week, I will be in London scribing for a public-sector workshop, managing projects in the office and meeting with a client on an airbase for a project in the charity sector. As a curious person, these experiences refresh my sense of engagement and energy. Day-to-day variations mean there is constant opportunity for growth.
Somebody once told me that part of being a market researcher is the ability to become an expert on incredibly specific and sometimes rather obscure topics. For me, that is all part of the fun.
Lesson 3: Build on what you do well
I chose market research as a career primarily as it offered me the opportunity to build on things I not only enjoy doing, but I feel that I am good at too. I have found that there are lots of opportunities to identify areas where your personal interests can add value.
My anthropological background means that my interest is grounded in the sociocultural aspect of research. I was inspired by a presentation given at the recent MRS conference in Manchester last year, where ethnographical research methods were discussed in terms of what they can offer in the market research industry. The presentation hammered home the strong link between the skills I had acquired during my studies and the research methods I use day-to-day. On returning to the office, I found that there were even more opportunities to build on these interests than I had previously thought. For example, volunteering to write a desk research report on the factors influencing recruitment in the construction industry. I really enjoy giving that bit extra and sharing what makes me tick.
Within the company, different people have naturally gravitated towards different industry focuses. These people have become well versed in the areas that interest them and, while they work on other projects too, their expertise in these areas adds colour and inspiration to their approach. While I think it is important to experience as many different things as possible in these early stages of my career, I look forward to the possibility becoming known for my work in a particular area.
Lesson 4: Be a people person
To be a researcher means a lot of time working with, writing about and speaking to, people. It is important that you are interested in and enjoy these interactions, as it really shows.
You have to be adaptable. Think: swinging from speaking to a student about the difficulties of drinking on a night out while managing their diabetes, to discussing the intricate details of energy usage monitoring with a Power Operations Manager. As DJS Research is a full-service market research agency we have complete teams in the computer-assisted telephone unit, field and data, data support and recruitment. Part of doing the job well is building relationships with your colleagues, understanding the pressures of their role and working out how to support each other in the best possible way.
Finally, consider the most important relationship on the project, the one between yourself and your client. I have found it helpful to keep in mind that projects cannot be dealt with using a cookie-cutter approach, that personal connection is important in your interactions with clients and that a successful project relies on collaboration.
On a grander scale, market research is at its core attempting to tap into the lives of people, real people, and seeking to understand what drives and motivates them.
So, there you have it. My four biggest take-away points after half a year of working in the industry. I’m counting on having much more to say in the years to come…

Friday, 24 March 2017

Capturing value from your customer data

Companies can put their information to work by teasing out novel patterns, driving productivity, and creating new solutions.
In an increasingly customer-centric world, the ability to capture and use customer insights to shape products, solutions, and the buying experience as a whole is critically important. Research tells us that organizations that leverage customer behavioral insights outperform peers by 85 percent in sales growth and more than 25 percent in gross margin.  Customer data must be seen as strategic.
Yet most companies are using only a fraction of the data in their possession. Sprawling legacy systems, siloed databases, and sporadic automation are common obstacles. Models and dashboards may be forced to rely on stale data, and core processes may require considerable manual intervention. Often, too, organizations may not have a clear understanding of the specific outcomes they’re looking to achieve through data optimization. All that is leaving significant value on the table.
How much, you ask? A McKinsey survey of more than 700 organizations worldwide found that spending on analytics to gain competitive intelligence on future market conditions, to target customers more successfully, and to optimize operations and supply chains generated operating-profit increases in the 6 percent range.
Our work suggests that these returns don’t have to be confined to a handful of top players. Rather, when it comes to generating measurable value from their data, most organizations have plenty of low-hanging fruit they have yet to harvest.
[For rest of article, read HERE ... ]