Tag Archives: Oracle Fusion CRM

Chapter 5.5.3 Beating the Competition – Emotional

This is where you make a judgment on how well you have understood the company and the executives you are selling to. Read the section on The Customer as a Human Being again and the section on the Product – Spaced Benefits. List down the three or four most influential executives in the evaluation and decision making process and compare the way you positioned the Spaced benefits against the emotional profile of the customer. Given what you know about the executives and the meetings you have had with them and ask yourself – “Which way would they vote today?” An extreme example should help make this clearer.

In the final presentation you fly in the Evangelist for your product from San Francisco, he was dressed like Steve Jobs in jeans and a black tee-shirt and a flowing pony tail; he talked about how cool the product was and how the product strategy was cutting edge. The chairman of the customer evaluation committee is a 60 year old guy wearing a black suit, white shirt and red tie. Ok let’s look at another example that may be less extreme. A conservative bank is looking at outsourcing a business function. While you have the skills to do the job, this is a new account for your company and your competitor is someone like IBM, both a Market Leader and an incumbent vendor. This is the emotional battlefield. Is the customer looking for a Secure decision, or is he looking for a Performance decision. Is he prepared to take a risk on your proposal when you may be the better solution but your company is an unknown quantity.

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Chapter 5.5.2 Beating the Competition – Economic

This is where you make a judgment on how well you have understood the company and the executives you are selling to. Read the section on The Customer as a Human Being again and the section on the Product – Spaced Benefits. List down the three or four most influential executives in the evaluation and decision making process and compare the way you positioned the Spaced benefits against the emotional profile of the customer. Given what you know about the executives and the meetings you have had with them and ask yourself – “Which way would they vote today?” An extreme example should help make this clearer.

In the final presentation you fly in the Evangelist for your product from San Francisco, he was dressed like Steve Jobs in jeans and a black tee-shirt and a flowing pony tail; he talked about how cool the product was and how the product strategy was cutting edge. The chairman of the customer evaluation committee is a 60 year old guy wearing a black suit, white shirt and red tie. Ok let’s look at another example that may be less extreme. A conservative bank is looking at outsourcing a business function. While you have the skills to do the job, this is a new account for your company and your competitor is someone like IBM, both a Market Leader and an incumbent vendor. This is the emotional battlefield. Is the customer looking for a Secure decision, or is he looking for a Performance decision. Is he prepared to take a risk on your proposal when you may be the better solution but your company is an unknown quantity.

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Chapter 5.5 – Beating The Competition

Until now I have avoided the traditional metaphors of warfare or sporting competition to describe the skills and activities of a salesperson, but when it comes to beating the competition it is appropriate because it is a zero sum game. Either you win, or the competition wins. Either you earn some immediate commission and build a bridgehead (first warfare analogy) or you lose territory to the enemy. This is warfare as known in ancient times, it is not ideological it is about taking home the gold.

All of the techniques we have discussed help you improve your skills and your ability to strategise a sales campaign (uncovering requirements, understanding differentiation) which all contribute to you winning more than you lose. This section shares with you two specific tools which allow you to assess how you are doing against a competitor, and suggests what you might need to do to win.

The first tool is a status of the battlefield tool. What you do is to look at five “battlefields” and you estimate your current situation. The five battlefields are:-

  • Political
  • Economic
  • Emotional
  • Relationship
  • Solution

Let’s look at them one by one:-

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Chapter 5.4.1 Managing Opportunities – Part 2

“Is this a company we want to do business with?”, should be easy. If your company is not a credible supplier then you should not be bidding. The proof statements about your company should be freely available (Market Position statements from Marketing, Annual Reports, etc.). This fundamental requirement does however still trip up even the best salespeople. Government contracts are often a good example of this. There may be unclear barriers to doing business. In some countries you can only do business with government if you are on a pre-qualified list of approved companies, or if you are willing to pay a huge bond, or if you are owned by locals, there are many forms of subtle protection. Occasionally the market throws up its own “fashionable” barriers to doing business. I remember in the early 2000’s there were a handful of “cool” Internet specialist companies. Their offices had Star Wars puppets hung from the ceiling; there were pool tables in common areas. If a company was developing a website they hired these bearded and sandal wearing consultants and ignored IBM and Accenture. Ten years later I cannot even remember their names, IBM and Accenture roll on but they illustrate the point I am making. Make sure you are not wasting your time, apply the three basic questions, including “Are we a company the customer would like to do business with?”.

“Are there any reasons why we cannot go forward with this proposal?” This question is a real horror show. This question is the blow from left field that can floor the most professional sales campaign. There are some obvious issues like during the course of the buying / selling cycle all parties lose sight of affordability. The requirements scope becomes too big, the budget is too small. You should keep your attention on this one, but some of the reasons that have happened to me have been:-

  • Citibank underwent a global reorganization (into Consumer / Investment and Corporate Banking) while my proposal was going through approval. The user department that was recommending my proposal was split in two!! Aaaaargh
  • The Decision Maker – resigned, all projects put into a Hold & Review process from which it never emerged (the urban myth of the Decision Maker died has never happened to me, but I am sure it has happened to someone)

You get the idea. One of the UK’s Prime Ministers Harold Macmillan was asked in an interview what was the most difficult aspect of being Prime Minister, his reply was the wise comment “Events, dear boy, events.”. It is part of the Human Condition as it affects salespeople that even the best proposals do not always go ahead. As a rule of thumb I always tell my sales colleagues to have three or four times more deals that they are working on than they think they need to make their quota. You will win one, lose one, one will get delayed and one will just go away.

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Chapter 5.4 Managing Opportunities – Part 1

  • Selling A Solution to the Customers Requirement

If you emerge from the Requirements Gathering phase with a viable solution then you are into the phase where you present the solution and proposal to the client. Again larger companies will have formal processes at this stage, but formal or informal process the skills required are the same.

Most sales campaigns have two ways of presenting back to the customer the solution to his requirements. A written proposal and a Powerpoint Presentation; 80% of the key content is common to both. The differences are about conventions and I will summarise them later.

What is common to both is the content that should form a compelling set of reasons to do business with you. What are the compelling reasons for doing business with you? Generally there are three tests that a customer applies to a vendor proposal and you should apply them to your proposal before giving it to the customer:-

  • Does it do the job?
  • Is this a company we want to do business with?
  • Are there any reasons why we cannot go forward with this proposal?

“Does it do the job?” is the most difficult to summarise in this book, as there are a world of requirements and a world of solutions, but the answer is three!

If during your requirements gathering you find three real business needs and state in the proposal that you meet those needs, it is usually enough. If your proposal is a cut and paste job from some internal brochure or standard proposal that has 97 benefit statements that is not what I mean. What I mean is that if you can summarise with clarity the top three business outcomes the customer is looking for and that your solution fully meets those needs, you will probably win.

Why? There are two main reasons, first most salespeople do not focus enough on requirements gathering and rely too much on the Request for Proposal containing all the information they need to select the appropriate brochures to enclose with their standard proposal; and secondly there are human beings at the customer side as well. The RFP is usually a document where standard Procurement & Legal terminology sits side by side with the “consensus requirements statement” which as in all organizations includes the main requirements (often well disguised and poorly stated) along with half a dozen or more “nice to have” or “we have to put this one in for to keep Fred happy” requirements.

Remember a camel is a horse designed by a committee.

There is no substitute for doing the needs analysis yourself.

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Chapter 5.1 Activity to Find Customers – Part 1

Here practice varies greatly from company to company. In some companies the salesman receives pre-qualified leads from marketing campaigns that have been contacted by telesales and “qualified”. In other companies the salesperson gets given a couple of brochures and a telephone and is told to go find customers.

In general it is better to understand the skills involved in starting from nothing, even if you have “all leads supplied”. Much of what I talk about here is really the domain of marketing, but I look at it from a salespersons perspective.

As usual I suggest starting by thinking about your situation. Unless you are working for a complete start up the company you work for already has existing customers using the product you are selling. Unless you would severely upset someone I strongly recommend that you approach a customer that is friendly towards your company (maybe one of your reference customers who recommend your product to new customers) and take him out to lunch. Most people are responsive to requests for help and over lunch you can ask some key questions like “Why did you buy this product from us?”. Usually between this customer conversation and talking to your more experienced colleagues (not always as friendly and helpful as customers); talking to your manager and reading the training and marketing materials you will begin to understand the basic value propositions of your product.

What I am always looking for is a conceptual requirement / solution map that defines the target market. What do I mean by conceptual requirement / solution map? Well sometimes it is very easy, if you are selling X ray machines then your target market is probably hospitals. However the salesperson who realized that at some point when they became smaller and cheaper that dentists and doctors clinics could now afford them probably made a lot of money. The salesperson who realized that certain engineering processes might be improved by X Ray examination probably made even more. Always try to understand the conceptual requirement / solution map.

So ideally you can narrow down your target from the Yellow Pages to a specific set of companies that share a specific set of requirements that you might have a solution to. Now you can begin to gather data on those accounts.

This can be the most difficult phase, it is immensely time consuming to phone up switchboards and ask for names and contacts, and switchboard operators do not usually cooperate in this process. However there are a number of ways of overcoming this problem.

The first issue (that Marketing nearly always forgets) is that there is a 80:20 rule in this problem. I am fairly sure that in all corporate markets 80% of the spend on any product / solution is derived from 20% of the corporate target market, usually the 20% who are the largest in revenue terms. In Asia there is a publication “MIS Magazine” that annually publishes a list of the top 100 accounts in terms of IT investment in the previous year. They estimate that approximately 50% of all IT investment in Asia is spent by those 100 accounts.

So focus on the major accounts. Next decide on your approach plan. Again assuming you have no help, no existing contacts, one tactic I use is to write to the Chairman of the Board and ask for a referral “to the appropriate executive”. You had better be able to write a good letter with a good value proposition but it has several advantages as a tactic.

  • the chairman’s name and address is always known, he is in the annual accounts, and probably on the website and he is based at the Head Office
  • he will have a very organized personal administration executive who will probably intercept your letter and either bin it or forward it to the appropriate executive. So when you follow up on the phone, he or she will be able to help you, again if you sound professional (and friendly – do not try to bully this person on the phone, you will lose).
  • If you do get referred to the appropriate executive you will get an appointment as you have been referred by the Chairman.

Sound far fetched? I know a salesman who worked for me in the UK who wrote to the Chairman of National Westminster Bank and the Chairman of the Prudential Insurance Company, the largest bank, and the largest insurance company in the UK at the time and within 12 months he had sold several millions of dollars of software to both accounts. He was a legend to his colleagues. Nobody ever suggested giving his accounts to telesales.

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Oracle Sales Cloud CRM – In The Beginning

A few months ago CRMNow signed a new agreement with Oracle to launch our own internal instance of Oracle’s new Oracle Sales Cloud (FUSION CRM). Oracle Sales Cloud brings a new level of functionality to the CRM space.

Siebel eSales eMarketing eSales
A blast from the past…

Oracle has capitalised on Siebel CRM, long seen as the benchmark of CRM systems. Oracle CRM On Demand (CRMOD) was originally Siebel On Demand, but the name changed when Oracle acquired Siebel. Further developments in CRMOD over the years have seen a greatly enhanced product from the Siebel On Demand days.

Those advances have now been taken a step further with Oracle Sales Cloud. From our observations and initial exposure to the product, we’re confident in saying that Oracle Sales Cloud is a hybrid between CRMOD and Siebel.

We often used the analogy that CRMOD was like a pre-fabricated home. You could change the colour of the walls and perhaps replace the Fisher & Paykel kitchen appliances with Miele appliances and perhaps replace the laminate benchtops with granite.

But, if you want to move walls around and add bedrooms and perhaps a second level, you need to start from scratch. That would mean you need to look to Siebel and the hefty price tag that comes with it.

Oracle Sales Cloud really is a hybrid, you get much of the functionality you’d find in Siebel, but with the flexibility of a SaaS or cloud based application, like CRMOD.

Contact UsOracle Sales Cloud Blog Updates For You

Over the coming weeks and months we’re going to post some Oracle Sales Cloud updates to this blog post. There are still some questions people are asking and we’ll do our best to get them answered.

Click on the envelope icon above to send in your questions.

We will continue to operate our instance of CRMOD until we have Oracle Sales Cloud up and running. We will continue to provide services for CRMOD, we have many clients using the application.

AAPT hack highlights need for SMEs to update IT systems

IT security can be something business owners don’t think about until after they’ve been hacked. It’s common for big companies to be attacked on a daily basis and in some cases hourly. They have infrastructure and the people in place to maintain their systems.

We saw in the press recently a ‘hack’ at AAPT:

Internet service provider AAPT has suffered a hacking attempt at the hands of internet activists, and experts say the incident serves as yet another reason why businesses need to stay vigilant when updating their IT systems.

It appears APPT responded as quickly as possible with their business partner Melbourne IT. 

But AVG security advisor Michael McKinnon says there is a question over whether the data accessed by Anonymous had been archived for several months. If that’s the case, he says, it serves as a lesson in how businesses should go about protecting old data.

“As businesses grow, there’s an incredible sprawl of technology, and servers are systems that are only put in place for a short period of time,” he says.

There are obvious benefits to keeping some, if not all of your data in the cloud. The world’s leading Cloud based CRM providers have backups beyond backups and redundancies built into their hosting solutions.

SOURCE: SmartCompany.com.au

Oracle’s Austin, TX, USA Data Centre

Watch this video to gain some insight into how secure these large global date centres are.

Mobile CRM Makes All The Difference

On a recent trip to KL, Malaysia for a conference, I again discovered the flexibility of a SaaS or cloud based CRM. While the meetings over three days took most of my time, I was easily able to log into Oracle CRM On Demand and check the progress of several email campaigns and update details on a few Opportunities.

While I experience this on a regular basis at home in Sydney, I think I take the SaaS environment for granted, it’s what we’ve all come to expect today. At one point, I had an SMS come through while shopping at the Petronas Towers, I couldn’t find any Wifi, but I did find some public PC’s I could use. A dollar later, I was online and able to respond to the query that has come through via SMS. 

The Next Generation In CRM – Oracle FUSION CRM

With Oracle FUSION CRM now available, it takes mobile access to your CRM to the next level. The mobile app is available on Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s Blackberry. While this level of access is now expected by most clients, we’re excited about the level of configurability available in the background. I say this as the marketing guy!

Oralce Fusion CRM Smart Phone On iPhone and Blackberry

Essentially this means the mobile app is not simply a duplicate of FUSION CRM you access from your PC or laptop – it can be if you want it to be, but it doesn’t have to be. Your FUSION CRM administrators can pick and choose what users see on the mobile version. This can be helpful to simplify the mobile app for the sales and marketing teams, therefore improving usability. I can say that as a marketing guy!

It can also be helpful if your ‘Information Security’ team are nervous about information being available via mobile, you can negotiate with them about which parts of FUSION CRM should be exposed to the Mobile App.

It doesn’t matter how many ways you look at it, FUSION CRM provides a significant level of flexibility for the various user communities and stakeholders within your business.

What Next?

The team at CRMNow are moving to FUSION CRM over the coming months. As we make this change, we’ll keep you posted via our Oracle FUSION CRM blog. This will help you keep track of our progress. 

Chapter 4.3 The “C” Level

If he is a senior executive, or “C” level, he is responsible for the direction, strategy, planning and financial results (profitability) of the company. Fortunately you have done your basic research (making money, growing, or losing money, cutting budgets) and if you are really smart you will have been to the company website and had a look at the Press Release on their latest annual or quarterly results. This takes 3 or 4 minutes, it is the minimum level of preparation you should do before meeting with any executive in any new company.

Start by congratulating him on the latest results (if they are good), if you have an engagement with his company, summarize what you do for them. Try to take guidance from his behaviour what his tolerance for a social discussion is, you should not assume he wants to talk about the weekend sports game for more than two minutes. A word of warning, if you are a new sales professional you are going to struggle to maintain a relationship with a CEO, or other “C” level executive by talking to him about business. You almost certainly will come across as talking above your pay grade. I would recommend that you have a High Level Value Proposition ready (sometimes called an Elevator Pitch) and ask for a referral to the appropriate line executive to follow up with.

The key is to keep the interaction short, do not challenge his attention span, and remain focused on his interests, and your objective from the conversation is to be referred to a middle ranking executive.

So what is an Elevator Pitch? An Elevator pitch is an analogy which suggests you are in an elevator in the head office building of the company of the company you are trying to do business with and the CEO gets into the elevator and you have one minute to communicate with him before the doors open and he is gone. What do you say to him?

The Elevator Pitch is the highest level of a Value Proposition that addresses the interests, and responsibility of a CEO and how he thinks about major procurements. We know already that a CEO is responsible for issues like Strategy & Direction which very few products affect (services like Business Consulting can directly target CEO’s responsibilities) but he is also responsible for delivering profitability. So we are definitely going to mention the Value of cost reduction that arises from the feature that our servers use less electricity. Is this enough? Probably not, research has shown that senior executives apply two tests to any major procurement:

  • Does this do the job?
  • Is this a company we should be doing business with?

The Elevator Pitch should address both issues. So the structure is:-

“ Hi, my name is …….. ……..”

“ I work for …………… The leading vendor of ………. In the world / US / Europe /”

“I am talking to your company about reducing your costs by $250,000 per annum”

No mention here of new generation of chips or motherboards, just who you are; how what you are trying to sell to his company will reduce his costs and increase his profitability; and that you work for a company that is reputable. Even when I was working for a start up company that had only grown to 15 employees, I always introduced the company with the statement “We are xxxx’s Partner of the Year”.

There is a hierarchy of statements regarding company market position starting with “The Leading” followed by “A Leading”, followed by “the Fastest Growing” or “Technology Leading”. You should follow the positioning in your company’s collateral or website.

The Elevator Pitch can be longer, but not more than twice as long as the example. A warning, asking for something in an elevator may annoy the CEO. So make the statement an introduction, extend your hand for a handshake, and decide based on his response what your second statement should be. If it is coolly received follow the age old adage “the first thing you do when you find yourself in a hole is stop digging” in other words stop talking and respect his desire not to communicate. If he does respond then the option I would usually go for is to offer to write to him and update him on what your activities with his company have been and to more fully introduce yourself. The letter, or email not the handshake in the elevator will generate the referral if you are not already talking to the right executive. The CEO will, if you execute the Elevator Pitch and the follow up letter or email well, refer you to the responsible Middle Manager, he will not take your meeting or sign your PO or become your golf buddy unless you really are a natural or your Elevator Pitch is about one of the top one or two operational issues that he is worried about (called getting lucky).

So I think enough on this topic, in 31 years of selling I can count on the fingers of one hand when I have met a “C” level contact unexpectedly, so have an Elevator Pitch ready but do not expect miracles. The main value of this exercise is to get you to think about how your value proposition needs to be tailored to the recipient and his role & responsibility. So if the “C’ level deals with Strategy & Direction and results, who actually runs the business?

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