Thursday, 31 January 2019

What are the fundamentals of Successful B2B, B2C, ecommerce sales?

        B2B refers to companies and salespeople working at those companies who sell products and services to other businesses. B2B buyers have procurement rules that they have to follow. In B2B selling, you have many buyers to consider in the same sale. Marketing cares about how good the products are. Operations care about how easy to maintain the quality of the product are. And finance needs the cost to be predictable and within the budget. You need to build the support from these groups before getting signed the agreement. B2B sales require an understanding of complex buying processes, customized services, and demanding customers. The greater complexity and larger deal size make the work more challenging. In order to be successful in B2B sales, you need to understand the target market really well.
     B2B Roles: B2B sales professionals specialized on target industry, the target buyer, the type of product or the type of sales cycle. So, when you are looking for a job, it is important to know the unique parameters of each role. The sales pitch would vary differently if you are selling directly to the consumer than if you are selling to procurement specialist. The consumers care about how the features are and whether it will help him for his work. But, the procurement specialist has a list of required features with more focused on coming under his budget and getting good financial terms and return policies.
   B2B Sales Process: Depends on the size and complexity, B2B sales can take days to the year. But, the sales process include the same six steps. Those are,

  1. Qualify the Lead: It is to find out they have the mandate. It means the money to buy, the authority to make the buying decision, need for the product or services you are selling and desire to buy it. Weeding out the unqualified buyers saves time and effort that freeing salespeople to focus on real prospects.
  2. Explore the Objective: Have an open and exploratory conversation to understand your prospects objective. Why did they agree to meet with you? What are they trying to accomplish? What could mean the success to their organization and personally? These questions will help you to scope the solution and maximizes value for them.
  3. Scope the Offering: It is to get specific about what it is that you are going to deliver. It might a customized product or the right combination of commodities. It must be listed carefully in the exploratory phase.
  4. Develop a Verbal Agreement: It is ideal to scope the offering together in person and set a time to review your proposal. Before you leave the scoping phase, make sure you have the conceptual agreement.
  5. Close the Deal: The prospect has told you that if you provide a contract outlines what the two of you have discussed within the price range that you have agreed to, they will be ready to sign it. They don't need to bring anyone else into the conversation and nothing has changed since you initially qualified them. Once it is sure, you can go through the effort of all the details in place, terms, legalese and so on.
  6. Maintain the Relationship: You have the deal, but don't stop there. In many cases, the first signed agreement is the starting point of the long term relationships. You have to put so much effort into understanding your customer needs.

Market Place Analysis: As your business grows and the opportunities for your product or service increase, it is exciting to expand into more distribution channels. It requires careful analysis, sales strategies sync with specific segments of the business and ongoing quick decision making to ensure resources and staff are allocated appropriately. A key piece of overall business and the financial plan will be the sales plan. If you are head of sales for a company that has developed an exciting new product or a new type of service that has enormous potential, you have been tasked with preparing the sales channel, distribution channels, sales staff expenses, and revenue projections.
     The important steps in the sales process are planning, gathering information and preparation. It sets the foundation for the sales plan with an account. It is similar to survey the marketplace to determine the best strategy for selling the product or service. The solid market research is tracking your competition and asking customers for feedback. Here are a few ways to get information about competitors that are public for all to see. A corporate website which contains the valuable information in the investor relation page, product launch page, and in press releases page. In LinkedIn, your competitor may post the article regularly. When you signed up for the email updates, you would be amazed at what your competitors will say new products or services. There is also a source of information from your customer. These are all ties back to the basics of the sales processes.

  SWOT Analysis: SWOT( S - Strength,W - Weakness, O - Opportunities,T - Threats) analysis is
great for involving your team and preparing an outline of more in-depth reviews needed, You can do this with an overall view of your sales operations. Just do it with short, bulleted comments if you have your team involved and maybe some colleagues from other departments. It would be a good idea to give some direction as what you're trying to accomplish. There are so many advantages of doing the SWOT analysis that you can create a document with a clear message. Then, when you add in the financial reports, the real view of your business pros and cons are evident. SWOT analysis is a honest assessment of your business.

Managing the Channels: The sales channel management drives all the activities going forward. It requires you to stop for a while to put together the go forward plan. The go forward plan contains an issue we always face. We can't do at everything at once, because we could run the risk of overspending. Being unprepared for what our customers need will damage your brand that might take years to repair. A sales channel business plan is necessary. You should evaluate a few ideas on sales business plan preparation and follow the guidelines from your company. It is good to get feedback from key stakeholders, marketing, business department, operations, and finance. The plan begins with an executive summary, but you don't write that until the entire document is completed. It covers the key aspects of the sales channel plan, staffing and other resource need, timeframe for implementation, and revenue forecast by a channel that needs to be realistic. The strength of information makes or breaks the plan. The sales channel plan is your implementation document for your sales organization to follow.

Elements of Complex Sale: In B2B sales more people participating in buying decisions, and the buying process more formalized as buyers seek to reduce the risk.  There are 8 elements that you need to be aware of and help you to shorten your sales cycle.
1. Long Sales Cycle: Everything in the complex sales, it is making the part of the sales cycle longer. It could be 3 months to 1 year. You have to track and measure properly at different points from the first appointment. Measure the time from starting the prospect of getting the appointment. Also, it is to measure the time of appointment to closing the deal.
To-Do: It is to think about in your company that,
    * What makes it Long?
    * What can be done by your Company?
So, keep in mind the qualified lead that makes the relationship easier and shorten the sales cycle. It will also help with the next appointment and action.
2. High Dollar Stake: If you are manufacturing or selling services to the company, things are gotten more expensive. People have the budget to cover what they need now. So, you have to take into consideration in price variations and budget. If you want to close a million dollar deal, you must know all the influencers to develop a good relationship and help them with the budget.
To-Do: It is to think about,
  * Do they have a budget?
  * Who approves the Budget?
It is common that, everybody nerves on the budget. If the budget is not established the sales cycle will be longer.
3. Multiple Buying Influences: According to the research, 6 to 8 people are involved in the B2B buying decisions. You have to work with all the buying influencers and to figure out who they are, where they are and how they get them about.
To-Do:  Even the deal works for you, it is important to notice the followings,
  * Have you identified all the people involved in making decisions?
  * What do you know about them and best way to develop a relationship?
You have to do research and know them through social media or start to analyze the data with the proposals you won.
4. Perceived Risk: In the buyer, You have to understand the risk involved in making the decisions, It is not just about buying the product, but making any decisions, Big companies are afraid about the delivery of the product from small company.
To-Do: So, it is to figure out,
 * What risk they perceive in making the decision?
 * What risk they perceive in buying from your company?

5. Multiple Solutions:  For any deal, there is a competitor in them. If there are many solutions, it will be harder to choose. If your solutions are better than any other solutions, People will prefer for the price,
To-Do: Asks the questions of what other solutions to be considered and find out
   * Are there competitors?
   * Can they do it in-house?
   * Is doing nothing an option?
   * Is there any other way to meet the need?
6. Technical or Integration complexities: If you are selling any parts that must be integrated with other parts in the software or network integrates with a desktop, you have to be aware of technical complexities and how long it takes to integrate the parts etc.
To-Do: So, It is to find out,
   * What can prevent the sale?
   * Who has the deal with technical complexities?
7. Multiple Influencers on the Seller Team: There is a situation that you got the contract with a great deal and ready to go, the finance people, the legal people, CEO gets involved and freeze the contract. When the salesperson trying to make the deal, they may want to know this and that. It is a sales prevention.
To-Do: It is important to look out these departments to figure out where they are and do something about it with,
  * Who on your team prevent the sale?
  * Who do you need to bring in from the beginning to reduce the sales cycle?
8. Unique to your Sale: If it is a unique sale, how long the sales cycle is. It is to think your unique sales of the product and check out those items.
To-Do: Generally, it is to identify things like,
 * What else makes your sales complex?
 * What can you do about it?
It is important to understand and master these elements for successful B2B sales.


Tuesday, 15 January 2019

How to improve Supply Chain Customer Relationships?

    Customer Development focuses on understanding customer problems and needs, developing a repeatable sales model and refining the company to deliver customer demand. Product market means identifying compelling value hypothesis. It is a combination of feature you need to build, an audience who cares, and a business model that entices the customer to buy the product. Customer development broken into 4 phases. Those are,
    1. Customer Discovery
    2. Customer Validation
    3. Customer Creation
    4. Company Building
        The goal of customer discovery is to determine who you are your customers for your product and whether the problem you are solving is important to them. In the validation phase where you build the sales process that can be repeated by sales and marketing team. If you succeed in customer discovery and customer validation, you have a proven business model. In the customer creation which we build on the success found in customer validation and seeks to increase demand for a product. This will help you to fill your company's sales channel with new customers. In the company building phase, different departments are created to separate functions such as sales, marketing, and business development. By implementing these four phases, your company will be directed to success.
       There are some key differences between internal and external customer services. Internal customer service is the situation where we are serving an internal stakeholder, human resources, facilities management, accounting or IT help desk rather than the external customer. If anyone in your company who depends on you to get the job done is probably an internal customer. The goal is to help someone else do their job to an external customer ultimately receives better service. There are a few things that are unique to internal customer service. We might have more frequent interactions with our co-workers. Perhaps, you have coworkers to serve on a daily basis. It leads to a closer relationship than we normally have external customers.
     Building a strong workplace relationships takes time and effort. There are techniques that make easier to make a relationship with your coworker. One is proactively connected with a coworker by initiating conversation with the meeting or over the phone. Another technique is to personalize relationship. You can also develop strong relationships if you demonstrate caring for the other person. Try identifying your key customers and make a point to connect with personalizing your interactions.
      Responsive communication is another part of customer service. We can build trust when we respond quickly to our coworker and customer. The best way to be responsive is to focus on one conversation at a time. When you respond to email, give your full attention so that you can understand what other person wants. Respond thoroughly that reduce the need to go back and forth
and anticipate the next question they will naturally ask.

Exceeding Customer Expectations:  Customers evaluate service quality by how well the experience compare
to their expectations by good, poor or outstanding customer service. Good service is exactly what customer or co-worker is expected. Poor service that falls short of customer expectations, Outstanding customer service is the one that exceeds the customer expectations. You can create the impression of outstanding service with internal customers by these ways,
   * First thing is to do something extra
   * Second thing is to recover from the problem boldly. These heroic moments will not happen very often.
   * The last thing is to do consistently good at every day.
People don't notice the good service at first. Because it was they expected. But, over the time, you will be a go-to person who can always be counted on. So, focus on doing that as you develop a reputation for being a go-to person. The active listening technique of phone, face-to-face, email conversations helps you, what the other person is really trying to say. Also, it will help you to pick up additional meaning that you miss if you'd just quickly scanning the message.
     Sometimes, we need to help our customers to avoid unpleasant surprises by managing the expectations like your internal customer may propose an unreasonable deadline that will be impossible to meet or unforeseen event could make normal service delivery impossible such as delayed shipment from the vendor. So, it is important to look at your calendar for the to-do list and project plans regularly. There are techniques that you can use to avoid unpleasant surprises like,
    * The best thing you can do is be realistic to the commitments by carefully consider the time required when you agree to do something.
    * There will be the times when the things go wrong, despite our best intentions. So, you need to be proactive, especially with bad news. Your customer may not be happy when they hear the problem has happened, but it will be worse when they don't hear about the problem.
   * You can also soften the blow by having solutions ready when you share the bad news. The guiding principle is to help your internal customer avoid unpleasant surprises as much as possible.

Product Ownership: Ownership means taking responsibility for a solution. People who are great at internal customer service recognize the problem can be an opportunity and the chance to be the go-to person by taking ownership of the problem. It is doesn't mean to accept blame or create the problem. The key is making to get the things done. Taking ownership when the problem happens helps you to preserve the trust.
     The best way to solve the problem is to anticipate it and implement a solution before the problem actually occurs. While we can't anticipate every problem, many can be predicted with just a little research. Here are the steps to improve your ability to forecast your issues before they occur. First to think of recent problems. For instance, did you miss a deadline and get a surprising request? Step two is to decide whether it is likely that the problem can happen again. You might think that the error won't happen again. Step three is to identify ways to anticipate this problem should it happen in the future and either prevent it or lessen its impact.
        Angry customers are an unfortunate part of the service situation. People naturally become judgemental, defensive and less open to ideas when they upset. The LAURA technique helps to understand the customer need and allow them to resolve the issue. It Stands for
    L = Listen
    A = Acknowledge
    U = Understand
    R = Relate
    A = Act
 When you encounter your angry co-worker, You could apply this technique that will improve your ability and defuse the negative emotions too.

Supply Chain Management: Your company is part of the SupplyChain. Actually, it is a part of many supply chain. Each of your customers has their own supply chain and you play an important role in making all of them work. If you don't deliver your product or services on time, at the right quality level and for the right price then your customers have supply chain problem.
  Definition of Supply Chain: A supply Chain is a complex network made up of people, processes, and technologies that are engineered and managed to deliver value to the customer. The company makes money by being one link in the long chain of goods and services that are ultimately delivering something to customers who will be willing to pay for. If the chain works properly, every company in the chain makes money.
    If the chain breaks, everyone in the chain suffers. You can visualize the supply chain in 3 flows as
money, material, and information. Money flows from your customer upstream one link at a time all the way to the raw materials of the suppliers. Materials flow downstream, starting from the raw materials to finished products. Information flows upstream and downstream. So, If you are managing the supply chain, your job is to keep those 3 flows moving smoothly and quickly to minimize disturbance and turbulence. Inside the company, there are 3 groups that manage the supply chain related activities. Those are Logistics, Operations and Purchasing groups. Logistics team focuses on improving efficiency by filling trucks and shipping containers with as much material as they can. The operations team may be trying to implement lean manufacturing and just in time deliveries. So these two groups should agree to manage their supply chain effectively.

Sales and Operations Planning(S&OP): One of the challenging tasks in the supply chain is between inventory and customer service levels. Many companies use S&OP as a foundation for aligning the supply and demand in the supply chain. Your sales department drives the demand for your company. S&OP helps you to know that you are buying and making the right amount of product that meets your customer needs.  It has the following steps,
 * First, you need to decide how far in the future you should be planning.
 * If you choose the planning horizon of 1 year, for each of those 12 months you need to develop a sales forecast or a demand plan.
 * Once your sales team is ready to share the demand plan, your operation team review it and create a supply plan.
 * Now, it is to decide that if you have enough machines, peoples, or inventory to meet all of the sales goals. So, the operation team to identify the constraints.
 * Once the constraints are identified, it can be resolved by investing in new equipment or hire more people to do that.
 * Finally, you need to update a plan on a regular cycle. The more volatile the supply and demand are the more frequently you need to revise the S&OP plans.
       The perfect alignment will help you reduce waste, improve agility and create shared accountability for the performance of the entire supply chain.