What do you want to achieve – from the partnership

B2B, ideal customer, Marketing, Marketing Stamina, Partners, single target market, Symbiotic relationship

I wrote 3 posts on riding the elephant – and how the relationship with an elephant can help you get through any forest (market).

What was not clear from those 3 posts was one fact – which elephant should you choose…..this is as critical as identifying the single target market that I keep talking about.

The elephant that you choose to partner with, should be focussed on the market in which you want to operate. If the elephant has a different area of interest compared to you then taking this elephant is going to take you into the wrong forest.

To be able to choose the right elephant therefore you need to ask the fundamental question – what is it that we want to achieve with this partnership. Once this question is clearly answered then it become easier to identify you partners that you want to work with.

This question gets answered even better when you have identified the single target market that you want to address, because then you will know if the partners that you are looking for has product or services for those customers that you want to work with.

If you want to target B2B customers in the enterprise space as an example then your partner needs to be someone who already has customers in the enterprise space, and who does not have a product or service which directly competes with yours. If the partner already has something that is similar to yours then they will never move your product.

Keeping the above example in mind, you then need to figure out how you will work with the various sales people of your partner and why should they take you to the customer.

While partnering is a very valid concept, there are a lot of human issues which need to be addressed. The bigger the target partner you are trying to work with , the more sales, pre-sales and marketing people involved, the larger is the challenge of engaging them and larger is the stamina you should have to wait for success.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Competition is a good thing – Part 3

B2B, competition, differentiation, Marketing, Product Management, Sales, single target market

I had written 2 posts on this topic in March this year. I got a lot of likes for those posts.

For all those of you who are in marketing and sales, you can look at competition in a slightly negative way because they they take your deals away or they feed all the negative news about your company and you.

The first aspect that you need to be clear about is who is your direct competition and who is your indirect competition. For a computer seller who is selling a spreadsheet program in the market – Microsoft and Google resellers could be competition directly. But a paper register and a calculator can be an indirect competition. Depending on the size of the transactions that are done, a paper register can be used to note the transactions and a calculator can be used to do the addition, multiplication etc.

So why is this important. You need to see from a customer perspective – what is the outcome you get for the customer. What are the various ways that a customer can achieve the same outcome using your competition.

So taking the example above you know that you cannot provide value to a customer who can achieve his transactions on a paper register. So that segment of the market gets eliminated.

Now lets look at the other end of your competition which is direct. For example purposes we said its Microsoft and Google. So if you are in marketing , product management or sales, your first agenda will need to be to identify the specs on how your product performs on non-Microsoft platforms. Put another way, you would like to enhance the qualities of the product on non-Microsoft platforms.

Which makes your target market segment that much more well defined.

Its always better to dominate a small segment of the market than to be a nobody in a very large market.

Whenever you are entering a market, I have always maintained, you have to start with only a well defined Single Target Market only. Only after you dominate that, should you look to expand.

Till next time then…..keep looking out for competition from all directions.

Carpe Diem!!!

Prolific versus Perfect – 2

Excellence, Marketing, messaging, persistence

Excellence requires repetition.

Some call it the 10000 hour rule. Int is said that you need to do about 10000 hours of practice at learning something, before you become an expert. Its about ensuring persistence in your endevour.

This issue came up in a discussion today where the people supposedly are passionate about what they are doing but we are not getting the results. They had this argument that they were also getting frustrated when not getting results.

When we tried to analyse the challenges, one of the key challenge was the fact that we did not have enough feedback of how the customers react to our messaging. You have to test a lot of messaging till you are able to actually get to the right piece.

You can refine your messaging or sales pitch only when you interact with enough people, understand the inputs that the prospects give and what the competition is doing. Now if you are a prolific sales person and do 200 calls a days (just for example) and there’s another who’s doing 100 calls a day and both fail 90% of the time, with the first sale person after 20 days of calling you would have got a feedback of 3600 calls, and at the end of a year this would be close to 45000 interactions versus the other person’s 22000 failures.

Within one year the company whose sales people are prolific and are getting 45000 “no” would be way ahead of a company with sales people with just 22000 “no”. They would have refined their product pitch / messaging that many more times to come to near perfection within a year.

To the above argument I get a very standard response, and maybe you also would have it going on in your mind, that after some time statistically the changes would be minor. You are absolutely right about that. But the faster you reach that point, the more sales you pick up till the other company reaches that point.

If I can get my 10000 hours of practice in 3 years versus someone else who will take 5 years then the 2 years window that I have I can exploit to earn so much more , sell so much more or whatever I wish to. While the 10000 hour rule has been around for a long time now, the idea of speed in getting to the 10000 hours was something that I got from hearing Joe Polish in his Ilovemarketing.com podcasts.

The more prolific I am the more I can try new things, the more feedback I will get and the faster I can improve. Now if you have a coach along the way it becomes that much more quicker to climb the curve towards expertise. But you still have to do the hardwork. There’s no easy way out of it.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Riding the elephant – using the power of relationships part 3

Marketing, Partners, relationships, route to market, Symbiotic relationship

The best use of this symbiotic relationship is when the customer does not know your company. Due to the relationship that the OEM has either directly or because of the brand association, you get a free ride into the customer.

I remember there was a Japanese consumer electronics giant in India. When I tried talking to them, they were very clear that they did not deal with Indian companies. They would only deal with the OEM with whom they had the global relationship.

When this global OEM however introduced us into the account as the only specialists in that product, they ended up having to do business with us.

Now comes the real story. Once they started doing business, they realised the benefits we offered. So instead of doing business direct with the OEM which was their preferred method earlier, they started routing all the business through us.For almost 5 years till we were in that line of business the customer every year was giving us more than Rs 50 million of business on various products and services.

For the OEM also it was a better deal, because we were taking over all the challenges related to delivery and support across the country, they also preferred that the customer, route the business through us.

In another instance a customer had bought one OEM’s product, but the partner who had sold it, messed up on the implementation of the product. Being a very prestigious customer, the OEM had to get us in to clean up. The result was an amazing long lasting relationship with the end customer.

Since these OEMs are looking at growing very fast to create a dominant position, they put in a lot of sales bandwidth to penetrate the market. As a small company you will never be able to garner this bandwidth. But because of your relationship, wherever the elephant goes, you will automatically reach there.

Consider this as a very critical market penetration strategy to gather a large portion of the market.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!