Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Don't Overlook the Hand that Feeds You

Continuously working with business throughout the year gives us the opportunity to observe the practices of the successful ones and identify areas that we all could improve upon. An area many times lacking focus and attention is the value our existing customer’s bring to the business.

In a good economy we should never take for granted our customer base but in a business environment like the one we are living through now it is critical to implement an effective customer retention strategy.

As business’ spend slows we are all looking for ways to offset declining revenues and our focus often shifts to new business or our competitor’s accounts. So as you look for new opportunities your competitor’s are doing the same by targeting your existing base. Holding on to your base should be your number one priority.

Responsibility for customer retention does not live and reside only with the sales professional assigned to the account; it resides with all members of the organization. Actually leaving customer retention to the sales professional might be part of your customer retention strategy but it is the weakest part of that strategy. With turnover being as high as it is, with quota attainment being the sales professional’s number one priority and with expectations set to achieve the goals set by the organization, sales professionals often don’t spend nor have the proper amount of time to focus on existing customers.

Two methods that can add to an effective customer retention strategy are two of the areas we cover in the BTA Sales Management Workshop (www.BTA.org), effective account planning sessions and top customer visits. Effective account planning sessions provide the organization with a process driven towards engaging multiple members in an account, understanding the current business situation, exploring new business (share of wallet) and identifying steps to implement a stronger relationship with the account. Account planning sessions are the process focused on reviewing all accounts on a periodic basis.

Like account planning sessions, top customer visits are driven towards engaging multiple members in the same account but in this case it is also driven to establish a sound business relationship with multiple levels of the customer’s organization. By establishing contacts at different levels of the customer’s organization you are expanding the knowledge, expertise and value you bring to the customer. You are also focused on how you can be more effective for your customer’s and what their challenges and goals are. Top customer visits enable you to engage all members of the leadership team in effective customer retention. Assign each member of the team 12 accounts (one per month) and you will see customer retention grow.

Want to protect your base, focus on your current customers with an effective customer retention strategy and you will find retention levels growing and more time available to pursue new opportunities.

If you would like to learn more about the next BTA Sales Management Workshop in Chicago on May 12 & 13 visit: http://www.bta.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=2408

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lexmark International, Inc. Q1 2009 Earnings Call Transcript

One of the juiciest place to get information on the industry is in the quarterly presentations provided by the public companies and in the transcripts of their calls with analysts. The below link will take you to Lexmark's latest call with the analyst community.


Highlights include significant year over year and sequential revenue declines in both laser devices and laser supplies.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Developing An Effective Print Management Sales Process

Part two of this six part series was recently published in ENX Magazine. You can follow the link to view this article.


If you would like to launch a print management / MPS program at your company please contact the professionals at Strategy Development or attend the BTA Print Management Workshop:


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Service Technology Solutions

A recent industry research report indicates best-in-class service organizations (top 20%) are more than twice as likely as all others to have embraced technology solutions. These leading service organizations, having already placed there bets, are experiencing real savings and operational excellence. Of the remaining best in class service organizations, almost half have indicated they will be investing in service technology solutions within the next 12 months.

So, what are today's most beneficial technology enablers?
  • Mobile Field Service - automated dispatch, parts management, real-time data access for technicians (service history, parts inventory), signature capture, sales at the time of service, communications.
  • Scheduling and Routing - automated call assignment and routing based on technician location, customer entitlements,training, parts availability, traffic patterns.
  • Remote Product Monitoring - Automated service call generation using equipment generated service alerts, supply fulfillment, billing meters.
  • Forecasting and Planning - use of advanced F&P technologies that review history, trends, and real time developments to plan staffing (technicians) and inventory (parts/supplies).
  • Business Intelligence and Analytics - service performance reporting & benchmarking.

The adoption of the right technology, using a thoughtful strategy, is critical to enabling service organizations achieve success. If you have questions about service technology solutions and how to justify the required investment, please contact me at woodard@strategydevlopment.org