Forecasting excellence – without the crystal ball

9 years ago 0 0 1734

I have been working with more than 30 business leaders from around Europe, the Middle East and Africa at a meeting in Barcelona. Our aim was to tackle some of the ‘big issues’ in strategy, marketing and sales, so that they could take back practical and powerful tools to their organisations. When we asked them what they wanted (or more specifically: “What could you take away from this meeting that would have a significant impact on your business”), one answer shone through strongly – most of them wanted to help their key personnel within their organisations to forecast better. I therefore created a hands-on workshop session for the attendees which focused on this topic. It reminded me that, amongst all of the important business skills that leaders and managers are taught, forecasting is often one which often gets less time, effort and attention than other topics. Following a practical case

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A compelling message – or just ‘So What?’

9 years ago 0 0 4283

As part of the process of selling a big idea – whether it is a product or service to a customer, or a message to internal stakeholders- we need a value proposition to help make it understandable by those we share it with. However, too many value propositions presented fall flat, with the customer either thinking – or saying out loud “So What?”. Too many value propositions offer no value, fall flat or are simply uninspiring. A great value proposition is meaningful, contains rich value for the customer and provides them with a compelling reason to change. If we are selling something, we are wanting the customer to change from not purchasing to purchasing. If we are sharing a big idea, we are asking our audience to change their minds and adopt the idea as their own. Either way, the value proposition has to overcome the status quo of what

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Sabotage strategies that derail success

9 years ago 0 0 1560

Are your strategic choices setting you up for success? One of the core principles of leadership is to ensure that strategies are put into action to assist people in creating high value actions which can help the organisation deliver upon its goals.  However, too often we fall into the trap of pursuing strategies which do not lead us to success, but instead lead us away from it.  You may be using ‘sabotage strategies’ – without even realising it. What is a ‘strategy’ anyway? Strategy is often defined as “a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim”.  However, to understand the true value of strategies, we need to start with an understanding of what an individual’s ‘long term or overall aim’ actually is. Strategy which is purely based around an organisation’s purpose or mission allows the organisation to move forward, driving high performance in its areas of

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Do you need to change how you change?

9 years ago 0 0 1918

 Are you, and those you lead, scared of the idea change? Do you recognise the need for change, but wonder how you can make your change program successful when so many other change programs, started with the best of intent, simply fail? Why is change so hard, and how can we ensure change programs succeed? Understanding the need to change: Change is inevitable.  Even with a highly successful organisation, change needs to happen as things around them evolve.  Things inside and outside the organisation change, and over time the requirement to change just to keep up, let alone ‘stay ahead’ gets bigger and bigger.  New technology, new processes, new customer requirements, new competitors, new regulations and even new social norms can rapidly turn today’s success into tomorrow’s obsolecence Because change is inevitable, we just need to decide if we will adapt to change, lead change, or become obsolete (there is

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Why most sales reps aren’t built to perform

9 years ago 1 0 1822

Our customers today have access to overwhelming volumes of information, have so many choices and are ever more discerning.  The ability for our customers to truly understand what we can offer them can simply be lost in the white noise. How we connect to customers and sell them our purpose, our values and our offerings can be critical in cutting through this white noise and drive business success.  Great sales people are therefore a prerequisite of success – and you need them right across your business. As organisations become more social and customer centric, every person within the organisation not only becomes a brand ambassador, but a ‘salesperson’ of the organisation, and for the organisation, to its customers.  The old days of salespeople on the ‘outside’ and everyone else huddled within are definitely gone. So what really makes a great salesperson? If you had to identify the profile that would

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Crisis communication -surviving the crash

9 years ago 0 0 2010

The recent tragic Air Asia crash is yet to be fully understood, and there are many who are directly and indirectly affected by this terrible event. At times like this, organisations need to respond to what has happened, and how they do this will earn them sympathy or support, or else turn the anger of those suffering, the media and the general public against them. So far, Tony Fernandes, the group CEO of Air Asia, has done an outstanding job.  His communication has been thoughtful, timely and well delivered.  It reminds me of Richard Branson, who was an outstanding crisis communicator during the Midlands train crash a few years back, as well as during the space plane test flight crash in 2014. The truth is that a leader and organisation without a crisis plan, and without a good crisis communication approach, will more than likely be out of business two

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Engaging four people for success

9 years ago 0 0 1461

There are only four people in your business. Regardless of the type of business that you have, your business only contains four people. That’s right – only four. Well, it really contains only four TYPES of people: Leaders, Employees, Customers and Community. To be successful, a business has to engage each of these four types of people. The Leadership needs to be engaged with the purpose of the business, to make the critical decisions that take the business forward in a thoughtful and purposeful way.  Leaders who are engaged with WHY the business exists make purposeful decisions that drive the organisation to be better.  Leaders that are disengaged from the bigger purpose will make short term and self-centred decisions, which often leads the organisation into problems (even crisis). The employees need to be engaged to drive high performance.  The literature is clear that an engaged workforce increases performance above and

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Customers experience pain

9 years ago 0 0 1382

Apple announce that iPhone 6 will go on sale at Midnight next Wednesday. By Monday evening, the queue is already forming.  Apple customers are putting themselves through 36 hours of ‘pain’ to become one of the first to own a new model of something they can get today. You walk about a kilometre, have to drag items out of a warehouse and load them onto a trolley to go through check out at Ikea.  Clients accept this pain to buy furniture (that will probably cause them even more pain when they get home and get out the allen key!) You have to wait on hold for a phone operator for two minutes – and the wait is intolerable! In business, we put our clients into three different types of pain: 1: Brand-reinforcing (valued) pain.  This pain, like queuing outside Apple stores, is part of the ‘story’ and enhances the perceived

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Business Development Excellence

9 years ago 0 0 2373

How do you, and your organisation, approach business development?  That is, how do you work to grow your business? Are you a ‘shotgun marketer’?  Spray your marketing efforts in a wide arc hoping to ‘wing’ a few customers and bring them to ground? Or are you a replay marketer?  Do what you have always done? Or maybe a ‘shiny things’ marketer?  Are you the type that was the first on Facebook, Twitter and any other ‘shiny new’ marketing idea? Business Development is something that is a necessity in any business.  Whether you are a local pizza shop selling to the neighbourhood, or a major corporate selling around the globe, the way that you think about business development will have a massive impact on the success of your business. Working with many organisations across a spectrum of industries on business development, it has become clear that there are lots of areas

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Introducing new marketing planning – a case review

9 years ago 0 0 1405

Sometimes we have no choice other than to step up to our ‘bigger games’. In this case  an organisation was asked at short notice to shift from local marketing planning process to a new, globally mandated process.  The tension of completing a new process, with different templates, structures, languages and timelines created disbelief and even fear within the team.  This was ‘not possible’, a ‘waste of time’ and ‘just a template filling exercise’ in the views of key team members. As the case describes, the first step was to evaluate the current situation in line with the desired goals and to build a meaningful and actionable strategy to get there. The evaluation clearly identified the gaps in skills, marketing planning structures, language, timing and expectations.  It identified at deeper levels cultural, engagement, motivation and cognitive skill issues within the local team that impacted the ability to achieve what was required

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