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Organizational Strategies » ManageBits

Famous Quotations

You can\'t just ask customers what they want and try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they\'ll want something new. -Steve Jobs
 

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Many years ago, I heard a saying that “Sales is a form of art and Sales Management is science.” There are countless books, articles and seminars out there that teach methods and practices on the art of selling and even sales management. The true successful salesmen have a natural ability to sell which is innate to their personality, much like the natural artist that can paint, sculpture, and perform superbly. People can learn the mechanics & methods to sharpen their sales skills, but will never achieve the success of the natural artistic salesman in which selling comes as second nature. However, sales management is definitely a science in which you can follow successful guidelines and processes to manage an efficient winning salesforce. Unlike direct selling where the natural Salesman shines, Sales Management needs to be run extremely efficiently and methodically for grand success. Sales management does not need the artistic values to close deals, it needs to be stringent and effective for the organization, making sure sales are in line and revenue streams are constant and growing. Effective Sales Management needs structure and rules in order to keep Salesman in line and productive. The Sales Organization also needs a decisive strategic focus in which to rally the force and funnel all resources and efforts to one common goal which is to win deals and increase revenue. In coming up with a solid strategy for your sales organization, one must consider some basic aspects of competitive strategy, organizational & operational strategy, and good common business sense.

When developing a competitive strategy, you need to know yourself really well and know your competition. Here are some fundamental values you should think about when developing your strategies:

• Know your market, customers & competitors real well (Research, Intelligence)

• Develop a solid plan based on your situation & strengths

• To win over customers, you must understand their needs first & always keep your commitments to them

• Continuously develop new products & improve on existing ones

• Use innovation to penetrate markets and then occupy & expand your market

• Maintain strong price/performance on all products

• Use service & support as additional strategic weapons

After establishing some of these fundamental values, there are also many types of tactics you can use to achieve your competitive strategy. Depending on your market environment, competition, market share and size of organization; will determine what type of successful tactics to incorporate into your strategy. I will describe some basic tactics that are universal in nature and quite effective when established correctly.

Competitive Tactics (Organizational Perspective)

• If your organization is weaker, attack your competition from their vulnerable spots, avoid head-on or direct confrontation; However, if you are stronger, surround your competition and destroy them completely, don’t ever give them a chance to recover or re-group

• When you attack or confront your competition, use a path which they are not watching for or protecting, move fast and hit hard; during attack, avoid their strengths and attack their weaknesses.

• By using a flanking strategy, identify vulnerable niches or leaking holes and conduct a surprise attack very swiftly

• Destroy your competition’s morale and fighting spirit from within, use (intelligence) extensively

• By using a relentless non-stop surprising attack on your competition, you will always be able to keep market leadership

• Be flexible in changing tactics, including position, packaging, price, promotion, selling, etc.

• Remember this “Attack First, Hit Hard, Move Fast, & Be Merciless!”

• Establish fear and respect among competitors

• Publicize winning accounts and success stories for the sales team

• Build a complete sales database and network on prospects and customers

– Sort, analyze

– Track inter-relationships and moves (jobs/companies)

– Know the people (position, background, family, schooling, hobbies)

• Develop and maintain sales-assisting activities

– Ads (Digital and/or Traditional)

– trade shows

– promotional events

– buy or trade customer lists

• Emphasize post-sales support

• Focus on Major Account Management

– Form special “tiger teams” (e.g., 10 person teams) to conquer certain major accounts

– Completely and systematically cover the entire market area

– While not ignoring any prospects, focus on the key target accounts making up the old “80/20” rule

– Use 1-to-many sales tactics to supplement the usual 1-to-1 sales techniques (e.g., prepare multiple pens for simultaneous PO signing — make it a ceremony)

Competitive Tactics (Individual Perspective)

• Always create a win-win situation in any deal

• Fully understand your prospect before launching your sales effort

– Conduct a systematic and thorough investigation on all prospects

– Find the key spot or vulnerable point and penetrate using it

• Build trust with customers

• Focus on prospects with high buying power

• Focus on prospects with high marketing value

• Express appreciation to your customers

– Give a Gift after concluding a sale

– Pass along positive comments especially to supportive individuals

• Know your Contacts well

– Pay attention to the greeters (e.g., receptionists, secretaries, security guards)

– Check out their internal publications (e.g., get yourselves and your team into their internal publications)

– Get involved with their trade associations

– Check out their signs, bulletin boards, websites, blogs, etc.

• Remember a great salesman never leaves a customer empty handed; he either gets the PO or sucks the customers brain dry (gathers important intelligence for future use)

After setting up a decisive competitive strategy, your organizational and operational strategies must align together to support and drive the organization to achieve those goals. In preparing the sales organization, you must envision your group as a vast solid Oak tree growing and deepening its roots laying down the solid foundation for a powerful effective sales force. As a leader you must understand that your people’s hearts become the core of the business and that you should learn how to leverage their strengths along with your management group’s wisdom to win over your competition. In order to build that strong sales organization, you need to take any necessary steps to formulate the organizational & operational strategies into a cohesive and effective organization. Here are some examples that will guide you in that direction.

Organizational & Operational Suggestions

• Make sure you hire good and strong leaders. Whether they are VP of Sales, Sales Directors, Sales Managers or even Senior Sales reps, successful strong leaders also attract and motivate great people.

• Make sure you hire more than enough Sales people (More feet on the Street, more area covered, however, make sure the sales are deep harvesting their territories and not just cherry picking low hanging fruit)

• Walk around and talk to employees directly

• Communicate with all managers

• Interview departing employees (Good source of internal information)

• Liberate middle management & empower them to improve productivity (source: GE)

• Spend at least 40% of your time on “people”

• Develop a strong Culture that focus on Sales and values it.

• Focus primarily on numbers: revenue, cost, and profit

• Don’t make money through political or government power circles, if possible (Unless that is your business)

• Tightly control costs but spend money wisely; right place, right way, right time

• Insist on cash, don’t make deals on credit

• Emphasize credit checks and background investigation BEFORE concluding deals.

• Know your customer inside and out: family, background, schooling, hobbies, and finances.

• Always be prepared for future downturns and surprises. Build backlog and have a savings cushion

• Treat your (sales organization) people well (Respect them, Promote them & their function, give them glory)

• Motivate, lead by example

• Manage using a military style

– You are either on the team or you are not.

– Team members must have the will to stay, fight, and win.

– Train your sales person as though you are in a real war.

• Set extremely high targets

– Give high financial reward

– Attract top-notch sales talent

– Set a high 3-year sales goal

– Drive sales

– Measure overall performance on a quarterly basis

• Objective performance evaluation

– Use numbers to evaluate, control, track, reward, and punish

– Must be as objective as possible

– It’s the only defensible position

• Stretch your people, challenge them

– Put each person into tough situations to stretch them

– Burn their bridges so there’s no retreat (e.g., checking into a luxury hotel without cash; the successful cash sale creates the cash for the hotel tab)

– Punish non-performers swiftly [give them one chance for redemption]

– Pass along positive comments between supervisors and subordinates

• Attitude

– Attitude is all important

– Know your product & competition

• Learn your product well before selling it (know the ins and outs)

– Persist

• Sales begins with rejection

• Be polite but be persistent

• Set high goals for number of contacts before giving up is acceptable

• American Sales Association Statistical results:

• 48% of sales people withdraw after the 1st rejection

• 25% withdraw after the 2nd

• 12% after the 3rd

• 5% after the 4th

• The remaining 10% of the total sales people account for 80% of the total sales deals

– Always be in selling mode

• You are not selling just a product

• You are selling hope, a bright future

• You are selling the ability to contribute to society

– Work hard

• Be dedicated to reaching your goals

• Sell day and night

• Sell in the prospect’s or customer’s office and home

• E.g., sleeping on the train at night to save time at home for selling

• Work efficiently

• Fight to the end

• Grasp opportunities as they appear

– Have an optimistic and aggressive attitude (e.g., selling ice in Antarctica, selling underarm deodorant in China)

– People will respect you only when you respect them

– Find solutions to seemingly hopeless situations; Be creative and innovative; Think out-of-the-box; Always try new tricks.

– Never quit until you’ve closed the deal

– Never quit until you’re #1 (e.g., Selling into New Year’s Eve)

– Never quit until you win

– Be #1 by a wide margin

Once your competitive strategy is decided upon and your basic organizational & operational strategies are locked in cohesion, you need to make sure that your sales organization understands these strategies and have clear and precise orders to follow. In order to make sure your salesforce complies and efficiently carries out your strategies, an organization needs to develop and publish a clear set of Sales Management policies, a strict rule book for the salesforce, and an organized accurate forecasting system to keep track of key data. These operational tools need to be strictly enforced and communicated regularly to make sure all important situations are covered and accounted for. Once these policies and rules are enforced, the Salesforce can now clearly focus on their tasks of generating income and revenue for their organization. Hopefully, once you have worked out the kinks of these operational tools, the salesforce will have no room to play any games or try to get creative in bypassing the system. Remember, these polices are for the best interest of the organization and not for the interest of the salesmen. I will go into more details about these operational tools in my following articles, where there will be examples on types of Sales management polices and Sales Rules to incorporate into your own organization.

One last thing, please remember that Salesman should be encouraged to be 100% selfish and greedy for their commission. Make sure they are extremely well compensated for their successes and then they will perform, but if they fail, punish without mercy as an example to others for failure. Sales Managers should be encouraged to be 50% greedy for commissions and 50% for the organization, whereas Sales executives should be expected to be 100% for the Organization. If you can achieve this type of mentality then you will see your revenues grow.

 

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In my 14 years of management experience, 4 key principals were deeply ingrained into my very existence. These principles were taught to me as I was groomed and trained to lead successful businesses by my Father whom also is my cherished Mentor. These principals consist of 4 simple & basic concepts; however, achievement of these principles takes determination and strength to push through the ranks of your organization. You must constantly remind yourself and your people to follow these guidelines and periodically check your organization to make sure these principals are adhered to and met with unquestionable tolerance. Now onto these 4 Principals, which are Culture, Attitude, Behavior and Style.

So the first principal is Culture and it is the most important principal that needs to be established without fail. All companies whether they are great or lousy has some kind of corporate culture. It is this culture that defines you as a company and will either lead you to great success or great failure. This culture is deeply defined by the company’s leaders and how they run their organizations. Culture is consistent with their personalities, habits, the way they carry themselves and the way they treat their employees. The more clearly you define a set of guidelines for your culture the better understanding you will get from your employees and the positive effects on morale will definitely increase your operations’ productivity and efficiency. Your employee needs to be molded and guided on all aspects of their daily lives within your organization. You can think of it as being a cult or a finely tuned military machine. In either case, strong guidelines are set on their organizations’ culture and their people are effectively led to achieve their organizational goals.

What makes up a successful Corporate Culture? Successful corporate culture needs to align the people to the organizations long term strategic goals and needs to allow people to clearly understand that without fail. This Culture does not need to make everybody happy but it does have to be clear and precise. It also has to be applied to everybody equally. If you can achieve this basic underlying fact with your Corporate Culture, then you have achieved probably at least 98% success.  In my past experiences, we have always defined our Culture from these basic vales and made sure everybody was aware of these: Customer, Technology, People;  Integrity; No politics, bureaucracy, OPM (Other people’s Money) spending & empire-building;  Productivity & Efficiency;  Loyalty & Performance;  Decency, honesty, & fairness; Ethical, moral, & legal.

The second principal is all about attitude and the importance it has on the well being of the organization and its members. Attitude is very important in that it sets the stage for these principals to work successfully. Once you can guide your organizations attitude into one that is positive and productive, anything is possible. Remember positive attitude can be guided and developed, but negative attitude needs to be quickly nipped in the bud so that it does not grow and fester. Once the correct attitude is fostered, people’s behavior and styles will fall in line with the overall Culture you are trying to achieve. Here are some specific attitudes we have fostered in our past organizations like: Making sure we take pride in our Quality on everything; Have pride in yourself but don’t discriminate; Believe our Customers are the King & make sure we keep all of our commitments;  Take calculated risks;  Be persistent;  Be competitive;  Understand that change is normal and stability is only temporary; Work hard & smart, but also play hard;  Use your brain power & consistently break your own records; Can –Do, Will Win attitude; Be competitive and have a never-quit fighting spirit; Don’t say it’s difficult or impossible – just do it; Demonstrate leadership throughout the organization;  Be humble & willing to learn;  Don’t be cocky or arrogant; Make sure your humble, read more and willing to learn; Be Positive; Have a sense of ownership & treat the company as your own; Take care of Stakeholders.

The third principal is Behavior and its key to the overall success of your organization. Behavior is clearly observable and should be monitored at all times. Much of the behavior will go hand in hand with the attitudes you are trying to reflect in your organization, however, you should it make clear what is acceptable behavior and what is not. Correct behavior should be rewarded and incorrect behavior needs to be dealt with by severe discipline. These are some successful examples of correct behavior guidelines that should be stated and developed: Straightforwardness, don’t play games or try to protect face (ego);  The keeping of high standards;  Fight all battles & win; Be extremely focused;  Fast in action;  Don’t be too comfortable, be paranoid about survival; Strong Teamwork; To sum it all up we have  3 main category of behaviors; “Communication, Motivation, & Relationship-building .”; 3 primary acceptable organizational behaviors which are, “ agree & commit, disagree & commit, disagree & disassociate.”; 5 character flaws to eliminate, “Ego, Emotionalism, Recklessness, Timidity & Over-concern for Popularity.”

The fourth and last principal is Style and how it ties the other 3 principals to give you an effective overall Culture. Style is how you go about in achieving your goals through Culture, Attitude and Behavior. It defines who you are and the methodologies you partake in achieving the greatness you desire. Style sets you apart from your competition and will tie your organizations morale and identity to your Culture. Effective style will allow you to win in the marketplace, increase your revenues, raise your stock price, and gain the productivity and efficiency you need to win. Our style has helped us achieve these goals and allowed us to gain the needed successes in which I will share with you here: Make sure your people are Self-learning;  Effective Training;  ROD (Re-engineering, Outsourcing, De-layering) action;  Try to achieve a Flat organization;  Management by culture, system, & discipline;  Maintain entrepreneurship & start-up fighting spirit;  Speed of implementation;  Be disciplined & persistent; Be extremely focused & fast in action; Make sure your customers are happy;  Push for Technology breakthroughs;  Ensure Product competitiveness;  Recruit superstars & take care of key people;  Always create win-win situations;  Globalization, decentralization, & diversification;  Decision-making has to be simple, fast, & risk-taking;  Accountability, responsibility, & authority;  Balance between “Technical-Excellency” and “Business-know-how”;  Be thrifty, waste nothing; Support charity & return-to-society; and lastly keep your working environment neat & clean.

C.A.B.S is an effective guideline to build up your company’s culture and hopefully my brief summary can give you some insight or ideas on ways you can improve on your own current situations. I would also like to go into a little bit more detail on executing these guidelines for the specific areas of; Customer, Technology, People, Operations, Organization and Business. The following is a quick outline of these areas of execution.

CUSTOMER

  • “Customer is the King”, we must always remember that our bread & butter comes from our customers and we need to be constantly reminded of Customer centric principals and service. The most important concept here is, “Don’t make casual commitments; once made, deliver without fail!”
  • Compete on every deal like your life depended on it. Fight on all benchmarks and product evaluations. Win every deal.
  • Form strong teams to specifically fight every competitor in the marketplace.
  • Make sure you provide all the necessary tools, products, training, methodologies, and resources.
  • Select & establish solid strategic partnerships whether it be in sales, technology and or resources.
  • Always, always improve on Customer Support efficiency.

Technology

  • Develop and implement a clear and precise technology & product road-map.
  • Strive to consistently achieve & maintain market leadership of all your products & services
  • Continuously recruit & develop superstars
  • Provide sufficient R&D resources for key products & services
  • Continuously strengthen your core technology
  • Place specialty centers in strategic locations (near key customers)
  • Move mature or maintenance products to cost-efficient locales.
  • Achieve Software quality & knowledge retention via strict disciplines.

People

  • Make sure your Leaders have these qualities (decency, honesty, integrity, fairness, simplicity)
  • Maintain entrepreneurship and start-up fighting spirit no matter how big your organization gets.
  • Promote and reward your people who are driven & can win
  • Enforce C.A.B.S (Culture, Attitude, Behavior & Style) & Global Policy throughout the organization.
  • Fill-up vacancies & have back-ups for all management
  • Recruit & train younger (in spirit) & qualified leaders
  • Emphasize & reward loyalty & stability in your organization
  • Quickly eliminate non-performers & lazy-bones
  • Consistently enforce an environment with No bureaucrats, politicians, and money wasters.
  • Reach out and touch someone, don’t hide behind computers (except R&D).
  • Be a real doer & team player – not empty talker or ass-kisser.

Operations

  • Constantly improve on productivity & efficiency in all aspects of the business.
  • Make sure No financial games are played & there are no waste of financial resources.
  • Aggressively collect maintenance income & give no discounts on these incomes.
  • Make sure you keep a stringent policy on price integrity through packaging & sales disciplines.
  • Decentralize all geographical operations; however, you must maintain strict cost control in these locations with innovative checks and balances.
  • Grant autonomy to subsidiaries & form joint ventures to strategically tackle different sectors.
  • Carefully manage all cash flows & pay specific attention to the treasury function.
  • Balance your assets portfolio carefully & conduct smart investments to better your financial diversity.
  • Improve stock performance via litigation removal, strategic marketing, and running investor relations like a sales force with a quota. (Public Companies)

Organization

  • Globalize & squeeze brain-juice from everywhere you can.
  • Allow local people to run local things & govern their own local lands
  • Achieve decentralization & have subsidiary autonomy
  • ROD:  Re-engineering, Outsourcing, De-layering
  • Have a flat organization with maximum 3 management layers below President.
  • Crash Headquarters mentality & central-control work style
  • Emphasize management accountability & delegate authority
  • Allocate sufficient R&D resources worldwide
  • Build-up an efficient & well-compensated sales force.
  • Recruit & take care of superstars, motivate, train, & develop employees
  • Utilize Operations as check-and-balance, but not micro-control.
  • Have an open space & interactive environment, no private offices (except President).
  • Emphasize both loyalty & performance, personal values are more important.
  • Develop people, communication, networking, & leadership skills (not running a popularity contest).
  • Get rid of bad people and poor performers regularly.
  • All managers have no titles (except President) and are reassigned every 2 years (rotating between line, staff, and technical positions).
  • Identify successors, have back-ups in all positions.
  • Know the differences between accountability, responsibility, and authority.
  • Create a non-paper environment, reduce management reports, use e-management.
  • Keep meetings less than 45 minutes (except work sessions) & have follow-up actions.

Business

  • Globalization to combine both centralization and decentralization.
  • Take calculated risks, but move fast & precise.
  • Maintain high standards & keep non-stop improvement.
  • Must have sufficient R&D investment & maintain a start-up mode.
  • Continue M&A activities for needed technologies & resources.
  • Aggressively invest into new business areas.
  • Share company wealth with all stakeholders.
  • Make money, not just give money to people & spoil them
  • Use money to reward existing employees & hire fresh blood.
  • Make sure your Product Line Heads are responsible for business results.
  • Balance “technical-excellence” and “business-maturity”.
  • Make “Business-know-how” a must for all management.
  • Knowledge retention through documentation & discipline.
  • Implement management development & appraisal system.
  • Maintain a strong sales channel & branding, fight all battles thoroughly, create win-win situations, & make all customers happy.
  • Productivity through quality on everything & sound business models.
  • No corruption, bribery, kickback, or stealing of company’s resources.
  • Say No! to non-essential spending, conservative financial management.
  • Efficiency through tight cost control & streamline process.
  • Share profit; reduce company-sponsored fringe benefits.
  • Pay close attention to external marketing, PR, legal, & litigation.

 

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