Five Star and Delivering Value Announce Strategic Partnership

 

ARPEDIO

ARPEDIO

Delivering Value , a consulting company focused on accelerating growth by bringing innovative ideas and best practices to sales and marketing, and Five Star Development, Inc., a company that enables clients to execute business strategy through the design and development of custom training programs and software applications, have announced a strategic partnership that combines the full spectrum sales and marketing consulting that Delivering Value offers with the change management and technology application know-how that Five Star Development has been perfecting for the past 15 years.

“For our clients pursuing Intelligent Deal Management initiatives, this partnership allows us to offer a more complete solution,” comments Don Lazzari, President Delivering Value.  “We can now offer a proven change management, roll-out and adoption methodology, Strategy Accelerator, that can scale nationally and globally.  Couple this with the fact that Five Star has refined the Strategy Accelerator by working closely with some of the world’s largest companies and it adds up to a significant advantage in what we can offer to our clients.”

“When you combine the Five Star Strategy Accelerator methodology with Intelligent Deal Management and sales apps like ARPEDIO Sales there is a tremendous amount of value that we can offer to a company looking to improve their sales performance,” explained Dave Colaizzi, Five Star Development’s CEO. “By partnering with Delivering Value we can put forward a very compelling solution in regards to improved sales process and sales tools.  It is a classic 1+1=3 proposition. ”

Intelligent Deal Management is an approach to sales that incorporates concepts taken from expert systems where an application provides a set of next steps based on input about a situation. ARPEDIO Sales is an intelligent deal management app that uses a multiple choice assessment of the critical elements of a deal and automatically generates a list of recommended next steps and associated actions to move a deal forward to a successful close. The Strategy Accelerator uses proven change management strategies, custom training programs, performance support tools, and communications approaches to successfully move an organization’s adoption of a new process or technology from introduction through training and roll-out to acceptance and assimilation.

Delivering Value Announces North American Launch of ARPEDIO Sales App

 

ARPEDIO

ARPEDIO

Delivering Value,  a consulting company focused on accelerating growth by bringing innovative ideas and best practices to sales and marketing,  today announced the North American launch of ARPEDIO Sales (www.arpedio.com), an Intelligent Deal Management (www.intelligentdealmanagement.com)  app that helps sales professionals increase their odds of winning a deal by making it easy to assess where they are in a sales cycle and then recommending a set of next steps and actions as to what they should do next to move the deal forward to close based on preferred processes and best practices.

“ARPEDIO Sales fills a gap in the sales tool market that has existed for quite some time.  Many companies rely on CRM (customer relationship management) to store and record information about what you’ve accomplished with a prospect,” explains Don Lazzari, President Delivering Value.  “But there are no tools on the market that recommend what you need to do next based on where you are in a sales cycle.  ARPEDIO Sales gives an entire sales team access to the effective tactics used by top performers.  It makes the rest think like the best.”

ARPEDIO Sales was developed in 2012 by a Danish company, ARPEDIO Solutions Inc., whose partners saw the need for a tactical deal pursuit tool that could be delivered on a mobile platform.  ARPEDIO Sales guides you through a multiple choice assessment of the critical elements of a deal, like the extent of your relationship with the decision maker. Once all components of an element are scored, a list of recommended next steps and associated actions based on sales best practices is generated and you select the most appropriate ones.  The end result is a comprehensive assessment of all the critical elements in a deal along with a detailed set of focus actions and next steps.  In short, you get an actionable account pursuit plan most of which has been generated automatically.

It now has registered users in more than 23 countries.  To bring the ARPEDIO Sales app to the US and Canada, Delivering Value has been granted exclusive master value-added reseller status with the ability to sell direct and through partners.

“We are thrilled to have entered into this relationship with a company with the sales expertise and track record of success that Delivering Value brings to the table.” says Tom Bulow, President and Co-founder of ARPEDIO Solutions.  “We look forward to working more closely with US and Canadian companies who are looking to make their sales efforts as effective as possible.”

Godfather of Growth: You Can’t Go Large If You Don’t Generate Demand

By Don Lazzari, Delivering Value LLC

Ciao amici.  It’s good to see you again at our new meeting place, Techburger.  For those of you who have joined us for the first time, organizations in the know call me The Godfather of Growth.  Each month, we get together to talk business – how to grow sales, manage your people and take your business from a small operation into one that the other capos will look at with envy.  So grab a double espresso and listen up.

This month we are going to talk about generating demand.  We’re all aware that you can’t grow without expanding your network of people who bring money into the organization – customers.  But a significant challenge for many organizations is finding enough potential sales opportunities to add customers at a rate that fuels the growth of the business.  For this month’s discussion, we are going to focus on how to generate demand if you are a B to B.  In the B to B world, many of the new and innovative social media tactics that B to C companies are employing with great success may not produce as much traction.  While I may go to Facebook or Twitter to ask my network about a restaurant or a car, chances aren’t as likely that I’ll go there to ask about a technology product or service that will solve a business problem for me.  So let’s look at what successful emerging B to Bs are doing bridge the gap.

Before we start, let me dispel one notion.  You don’t have to spend a ton of money to generate demand.  When you have a ton of money it only broadens what you can do, it doesn’t necessarily make it any more effective.  So if you are part of an emerging company with a limited budget, don’t get discouraged.  Successful demand generation rarely, if ever, is free.  It does require some level of investment.  But if you are a wise about how you spend the limited dollars you have, you can make a modest budget produce more than modest results.

Successful demand generation includes three main facets – awareness, passive demand generation and active demand generation.  Let’s look at awareness first.  In order for someone to buy my product or service, they first need to be aware that it exists.  There are a number of avenues that require almost no investment other than your time.  The first and most obvious is the Internet.   Here’s what you can do for free.   Add key search word and meta tags to your web site to make it easier to find your business through a Google search.  Want to increase this, blog about a subject that is pertinent to your industry, your customers or your products or submit articles for publication in e-magazines.  The more present you are on the Internet with fresh information, the higher you’ll appear in a search.  Yes, there companies who have expertise in search engine optimization that can help you do this; but you’d be surprised what you can do on your own.

You can also increase awareness by submitting stories to industry publications and blogs that feature how your customers solved a business problem by using your product or service.  In addition, you can also apply to speak at industry conferences or gatherings.  One thing that you have to remember is that most potential buyers will care little about hearing how innovative or revolutionary your product is, so don’t produce product feature/function infomercials.  Focus your content on customer experience because your future customers are very interested in what their peers are doing to solve the same business problems they face.  If you are fortunate enough to have someone who is adept at writing on your team, you can do everything that I’ve mentioned for less than $500.  If you don’t, there are plenty of very capable and reasonable contract writers who can help you do it very cost effectively.

Let’s move on now to marketing.  If you are part of my sales family, marketing doesn’t mean producing clever, colorful brochures and websites.  It means producing potential sales opportunities as in leads.  There are two basic approaches to marketing efforts – passive and active.

Passive marketing means that you have no way to directly engage with a potential customer when their interest is sparked.  You have to rely on them to act.  Two good examples of passive marketing are trade shows and advertising.  Both help you find potential customers but the onus of action is on the customer.  It’s kind of like fishing in a river.  You throw bait into the water and hope that the type of fish that you want to catch bites.  You’re also hoping that enough of those types will bite so that it has an impact on sales.  For me, there’s too much hope here my friends and we all know that hope is not a strategy.

Active marketing is where you are taking your message to your potential customers in a systematic and targeted fashion.  You are doing things to prompt them into acting.  A great example of active marketing is an email campaign to a well-defined group of targets that is coupled with active outbound calling.  All things being equal, this is the approach that will most likely produce the best results for dollars invested.  Just like with awareness, your campaigns will be more effective if you feature a customer and not your product or service.

So here’s my advice if you are an emerging company with limited budget.  Favor investing in active marketing over passive marketing.  Then do as much as you can for free or almost free to boost awareness.  Also, be certain that your active marketing efforts include telephone follow-up.  Active follow-up can be a real difference maker in finding prospective clients.

Before I say arrivaderci, let me share with you what the 2012 demand generation investment looks like for a client who wants to increase sales from less than a million to more than 3 million with a modest, but appropriate investment in marketing.

  • 2% awareness – (includes contract writing services)
  • 7% fulfillment – (includes brochures and collateral)
  • 75% active demand generation  for 20 campaigns – (includes email and direct mail campaign materials, list purchase/rental, telephone follow-up, supporting software)
  • 16% trade shows and events – (includes one national conference and one executive level event)

As you can see, they are favoring targeted marketing with active follow-up.  They have limited their trade show appearances and other passive tactics to one national conference and one executive conference.  Something that I’d strongly recommend everyone considered doing since I consistently see too much marketing investment spend being devoted to trade shows.  They are also spending nothing on advertising. Something I’d also strongly recommend.   For dollar spent, advertising is least effective in B to B settings.  Use advertising once your company has emerged to bolster awareness, assert market position and build brand.  Don’t do it when you are still trying to breakthrough.

We’re running out of time for this month’s meeting.  If you need my help, you can find me at godfatherofgrowth@deliveringvalue.biz .  You can also call me at 412-973-8909 but be careful what you say because you never know who’s listening.

Don’t forget you can stay connected with what’s happening in the sales family @GrowthGodfather on Twitter.  Ciao for now my friends.

©Copyright 2012.  Delivering Value LLC.  All rights reserved.  The Godfather of Growth is a trademark of Delivering Value LLC.

Godfather of Growth: Focus is the Fuel of Rapid Growth

By Don Lazzari, Delivering Value LLC

Ciao amici.  It’s good to see you again.  For those of you who have joined us for the first time, organizations in the know call me The Godfather of Growth.  Each month, we’re going to get together to talk business – how to grow sales, manage your people and take your business from a small operation into one that the other capos will look at with envy.  So grab a double espresso and listen up.

This month we are going to talk about focus.  Focus is the fuel of rapid growth.  I know this because I’ve seen its effects a number of times in a variety of markets.  I was part of an organization that grew sales by a multiple of 90 in three and a half years growing from $250,000 to $22.5 million.  I watched as Keith Nosbusch, at the time the incoming CEO at Rockwell Automation, used focus to take Rockwell from $3.5 billion to $7 billion and beyond in just a few years.  Focus means taking dead aim at a market segment or, for larger companies a limited set of segments, so that you eliminate distractions.  Distractions are expensive to new and emerging organizations.  When you focus you minimize wasted time, wasted effort and most importantly wasted cash.  Now if you’re thinking “big deal who didn’t know that” then maybe you should pay extra close attention to what I’m going to say because something that appears so obvious is not practiced by an alarming number of companies.  So let’s find out if you’re truly focused or you just think you are.

In order to take dead aim on a market segment, you need to spend a lot of time thinking about who your ideal customer is and you have to be very specific – as if your life depended on it.  This will take time and many paths may lead to dead ends.  But if you successfully maneuver all of the obstacles, the results can transform your business.  Let’s talk about the most common mistakes you need to avoid.

Mistake #1 Taking a Product Functionality Point of View

The first mistake I see companies make is that they take a product functionality view.  “Our ideal customer is someone who needs to measure the oxygen saturation in their blood” or whatever their leading product feature might be.  I’m sorry to say that I hear this a lot.  When you are thinking about who your ideal customer is, you have to take their approach.  Few people think “I need to measure the oxygen saturation in my blood”.  They think more from a problem and solution point of view.  For example:  “I need to know when I might be on the verge of an asthma attack so I can avoid going to the hospital.”  I’ve seen many great products fall by the wayside because their organizations were unable to do this successfully and technology companies are more likely than others to make this mistake.

Mistake # 2 Not Being Mission Critical

Some organizations are able to avoid the first trap to only get caught in the second.  Just because you can solve a customer’s problem doesn’t increase the likelihood they’ll buy.  But solving a significant problem that has a direct and quantifiable impact on their business can be magic – especially when you can show how you help them to increase revenue (or monetary upside benefit if you are B to C) versus reduce or avoid cost.  A prime example of this is in the senior care market.  I was involved with a company that sold to organizations that operate nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  These organizations generate most of their revenue by billing federal and state governments for services provided and Medicare or Medicaid are their primary payers. By being able to show in a factual, measurable way that investing in technology would increase the reimbursement that they could receive, our products became mission critical and we were able to get direct access to the most senior executives in these organizations because we could show we would have a direct and significant impact on their business.

Mistake #3 A Lack of Granularity

Some companies make it past the first two obstacles only to fall victim to the third by not going beyond mission critical.  Being mission critical is table stakes when it comes to rapid growth.  What separates the winners from the also-rans is taking focus to its most granular level.  Let’s stay with our senior care example.  I’ve determined that I can make a solid case for being mission critical and producing quantifiable results for senior care providers.  But to really have focus that drives growth and minimizes distraction, I need to get more specific.  Which portion of the senior care market will find my products most attractive?  Why? If I capture just a few percentage points of this portion is it sufficiently large enough to fuel the growth of my business?  Is it sufficiently large enough to grow it significantly?  The reason this organization was successful was that they were able to answer these questions accurately and with a high level of specificity.  “Our ideal customer is a top executive of a multi-site, for-profit senior care organization who operates nursing homes in case mix states because we can provide demonstrable value by increasing reimbursement.  By successfully capturing 5% of this total market of 5,000 facilities our company will grow to $22 million in sales.”

Mistake #4 Failing to Get to Alignment

Once you get to this level of granularity, the most attractive segment of the market segment comes sharply into focus.  And once you have this level of focus you can now align your company’s resources behind it and make the most of your available cash.  Granted, this takes courage but the companies who grow rapidly stay the course.  But to achieve alignment you have to be sure to communicate clearly to your organization the rationale and outcomes they can expect by getting into alignment with your granular view of your ideal customer.  This communication has to be repeated and reinforced until it becomes accepted fact by a large majority of your organization.  Those who don’t believe should be encouraged to go elsewhere because you need all facets of your organization to have the same granular view of your ideal customer at the same degree of focus that your leadership team does.

Mistake #5 Not Staying Disciplined

Most companies do not make it past the fourth obstacle.  It’s understandable.  It takes a lot of time and can be very frustrating at times. Those who do this have one more obstacle in the way before they unlock rapid growth and that’s discipline.  And the obstacle that most often gets in their way falling victim to the head-turning opportunity that is not part of the granular picture and the alignment they’ve worked hard to establish.  I see this happen more than I’d like.  A company has run the gauntlet to get to focus successfully and a couple of months later they encounter a sizeable opportunity that does not match with their granular view of the ideal customer  but they chase it any way.  This is the business equivalent of the siren’s song and you have to resist it.  Because being seduced by it will result in distractions and diverting the full attention of your company away from the prime targets that will drive repeatable and sustainable growth.  Also by doing so you create organizational confusion.  The teams that thought you wanted them to go down one path are suddenly going down another.  Even if this is for a short time, your organization is likely to second guess what you are doing so the next time you try to get to alignment they’ll question your commitment. This is a very difficult obstacle to navigate and many companies are unsuccessful in doing so.

We’re running out of time for this month’s meeting.  If you are the leader of a new or emerging business you need to think long and hard about what I’ve said about focus.  There is no doubt that is the fuel for rapid growth providing you avoid the obstacles that stand in your way.

Grazie mille for spending time with me today. Remember if you need my help in a situation, you can find me at godfatherofgrowth@deliveringvalue.biz or you can stay connected with what’s happening on Twitter @GrowthGodfather.  And remember, if you need my help I’m only a phone call away at 412-973-8909 but be careful what you say because you never know who’s listening.

Ciao for now my friends.

©Copyright 2011.  Delivering Value LLC.  All rights reserved.  The Godfather of Growth is a trademark of Delivering Value LLC.

Godfather of Growth: Stop Telling and Start Selling – How to Get More Action in Your Turf

By Don Lazzari, Delivering Value

Ciao amici.  It’s good to see you again.  For those of you who have joined us for the first time, organizations in the know call me The Godfather of Growth. Each month, we’re going to get together to talk business – how to grow sales, manage your people and take your business from a small operation into one that the other capos will look at with envy.  So grab a double espresso and listen up.

This month we are going to talk about selling versus telling.  I see too many companies who think they are doing a good job communicating what their products do.  But here’s the rub, almost all of these companies aren’t being as effective as they could be when they get a chance to meet with a customer.  They tell me that they are puzzled as to why they aren’t selling more.  It is a common problem.

The reason it is such a common problem is that too many organizations think their product should be have the starring role.  I hear something like this more often than I’d like: “Our product is built on the latest cloud-computing technology giving you access to a wide variety of applications that you can run from any browser anywhere – yadda, yadda, yadda.”  Then the litany continues with a list of cool features.   Meanwhile the customer is thinking about the business problems that need to be solved and, unless they are technologically savvy, they are not connecting the dots as to how your products helps them so they are not compelled to act or even get excited about what you offer.  This is a classic case of telling and not selling.

Here’s my first piece of advice:  People don’t buy products, they buy solutions to their problems.  If you were paying attention last month, you probably remember that I quoted Paul Wiefels who wrote “The Chasm Companion”:  “Don’t confuse your compelling reason to sell with the customer’s compelling reason to buy.”  You need to remember this which is why I’m telling you twice.  Too many organizations focus on features and technology.  Stop telling prospective customers about your product and technology.  In the mind of your customers, they play a supporting role.  Spend more understanding your customer’s business problems then sell impact not features.  Sell them on how you can help them solve their problem, don’t tell them how great your product is technology is.  One word of caution, for technologists this can be difficult.  When you’ve been invested heart and soul in your product and its functionality and seen it grow from an idea into reality, it can be hard to see what your product does from your customer’s perspective.  If you need help with this, let me know after this session and we can arrange for a more a private meeting.

So if people are buying solutions to problems, what is the best way to make them connect the dots and feel compelled to act?  Sell business value to your ultimate buyer.  This can be especially powerful if you can quantify the upside.  Let me give you an example.  I was providing assistance to a company who was taking speech recognition technology into healthcare.  I got involved when they had only six customers.  While the company had a compelling product, they weren’t selling much.  When I looked at their presentations, web page and other sales materials, the messaging focused on technology “our product is built on speaker-independent  voice technology” and features “paging makes it easy to get access to help when you need it fast.”  Almost all of what they said focused on how the product worked and how a feature delivered a benefit.  They made two classic mistakes.  The first was that they were talking about things that the users would experience when using their product.  Users can provide influence but,more times than not, they aren’t making the buying decision.  The second mistake was this.   Since the system they sold was expensive, no deal went forward without senior executive involvement.  The senior execs were focused on maximizing revenue and profit.  Here, my friends, was the disconnect.  The organization was selling features and benefits to users but their ultimate buyers wanted to buy improvements to revenue and profit.  We changed their approach to focus on how their system could deliver more reimbursement revenue.  This approach got the executives attention and gave the users that supported the use of the product justification for a purchase.  So the organization we were helping went from selling $100,000 deals to selling multi-dollar deals.  In just three and half years sales in this organization grew from $250,000 to $22.5 million.  Who wouldn’t want a piece of that kind of action?

So as we wrap up, here are a few things to think about.  Are you clearly articulating the value gained by solving the ultimate buyer’s problems? As we’ve discussed, too many organizations are telling the users about their product and instead of selling business impact to the ultimate buyer.  Is it easy for the ultimate buyer to connect the dots between your product and what it means to them quantifiably?  When I ask my clients this question, practically all of them say, “Yes”.  The problem is they are stopping short of what the real value to the customer is and are often selling benefits but not value.

That’s all we have time for this month.  Remember if you need my help in a situation, you can find me at godfatherofgrowth@deliveringvalue.biz.  You can also call me at 412-973-8909 but be careful what you say because you never know who’s listening.

Ciao for now my friends.

©Copyright 2011.  Delivering Value LLC.  All rights reserved.  The Godfather of Growth is a trademark of Delivering Value LLC.