Some Food for Thought
Here we show our recent posts and opinion pieces that were placed on LinkedIn or other social media.
Comments always welcome.
Why playing golf is like doing business
Always think end-to-end: analysis – strategy – execution – reality check
When you walk up to that first tee shot, armed with your driver and ball, and you feel the eyes of your flight partners boring into you, you better be prepared if you want to hole in with a decent score on the green. Sure, you can talk to the ball, threaten to dump it in the next water hazard or ask for help from above or lady luck. All this might get you there, but the better solution by far is: you’ve got to have a thorough plan of action. And this is where golf and business are very much alike.
Strategic and operational business to a great extent resembles how you approach your next golf shot. The routine should always include basic analysis and diagnosis of the situation, development of a vision and target as well as a strategy about how to get there, great execution, checking the results and finally, adjusting your strategy if you are’nt where you want to be yet.
A) Analyze the situation “as is”: The first thing you do is to try to understand the present situation. On the golf course, this is the terrain, the environment incl. weather, the hazards, your capabilities and probably half a dozen more things. In business, you need to analyze the market situation, the competition, your own portfolio, price settings, your supply chain and so on. Look at the whole picture, end to end. In both cases, the key to success is always solid analysis and diagnosis of things “as they are”.
B) Develop a vision or a target “where you want to be” The next step is to envision where you want to be in the near future. Do you want to play it safe and lay up or, as many of us often try to do, shoot the ball right onto the green, across all hazards - no risk, no fun! In business you need to define where you want to be at the end of a year for example. What is your targeted market position or year-end budget? What are your planned stock levels or delivery times? You can only start thinking about how to get there when your targets are clear. But be careful to avoid the temptation of overestimating and setting the target too high. It has to be in line with your capabilities. A 250-yard drive or doubling the revenue might be impossible and completely out of your league.
C) Define the strategy of “how to” reach your target Knowing where you want to go sets the stage for a very important step – choose your club, swing and spot where the ball should hit the ground first. Or, as a business manager would say, choose the right products or services, plan marketing tools, define sales efforts, set pricing and organize the supply chain effectively. If you have chosen all the right means and they are set up to interact smoothly, you should be halfway there. Very often, there are several ways to achieve your goals, just make sure you spend enough time evaluating the situation before deciding on a strategy.
D) Execute, i.e. “do it” Now is the time for action. Execute what you have envisioned, play your ball with a gentle, but determined swing and have fun with it. Get your sales team motivated, activate your marketing measures, create demand for your offer and let your supply chain do its job. In most cases you can see right from the start where things are going to end up. While swinging, you can already tell that you’re going to shank the ball or send it directly over the fence into the next parking lot. You feel early in the process if your marketing campaign is getting you the right attention. Small adjustments might be possible. Changing the strategy and targets completely halfway through is not advisable, it’s like interrupting your swing and trying to play a chip instead of a pitch.
E) Reality Check, „Where did you end up?“ After all is said and done you will need to evaluate the outcome. Is your ball in the target area? Did you avoid the bunker, did you come close to the green or did you even ace it? Have you reached your numbers, did you win new customers or a bigger market share? Did you deliver on time? It’s crunch time – did your strategy and execution worked out as planned? Hitting the target spot on is definitely extremely challenging. You might miss by an inch or two, but coming really close is a necessity on the golf course as well as in business. Accuracy wins over imprecision. Don’t deliver at 4PM when your time slot was 10AM. “Almost on the green” could still mean you’re in the water hazard.
F) Analyze the result and start again Back to the beginning. Analyze where you ended up and how you got there, set a new target and strategy and move on. Until you hole in and start again from the next tee, or end up at the 19th hole. But unlike golf, business never stops. So far I haven’t found the 19th hole in business, but I’ll keep looking.
As you can see, there are a lot of similarities between doing business and playing a round of golf. If you approach both tasks with a solid strategy, chances are good you will reach your targets. While we are not in a position to help you effectively on the golf course, we would be happy to discuss strategy, with special focus on your supply chain management, with you.
Golden Rules from the Go-To-Market Playbook:
'It´s simple: No investment in Sales = No Success!'
Big mistake. Don´t save cost on #sales efforts and hope you can sell because it is a superior product. People might tell you „it is so brilliant, it´ll sell itself without effort“, but you will be in for a big surprise. It ain´t gonna happen.
If you are planning to start or drive business, don´t forget to invest in your sales tools and infrastructure. I have seen numerous cases where management invested heavily in technology, but did not support spending any dollar in sales. They created great products and even built substantial production capacities and…..forgot about the most important thing to get it in the customers hands, the sales efforts.
There are a lot of examples of companies failing to promote new products, simply because they saved money on sales and communication tools or manpower. I remember a company asking their sales team to just call customers, no more visits f2f, just to save travel cost. Guess what, they failed big time. „If you build it they will come“ works in a movie (#Fieldofdreams), but usually not in the competitive market place.
A smart #gotomarket #strategy always includes a smart #salesstrategy. At SCHELLERT International we help you create your individual concept. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org #businessdevelopement
'Starting your overseas operation with local management might be your first mistake'
Who is heading your new #overseas operation? Someone local, familiar with the country or will you send an HQ trained manager? The choice you are going to make is deciding over success or failure right at the beginning of your expansion. No matter which part of the world you like to conquer.
Here is my take on this: to hire a local expert might be tempting, as this person is familiar with the market, the culture, valuable connections. But, the top position, responsible for overall direction and team build up, I would most likely fill with an HQ trained manager. Being familiar with offered solutions, corporate culture, HQ targets and expectations is for me more important than knowing the local market. This kind of knowledge, without a question also extremely important for longterm success, can be obtained in the market place. Experienced local #BusinessDevelopment / #Sales managers are the perfect support for a HQ sent delegate. After successful establishment of the overseas operation, when the team is trained and the ship is on track, a handover to a local manager is a great way to strengthen the local identity of a subsidiary office.
At SCHELLERT International we help you start your overseas operation. Contact me directly or at email@example.com #strategy
'Is your Supply Chain taking care of business?'
Don’t get caught in that “profit contribution trap"
„Trust me, you should get rid of this customer project. Profit contribution is way too low and you’ll never be able to cover the fixed costs. Be smart, get out of that business, invest your money elsewhere.“ If you ever hear this advice from your management colleagues, don’t jump the gun. We have all seen products, businesses or customer projects that look really promising in the beginning. Planned profit contribution at 40 to 50 %, healthy customer, long term project, technical challenge within your standard performance range – no problem. It’s an easy decision, just do it. Very often, however, you are in for a rude awakening when your controlling department issues their first figures. After a few months of real-life production, profits are nowhere near the targeted contribution. You lose money with every single unit going out the door. What happened?
Well, the problem might not be the product itself or the planning procedure. In most cases, defects in the actual process of the supply chain or outside factors, like exchange rate hikes or changes in transportation laws, play against you. Now what? Give up? Raise prices? Look for a different customer? Maybe not, if you fix your supply chain issues first and make sure you minimize your exposure to outside influences.
While you have no direct control over exchange rates, you can always react with several options like contractual adjustments, hedging etc. Also, changes in transportation laws, the most recent example of which was regarding air transportation of lithium batteries, can hardly be influenced directly. But there are certainly ways to prepare for the unexpected and put the burden on more than one shoulder.
The main task facing you will be to analyze your supply chain from a to z, end to end, on a global basis. Look closely at all processes and organizational structures starting from the customer side. Include vendors as well as your own operations. You will also need to call customers’ and sales teams’ forecasting procedures into question. Closely scrutinize stock levels along the value chain. Are you buying the material quantities necessary for low purchasing prices? Do you carry overstocks along the production line? Is the production plan set up without too many disruptions? Do you have unnecessary overtime hours for rush jobs? We all know that there are a lot of hidden profit killers. You need to uncover and fix them.
Key is to develop an innovative SCM strategy, transform existing processes and organizations, even if changes overstep the comfort zones of people involved. Transparency, feasibility and efficiency are important ingredients for sustainable success. Transform your supply chain into a transparent process with clear roles and decision-making responsibilities and don’t be afraid to share the processes openly with your customer. They need to be an integral part of the whole concept. Although smart SCM concepts will not cure all your profit contribution problems, it will set the stage for running a successful business.
So your answer should be “NO“ to colleagues who tell you to get rid of the customer project or business. Be smart, get a professional partner who is able to support you all the way from concept to implementation. Talk to us, that´s what we are expert at.
Overseas Go-To-Market Challenge:
'Singapore - smart networking is your basis for success!'
Smart networking is a must if you want to be successful in #Singapore . It is no secret, no matter where you are on this planet, that building connections and using networks helps you to get on the map in the marketplace. And #SouthEastAsia is even more special.
Years ago, when starting a business in Singapore, I strongly believed I could do it all myself. Just call on the customers with an outstanding offer and the doors will fly open. Well, what can I say? It didn´t work that way and for some weeks nothing was moving. I needed to change my approach.
Today I know, by connecting with Dr John Yam Poh Nam, PhD of NGeNetic, an expert on smart networking and in the meantime a good friend of mine, things started moving. Being introduced to the right speaking partners, diving deep into discussions with local business leaders, having lunch with John´s friends, all that #networking paved the way for a solid #marketentry. Thank you John for your guidance.
If you have plans to enter the Singapore market, be smart and engage in professional networking first. At SCHELLERT International we can help you make the right connections. Contact me directly or at firstname.lastname@example.org
#businessdevelopment #salesbestpractice #globalnetworks #gotomarketstrategy
Sales Story Teller:
'Sorry, not my responsibility. Could you pls. call my Co-Worker?'
Seriously? Not your responsibility? In #customerservice this is a terrible answer to a customer calling with a problem. While trying to get a daily work impression at a new clients office, I listened in on incoming calls. I was stunned to hear „Sorry, not my responsibility! Could you pls. call my co-worker?“.
As a customer I would have felt abandoned, not taken care of. There are several issues with such an answer. Yes, the customer service agent might not be the one to answer the question or solve the problem directly, but by picking up the phone he or she is the one in charge to help the customer. Period.
This needs to be shown by an adequate reaction, like for example ‚Let me take care of it, you´ll get an answer until…‘ Telling a customer to call in again and go through the painful experience of waiting on the line for a second time is the next mistake. Absolutely not acceptable. The customer deserves a supportive attitude and most of all, a reasonable share of empathy. Otherwise you have a good chance to lose your most important asset, your customers.
At SCHELLERT International we help you sharpen your sales and customer service efforts. Contact me directly or at email@example.com #businessdevelopment #salesstrategy #salestraining #gotomarket #globalnetworks #gacc
Sales Story Teller:
'How my customer is doing? I don't know. Le's call him up!'
Knowing how and what your customer is doing is key to a successful business partnership. It happened to me some years ago when I talked to a regional sales manager of a multi national company. When asked how his customer X was doing, he looked puzzled and did not have a clue. Instead he offered to call the customer asap to find out about his wellbeing. At least he showed some activity.
But, come on. Seriously? That can not be a good customer care #strategy . To know how satisfied your partner is with actual projects, what the overall plans are for the future and in which direction the mutual business might go is essential for you. Not only is it necessary to have a solid forecast. The information between the lines, the feelings of involved people and potential changes regarding decision makers are important to know.
At SCHELLERT International we help you sharpen your sales and customer Service efforts. We train your team and find the solution, that fits your needs. Contact me directly or at firstname.lastname@example.org #salesstrategy #salestraining #businessdevelopment #businessnetworks #businessexcellence
Golden Rules from the Go-To-Market Playbook:
'Build a global business Network - and compete with the BIG FISH!'
You know that your #productportfolio is way better than the one offered by your competitors? You know that customers in #foreignmarkets would love your #Solutions ? And you know that your competition is already everywhere? So what do you do?
Well, you could either stay a local supplier, and there is possibly nothing wrong with it, or you could take on the #challenge and go to the #internationalmarket .
You don't need a huge investment to start your successful international endeavor. Get access to new markets and compete with the big fish by building smart #globalnetworks . Set up #alliances and use roads already paved. #Businessnetworks , if built the right way, can be extremely powerful and the basis for sustainable success.
At SCHELLERT International we support you with our global partners by defining the right #gotomarketstrategy and help you to get access to a suitable #businessnetwork.
Contact me directly or at email@example.com# .
#sales #businessdevelopment #gotomarket #strategy #GACC #AHK
Sales Story Teller:
'I presented to my customer two weeks ago. Now I am waiting for them to call me back!'
Seriously? ‚Waiting for the customer to call‘ is maybe not the best idea if you really want to generate #Sales success. I made this mistake early in my carreer and learned my lesson the hard way. This is what happened: had a sales pitch at a potential customer and I assumed it went really well. Concept, products and pricing seemed to fit my customer‘s targets and I left upbeat and happy. Thought I nailed it and expected to receive an order soon.
Well, it never came through. My mistake was, I did not ask for the order right there. After two weeks of impatiently waiting for a message from my customer I picked up the phone and called, only to learn, that the order had been given to the competition. Why? What was wrong? Nothing was wrong, only my competitor came, presented his stuff and….asked for the order while I was waiting for the customer to call me. What a lesson.
At SCHELLERT International we help you sharpen your sales and customer service efforts. We train your team and find the solution, that fits your needs. Contact me directly or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Overseas Go-To-Market Challenge:
'Want to conquer the US-Marketplace? Think Strategy before you act!'
If you decided to go west to enlarge your global footprint with a product or service offer for the #USmarket , you have to do some serious thinking first. Without a thorough analysis of the #marketneeds, competitive situation, #customerbehavior, #businessculture etc. you will most likely fail.
Next will be the decision on your #GoToMarketStrategy . Do you go with a distributor, form a #JointVenture or open up your own subsidiary? There are many ways of approaching the US market. Beside an honest evaluation of your companies vision, targets and capabilities, the Strategy and Implementation concept needs deep understanding of local business behavior and cultural differences. That is where we come in with our network of experts.
At SCHELLERT International we help you find the right strategy and support the implementation. All the way, hands on. Contact me directly or at email@example.com
Sales Story Teller:
' You will not believe it. Your order was ready for delivery, but it just fell off the forklift!'
Seriously? That really sounds like a lame excuse. Not being able to deliver on time does not mean, you have to „BS“ your customer. You think something like that is not happening in real life? Think twice. I came across a company years ago, that used to handle delivery delays just like that. One special person in customer service was designated to explain to customers, their order was indeed ready for delivery, but just fell off the ramp. I guess you all agree, there are better ways to handle such a situation professionally. I know what I did at that time, but how would you react?
At SCHELLERT International we help you to sharpen your customer service efforts and find the solution that fits your needs. Contact me directly or at firstname.lastname@example.org # #customerservice #sales #businessdevelopment #alcottglobal #supplychain #supplychainmanagement
Sales Story Teller:
' I can´t sell. First we need additional features!'
Seriously? Yeah right. Does that sound familiar to you? When talking to a specific species of #sales managers, you will always hear their request for more features or additional functions before they can sell. And they will never be satisfied. The truth is, even if you add more gadgets to the
product, they can´t sell. It is often used as a great excuse for not being able to convince potential customers.
Of course you need an offer, that is competitive. If your solution lacks fundamental specifics you will not be successful, but that is not what I am talking about. At one point in time you have to say: ‚That is it, that is my product. And that is what we are going to sell.‘ If you give in to that discussion above it will never end and the only winner is your competition.
At SCHELLERT International we help you sharpen your sales and customer service team skills. We find a concept, that fits your needs. Contact me directly or at email@example.com
#customerservice #businessdevelopment #alcottglobal #gotomarketstrategy #ahk #salesstrategy #strategyexecution #salestraining