Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Customer Focused Selling (CFS)

The sales personnel should have knowledge of the industry and environment where the customer operates.  We generally go by one size fit al approach. In CFS, we should sees things from the buyer's perspective and matches the sales process to each customer.


Analyze competitors, evaluate the mission and vision of the customer and the market.  In short start thinking like the customer and see where we want our customer to be 10 years from now.  Some ideas towards this can be

·         Have contacts in the business beyond the IT team

·         Focus on Business growth and not only IT changes

·         Facilitate strategy sessions for the customers on an semi-annual basis

·         Provide research data on competitors and industry trends

·         Do benchmarking of processes and techologies within industry and other industry practices

·         Coduct knowledge sharing sessions with other bluechip clients of TCS to show how TCS as a partner can help


Some concepts in CFS are given below which can help in furthering the discussion.

·         Understanding the two ways people buy: buy-knowing and buy-learning.

·         Buy-knowing: when buyers believe they already know what they need to know and can make a relatively quick purchase decision. A repeat order is an example.

·         Buy-learning: this method is more complex because it involves acquiring knowledge and weighing alternatives to arrive at the optimum choice.  In buy-learing the sales person adopts eight different roles.

o        1. Change: The Student. Take the role of a student; study how changes are affecting your prospects and find opportunities to add value. To make larger and more profitable sales, you must find bigger and more significant needs. The prospects' potential value to you will determine how much time you devote to learning about them.

o        2. Discontent: The Doctor. Ask questions that diagnose your customers' discontent and uncover their needs. Discontent occurs with prospects recognize that they are not where they would like to be. A problem or an opportunity can cause discontent, and you must look at both. As a doctor, you diagnose what ails your prospects, and identify the complications that are likely to affect them if they do nothing to resolve their discontent.

o        3. Research: The Architect. Here, your role is to design unique solutions that simplify your customers' research steps while setting the ground rules in your favor. Help them by translating their tangible concepts of what they need into more definite buying criteria.

o        To move from a general concept to a specific plan, you can use the same four steps an architect uses: 1. Understand the client's intangible concept of need. 2. Determine the must-have requirements necessary to achieve the concept. 3. Refine the concept by identifying "nice-two-haves." 4. Determine the relative importance of each nice-to-have to the client.

o        4. Comparison: The Coach. As your prospect compares your offering to that of the competition, your goal is to defeat your opponents without cutting price. A coach gains competitive advantage through analysis and insight, then executes a winning game plan.


o        Take steps that will help lead you to victory: 1. Analyze your strengths and weaknesses in comparison to those of your competitors. 2. Develop a game plan to positively position yourself against the competition. 3. Demonstrate your superiority on the playing field with a great sales proposal and presentation.

o        5. Fear: The Therapist. The therapist draws out fears and helps resolve them. The closer people get to making a major commitment, the more they focus on the future consequences. Be on the lookout for indications that the prospect is getting nervous. To detect fear, you must be sensitive and observant. Take time to review how things are going. Is anything out of the ordinary happening?  Once you have detected fear, you must determine its source. This is not always easy and may require a bit of risk on your part. Raise the issue that you think is causing fear and help your prospects by weighing options and discussing alternatives.

o        6. Commitment: The Negotiator. The goal here is to reach a mutual commitment to open a relationship, not to hammer-close the sale. Negotiation is a discussion designed to reach an agreement between parties who share some interests but are at odds on others.  Here are some key points to consider as you negotiate the commitment:

§         Prepare to negotiate;

§         Determine what you want from the agreement and generate a list of high value concessions other than price.

§         Reach agreement by clearly identifying your customers' interests, determining areas of agreement, and creating win-win solutions to resolve differences.

§         Ask for commitment in a non-manipulative way.

o        7. Expectations: The Teacher. Immediately after the customer buys, the salesperson helps the buyer get a clear understanding of his or her expectations and to know when and if value has been achieved. Salespeople can help on both fronts by adopting the role of a teacher.

o        First, in customer-focused selling, the objectives agreed-upon must be realistic and measurable. Once these goals are set, it is up to you to manage your customers' expectations and teach them how to attain their objectives. The key here is to make sure your customer knows how use your product or service properly. Test for value to make sure your offer provides what you said it would.

o        8. Satisfaction: The Farmer. The farmer cultivates satisfaction and grows the account. Today, companies striving to be the best have made customer satisfaction and retention their cornerstone business strategy. To survive and thrive, you must get closer to your customer, not just during the sales process, but after it as well. Your customers form a perception of satisfaction based on four factors: value achieved; product quality; service quality; and price.

The challenge to salespeople is that while customers may be satisfied with all or some of these points today, their opinions may change tomorrow. Cultivating a good relationship with customers will pay benefits again and again down the road.

As customers become increasingly sophisticated, successful salespeople will modify their sale strategy accordingly. Customer-focused selling means you must get into your customers' heads, finding out what they are thinking and why, and get your sales process in sync with customers’ buying process. That is customer-focused selling. Give it a try, and you’ll certainly win more sales and give your competition fits!


Provide information and recommendations; anticipate problems and offer solutions; look at the sales process as long-term and provide guidance along the way

Monday, March 16, 2009

30 Dirty Truths About Organizational Change & SAP Implementations

Here they are , in arbitrary order:
1. People don’t want to change. Not for the worse, not for the better.
2. Things will get worse before they get better.
3. Automate your project administration, not your project planning.
4. We think we see the world as it is, but in fact we see it as we are (Stephen Covey).
5. Change is in the details.
6. The real purpose of change management is to help people make sense of the change-pains - not to avoid them.
7. HR is not an agent of change but an agent of stability.
8. If integration is the destination, then make it part of the strategy and reorganize before you deploy systems.
9. The more accurate I start to plan, the more precise coincidence will hit me (aka: ‘death by detail’).
10. Software does not replace discipline (aka: ‘the Debby rule’)
11. Legacy systems will always be better - from a rearview mirror point of view.
12. A good project manager is like a good parent: trustworthy, predictable and unpopular.
13. Real change takes time because it requires perception shifts.
14. The purpose is to make agents of your targets.
15. Uncertainty is worse than bad news.
16. Trust is the currency of change.
17. Communication will happen anyway, so better be at the steering wheel.
18. Seek first to understand, then to be understood (Stephen Covey).
19. Real participation means allowing people have a stake in the sense-making (this includes whining and letting-go rituals).
20. The essence of communication is to create community. Any exchange of information that does not accomplish this purpose is non-communication. Scan your meeting behavior as you keep this rule in mind.
21. Approach resistance with respect because it covers people’s most vulnerable and valuable part: their motivation and inspiration.
22. We choose our responses to the world - perception is a choice.
23. A vision is the shortest path between what is in my head and what people will see or hear (Bill Jensen). Compare this to your 180 slides Power Point presentation.
24. Communication is the message sent, not the message received (Bill Jensen).
25. Change all you want - but execution happens at the speed of sense making (Bill Jensen).
26. Although Organizational Change is not mathematical science, one truth stands out: OO + NT = EOO (Old Organization + New Technology = Expensive Old Organization) (Michael Hammer).
27. The bottleneck to human performance is in the limitations of available attention and learning capacity.
28. Gathering feedback and not taking action based on the findings can be more damaging than not gathering feedback at all (Naomi Karten).
29. In order to understand a system, you should try to change it (Kurt Lewin).
30. Culture is by far the best excuse for not changing. Don’t try to understand, rationalize or categorize culture. Rather, take it as a given and learn to navigate it.

Branding an SAP Project


Managers of successful IT projects are often those who bring brand recognition to their project. Successful IT projects have managers that understand the value of communicating regularly to business stakeholders.
The science of brand management brings many marketing communication skills to the arena of project management in order to establish and keep at the forefront the value of the SAP project being engaged in.
Branding has been around for ages. To see branding, we simply have to look at the logos on our favorite products or the slogans, names and colors that are associated our favorite sports teams. These images, colors and phrases are all ways of branding. The purpose is to impress components of your brand – certain colors, key phrases, shapes, images and sounds —into your audience’s mind repeatedly.
SAP Project Branding is to imbue the project with certain qualities or characteristics that make it special or unique. A brand image may be developed by attributing a "personality" to or associating an "image" with a project, whereby the personality or image can be "branded" into the consciousness of End-users.
Not all projects will benefit from branding. If your SAP project is very short-lived or will not have a significant impact on a large number of people, the time and thought spent on branding may be wasted. In order for a brand to be effective, it must have a target upon which to land and the value of the project must merit the effort to brand. In addition, value can be a primary concept conveyed by the brand.
Your SAP project brand will require words, color, and design upon which your communication team will agree. You may require senior management buy in for your brand, to ensure it is in keeping with overarching corporate goals and standards. An ideal brand name or slogan will convey some of the project benefits, thereby reinforcing the project value whenever the brand is used.
As communication experts, your team should be fully competent in the skills required to do so. They’ll include developing style guidelines for your various project communications as well as planning the frequency and scope of such communications so that they are correctly targeted and memorable to those who receive them. Project newsletters, websites, logos, stylized graphics and icons are all vehicles for reinforcing your SAP project brand.
If you think the ideal brand name is SAP ERP Implementation. You should develop your brand around that. Many companies develop a obscure name for example "Vision 2020" and put it on T-shirts the problem is the first question everybody asks is what is "vision 2020" and you have to tell them it's an SAP ERP Implementation. Remember you are not marketing a new car you are marketing an internal IT project. Keep it simple.

SAP Change Managers Are Your Skills Current?

In my job, I get to interview many potential Organizational Change managers. It amazes me that so many are weak on the tools they need to use to communicate and deliver eLearning to end-users.
End-users expect ever more sophisticated communication and training solutions to be delivered by their SAP Project management team. Nevertheless, a recent candidate with many years of experience told me he has to ask his nephew for help to use PowerPoint to add animations.
As change managers, we now need to write in HTML and deliver eLearning in Flash. We must produce videos and add audio with James Earl Jones-like voiceovers in three languages. So, how do you keep up your software skills, from Excel to Flash, and embrace all media, from wikis to metatags?
Let’s use the new media by making a quick check of YouTube where lots of free, state of the art software video training for change managers is available. The following are some video's demonstrating basic OCM tool skills.
This training video "Making a Gantt chart in Excel 2007" is great for learning how to develop a quick Training Plan in Excel 2007, plus it provides a quick refresher on how to create a chart. If you want to take it to another level check out "Excel Gantt Chart with Visual Indicator."
For managing communication plans and student class rosters I cannot live without VLOOKUP and Drop down menus. Some good video's include "VLOOKUP in Excel 2007" and "Creating drop-down menus in Excel 2007."
The learning curve on Office 2007 and the new menu Ribbons changes the ground rules. Therefore, it is really good to get a refresher on how themes replace design templates in PowrPoint and how they are accessible in Excel and Word. Remember one part of IT Project Branding is consistent color coordination and use of design standards. A good overview video is "PowerPoint 2007 Demo: Add fonts, colors, and effects."
With so much video content now available – you will have to "Embed YouTube Video into PowerPoint 2007". Note you will need a live internet connection for this to work.
This MicroSoft application is going to be a big part of our lives going forward. We use it where I work and almost all companies that we have completed projects for over the last couple years. From document management to workspace collaboration it is a winner.
So here a few of my favorites "Explore the SharePoint Site", "Create a Customer Dashboard in SharePoint" and "Link SharePoint 2007 with Outlook 2007."
Just a recap. Keep your skills current or you will become as dated as yesterday’s rotary phone!

Toolkit For Organizational Change

Google Book link for Toolkit for Organizational Change 

Toolkit For Organizational Change" is a thoroughly 'student friendly' and comprehensive introduction to the techniques, methods, and 'tools' for effectively creating and implementing change in an organization

CAWSEY: Toolkit for Organizational Change

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Change Management in Practice: Why Does Change Fail?

Chessboard with Checkmate Position

Resistance to change may be active or passive, overt or covert, individual or organized, aggressive or timid and on occasions totally justified.

Sadly most significant change fails to meet the expectations and targets of the proposers. The failure is given the catchall name resistance, yet resistance can be principled and creative as well as from vested interest. Top management is frequently unreasonable in its expectations and time scale, forgetting the process it went through when it decided to make the change.

An effective change manager will prepare an organization for change in the early stages of project definition and stakeholder review, by taking managers through a similar sales process and responding to their apparent resistance: the creative conflict.

This process is likely to improve the project definition and buy in. It will also ensure that it is clear the moment resistance becomes vested interest.

It is unrealistic to expect an independent change manager to tackle vested interest resistance but the change director can use his or her intervention as a signal to the organization - such interventions should be few but telling.

An independent change manager is a cross between a foil and a lightning conductor - the foil ensuring that positive energy is deflected to the right place, the lightening conductor removing negative energy from the organization.

Avoiding failure: managing resistance

Resistance is a key element in why change fails. A recent informal UK survey of 120 government transformation programmes identified that:

  • 15% achieved their objectives
  • A further 20% failed to achieve their objectives but were nevertheless regarded as satisfactory
  • 65% were unsatisfactory.

A subsequent discussion forum on identified 7 key reasons why change fails. (The list is virtually identical to one made by Kotter at Harvard 15 years ago).

  1. The organisation had not been clear about the reasons for the change and the overall objectives. This plays into the hands of any vested interests.
  2. They had failed to move from talking to action quickly enough. This leads to mixed messages and gives resistance a better opportunity to focus.
  3. The leaders had not been prepared for the change of management style required to manage a changed business or one where change is the norm. "Change programmes" fail in that they are seen as just that: "programmers". The mentality of "now we're going to do change and then we'll get back to normal" causes the failure. Change as the cliche goes is a constant; so a one off programme, which presumably has a start and a finish, doesn't address the long-term change in management style.
  4. They had chosen a change methodology or approach that did not suit the business. Or worse still had piled methodology upon methodology, programme upon programme. One organisation had 6 sigma, balanced scorecard and IIP methodology all at the same time.
  5. The organisation had not been prepared and the internal culture had 'pushed back' against the change.
  6. The business had 'ram raided' certain functions with little regard to the overall business (i.e. they had changed one part of the process and not considered the impact up or downstream) In short they had panicked and were looking for a quick win or to declare victory too soon.
  7. They had set the strategic direction for the change and then the leaders had remained remote from the change (sometimes called 'Distance Transformation') leaving the actual change to less motivated people. Success has many parents; failure is an orphan.

Very few organisations will manage all 7! However any one in isolation will make the change programme inconsistent and aggravate resistance. Advance planning and stakeholder management will avoid some of these pitfalls. Furthermore the list is an invaluable diagnostic tool for identifying why (and where) resistance is taking place, giving an opportunity to defuse resistance by correcting the mistake.


  • Resistance can be healthy (a pearl can result)
  • Unknown, unanticipated, unquantified, unaddressed resistance will always be dangerous.
  • A badly thought out process and implementation will always result in resistance
  • An independent change manager can bring the independence, experience, and objectivity to manage resistance.
  • A successful change is essential in creating a change culture

Source -