Monthly Archives: August 2013

Strategic Marketeer Skills & Personality Profile

Strategic Marketeer

Skills

  • Technologist
  • Business Process Engineering
  • Project Management
  • Selling – Educating
  • Motivating
  • Leading / Following
  • Socratic Method & Asking?
  • Listening
  • Perceiving Customer Need & Fit
  • Communicating
  • Strategic Marketing Competence

Personality Characteristics

  • Curiosity – Seeking to Learn and to Understand
  • Openness
  • Confidence
  • Desire to Serve Customers
  • Trusted Advisor
  • Ability to Focus
  • Leadership
  • Strong Intuition
  • Analytic
  • People Oriented
  • Aptitude
  • Attitude
  • Comfort Levels  – People Oriented, Need to Discover , Understand and Serve

The Feature, Function & Benefit Framework

The Feature, Function & Benefit Framework

What is the purpose of the Feature, Function & Benefit Framework?  The FFB Framework is the starting point for developing a sales strategy to persuade customers to buy your product.  We start with an Inventor looking to improve a product (see definition of product below) by adding/modifying/improving a component of the product which is then identified as a Feature of the product.  We then try to determine how the feature(s) improves the Function(s) of the products (i.e. cleaner, faster, stronger, cheaper, etc.) or something it could not do before. Once we get to this point, we ask who might need this improved function and why would they buy the product or how would a customer Benefit by using the product.  Hence, what would motivate a customer to buy your product?  Customers do not buy features and/or functions, they buy the benefits that could accrue to their organization and/or themselves if they used the product.   We will show that customer benefits are unique to each and every customer.  Therefore, we will examine customer Benefits in greater detail a little later.

The FFB Framework & Process – Even though we are in pursuit of customer benefits, we must first start with the identification of unique and/or better features, in order be able to identify how the feature improves the product function, to be able to gain insight as to who would be a customer and why they would use of this improved product to get benefits.

Let’s walk through an example of an invention of adding filter to pipe carry water to a customer community:

Feature Add filter
Function Reduce water contaminants
Benefit Safer water supply

The feature of adding the filter to the water pipe is the invention that came out of the discovery of the filters properties to remove contaminates and the perception that there was a need (i.e. safe drinking water) of the customer community (i.e. necessity is the Mother of Invention).

It is thought that letting the customer community know that they can now have safe drinking water that the members of the community will now want to buy water pipes with filters.

We will see that we are making assumptions that may not be founded on reality.  This approach of selling the idea of providing safe drinking water does not make sense if the customer community:

  1. Does not knows what a contaminate is
  2. Does not knows that the water is contaminated
  3. Does not use pipes to get water
  4. Does not have the funds to buy pipes with filters
  5. Does not perceive that they are suffering from maladies associated with unsafe water
  6. Not preoccupied dealing with a greater more imminent threat to their survival (i.e. being hunted)
  7. Does not trust the pipe sales professional, water pipe and/or water pipe company

We often hear that if we build a better mouse trap, people will beat a path to our doorstep.  The addition of a filter to the water supply pipe above, makes us realize that even the simplest of inventions may require a great deal of customer community education to have the customer perceive a need, let alone perceive that you are able to provide a solution.

We must know the customer’s frame of reference to begin to enable to perceive that they have a problem and only then can we enable them to perceive that a solution exists… “Reasons to Buy”.  Even then, we must deal with the “Reasons Not To Buy” as noted above when the customer did not have the funds to buy the pipe with the filter, customer has higher priority things to deal with when they are being hunted, and also the cultural issues associated with the lack of trust in using a pipe, from an unknown sales person produced by a pipe and filter manufacture they nothing about (see Selling Process or Selling Model).

The more a product is innovative when compared to the alternatives already in use, the greater the sales professional must be skilled at educating the customer to perceive that they have a need and to educate the customer that they are capable of providing a solution.  This is oftentimes referred to as being culturally “distruptive” to the current way of doing things.

Reasons to Buy: A “Commodity” sales professional is selling a well known product to someone looking for a lower price and/or delivery schedule. Whereas, An “Innovation” sales professional must:

  1. Know a lot about the customer to be able to perceive that a customer has a need/problem that they have a fit/solution (i.e. connecting the dots)
  2. Get the customer to perceive their need/problem and perceive that the sales professional has a fit/solution…. Highly skilled at conceptual/solution selling.

Innovation sales professionals typically impact customer operations bringing about significant organizational improvement benefits with greater financial advantages (i.e. ROI and faster Payback):

  • Customer Acquisition
  • Customer Retention
  • Market Share
  • Revenue
  • Margins
  • Risk Mitigation
  • In addition to Operating Cost Reductions

Reasons not to Buy: Both the Commodity and the Innovation sales professionals must overcome the ever present Reasons Not To Buy: Insufficient Funds, higher priority pressing matters impacting Timing and lack of Trust in the sales professional, product and/or product manufacturer.

See Selling Process or Selling Model in order get a better understanding ways of developing Reasons to Buy and overcoming Reasons not to Buy in order to achieve the sales objective of persuading customers to buy your product

Note: we are defining a “Product” as all hard goods, processes, methodologies and/or services.

If you would like to know more about our The Feature, Function & Benefit Framework and how to map out your strategic marketing, contact us (720) 352-3407 or email us at FFBFramework@prismbusdev.com .

Selling Process or Sales Model

Selling Process or Sales Model

The Selling Process, or Sales Model – is the process by which a Product Provider’s Sales Professional persuades a customer to purchase, deploy and adopt the use of the provider’s product.  Selling is the set of activities required to convince a customer to part with resources to be able to use the product in order to derive benefits that have value greater than the cost of the product.

Level of Product Innovation (LPI) – the LPI will dictate where the customer engagement selling/education and emotional connection needs to be made (person responsible and having the “Need Payoff”).

The Sales Process must be designed to provide the:

  1. Necessary points of customer contact engagement
  2. Customer contact Key Business Issues (KBIs)
  3. Sales professional activities, mapped to customer buying activities, needed to enable customers to make an informed and emotional decision to purchase, deploy and adopt the provider’s product.

The Selling Process is determined by the LPI and/or how well established the Need for the products.

If the product has high LPI, sometimes referred to as “Disruptive” to a customer’s traditional operations, then the sales professional must call on those impacted and responsible for the organization’s improvement to champion an Initiative to make use of the product to bring about the improvement.  The champion must provide resources to jointly evaluate alternatives, design a problem solution, and design an implementation plan with the provider’s sales and sales support team.  The champion expects the sales professional, product and provider company to deliver the promised improvement results.

If the product has low LPI, oftentimes the decision is in the hands of Procurement and a Buyer.  Buyers are charged with procuring the commodity at the lowest price and/or favorable delivery schedules etc.

Commodity Sales – Selling in an established market, with multiple providers of similar products, does not require customer product “Need-Fit” education.  Commodity Sales typically impact customer operations by lowering operating costs.

Innovation Sales – Selling products having high LPI, where customers do not yet perceive they have a problem “Latent Need” that is solvable “Latent Fit”, requires “Consultative” sales professionals.  The Consultative Sales Professional is an expert at “Connecting the Dots” between Latent or yet to be perceived needs and as yet to be specified solution requirements.  This requires the sales professional having a deeper understanding of the customer business objectives and operations, in order to develop Reasons-To-Buy (see below).  These highly skilled sales professionals are customer “Trusted Advisors” and Need-Fit educators.

These highly skilled sales professionals become customer “Trusted Advisors” and Need-Fit educators. Innovative Sales typically impact customer operations to bring about the following improvement benefits i.e. greater:

  • Customer Acquisition
  • Customer Retention
  • Market Share
  • Revenue
  • Margins
  • Risk Mitigation
  • Operating Cost Reductions

Both Commodity and Innovation sales scenarios require marketing programs and sales professional skills to overcome the Reasons-Not-To-Buy.  Therefore, the Sales Process must be designed to provide skills levels, sales activities and tools to address the Reasons To Buy and Reasons Not to Buy.

Reasons to Buy

Customers buy when they:

  1. Perceive that they have need and underlying problem(s) preventing them from organizational and personal success
  2. Perceive that the provider has fit or underlying solution to overcome their problem(s)

Reasons Not To Buy – Objections

Having convinced a customer to acquire the product is not enough!  The sales professional must also overcome the Reasons-Not-To-Buy (RNTB):

  1. Customer does not have the “Funds” to buy the product
  2. Customer has “other fish to fry” that have a higher “Priority” or they “do not have a gun against their head” forcing them to undertake another Initiative at this time “Timing
  3. Customer lacks “Trust” or confidence in sales professional, provider company and/or product to deliver needed results

Oftentimes, marketing can come up with program promotions to address funding and timing objections, and sales customer referrals and early adopter success stories can be effective in overcoming Trust objections.

Hard copy

If you would like additional information about Prism’s Selling Process Design capabilities, contact Prism at SellingProcess@prismbusdev.com