2017 new challenge again.

Since December last year have been requested to join an big international company. This company is an important manufacturer of wireless Systems and Telco Software Solutions. It’s a challenge without any doubt, I must develop business in those areas where I’ve been working since many years: Italy, Spain and Portugal, Latin America and Mexico. I must enhance its brand awareness, fight against hard competition and give fast results to my board.

You could ask me how could I accept this challenge, so difficult and with a high grade of being unsuccessful. I simply answer: because I believe in myself and I believe in the people who is supporting me.

I’m always trusting people and his capacity to help me. I’m always learning and my attitude is focused on facilitating proactivity. In this way, everywhere I go, I can find high level support and a lot of people willing to help me even in the most difficult activities.

I don’t want to make a long speech about management and managers’ qualities, everything has been discussed many times in my blog. What I can say is that in my work I simply apply what I think is right for me and my colleagues, everything based on an absolute respect but paying attention to establish targets and following up activities aimed to reach our goals.

Today the market asks you to be fast and is asking you to be a killer, avoid errors and straight to the target. Is not easy, I know but is a must if you want to be successful. The “funny” thing is that most of the time, well prepared people able to support you and giving you a high value is just working close to you! Simply they need to be involved deeply and, above all, stimulate them to give their own opinion on how to solve problems, address customers or modify processes to be more effective.

I think that this experience will be very important for me and definitely will make me grow again professionally and as a human being.

Hope to be able to start writing more often about this, because this experience deserves it.

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Last post of the year

Year end is coming. I would like to take the occasion to write my last post of the year. 2015 represented a complicated year for me, due to many reasons related to my family and my job. Sad events, my mother and my mother in law passed away. Happy events like my daughter’s birth.

Dealing with a start-up company in a very tough market is not easy. I had to manage sales worldwide with different problems coming from limited staff, brand awareness, strong and sometimes unfair competition. It took some time but at the end we reached a good customer base that could assure us acceptable revenue for 2016.

I must say that 2015 was a very challenging year. I had to manage different issues trying to avoid being overwhelmed and, above all, oblige myself to focus and keep stress at a certain level. Sometimes I did it well, sometimes not. What I can say is that in those situations where I was so tired and disconsolate, I could recover very fast because my values in which I strongly believe, helped me a lot. Family, obstinacy and dedication to work.

I had to put priority many times and I did it sometimes with ratio, sometimes helped by my instinct, advised by my wife who I endlessly thank for her nearness and love. Without her I couldn’t do what I did.

2015 gave me my 50. A very important birthday isn’t it? A very important achievement too. You are feeling wiser and due to your experience you can argue with a different approach. You are feeling stronger and in some occasions you act like you didn’t before. It seems that your subconscious is telling you that now you don’t have nothing to loose, so if sometimes you must tell your opinion in a very strong way and make people understand that they are a fucking assholes you do it!

It happened to me and you can’t believe how good you are feeling after.

Now I have to think about 2016 and my goals to be reached that are quite important and demanding. Both for my family and my job. I don’t want to spend some words on that because it makes no sense. I have clear ideas in my mind. Not so many but few, quite studied and of course absolutely reachable.

2016 will be a very good year, I’m pretty sure. Of course much will depend on me, something from other events and the help of God.

I would like to wish you all the best for 2016, looking forward to hearing from you very soon.

Ercole

La ricerca continua del successo attraverso l’innovazione.

Alla vigilia di un evento sulle telecomunicazioni dove presenterò il portfolio attuale e futuro di Youncta, mi sembra opportuno fare alcune considerazioni frutto del lavoro svolto fino ad oggi per indirizzare il nostro mercato di competenza.

hand pushing innovation button on a touch screen interfaceLa ricerca continua del successo attraverso l’innovazione sembra un tema banale, più volte discusso in diverse occasioni, trito e ritrito, ma allo stesso tempo sottolinea il fatto che un’azienda non può fare affidamento su un portfolio prodotti che rimanga immutato per anni. Un’azienda che vuole rimanere nel mercato a lungo ed essere vincente deve per forza innovare.

E fino a qui tutti d’accordo.

Ma allora permettetemi di sottolineare due punti che considero importati:

Primo: innovazione si, ma non solo sui prodotti. Dobbiamo considerare che anche i servizi che questi prodotti offrono, devono per forza essere innovativi. Se parliamo dei prodotti di Youncta, i ponti radio, dobbiamo pensare che oltre ad uno sforzo di R&D per rendere i prodotti competitivi sotto vari aspetti che variano dalle funzionalità alla facilità di installazione e controllo dei sistemi, questi ponti radio dovranno offrire diversi servizi e soprattutto permettere ai nostri clienti di crearne dei propri. L’approccio all’innovazione, in questo caso, sembra senza dubbio rivoluzionario. Rivoluzionario perché stiamo cambiando la percezione che si aveva fino ad oggi del ponte radio, proiettandola in un’altra dimensione che si avvicina al mondo del Cloud ed alle applicazioni personalizzate che si trovano nei vari e-shop.

image-07-fullIn Youncta ci siamo resi conto che un cavallo vincente per avere successo nel mercato é quello di rendere i nostri prodotti molto più interessanti di altri grazie alla possibilità di renderli personalizzabili. I nostri clienti in futuro saranno in grado di progettarsi le loro applicazioni ed integrarle nei nostri sistemi come oggi si fa con i cellulari dopo aver comprato le applicazioni online. Nel caso in cui risulti difficile per il cliente la realizzazione di una particolare applicazione, la potrà sempre comprare nel sito Online di Youncta o direttamente farla progettare da noi.

Secondo: Innovazione anche nelle strategie di marketing e vendita.

Innovare in questo campo richiede particolare attenzione alle esigenze dei propri clienti e si collega ovviamente al portfolio prodotti. La strategia di vendita che Youncta ha adottato e adotterà negli anni futuri ha come base il valore che i propri prodotti possono fornire e risponde alla seguente domanda: come posso offrire ai miei clienti soluzioni vantaggiose che facciano risparmiare e diano la possibilità di guadagno in diversi settori di mercato? E ancora. Come posso offrire soluzioni “a prova di futuro” che possano permettere ai nostri clienti un investimento duraturo?

Le attività di marketing e vendita, che partiranno questa settimana durante l’evento accennato poc’anzi, sottolineeranno come i prodotti attuali e di nuova generazione potranno fornire soluzioni uniche che permetteranno risparmi nelle operazioni di installazione e collaudo e di assistenza tecnica, di supervisione di rete e monitoraggio dei sistemi installati. Oltre al notevole risparmio nelle cosiddette Operations, verrà evidenziata l’importanza del software di apparato che da qualche tempo ha guadagnato un peso notevole nel design dei nuovi sistemi di telecomunicazioni.

Grazie al software i clieY-SDSnti di Youncta potranno contare su un portfolio di servizi e funzionalità definite e una totale flessibilità legata ad ulteriori servizi e funzionalità che potranno essere progettati dagli stessi clienti secondo le proprie necessità utilizzando applicazioni personalizzate. Questi servizi e funzionalità potranno essere offerti anche agli utenti delle diverse reti in cui verranno installati i ponti radio Youncta generando ricavi per gli operatori. Tutto ciò potrà essere fatto per diversi anni grazie all’utilizzo di un layer Java multi-lingua su un OS Linux che potrà essere aggiornato e migliorato continuamente.

In conclusione Youncta ha deciso di investire nell’innovazione di prodotti che fino a poco tempo fa venivano considerati un semplice elemento di rete adibito al trasporto dell’informazione, il ponte radio. La sfida é quella di far passare questi sistemi a un livello di “intelligenza” superiore che permetterà di integrare i ponti radio Youncta nelle reti di prossima generazione con un ruolo totalmente diverso rispetto al passato.

Running and Problem Solving

Not so much time to write something in my blog. Family, business, too busy, I know. But today I would like to share something because I think is very interesting. Something related to one of my hobbies: running.

Some years ago I had to start some sport activity for health, my work too often obliged me to have a sedentary life, too much I must say. Running for me was the right compromise:  I could do it everywhere, even during my business trips. Today I spend some hours during the week in Italy or abroad running in nice places, and the funny thing is that it seems that this activity helps me a lot to relax, to open my mind and to solve problems.

Since last year my work is quite complicated and I need to concentrate a lot, facing very tough situations and trying to change strategy very often. When I run I try to think how to solve my problems and i must say that it works. It seems that when I run my mind is more reactive than usual and I can analyze all details of my business in a very clear way.

IMG_0115When you run, depending the distance you plan to cover, you need to “organize” your efforts, trying to maintain a rhythm during some kilometers, going slowly when you climb or increasing your speed when going down using the slope to help you.

This kind of activity is stimulating you to better analyze problems, finding out the right way to isolate significant parts and setup the correct solutions. Simply speaking, exercise boosts your mental performance and I can state that is true.

Running is also helping you to improve your performance day by day, month by month and year by year. Is a matter of dedication, some effort and a lot of tenacity but at the end results are really impressive.

So I really recommend to my colleagues and followers to think about this simple activity that can be very helpful for your health and work. If you start with some slow and controlled sessions, you’ll see how you can improve. Results are really impressive.

2015 goals in a challenging business environment

January is gone and after one of the first important business trips spent in Europe and Asia, I take a while thinking about my goals for this year.

2015 will be a decisive year for my company. Youncta must reach a good level of customer’s bchallengease and start maintaining the revenue flow agreed with our investors. In addition, our sales strategy will be based on a very strict and selective attitude dealing with business opportunities: we’ll follow up them constantly, deciding if each of them will be successful or simply a lost of time and resources. We’ll try to avoid defocusing and concentrate our efforts in the most promising accounts.

Local and international partnerships are very important for Youncta, that’s why we need to clearly transmit  our objectives also to them.  Results must be assured in an effective way without spending too much time addressing wrong customers.

After a very tough 2014, the last of at least 4 years of very hard economic downturn,  our experience teaches us that there is no space for unnecessary business development activities. Besides that, in order to address our market in the most competitive way, we need to apply a strict and continue cost reduction policy together with new product releases with up to date features.

It will be a very difficult year but I can say that in our market sectors we can see a good positive trend. Customers are asking us for solutions that can permit them to make their networks grow in the most flexible and scalable way. We are receiving very positive feedbacks from many Countries where next generation networks are under implementation and I can state that in the future 3 years we’ll se an increasing demand for connectivity.

I’m very convinced that the coming years will bring us quite a lot of business but, as usual, we need to be ready to fight in this challenging business environment.

What I mentioned before is part of our commercial strategy, not so may concepts but very clear. Very clear as the fact that to be competitive we need also to excel in quality and operations.

Best_in_ClassI’ve been already experiencing what does it mean to loose customers because of bad services and poor quality and what I can firmly say is that today nobody has many chances to recover. Customers have many alternatives and don’t mind anymore if you’ll be the supplier or not. Sentimentalisms are disappeared, today rules are different.

Rules that oblige you to take decisions sometimes very difficult but vital for your company to survive. Talking about quality and operations Youncta will be very exigent with R&D and supply chain. We want to offer a very high profile product portfolio and services and because of that we’ll review our partnerships. Contract Manufacturing will be a key point of discussion.

So, this is what I wanted to share at this stage of our sales strategy setup for 2015. I would like to invite you to follow up me during coming months, more interesting arguments will come.

Once again a new challenge!

After many months without publishing in my blog I take the occasion to spend some words with my readers, now is definitely time to come back to you!

2014 was a very tough year for everybody. I have been involved with my company EdEr International in many projects focused on bursting sales worldwide, dedicating time and a big effort to try to reachIMG_0930 some acceptable targets. Fortunately results came and with them a very important opportunity for me. I’ve been part since the beginning of a new challenging project dealing with the Spin-off of an entire division producing microwave Point – to Point links. This operation started early last year and finished in June.

At the end, a new company called Youncta was born from the ashes of very old group to become in few months a new presence in the telecomErcole Rovida @ Sviaz Expocom Moscowmunication market.  Youncta has been financed by a big industrial reality from Siberia called Micran with the target to join efforts with Youncta and address the market with a new innovative andcompetitive portfolio.

I’ve been convinced to leave temporarily my company and join Youncta as Head of Sales & Marketing after some months evaluating the potentials of the new company in the market and discussing with the board members of Micran about our future common strategies. This is mainly the reason why I spent a lot of time away from my blog. Since August 1st 2014, the official date of my appointment I’m working full time to develop from scratch this new business worldwide, establishing new strategic partnerships and recover some customers we lost during the spin-off process.

From now on I’ll try to dedicate more time to my blog asking you to participate actively as well, contacting me as you please to propose arguments or comment my articles. I’ll be very pleased if you can.

So, looking forward to propose you new interesting treats.

Status quo is more dangerous than unknown

Nice sentence, really nice sentence that reflects a very actual situation experienced with some companies. After years fighting against a complicated market I can firmly state that one of the most critical attitute of many managers and their staff is to fight against the change and defending old rules and processes with all their efforts.

It is quite common inside companies that have to speed up their change that many people are absolutely contrary to follow new management and consequently new rules and processes. This is a matter of fact.
Is quite easy to avoid new challenges while thinking that things are going properly and there is no need to spend time, resources and money in activities that apparently (for those people) don’t drive you anywhere.

Is the most critical and hard to eliminate evil inside an organization. Those who hold this “conservative and strategy blindness” views are more likely to be closed-minded, conformist and resistant to change.

I have been experiencing this situation many times in big and small companies, there is no20131123-122732.jpg difference. This kind of attitude persists in every place where you see worsened or really bad business results.

The only way to overcome this situation when you enter in a company with such problem, for my point of view, is to work closely to managers and “convince them” that the only way to make things going better is to change accordingly to the market requests, showing clearly and if necessary rudely their business results and their trend and the way to make the situation change.
It’s not an easy job because you are new and for existing staff you are not so trustable. Nothing personal but everybody is thinking that you never could understand their company and the relative business dinamics.
Then you should adopt the bottom up approach in addition to the top down in order to spread as much as possible the new philosophy that must be followed in the company.
It will take time, often too much time compared to the slot you have for showing results to owners, partners or investors but this is how we need to proceed.

In parallel to this process we can call “awareness and acceptance of the reality” you should deeply analize the organization and key employees to see how changes must be applyed.

One point I considered really important and reminds me last article I posted some months ago, is that who is responsible to this transformation program must maintain key people informed motivated and engaged. Everybody must be aware that changes in the company are effective and business trends are improving or at least are not getting worst.

Second point that is quite critical and is an argument that nowadays is one of the most discussed is workforce reduction that unfortunately is a process quite often unavoidable. I don’t want to go deeply into discussion because is very complicated and must be treated with the help of and expert HR manager, but also in this case informaton is the key. All the relevant parts, syndicates, managers and social organisms must be kept updated on the evolution of the company justifying as much as possible and with the help of concrete information why some decisions have been taken and the expected results.

Hope that this few words can help some friends or colleagues involved like me in this hard situation, hoping that in a near future we could discuss about better and more relaxing arguments.

 

Success is coming if employees are engaged, aligned, and motivated to win.

Some days ago I was reading an article from a well known management magazine and I stopped thinking about a sentence I think is the essence of success in business: if you want to be really successful you must have employees engaged, aligned, and motivated to win. That’s the real truth!
I agree 100%.

During my experience in company restructuring, dealing with projec20130618-235240.jpgts less or more complicated, if you can’t count on employees who can feel part of the process, constantly up to date with your guidelines and motivated to reach your goals in a win-win approach, for sure you’ll not be able to be successful and you’ll absolutely feel to be a looser.

That’ sad but, believe me, if you are experiencing like me a deep process of company reshaping with a strong change management environment and you see employees not to be in such a mood, you should completely agree with me.

A leader must check everyday if his first line management and relative staff are following him straight to his objectives with dedication, proactivity, focus and motivation.
If this doesn’t occur he must setup meetings where he must spend some time to review the situation with his organisation, try to understand problems and, above all, involve people to make them be part of the game.

If necessary he should meet people separately but always with the aim to make them feel important and establish the most clear and open dialog.
Even the “less considered” employee can give important contributions.

Today business is becoming more and more complex and to be successful against competitors, gaining market share where many companies once very powerful, more powerful than your company, have lost, is really difficult.

With the right team of people, technically prepared and motivated to win, for sure will not be easy but the probability to reach successfully the goal will tremendously increase.
What I’m realising today is a tremendous lack of people able to stay with you and fight into the market. The actual downturn environment, constantly affecting behaviours doesn’t help.

I meet many people coming from different companies and the attitude is alway the same: depression, negative thinking, absolutely not motivated and more.
And I’m not talking about low level and not skilled people, not at all!
This is a huge problem in many organisations, sometimes not easy to solve and strictly depending on the management that quite often and unfortunately is affected as well.

I’m more and more convinced that this is an issue we are going to leave with for a long time. The remedy is obvious, managers must be able to make a deep change in their attitude, promoting all those actions made to improve or promote engagement, alignment and motivation.

And this must be done even if the same managers must put their trouble behind and hide worries. Without the right team, you’ll go not so far away.

Dear readers,
Hope this short talk will be of interest. My advice is to do all the best you can to make your people delighted to work with you.

You’ll be a winner, your team will be a winning one and your customers unbelievably happy.

Remodelación de la organización de ventas en un escenario internacional.

Muchas veces he tenido la ocasión de ocuparme de reorganizar, o bien remodelar un departamento de ventas cambiando completamente el rumbo y la estrategia comercial. Me gustaría compartir algunas consideraciones con mis lectores porqué considero muy importante hoy en día reflexionar sobre cómo ha cambiado el mercado y coBusinessmo una empresa tiene que enfrentarse a él.

Para poder hacer eso hay que fijar la atención sobre unas actividades fundamentales que antes eran solo típicas de las grandes empresas multinacionales y que ahora, tal como ha cambiado el mercado, tienen que ser parte integrante de cada empresa que quiera expandir su negocio hacia los mercados internacionales.

Estudio de mercado. En mi opinión, todas las empresas tienen que estudiar su mercado. Hoy ya no es suficiente tener una noción limitada y poco detallada del mercado que se quiere  tratar. Hoy es necesario tener un profundo conocimiento del mercado y especialmente de los competidores. Conocer el mercado significa saber cómo hacer una correcta estrategia de precios y estar seguros que las características de los productos son las requeridas por los clientes. Y  esto nos lleva al punto siguiente.

Estudio del producto. Estamos seguros que un producto que se vende perfectamente en Europa puede venderse del mismo modo en Asia? No es fácil decirlo pero es fundamental averiguarlo. Muchas veces hace falta un pequeño cambio en su presentación o en algunas de sus características para poder tener éxito en otro mercado. A veces necesitamos cambios extremos y es muy importante y estratégico saber decidir si merece la pena gastar tiempo, dinero y recursos para ir hacia un mercado que a lo mejor puede ofrecer menos de lo que se piensa.

Tenido en cuentas estas dos actividades fundamentales, podemos empezar nuestras consideraciones. El hecho que nombraras Estudio de mercado y Estudio de producto tiene una razón muy sencilla. Hoy los comerciales que no saben cómo enfrentar estas dos actividades, sin duda alguna tienen que apuntarse a cursos y ponerse al día porqué no hay vuelta atrás. Sin estos dos pilares del desarrollo de negocio hoy en día, con la globalización de los mercados y la guerra comercial que tenemos que enfrentar no se puede tener éxito.

El problema fundamental que he encontrado en muchas empresas es que la mayoría de las veces los “comerciales” son sencillamente gestores de cuentas. No desarrollan negocio sino llevan unas cuentas años, en situaciones extremas ni se levantas de la silla para ir a ver el cliente. Es una gestión puntual donde cada año se discuten volúmenes, precios y descuentos. Esto pasa por una sencilla razón:  hace unos cuantos años si tenias un buen producto,  tu mercado, fundamentalmente local, se ampliaba con un “boca a boca”, con la publicidad y no hacia mucha falta tener que luchar como hoy para mantenerte los clientes y buscar nuevos.

Está claro que con una fuerza comercial de este tipo si se pierde un cliente, es muy difícil tener otro y consecuentemente tu facturado se ve reducido periódicamente.

Entonces que necesitan hoy las empresas que quieren reorganizar sus departamentos de ventas?

Las empresas hoy necesitan comerciales preparados que tengan una experiencia de al menos 5-10 años en el extranjero y sepan manejarse en un mercado extremadamente variable con muchos competidores dispuestos a hacer el más duro  “dumping comercial” para poder ganar terreno y erosionar porciones de mercado.

Estos profesionales además de saber idiomas a un nivel muy alto tienen que revisar todo el portafolio de productos y/o servicios y decidir cómo enfrentar el mercado: manteniendo el mismo portafolio pero cambiando la estrategia de marketing o variando el portafolio eliminando productos obsoletos para concentrarse sobre otros más nuevos con buena penetración en el mercado.

Cada responsable de ventas debe “caracterizar” cada cliente preparando un plan comercial donde tiene que describir el cliente en los mínimos detalles, parte financiera, plan estratégico de inversión en nuevos productos, suministradores actuales, contactos y poder decisional en la organización….

Sé que parece un montón de trabajo pero solo así se  puede enfocar el cliente en la  mejor manera y especialmente saber  seleccionar los clientes que pueden ser estratégicos y otros que  no resultan apetecibles. En conclusión, se evita gastar tiempo, recursos y obviamente dinero en cuentas que no serán nunca rentables.

Reorganizar o remodelar un departamento de ventas no es fácil, en absoluto, pero hay que decir que tampoco es imposible, tenido en cuenta la cantidad de información que hay a disposición y que justo habla de cómo hacerlo. Hace unos años el networking y las redes sociales ni existían. Hoy podemos encontrar fácilmente muchísima documentación preparada por los más conocidos y eminentes expertos en materia.

No quiero pararme demasiado hablando de cuantos profesionales de ventas se necesita, todo depende de muchos elementos, empezando por la dimensión de la empresa, los productos, el mercado y la facturación deseada.

Lo que sí quiero subrayar una y otra vez es la profesionalidad y la preparación que tienen que demostrar estos perfiles comerciales. Independientemente del tamaño de la empresa.

Una última consideración. Un comercial tiene que ser comercial, aunque es muy importante tener una preparación técnica siempre más especializada, tampoco hay que pretender que quien vende tenga que saber discutir la materia técnica como alguien de I+D. Hay que entender que un comercial aunque tenga que conocer los productos que vende tiene siempre que ser suportado por uno o más técnicos. Para vender con éxito es fundamental el equipo técnico comercial.

Estos pocos conceptos que considero muy importantes son en mi modesta opinión fundamentales para poder empezar a moverse en este nuevo mercado globalizado donde se requiere una fuerte gestión del cambio, una consecuente versatilidad en enfrentarse a distintas situaciones variables y especialmente, una constante optimización de costes y recursos.