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.

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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.

Sviluppo vendite e time to market

Una caratteristica del mio blog è il fatto di pubblicare articoli in diverse lingue a seconda della situazione, del paese in cui mi trovo o di altri motivi che influiscono anche inconsciamente. Oggi ho scelto di scrivere nella mia lingua natale perché quello che vorrei condividere è frutto di un’anaTime to Marketlisi che ho fatto sulle piccole e medie imprese italiane.

Dato per scontato che la situazione del mercato é alquanto complessa e viviamo situazioni tra loro contrastanti e che alternano momenti che fanno sperare a una ripresa e altri che ci spingono a pensare al peggio, analizzando le mia attività di sviluppo business ed internazionalizzazione presso diverse aziende sono arrivato alla conclusione che nella maggior parte dei casi la decisione di contrattare i miei servizi e di affrontare quindi un nuovo mercato o sviluppare l’esistente arriva assolutamente troppo tardi.

Per diversi motivi: paura di investire, incertezza sui risultati futuri legati a una nuova strategia di vendita, mentalità antiquata e totale avversione per l’innovazione, paura di sbagliare, controllo sommario sulla situazione finanziaria aziendale che può pregiudicare i rapporti commerciali con partner o collaboratori. Potrei continuare ad elencare decine di altri motivi ma preferisco andare oltre e riprendere il filo del discorso.

Moltissime aziende italiane hanno aspettato mesi, per non dire anni, prima di affidarsi a dei professionisti per rilanciarsi sul mercato, questo ha causato irrimediabilmente la perdita di quella finestra temporale utile a presentate in modo opportuno i propri prodotti o servizi.

Il problema fondamentale é che queste aziende in difficoltà ti chiamano solo quanto si rendono conto che la situazione é insostenibile e che devono fare qualcosa con la massima celerità. Ma qual’è il grosso problema? Semplicemente che si pretende di trovare una soluzione immediata grazie alla quale l’immagine aziendale migliora, i clienti aumentano insieme al fatturato e l’azienda come per incanto ricomincia a riprendersi.

Purtroppo questo in generale non accade mai e devo ammettere che nell’ambiente delle piccole e medie imprese é praticamente sconosciuto il concetto di time to market e tutto il processo legato al suo coretto raggiungimento. Molti imprenditori pensano di avere a disposizione i prodotti più belli e competitivi del mondo e pensano che solo per quello non ci sia bisogno di complicate azioni di marketing e comunicazione. Quando si prova a spiegare che ci vogliono dei “tempi tecnici” per entrare nel mercato ed avere successo, ti viene risposto che ti pagano apposta per ridurre i tempi ed attraverso i tuoi contatti riuscire a vendere rapidamente.

Altri seguono i tuoi consigli ed il processo di preparazione per l’indirizzamento dei settori di mercato selezionati. Poi perdono secoli a fornirti gli elementi necessari affinché questo avvenga nei tempi stabiliti. Si deve sollecitare più volte  la documentazione di prodotto e che ti vengano forniti i fattori differenziatori che potrebbero fare la differenza nel mercato. Una volta decisi i clienti potenziali, anche qui si ritarda nel fissare riunioni con conseguente prolungamento delle tempistiche commerciali.

E’ chiaro che non tutto dipende dal tuo cliente, spesso c’é altro che ritarda le operazioni. Per esempio nelle piccole aziende la tua interfaccia commerciale deve svolgere altre mille attività e non riesce a seguirti puntualmente, oppure non é sempre facile fissare riunioni nei tempi richiesti. In conclusione,  é proprio per questi motivi  che  i tempi si allungano e non si riesce ad essere effettivi.

Nella mia attività ho avuto modo di trovarmi decine di volte in queste situazioni. Alcune volte sono riuscito a risolverle, altre purtroppo no. Ho avuto casi in cui l’attività di vendita e sviluppo mercato é durata più di tre anni con dei risultati accettabili, e altri in cui la collaborazione si é limitata a pochi mesi senza poter concludere nulla.

Devo ammettere che questa é l’immagine attuale del mercato che sto affrontando in Italia. Si parla molto di rilanciare le piccole e medie imprese, di internazionalizzazione ma purtroppo vedo che risulta estremamente difficile avere successo se non si riesce a cambiare la mentalità di tanti imprenditori. Anche da parte del Governo ci vorrebbero delle azioni importanti che mirino a informare di più chi é intenzionato a partire con un progetto di “ri-ingenierizzazione” della propria azienda. E soprattutto devono essere estremamente semplificati i processi per accedere ai vari fondi, per la preparazione dei bandi e la selezione dei vincitori. Mi risulta incredibile che esistano dei processi che durino persino due anni. Come si fa ad essere presenti con efficacia nel mercato?

Siete convinti che  “time to market” può essere considerato un problema generalizzato che coinvolge tutti e che questo causa un incredibile stallo della nostra economia?

Are talented people retained by companies?

Some days ago I had a nice conversation about talented people and how they are treated by companies. After more than an hour talking about different experiences, I realized that in many cases these precious elements are not retained inside an organization and neither treated properly. Too often they are “obliged” to leave or even fired.

During my career I have faced many situations in which really valid people haven’t been considered in a proper way, myself included, and assigned to different tasks, 99% of the cases below their possibilities. The reasons why this happened were and still are many, I’ll try to synthesize them in the most effective way. Let’s see four examples.

retainLet’s talk about company restructuring, I’ve been involved in many of them. People are “mapped” in their positions and treated as numbers. Once the board decide the shape of the new company they start to move or cut people. Unfortunately almost never there is time enough and prepared HR able to select the right people for the right place and finally the results are really poor. I think many friends of mine know what I mean. Again, one of the worst enemies in this situation is time. Organizations must be reshaped in a very short time and this of course doesn’t help.

Another example is related to companies where the management and sometimes the board too, don’t want to be “menaced” by skilled people. It seems a joke but unfortunately is not. It is really depressing  to see that managers who could be really supported by those people, think that they could loose their position because of them. One of the most important thing I’ve learned during some management courses was the importance to have skilled people in your team and the fact that you can ascend most rapidly in your career thanks to that.  A strong, prepared and skilled team is a key to success.

Lack of meritocracy is finally the third reason. This is a general issue that you can find also in the previous examples, is part of the problem. Quite often people really prepared are not considered because they are not “supported” by someone with power inside the organization or again, HR is not able to identify them or evaluating them properly.  This situation causes a big loss of skilled people and who remains in the company works less because under-motivated.

“Old Fashioned management”. Be careful I’m not saying “old” management. I’m absolutely convinced that is a matter of mindset. I met people really older that me but more “up to date” on technology and innovation! Many times we meet people that it seems they are leaving like 15 years ago. Totally indifferent to what is asking the market, firmly convinced that they are gurus on his own competencies and you must accept what they tell you. This, as a matter of fact, is a huge problem and a big obstacle if you would like to be competitive in the market.  Strongly affects skilled people willing to give they full support for busting business and make organizations successful.

So, I think the previous points can arise good discussions and hopefully some readers of mine could also share some comments on that. To be honest there are many other reasons that influence negatively the life of talented people into an organization but I think the ones I mentioned represent a good part of them.

In order to reach a conclusion I must say that lack of meritocracy and poor retention rate is for me a characteristic quite present in Europe and for my experience in Italy and Spain is quite common.  I have been working inside many organizations and I must say that some elements concurring into bad performance are quite always related to what I just described before.

I really do hope that in the future companies could pay more attention on retaining their best employees. There are many ways to do it: developing expectations and make people think that they are REALLY part of the organization.

Talented people represent the highest value for companies and absolutely the best way to be present and successful in the future.

Doing busines fighting against uncertainty

Just back from my last business trip, I take a moment to meditate a bit on what is going to happen in next months. Which customers will continue cooperation with my company and which of them will unfortunately finish it.

uncertaintyWe are still experiencing tough times. Economic downturn is still “alive and kicking” and an element still affecting the day by day activities is uncertainty.

After founding two companies since 2009 I can say that the most unpleasant element which is always present everywhere is what I just mentioned. While we are fighting to maintain customers and do our best to expand their business, many times is hard to take strategic and managerial decisions because we are not able to retrieve all the elements we need.

First of all, and this is the most important one, because affects our balance-sheet is payments. Today many companies are working in a so called “limit situation” that means, you are the last of a chain of payments.

If your customer doesn’t receive money you are not paid or you are paid with delay. Another reason could be represented by the fact that you are considered as low priority because you are a consultant. Customers prefer to pay their employees first and then you. Again we are talking about delays. In this case I recommend avoiding dealing with customers paying you with too much delay. It’s better to look for new customers paying you less but regularly.

Anyway there are many other elements that influence this status of uncertainty like unclear sales strategy, management not properly willing to take decisions which may be very important for the future development of the company, products roadmaps not really established and respected, bad product performance and so on.

Having to deal everyday with this kind of “not so motivating” environment is quite expensive in terms of efforts and of course proper motivation. The unique way to fight against this is work at the highest level of quality and deliver a best in class service even when is not easy at all. This is the differentiator you must always show to everybody.

Today you are obliged mainly to live our business in this way and, above all, if you want that your company survive for the followings years, you are obliged to increase as much as possible your customer portfolio using a tactic I use to call “tireless”.

For doing this work up to 16 hours per day, trying to maximize my presence in social networks, maintaining up to date my company’s documentation for marketing and going to selected events where you can meet potential customers.

In this way, even I know is really hard, I can assure you that my business is going quite well and customer base is increasing, permitting me to be quite satisfied and happy to look at the future with a positive feeling.

You can ask why we should do this. The reason is quite simple. Customers acting in the way I described before are often unable to face the market in the proper way and sooner or later they will face serious problems. I experienced many cases where companies even closed forever. If you work with such kind of customers is quite sure that unfortunately you are going to lose them.

The market today is requesting high performance (see my previous post), good corporate image, best in class products and services. Competitors are so strong that you can win them only demonstrating that you are really better than them and, as you can see, is not always so easy.

La revista emprendedores habla de EdEr International Solutions. The magazine Emprendedores speaks about EdEr International Solutions.

Emprendedores, la revista mas popular de España sobre negocio, nuevas tendencias empresariales e innovación, en el numero de febrero dedica unas palabras al trabajo de EdEr International Solutions en la sección “Emprendedores con ingenio”. Para mi es un motivo de orgullo y una pequeña señal que el trabajo que mi socio y yo llevamos desarrollando desde hace años es reconocido y apreciado. Esta es la mejor manera de empezar el 2013, un acontecimiento que nos da mucho animo y fuerza para seguir adelante y alcanzar nuestros objetivos estratégicos.

Emprendedores, the most popular Spanish magazine of business, new entrepreneur tendencies and innovation, inthe February edition dedicates some words to EdEr International Solutions in the section “Emprendedores con ingenio”, “Entrepreneurs with Wit” . For me it is a source of pride and a small sign that the work my partner and I have been developing since years is recognized and appreciated. This is the best way to start 2013, an event that gives us much encouragement and strength to move forward and achieve our strategic objectives.

http://www.ederinternational.com

http://www.emprendedores.es/ideas_de_negocio/eder_international

Think Local, work global

Once again I would like to discuss, new business tendencies and above all rules I apply with my customers. Some days ago I was watching TV and suddenly I heard this sentence, “Think local and work global “.  This sentence could have different meanings; I try to tell you what I’m thinking about.

From my point of view, I think that actually is really important for many companies trying to local-globalwiden their market abroad. Italy for example has many companies mainly SMEs with a huge knowhow and an innovative product portfolio.

Unfortunately they are able only to move locally, they hire locally, design locally, as a matter of fact they do everything locally. Today new global markets oblige to widen strategies to new international markets. Local markets are getting smaller and smaller.

For this reason entrepreneurs must address new international markets, working global but preparing themselves and think about new strategies locally.  Locally we have a huge potential but it must be managed, morphed, adapted and above all customized to make these companies successful.

I’m experiencing different industrial environments and I can say that there is a fundamental problem in those companies.

A lot of managers and executives aren’t able to prepare their staff properly because they don’t think too much about how to face global markets before starting operations. I mean that a lot of preparatory activities are missing: market assessment, products potential or key differentiators, selection of international partners etc, etc…

It seems impossible but is like that!

Again “think local and work global” sounds so important, that I want to stress it again and again.

2012 was a really though year and 2013 at least the first months will be complicated as well.

A lot of SMEs must improve themselves as quick as possible in order to be competitive, managers should “think” how to involve personnel to find the way to increase revenues, towards a continue analysis and improvement of processes.

At the end of the day think that “globalize” business doesn’t always mean externalized activities and production abroad in the so called “chip manpower countries”. My recommendation is to focus on quality and think that coordination and steering must always be local, paying attention to international activities but maintaining control in your Country.

Is a way to assure that your brand, style or recognized services is well protected and supervised.

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

It’s not so simple but someone could say: “why a song can give you the sense of your business today? “

Harder better faster strongerSimple, this song resumes how businessmen like me and many millions more, must be today.

Harder: in your business you must harder, in many senses, harder against your competitors, harder in selecting customers; leave the ones that aren’t giving you good business in comparison to the hours spent “chasing” them. Harder in expressing your ideas; is better to show things clearly avoiding unpleasant misunderstanding that can compromise your job. Harder taking your decisions, I know that what I’m going to say is not so easy to accept but in your organization you should know who can be your trustable partner and if someone is not convincing you in terms of performances, give him/her some chances but at the end you must tell them to leave.

Better: Today everything must be done better. The market is requesting you best in class performances, continuous improvement. You need better products, better processes, better strategies and better partners. You must look for your key differentiators in order to show that you are better than others!

So, still thinking that this song doesn’t fit perfectly?

Faster:  If you are an entrepreneur or a manager you know that time is another element. You must be faster than competitors.  Not just in term of products to be launched in the market but you must be faster in taking strategic decisions, be analytic, extremely analytic,  be a faster filter of all those elements that are conducting you in some never-ending decisional processes. I know that is not so easy be fast especially when some decisions can hide big risks,  but unfortunately I experienced many times that to be successful in your business you must react very quickly.

Stronger: You don’t need just to be harder, better and faster, you need to be stronger too. Why? Because only people very strong can support the stress caused by such a though business environment. You need to be stronger in your daily routine; be able to work hard and dedicate time to your family too.  Stronger to fight tiredness, I’m working almost 15 hours a day with different customers and I must say that sometimes is not easy. If I shouldn’t be stronger than some years ago when I was working as an employee, today I couldn’t face this incredible economic crisis.

So , Thanks  Daft Punk, really well done!

EdEr International Solutions annuncia una campagna anticrisi – Bonsai Consulting Program

Cari amici,

E’  da tempo che ci si chiede come poter affrontare la crisi mantenendo i programmi di marketing e sviluppo vendite nazionale ed internazionale con uno stretto controllo dei costi, inevitabile per poter far quadrare i bilanci.

EdEr International solutions vuole proporre una nuova formula di dare servizi di consulenza ad un prezzo “bonsai” ovvero piccolo ma applicato a programmi che hanno le stesse caratteristiche e qualità di quelli che comunemente si vendono a prezzi più elevati.

Questa iniziativa non vuole svalutare la professionalità di chi da anni collabora con molte aziende italiane e straniere per migliorare lal loro presenza nel mercato e sviluppare le loro vendite, é un modo per poter aiutare quelle piccole e medie aziende che pur disponendo di prodotti innovativi non possono investire in servizi troppo costosi per promuoverli e indirizzare nuovi mercati.

EdEr International Solutions ha studiato dei programmi di consulenza articolati e condivisi con molte altre aziende dello stesso settore con lo scopo principale di ottimizzare risorse e ridurre i costi attraverso un processo comune di sviluppo, per questo siamo riusciti a creare un programma che presenta un particolare appeal, scalabile e soprattutto che consente di essere integrato con servizi superiori solo quando ne sorga la necessità e le condizioni economiche lo giustifichino.

Vi lascio una piccola presentazione e rimango a vostra disposizione per le vostre domande.

mail di contatto: bonsaiconsulting@ederinternational.com

Saluti.

Ercole

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