Should every business person in Europe be keen to stay in Europe ?

DO WE KNOW THE TRUE ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF LEAVING EUROPE ?

Dr. Rebecca Harding’s statistics highlight the benefits of increasing business with Europe.

Business needs Europe

•“I’d rather have 1% growth in a market worth £33bn than 10% growth in a market worth £5bn”
•Trade and the prevention of war are the basis of the European Union
•Trade with Europe is worth £301bn to the UK economy
•The value of the Euro is closely correlated with its trade and its trade with the UK
•The value of the Dax and the FTSE is closely correlated with European trade and trade with the UK
•Skills are highly correlated with high-end trade

 

UK’s top 20 import partners

 

Can anyone share conclusive evidence to counter Dr. Rebecca Harding’s statistics..?

Rebecca Harding – CEO, Delta Economics

Description: Rebecca Harding

Dr Harding is an independent economist, Founder and CEO of Delta Economics Ltd and Delta Economics Forum LLP. Recent clients of Delta Economics have included HSBC, Grant Thornton, HSBC, Microsoft, Prognos, the International Labour Organisation, the OECD, the European Union, Regeneris, BMAS (the German Ministry for Work and Social Affairs), the Women’s Enterprise Task Force, Prowess, the National Women’s Policy Centre and several of the Regional Development Agencies (www.deltaeconomics.com). In June 2008 she was awarded the Prowess Women’s Enterprise Researcher of the Year award and in June 2010 was admitted to the Worshipful Company of Management consultants.

You Outsource Your HR & IT, Why not Sales Outsourcing?

As a business owner or corporate executive, you must ask yourself, how can I turn over my company’s sales to an outside firm?  Sales is my lifeblood, it’s the company’s family jewels. I can’t possibly let someone else develop, manage and run with it, or can I?

Who will own the relationships with the clients? Will I lose control? What happens if something goes wrong?

Industry experts acknowledge that  business process outsourcing has become a standard business practice. Outsourcing functions like logistics, administration, help desk/ IT, payroll etc. can save you as much as 20%. What if outsourcing your sales functions could save you 30% in acquisition cost…AND INCREASE SALES REVENUE AND PROFIT MARGINS?

Total Solution Delivery

Are you tired of interviewing sales candidates due to turnover? Are you frustrated because forecasting and reality have nothing in common? Are you concerned that your salespeople are selling less, discounting like crazy, losing clients faster than they bring new ones on? By partnering with Sales Focus Inc. you can do what you do best and allow a results proven company do what they do best.

 


Business Process Outsourcing is making up over half of all outsourcing dollars spent in the market.  Sales Outsourcing makes up approximately 20% of the total outsourcing revenue with a 30% annual growth rate!

More and more companies, both large and small are looking for outsourcing providers who can bring value by;

  • Reducing their “Cost of Sales”
  • Increasing the Speed to Market
  • Scalable Sales Teams Able to Grow or Shrink Instantly
  • Improving Productivity of Existing Sales
  • Reducing the Turnover Rate
  • Increasing Client Acquisition and Satisfaction
  • Shortening the Sales Cycle

 

 

In studying some of the most productive sales teams in various industries, a core of key principles, beliefs, skills, and practices becomes apparent with those of the top tier. The best sales teams exhibit an energy, cohesiveness, and structure of process that allows them to dominate.  Here we will examine what choices and decisions you need to make in choosing your Sales Outsourcing provider so your company can focus on success.

REMOVE “TOTAL SOLUTION DELIVERY”

  1. What is Sales Outsourcing?

 

It is the transfer or development of sales resources, including all overhead expenses, such as recruiting, payroll, insurance, commission management, equipment, training, including the management responsibilities to an outside organization.  The outside organization, the outsourcing provider, has the responsibility to manage the sales team to meet corporate expectations and achieve results.

 

  1. What is causing an increase in demand for      Sales Outsourcing? 

 

“Sales Expertise” – Many organizations are launched by engineers, financial or operations type professionals.  They are able to grow a business to a certain level based on their expertise, but in order to achieve their next level of growth they need to look outside of the organization to find sales & marketing guidance and direction.

 

“Keeping a Focus” – Many large organizations have existing sales teams in place.  If you put too large of a burden on your existing sales team with new products, new geographies or new targets, they will lose their focus!  Using an alternative channel, such as a sales outsourcing organization allows a focused sales effort on a particular market segment or product.  Dedicated sales teams focused strictly on the SMB marketplace. Keep your existing teams focused on the big deals.

 

“Tactical Revenue” – Sales Outsourcing solutions, which range from advisory services to outsourcing services, focus on developing Tactical Revenue Plans that will help companies achieve the next level of growth quickly.

“Cost of Sales” – If an organization looks at the true cost of building, supporting and managing a sales force they would be surprised.  Many companies can’t tell you what the true “cost of sales” really is.  Sales Outsourcing offers clients a “fixed” cost of sales solution.  The average cost of sales outsourcing is much lower than developing your own sales team!

“Speed to Market” – Another factor is time to market, it’s much quicker for an outsourcing provider to have a well trained and managed sales team out the door making and closing business than to organically grow a team.  Outsourcing providers are constantly recruiting and have Sales processes in place and can produce results with “feet on the street” in 45 days or less.

 

 

  1. How does a business know it’s time to look at      sales outsourcing? 

 

If your organization needs to roll out a new service or open a new territory, Sales Outsourcing solutions provides a much quicker solution and allows their existing sales team to maintain their focus.

Or, if you currently don’t have a sales force in place and decide it’s time to grow.

Or, if your company has experienced one or more of the following problem areas like Stagnate Growth, High Turnover Rates, High loss Ratio or Low Margins.

 

  1. How large or small can a company be to      implement Sales Outsourcing? 

 

Most small and mid sized companies require assistance in generating tactical revenue strategies.  Large organization, Fortune 500 companies, also need the speed and flexibility of sales outsourcing where they can launch a sales force in a new territory in less than 45 days then have the ability to scale the project at a moments notice.  Large organizations with existing sales teams need to keep their sales people focused and not introduced too many new products or change direction too quickly.  Sales Focus is flexible to meet the demands of a changing economy. Feet on the street in less than 45 days across the US or global!  Scalable, flexible and focused!

  1. What differentiates Sales Outsourcing      companies?

 

Sales Outsourcing is still a growing industry that is becoming more and more crowded with new competitors.  It’s important to verify that the organization has had success in the development and launch of several sales teams.  They should have a minimum of 10 years experience in growing companies.  The Sales Outsourcing provider should have a clear understanding of vertical industries and the knowledge of differentiating between selling products and services.

 

If a technology services company needs to launch a sales team, the Sales outsourcing organization needs to have a strong understanding of technology and solution based selling techniques before they can effectively build and launch a sales force.

 

They must also possess strong sales organization development capabilities and have their sales processes well documented along with a solid launch process to get the team moving quickly.

 

Conclusion

In today’s aggressive environment, sales outsourcing assists companies in going to market quickly and effectively and provides them with an overall competitive advantage at a reduced cost of sale.  A true win/win solution.

 

Author:- Marilyn Horwath – Sales Focus Inc

Do you make sure your audience is at peak mode before you start training?

MIND FOCUS

You do not have to be an NLP practitioner to know that Self belief and psychology is a key element of sustainable sales success.

At Transaction Focus, we take this notion a little further.

Just as Michael Jordan (the greatest basketball player of all time) always made sure he was in peak mental state before every match, we believe that sales people should be in a peak, ultra receptive and absorptive mode before sales training is delivered…or even before they conduct self study themselves.

We all know that there is no longer any place for “sheep dip” training.

Like sports professionals, business people also need a creative, inspirational blend of training, coaching and mentoring at different times of their career.

Sir Clive Woodward OBE, in his post analysis of Team GB’s Olympic success , spoke of how gold medallists are self-managed “sponges”, who know how to extract the best from their support staff at key times. They are meticulous and know the tiniest detail about their competitors.

Sales and Marketing professionals need to become a little more serious and obsessive.

If you have team members who are being more “rock like” i.e. not “spongey” enough, maybe  you should prescribe some hypnotherapy, NLP and Advanced Thinking  techniques to unlock the substantial subconscious brain power that we all have …locked away and underutilised..!!

There is no point spending time training them if they are not in “peak absorption mode”.

If you choose to, you are not only waisting human and capital resources, you are diluting the sustainable strength of your entire team.

Author:- Charles Smee, Founder of Transaction Focus

Is True Diligence required in the Art World ?

ART DILIGENCE


The international art market is booming, auction records are tumbling and contemporary artists have become superstars in their own lifetime. Art has become the billionaire’s must-have new toy. The rise of the international art market is in direct proportion to the rise of  luxury markets and the new economies of BRICS countries such as China and Russia.

As the art market has become globalized, the fact that it is an unregulated market becomes increasingly problematic in the context of authenticity and provenance. Time was when auction houses knew most of their clients but these days the profile of auction buyers is increasingly fragmented, diverse and global. Questions such as how can the seller of a valuable work of art be trusted are suddenly just as pertinent as the issue of provenance and the authenticity of a work of art.

Due diligence in global art transactions within the opaque marketplace of the art world has come of age and is proving to be a required necessity these days. Buying art has become a much more complex process and less well-known buyers are now emerging from countries that didn’t used to participate in the market. Specialist art lawyers are rare, and the skills needed to undertake Art Diligence require not only a knowledge of the art market, but a knowledge of the Due Diligence process for major business transactions.

Art Diligence serves individuals who can become stuck in the mire of a complex art deal by drawing on a combined network of specialists from the fields of non-financial Due Diligence, able to conduct background checks on individuals and assess the market conditions of a particular country, as well as from the international art market who understand the issues of provenance and authenticity. “The art world feels like the private equity market of the 80s and the hedge funds of the 90s” commented one New York collector and financier, “It’s got practically no oversight or regulation”.

Art Diligence works with art consultants, art lawyers, the Art Loss Register, artist foundations, and art specialists at the major auction houses of Sotheby’s, Christies and Bonhams as well as the  major dealers and museums in London and Europe.

Author:- Claire Brown, Founder of Origine Art002_2

 

 

DOES PRE-ACQUISITION DUE DILIGENCE APPROACH NEED TO BE REFRESHED, CHANGED OR SIGNIFICANTLY MORE COMPREHENSIVE ?

Balancing Legal, Financial and TRUE DILIGENCE

 

What Accountants and MBA qualified Corporate Finance specialists do

 

With traditional pre acquisition due diligence and pre- merger selection, the work is left to armies of accountants and Corporate Finance specialists with MBA’s and glowing laptop computers who expertly review figures, model ratios, devise “what if” scenarios, undertake NPV calculations, model alternative financial futures using Monte Carlo simulation and devise future financial strategies based upon what they can discern from the public records of  actual and potential competitors.

The results are very impressive sets of figures, automated spreadsheets, profitability analyses, balanced scorecards, bar charts and expertly modelled scenarios by division, by product group and by  sub product and by channel.

 

Legal Firms

 

The second wave of traditional due diligence is conducted by lawyers.

They spend hours of billable time examining contracts on buildings, IT systems, contractual arrangements with suppliers, potential suppliers about to be used, personnel contracts, directors service agreements, secrecy agreements, NDA’s, Non- Competition Agreements, current impacts of past and ongoing litigation and the “Holy Grail” of where does the IP lies and what the acquiring company needs to do to safeguard it’s position.

This is not all that they do of course but even these items plus the work of the accountants ought to make the business case for acquisition or merger, assuming goodwill on all sides, pretty compelling?

The answer in most countries is yes which is why so many acquisitions and potential mergers end up in tears.

 

Why does this happen?

 

The Whole Story

 

Accountancy and lawyer driven pre-acquisition due diligence is very necessary but it does not tell the whole story.

It does not look for example at people who after all represent on average 67% of the costs of an enterprise and who are divided into top performers, usually 10% of a workforce, average performers (usually 80% of people in a given workforce irrespective of sector) and underperformers (usually the remaining 10% of a given workforce).

All it will tell you is that you have 25% or 45% or some other figure, too many staff , you will not necessarily know who to keep, who to train, who to let go and who to outplace because you will have to discover that AFTER you have spent your money by which time the unpalatable truth will emerge courtesy of your HR department assuming they are up to the job.

Upon making the acquisition, you will have met the board and senior management but how much do you really know about them?

Accountancy and lawyer led due diligence will not tell you very much and all you will have to go on is your own personal judgement.

Your judgement and that of your fellow directors will have to be spot on and it can only be that way if you have all the facts (soft and hard) at your disposal.

If the directors of the target company are people in your image and with similar backgrounds and viewpoints and you are relying on accountancy led and lawyer led due diligence to fill in the gaps in your knowledge, you are ,based on the record of failed acquisitions and mergers in most countries, odds on to fail.

Reverse engineering the CVs of directors and senior management will reveal all sorts of gremlins and unwelcome facts as we saw with the US MD of Apple who was forced to resign when anomalies between his background and the facts emerged.

You might wonder at the ROI from this work but a good director or employee will outperform his/her more pedestrian counterpart by an average of 3.2 to 1.

Traditional due diligence does not look at cultural fit, the compatibility of your board with that of the target company, the match between your pay scales and theirs, recruitment methods, competitiveness in the marketplace, risk optimisation, negative trends on social media which could cause the share price of a target company to implode even as all today’s indicators show the trends for share price values to be on a steep and upward curve.

IT and software accounts for about 20% to 25% of total business costs yet under traditional due diligence this too is frequently ignored until the 11th hour or not considered at all.

If you are a Director of a Chinese company engaged in “Swarming Out” or you are from another South East Asian country, your requirements can be translated into a better fit with an appropriate acquisition within a Western country.

It is a good idea to use specialist tailor made consultants (from IT, brand management, Social Media, Export ) with international backgrounds encompassing not just UK, US and European business but long periods spent in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, China, Vietnam Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore or Eastern Europe. Well travelled , multi-lingual analysts often think deeper and further.

We know from McKinsey’s that 50% of competitors to any given company did not exist before 2 years ago so our pre acquisition due diligence (or True Diligence), looks at agility, adaptability, expandability, speed of decision making (yours versus the target),resilience and robustness.

This along with risk optimisation and future proofing techniques adapted from Pentagon war gaming techniques and adaptive analytical frameworks applicable to your situation allow additional determinants of value to be unearthed, so that you do not overpay and it also allows you to walk away from deals which, whilst appearing attractive are, in business terms, traps for the unwary.

 

Marketing/Capability for Expansion and Exporting

 

It is wise not to just look at the potential acquisition in terms of what it has done historically or what it is doing now, because that limits the scope of our investigation to a point where you will know little more than you do now or would have known with traditional accountancy and lawyer led pre-acquisition due diligence.

We will look at the” headroom” in terms of capability and capacity improvement of the workforce, the ability of the incumbent board (the one you will be buying),to change and adapt themselves to the cultural differences that operating overseas is going to bring. This eliminates the problem of insular directors who think of “abroad” as somewhere where they go on holiday and of anyone outside their alumnis as “not one of us”.

It also helps to shape the boundaries of export led activities by channel so that the right mix is determined from Day 1 along with relevant language capabilities.

Appointing commissioned agents might seem superficially attractive but do they have divided loyalties and will they represent you as well as one of your own employees or a dedicated “white labelled” sales/call centre operation as a supplement to websites and social media activity. In some countries, agents own the client relationship under law.

 

Branding

 

Each marketplace has its own cultural norms so a UK brand may mean one thing in that country, something else in France, something different in Germany and nothing at all in China.

The same can apply in reverse and in other contexts.

Each case is different and each brand will have its own strengths and weaknesses and its own ability to” translate” into another culture or market before additional work is done to effect optimisation to the required level.

Understanding these differences as part of the Non-Financial Due Diligence or True Diligence process makes importantly allows you to better determine value before you have spent any money on an acquisition or merger you should not have embarked upon or rejected one which others have completely overlooked.

Written by John.A.Gelmini, Associate Director of Transaction Focus Balancing Legal, Financial and TRUE DILIGENCE

 

What Accountants and MBA qualified Corporate Finance specialists do

 

With traditional pre acquisition due diligence and pre- merger selection, the work is left to armies of accountants and Corporate Finance specialists with MBA’s and glowing laptop computers who expertly review figures, model ratios, devise “what if” scenarios, undertake NPV calculations, model alternative financial futures using Monte Carlo simulation and devise future financial strategies based upon what they can discern from the public records of  actual and potential competitors.

The results are very impressive sets of figures, automated spreadsheets, profitability analyses, balanced scorecards, bar charts and expertly modelled scenarios by division, by product group and by  sub product and by channel.

 

Legal Firms

 

The second wave of traditional due diligence is conducted by lawyers.

They spend hours of billable time examining contracts on buildings, IT systems, contractual arrangements with suppliers, potential suppliers about to be used, personnel contracts, directors service agreements, secrecy agreements, NDA’s, Non- Competition Agreements, current impacts of past and ongoing litigation and the “Holy Grail” of where does the IP lies and what the acquiring company needs to do to safeguard it’s position.

This is not all that they do of course but even these items plus the work of the accountants ought to make the business case for acquisition or merger, assuming goodwill on all sides, pretty compelling?

The answer in most countries is yes which is why so many acquisitions and potential mergers end up in tears.

 

Why does this happen?

 

The Whole Story

 

Accountancy and lawyer driven pre-acquisition due diligence is very necessary but it does not tell the whole story.

It does not look for example at people who after all represent on average 67% of the costs of an enterprise and who are divided into top performers, usually 10% of a workforce, average performers (usually 80% of people in a given workforce irrespective of sector) and underperformers (usually the remaining 10% of a given workforce).

All it will tell you is that you have 25% or 45% or some other figure, too many staff , you will not necessarily know who to keep, who to train, who to let go and who to outplace because you will have to discover that AFTER you have spent your money by which time the unpalatable truth will emerge courtesy of your HR department assuming they are up to the job.

Upon making the acquisition, you will have met the board and senior management but how much do you really know about them?

Accountancy and lawyer led due diligence will not tell you very much and all you will have to go on is your own personal judgement.

Your judgement and that of your fellow directors will have to be spot on and it can only be that way if you have all the facts (soft and hard) at your disposal.

If the directors of the target company are people in your image and with similar backgrounds and viewpoints and you are relying on accountancy led and lawyer led due diligence to fill in the gaps in your knowledge, you are ,based on the record of failed acquisitions and mergers in most countries, odds on to fail.

Reverse engineering the CVs of directors and senior management will reveal all sorts of gremlins and unwelcome facts as we saw with the US MD of Apple who was forced to resign when anomalies between his background and the facts emerged.

You might wonder at the ROI from this work but a good director or employee will outperform his/her more pedestrian counterpart by an average of 3.2 to 1.

Traditional due diligence does not look at cultural fit, the compatibility of your board with that of the target company, the match between your pay scales and theirs, recruitment methods, competitiveness in the marketplace, risk optimisation, negative trends on social media which could cause the share price of a target company to implode even as all today’s indicators show the trends for share price values to be on a steep and upward curve.

IT and software accounts for about 20% to 25% of total business costs yet under traditional due diligence this too is frequently ignored until the 11th hour or not considered at all.

If you are a Director of a Chinese company engaged in “Swarming Out” or you are from another South East Asian country, your requirements can be translated into a better fit with an appropriate acquisition within a Western country.

It is a good idea to use specialist tailor made consultants (from IT, brand management, Social Media, Export ) with international backgrounds encompassing not just UK, US and European business but long periods spent in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, China, Vietnam Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore or Eastern Europe. Well travelled , multi-lingual analysts often think deeper and further.

We know from McKinsey’s that 50% of competitors to any given company did not exist before 2 years ago so our pre acquisition due diligence (or True Diligence), looks at agility, adaptability, expandability, speed of decision making (yours versus the target),resilience and robustness.

This along with risk optimisation and future proofing techniques adapted from Pentagon war gaming techniques and adaptive analytical frameworks applicable to your situation allow additional determinants of value to be unearthed, so that you do not overpay and it also allows you to walk away from deals which, whilst appearing attractive are, in business terms, traps for the unwary.

 

Marketing/Capability for Expansion and Exporting

 

It is wise not to just look at the potential acquisition in terms of what it has done historically or what it is doing now, because that limits the scope of our investigation to a point where you will know little more than you do now or would have known with traditional accountancy and lawyer led pre-acquisition due diligence.

We will look at the” headroom” in terms of capability and capacity improvement of the workforce, the ability of the incumbent board (the one you will be buying),to change and adapt themselves to the cultural differences that operating overseas is going to bring. This eliminates the problem of insular directors who think of “abroad” as somewhere where they go on holiday and of anyone outside their alumnis as “not one of us”.

It also helps to shape the boundaries of export led activities by channel so that the right mix is determined from Day 1 along with relevant language capabilities.

Appointing commissioned agents might seem superficially attractive but do they have divided loyalties and will they represent you as well as one of your own employees or a dedicated “white labelled” sales/call centre operation as a supplement to websites and social media activity. In some countries, agents own the client relationship under law.

 

Branding

 

Each marketplace has its own cultural norms so a UK brand may mean one thing in that country, something else in France, something different in Germany and nothing at all in China.

The same can apply in reverse and in other contexts.

Each case is different and each brand will have its own strengths and weaknesses and its own ability to” translate” into another culture or market before additional work is done to effect optimisation to the required level.

Understanding these differences as part of the Non-Financial Due Diligence or True Diligence process makes importantly allows you to better determine value before you have spent any money on an acquisition or merger you should not have embarked upon or rejected one which others have completely overlooked.

Written by John.A.Gelmini, Associate Director of Transaction Focus

 

Should ambitious companies always look to Export ?

The business world is increasingly like a business village. Boundaries are seemingly blurred.

The new generation of digi-creative entrepreneurs are so in touch and inspired by new trends from other continents.

Governments around the World are funding technology start up ventures and are actively encouraging established businesses to expand overseas….in the hope of stimulating their local economy.

International legal harmonisation and e-commerce regulation is happening much faster than ever before.

With this in mind, one wonders why one still meets companies that only just want to trade in their home, native market….It is probably because they have been badly burnt in the past or know of companies that have badly burnt by an export misadventure.

Dynamic, ambitious technology companies surely need to write global business plans from day one, even if international roll out does not take place until year 3 or 5.

Multinationals now frequently source best practice work methods from emerging countries. The USA, Japan and leading European economies no longer have a monopoly of breakthrough patented technology.

UKTI, International banks (like HSBC), Accountancy and Law Firms can provide guidance on trading in every country in the World.. Transaction Focus and other practical sales and marketing partners can now rapidly plan, set up and implement sustainable revenue generating sales and marketing plans.

Yes, most export markets are different and different verticals require different approaches.

British companies often prefer to initially expand into Commonwealth countries, that have similar legal framework and cultural understanding.

US companies often opt to initially sell into Canada and then branch out into the UK or Ireland as a springboard for Europe….This is more of a “comfort zone” step by step approach ..rather than a long term, analytical SCOPE focussed strategy.

A Norwegian oil service technology might sell better into Nigeria or Alaska rather than into neighbouring Scandinavian countries.

A global view is key. It is simply about searching best fit global clients and markets through out the World. Engaging alliance partners with international reach should be looked into.

A Global strategy Planning Workshop is a good place to start.

Test Selling and Test Marketing in new territories is also a wise way to go.

 

 

Collaborative Co-management

ABOUT COLLABORATIVE CO-MANAGEMENT

Cisco and Citrix announced recently that they were reducing their consultant count.

Outsourcing has received bad press with the G4S Olympics errors.
What blend of outside support do enterprises now need to gel their teams together and drive a healthy balance of more short term revenue and long term sustainable growth.

Outsourcing should surely be viewed as a long term venture to extend the brand influence of a product or service….not just as a cost reduction exercise to keep shareholders happy.

Junior outsourced personnel delivering a simple back office task in The Philippines or India should ideally understand the wider vision and mission of the outsourcer.

Bosses in Corporate America and Europe probably all too often overlook how back or front end outsourcing operators can improve the business process and even provide breakthrough insights …even help on the way to discovering innovations.

Lead associates at Transaction Focus have worked for many years in end outsource delivery markets. We understand what makes the locals tick in each market.

Cooperation and wholehearted commitment from outsource delivers is central to a successful outsourcing project.

In order to tap into outsourcing partners’ creative potential , they should first of all buy in to the brand values and feel that they are part of the organisation; i.e. they should not merely feel like a remote low value extension of their client business.

Outsourcers need to start co-sharing with outsourced deliverers. ..in a more equal, cooperative way.
Co-sharing ideas and discussing improved practices in a creative way will reap dividends.

The Short term cost cutting is here to stay…The John Lewis Group or Innocent Drinks model is yet to be delivered in outsourced markets.

It would not surprise me if Tata or a Filipino owned outsourcing operation cracks the winning collaborative formula with reverse sourcing into the American or European markets.

Major Western outsourcers are arguably too corporate, inflexible and self important.

Written by Charles Smee :- Founder and CEO or Transaction Focus

CONTROL AND BRANDING NEEDS TO CONCENTRATE ON THE TERMINOLOGY AND POWER OF ‘THE CLIENT’

CONTROL AND BRANDING NEEDS TO CONCENTRATE ON THE TERMINOLOGY AND POWER OF ‘THE CLIENT’

Is the branding of oursourcing missing the marketing tenet of customer focus?
Is a re-alignment of values likely to help us steer to sunnier outlooks for future outsourcing harmony?

Has “Outsourcing” become a dirty word? Time for a re-brand? ‘Is it time to rebrand outsourcing’. However, perhaps the unasked questions are:
• ‘If we change the term ‘outsourcing’, what then the implications for co-sourcing and insourcing terminology?’
• ‘Is it time for outsourcing companies to consider raising their brand image AND customer service standards?’

About Outsourcing Standards
The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) is the professional association for the outsourcing industry, and was created by the Outsourcing Standards Board (OSB) in 2005. The standards cover these six areas:
• Professional responsibility
• Professional representation
• Accountability for outcomes
• Professional development
• Outsourcing advocacy
• Issue resolution

Roles in the outsourcing arena
The ‘players’ or roles in outsourcing are one of the following:
• Outsourcers who supply or have supplied services to companies. These often seem to get the blame, rightly or wrongly because they deliver the brokered service but are they too constrained to be able to construct and deliver a quality service for the price? Are the risks to them and the client potentially too large or is the vision of a perpetual motion machine just too alluring? Is there time to properly consider needs and wants or an overriding financial demand to just sign up for the next cheapest offer presented on the table and an ever downward driven cost model and hang sustainability, ethics and management responsibility because it’s too complicated and unpopular?
• Professionals who advise outsourcers, advise potential clients seeking to outsource or buy in supplier services. The IAOP has developed a qualification, ‘Certified Outsourcing Professional’ (COP) proving that they meet or exceed the IAOP standards relevant to their role. Are these power brokers the individuals with the upper hand always? Do they/we win no matter what, selling outsourcing if that’s the flavour of the day, and insourcing if it’s not?
• Clients or ‘outsourcing customers’ are companies that seek or have sought outsource solutions typically to their business service or IT services. They appear to be at the bottom of the heap, no longer ‘waiting for whatever a consultant threw into the air to look for the pretty pattern the chaos makes on landing’ as one colleague put it, but ‘digging furiously to evade the …. Personally – that or running like hell.’ Some may be cosseted and comforted, praised and cagouled into wearing a ‘suit of clothes’ but, like the emperor as yet oblivious to the comments of those who have a more realistic view. But who, another colleague sagely pointed out, wants to be the whistleblower who states the obvious? How will the emperor feel? How about the public perception in today’s age? At the ‘bottom’ of the heap, they have no control, no power and can’t hear the din of catastrophe until its too late and, what the heck, a new emperor/CEO can always emerge from pupation when the old one dies. To turn this around and squeeze suppliers not customers and still make decision making easy, I advocate, this customer focus should be on top. After all, they are the ones spending money and most likely to feel pain otherwise.

Standards focused on each role
• The IAOP is DIRECTIONAL from OUTSOURCER TO CLIENT. This is also common to APRA the Australian standards board, ISO is under development TC259: ISO/NP 37500 Outsourcing and is linked to the social responsibility guidance ISO 26000:2010 Social Responsibility, which as guidance, cannot be certified.
• The FBI outsource fingerprint, laboratory and even security work to an extent. They identify ‘channelers’ as third parties who broker confidential information in both directions. Perhaps this term could be more widely used to describe brokers of outsourcing agreements and the transmission of services and products or components.
• ISO 13485:2003: Maintaining Control of Outsourced Processes which deals with manufacturing, is one of the few DIRECTIONAL from CLIENT TO OUTSOURCER, though it talks about the recipients being ‘organisations’ because of potential confusion with their clients, who, incidentally, are often denied the right to know which parts of services are outsourced for commercially sensitive reasons.

In all cases, the global standards that ought to determine how we do business internationally seem to be at best new and at worst, in fact not at all as global as perceived by most from the word ‘global’. In fact the current ISO 37500 in construction, only has 13 countries that have signed up to it by mid 2012.

For almost all these cases, ‘client’ is not only confusing, it is seen as subservient to and even perhaps demeaning relative to the providers of outsourcing services in terms of control.

Terminology and power for the entire outsource buying marketplace – the missing standard and brand
As far as we are aware, there is no overarching widely accepted term for the recipient of outsourced services nor is there an organisation representing these disparate organisations such that they can wrestle control back to them; this in an environment where perceived and unfortunately often the actual level of service and / or customer experience, especially in outsourced BPO and IT Services, falls short of what the ‘clent’ and the poor ‘end client’ anticipates. So far gone is this control, that it is the butt of many jokes and the pride of many organisations branding that they do not outsource this type of service and so regard their offering as superior in some way. Whilst organisations choosing to band together in their normal peer groups such as National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and The NHS Trusts’ Association in the public sector and perhaps the Institute of Directors (IoD) and Chambers of Commerce to name but a few in the public sector, do have more influence than individual in creating changes for improved services and standards, they do not have the power that a truly national outsourcing recipient association or council body could have, let alone an ambitious global one.

So, control and branding needs to concentrate on the terminology and power of ‘the client’, else ‘customer focused outsourcing’ is so much hot air, it is will be prone to el nino effects outside our control. ‘Outsourcing’ need not be a dirty word causing disasters in any organisation that employs it. We go on holiday to sunny climates for rest, recuperation and shared warmth – somewhere with better and unique food and total experience than we have at home, and similarly, potential outsource clients seeking the best outsourcing agreements in the right countries at the right time should be entitled to the best they can afford working in a sustainable manner. In time or by intention, they may seek a more long term holiday home in that country and establish even closer ties with proven outsourcers.

It is not just about making outsourcing easier, but about making it more cost efficient, a relationship more in control and better for all, whatever the weather.

Deborah Stevens, Technical Communicator and Proprietor of Clever Resourcing
And Associate at Transaction Focus

Traditional Sales Directors – a dying breed.?

DOES YOUR BUSINESS REALLY NEED A SALES DIRECTOR

Background
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Traditionally, the process of obtaining sales in many businesses was a mechanical exercise which required a costly and cumbersome layered management structure with Sales Directors sitting at the apex of a large pyramid and treated as important members of the board.
Often they owe their position to earlier sales prowess in the field or to being in the right place at the right time and thus “making their mark”.
Frequently as a company grows and attracts enquiries and website visitors, Sales Directors can effectively “Hoover Up” the best leads for themselves and their chosen favourites and thus appear to be delivering stellar performance whilst basking in the reflected glory of others.
Since no one else in the company tends to look at what business would have come in any way, it is easier for companies to go on paying these people huge salaries and bonuses for producing holograms and mirages rather than analysing what individual sales people actually produce which in many cases is little more than pontification , self aggrandisement and self justification.

Lack of profitability / indifferent ROI
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Figures from the Management Consultancy Group PLC show that sales forces are only 10% productive and only 1 salesperson in 250 consistently reaches their targets each month or commission reporting period.
This means that each salesperson is working 1/2 day a week and the rest of the time is driving, eating, drinking, schmoozing, sitting in waiting rooms ,writing proposals, attending sales meetings with their managers, being counselled, making appointments, doing paperwork, researching or surfing the net, being trained, on Away Days, being motivated, learning sales tracks etc..
In charge of all this is the Sales Director who supposedly formulates sales strategy yet is responsible for orchestration of sales activity to eventually produce lacklustre performance in terms of both profitability and ROI.

Other Directors Pulling their Weight/Sales Directors “asleep on the job”..??
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A Finance Director or Managing Director who allowed their remits to produce at this level would be dismissed and a Chief Executive who performed at this sort of level would soon be given full marching orders by the Institutional Shareholders yet Sales Directors are allowed to get away with it year after year whilst still drawing their full salary and earning bonuses to boot.

The New Sales Paradigm
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Today’s salespeople have to be good at relationship building, probably need to be marketing savvy, learn SPIN,PSS and NLP and need to have the skills to be self directed and psychologically self contained.
Selected and trained properly they can and should manage themselves and be both measurable and self directed.
This is a trend occurring in many other professions with nurse practitioners taking over the work load of doctors, administrators operating in self managed teams and non core functions such as law, HR, audit, cleaning, facilities management, leasing of company cars, marketing fulfilment, advertising, printing, call centres, software maintenance, computer hardware maintenance and insurance all being outsourced to external providers.
Salespeople should manage themselves, concentrate on profitable sales and report to the board with Finance Directors taking control through the use of performance dashboards with the facility to drill down to an individual salesperson.
Sales Directors need be cost and ROI justified.
Financial, Commercial or Marketing Directors can in many companies assume the above role and supercede the Sales Director.

The New Norm
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Today’s sales operation has to earn its keep in what is likely to be a decade of austerity for all businesses, especially those businesses that are not in export or counter cyclical markets.
Businesses need to be stripped of unnecessary costs and become more lean (less hierarchical), mean, agile and adaptable with the ability to scale up and down at will.
More and more sales can and do come through the new channels which include the web, mobile telephone applications, tablets, PDA,s, Mesh Technology and b2b applications of Social Media such as Linked In and Twitter.
Some sales directors can be trained to utilise and manage new and fast evolving marketing technology that facilitates the sales process, but this is expensive.
In order to be truly cost effective, sales persons must justify their existence by bringing in much larger ticket and complex sales than was the case before.
Command and Control is not the way to manage this new breed of self directed salesperson although traditional UK management styles may well need to alter to accommodate the new realities which could well include larger salaries and benefits resulting from the reallocation of what was once all or part of the Sales Director’s package amongst the Directors who remain.

Outsourced Sales and Sales Optimisation
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At Transaction Focus we can either gradually replace all or part of your sales operation within a flat, cost efficient structure with no Sales Director and no sales managers of any kind.
Alternatively, we can optimise sales performance through OODA Loop, TOC, Eastern Methodologies such as Hoshin Planning and Kaizen and then build on it through Value Stream Mapping, Training, Benchmarking, Psychological conditioning, Refined bid processes, NLP,Six Sigma/Lean, Time and attendance software, Geomapping and Geofencing technologies.

Article by JOHN A GELMINI,MBA,BSc(Econ)(2.1) a former Sales Director and line manager with international experience and a pedigree in b2b/b2c/b2NGO who now works with Transaction Focus in these areas as well as performance improvement, operational excellence and customer service optimisation.

Sales Force Optimisation

CAN YOU STILL AFFORD YOUR SALES FORCE Optimisation IN IT’S PRESENT FORM?

The way it is now and has always been

If your company is like most others in your industry you will have a sales force structure headed up by a sales director, national sales managers, regional managers and then sales managers.
Under this sales management team will be your “road warriors”, possibly split between “hunters”(new business sales people) and “farmers”(account managers, relationship managers, key account executives etc.).

Does this structure make money and is it necessary?

The question is does it make substantially more money than it costs to run or could you in fact do without it…?
Asking your sales director will not get you close to answering that question because he or she has a vested interest in telling you that they are :-

Indispensable and that the sky would fall in if their operation wasn’t there.

We have been sales directors ourselves in a variety of UK and international businesses and will therefore have more experience and knowledge of best in breed global sales directional practices in salaried, part salaried, direct, indirect and commission only sales forces than most sales directors and will provide a transparent ROI focussed view.

The same applies to call centres, contact centres, telesales functions and customer service operations.

What are the figures your sales director would rather you did not know?

Each year the Management Consultancy Group PLC reviews productivity within the UK and global private sectors and across sales functions and a broad cross section of SIC codes.

The picture is far from pretty or satisfactory.
The UK’s private sector productivity is just 60% or put another way; UK business receives 132 days of work for every 220 possible working days leaving us 15th in the global league table of modern industrial nations.
Sales forces fare even worse with the average amount of face to face selling time set at just 10% or one half day per working week.
Just one salesperson in 250 consistently hits their monthly targets in America or the UK despite all the training, managerial effort and the presence of the sales director.

With call centres, customer service functions, telesales operations and contact centres the optimum that can be achieved is 75% (45 minutes) per telephone hour worked but the average is typically less than 50% and we at Transaction Focus (www.transactionfocus.com) have witnessed this figure to be as low as 11%…

Sales empires built on sand

Often this picture is disguised by business which comes into the company anyway, either directly through the switchboard or via the personal contacts of board members or business which comes in through the website but is turned into a sale on which you are probably paying commission as well.
On top of that you may be paying the sales director part of his/her overall remuneration in the form of bonuses which are based on this disguised business.
The question you should ask yourself is whether this is an acceptable situation for your company going into the future?

What can and should be done?

If we take it as a given that doing nothing is not an option what should be done?

We at Transaction Focus believe that the entire operation should be quickly and rigorously audited from top to bottom and the current operation needs to be optimised and future proofed within the form of a new sales and marketing target operating model.
This may well leave the existing sales director in place but operating at a much faster pace and delivering your company a far higher ROI.

In short, they will be earning their keep and as long as they do they retain their place.
Alternatively, the situation might warrant root and branch reform with a new sales director, an interim sales director supplied by us or a new self-determined work team structure with no need for any sales direction whatsoever.

Sales Force optimisation and what it can achieve

With a relatively minimal intervention solution provided by Transaction Focus, your sales force should reach a point without investment in technology whereupon productivity doubles to 20% or one day per week.

With sales force automation, geo-mapping software and CRM, this can be built to 30% and that’s before we even think about training them to be more effective and improve their “strike rate”.

Beyond that BPR and Business Process Innovation linked to TOC, OODA Loop and Japanese style continuous improvement will, in conjunction with our bespoke processes, shorten the sales cycle , make the sales force easier to manage, improve their ROI and improve your cash flow.
We look at sales force composition and compare it with your objectives so that changes can be made as necessary.

Your sales director thinks he/she can do a better job

In that case we put our money where our mouth is by splitting the sales operation into two under equal conditions and then competing directly with the half the sales director is in charge of.
We did this with Kimberly Clark and competed with their established sales operation after a few months.

We can do the same for you.

Sales and telephone outsourcing

It may be that you are trying to break into new markets, sell new products which may or may not cannibalise existing sales, or perhaps you are expanding overseas.
In each of these cases Transaction Focus can set up a seamless “white labelled” sales or telephone based operation which costs considerably less than your existing sales force with or without your incumbent sales director.

In addition the problems associated with discipline, performance and employment law are eliminated because they are assumed by us.

This can be in the UK or practically anywhere outside of the Americas.

JOHN A GELMINI MBA, BSc (Econ)(2.1)

John A Gelmini , an Associate Director at Transaction Focus, has worked in the area of sales direction, sales force and contact centre optimisation, outsourced sales and transformation for more than 22 years.