Archive for February, 2009

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B2B Web Sites – design for quick visits !

February 26, 2009

I received some great advice from a channel strategist working for a WW Distributor. He’d been doing a huge amount of research into what his (Business to Business (B2B)) customers wanted from his web sites/portals. The research delivered one interesting message: customers want to spend as little time as possible on a B2B web site.

Given many of the web sites that I’ve been involved with have had a stated aim of keeping customers on the site for as long as possible there would appear to be a conflict here. With iQuote we are aware that customers want to visit, produce a quotation, export it and logout. So that’s how it has been designed as has the Computacenter Cost Control Calculator. As will everything B2B that we do that is functional.

An interesting angle for anyone involved in B2B Web Site creation.

http://www.channelcentral.net/iquote
http://www.channelcentral.net/costcontrol

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Leverage your customers!

February 23, 2009

Working primarily in the IT Sector has benefits as the technology changes so frequently. However, it is often not very exciting subject matter – compelling yes, exciting not so. I’d noticed that a number of good web sites for Marketing Agencies focused heavily on projects for clients. Back on our case study/customer reference theme.

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Servo's New Web Site

channelcentral.net has been doing some work for Servo on incentive but also copywriting. We were also involved in the new web site: defining templates for service descriptions, proof reading and general input. One of the suggestions was to focus on customers on the Home Page: it provides variety and customer proximity.

Check it out: http://www.servo.co.uk.

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Always have an answer to this question…

February 20, 2009

2820131001_6e1e1c57c12Why does your Company exist? This came up in a book that I purchased called something like ‘Mavericks at Work – why the most original minds in business win’. One of the businesses under review (design/architecture arena) encouraged its customers and prospects to ask competitors this question.

This is such a brilliant question as the natural response is to say “make money” – not great. Clearly it is easier to answer if you make garden sheds compared to services such as Marketing. Maybe even the garden shed is better answered along the lines of “make people’s outdoor life more pleasurable” or “blend practicality with aesthetic quality”.

How would you answer this question?

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ROI – a Hot Topic

February 17, 2009

Return on Investment has always been around however in these somewhat leaner times it is no longer sufficient to demonstrate that Return on Investment is likely, it has to materialise. However, somewhat ironically you still have to prove that it is likely!

ROI now has to be quicker than ever AND greater than ever. Quicker to justify the use of cash, greater so that if the return isn’t as great there is more contigency in the plan.

channelcentral.net has just completed a project for Computacenter in the UK that shows the 3 year ROI for a Sun Microsystems consolidation project. I would expect to see many more online indicators like this during 2009.

http://www.channelcentral.net/costcontrol

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iQuote Project Update

February 13, 2009

For those people that read this Blog because they have a (vested or academic) interest in iQuote here’s a quick update. Week commencing 16 Feb 09 iQuote goes live in pilot phase (is that a half life?) in the UK. This milestone is the result of over 6 months of planning, developing and deep dive product analysis.

Subject to a successful pilot any Retailer, Reseller or Distributor will be able to offer its Sales People and Customers customisable products through an intuitive online tool. What’s more iQuote will show inventory, guide pricing and handle incentives such as loyalty programmes. The subscription model means that this is available at a single digit percentage cost of creating and maintlogo-iqblack2aining a similar self-managed tool.

I’ll use the Blog to keep you updated on the project and iQuote generally.

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The Strategy of Chance #2

February 12, 2009

For iQuote we take a feed of pricing and inventory and the format for that feed is pretty much dictated by us. One of the Distributors that we are working with in the UK based our feed on a standard customer file. It included additional information such as inventory due date and the weight of an item.

The result is that we are now able to give iQuote users an indication of when that Distributor is expecting stock replenishment and we have a long-term plan to utilise the weight information to help the user estimate courier costs. Better service for users, totally accidental.

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Call to Action

February 11, 2009

I read on the Web that people are becoming “Sales Hardened” so Direct Mails or Telemarketing activities where the Call to Action was to speak to Sales where becoming less effective. It made me wonder what would be a strong Call to Action to replace it….speak to Marketing (who’ll put you through to Sales) or speak to a Consultant/Technical person (would appear to be a stronger one). Events (even Webinars) are a bit hit and miss due to bandwidth out there. Visit this web site or download this….OK but ultimately we do these activities to sell more – and that’s what Sales are there to do.

Interesting as often people get so pre-occupied with the graphics, layout and message that the Call to Action is an after-thought.