I am now headlong into my latest start-up, SoftNAS, which was launched in February this year.  Like most start-ups, we are in search of our “scalable, repeatable business model”.  One way to scale sales is by developing an indirect sales channel, so you have hundreds or even thousands of sales people selling your product to their existing customers they already have an established relationship with and new customers their company’s marketing efforts locate for you.

Building a reseller channel is easier said than done, and there are lots of war stories of those who have tried and failed… and a few who have succeeded and been rewarded handsomely with enormous market share and wealth as a result  (like my former employer, CITRIX Systems, among others).

Realizing I know enough about channel development and resellers to be very dangerous, I decided to seek out the best expert I could find…

Enter the “Chanimal”, Ted Finch, who has built more than 400 reseller channels over the past 28 years, from as far back as Lotus 1-2-3 (for you youngsters, that was the first spreadsheet program for MSDOS in the 1980’s :)  Ted and I have been working at warp speed to develop our channel program, and I am simply amazed at the process, templates and incredible information available on his website www.chanimal.com.

Today, Ted introduced me to “The Persuasive Format” method:

There are three formats for persuading that we should be aware of–the credibility approach, the psychological approach (Maslov’s theory, etc.), and the logical or rational approach.  Research shows that the logical approach has a more lasting effect.  In addition, the easiest rational structure to apply uses inductive reasoning—thesis, main point, sub-point, sub-sub-point, main point, etc.  These are the proof points to solidify our argument.

Following are the steps of the persuasive format that uses the most effective and logical approach:

  1. Attention. Get the person or audience attention
  2. Credibility. If you are not a credible source, then nobody listens.
  3. Problem. Demonstrate a need
  4. Solution. Show how the product fills that need
  5. Best solution. Detail how it is the BEST product to fill the need
  6. Objections. Overcome all objections to the product
  7. Visualize. Help the buyer visualize benefits the product will bring
  8. Step to Actuate – Close. Actuate the buyer to order the product or evaluate it.

If you’re in marketing—memorize the persuasive format, since you will use it constantly.  The persuasive format maximizes “Persusavity.” (new word).  When do we use this format?  Almost all of the time.  For example:

  • PowerPoints. We use it in our PowerPoint to train sales (since we need to model “how” to sell the product).  They use the same PowerPoint to present and sell the product.
  • Websites. We use it on our website to persuade the prospect to contact us and buy.
  • Collateral.  We use it in our product slicks and brochures to persuade a prospect to find out more.
  • Demo Scripts.  We show features that validate and “prove” our persuasive argument.
  • Press Release.  We use the outline of the persuasive format to persuade the press and readers to investigate our claims.
  • Product Packaging.  Elements of the persuasive format are ALL covered within different panels of our product packaging (see Chanimal packaging guidelines).
  • Advertisements (print, TV, direct response, display).  All ads use this format to maximize response.

We would use the informative format for technical documentation and other content that is not designed to sell (by engineering, documentation, legal, etc.).  However, most material coming out of a marketing department must persuade.

The persuasive format is used to create our “Persuasive Document.” This is the FOUNDATION document that is used to create every other collateral piece.  This ensures that all of our collateral contains consistent messaging and it is all designed to SELL.  In contrast, most collateral that we see is disjointed.  Some is created by product management, or by sales or marketing communications and seldom does it contain the same talking points, the exact same messaging or even consistent positioning—it is a mess.

Read more about how to implement The Persuasive Method here

I am on an amazing journey of discovery right now with Ted, as we design our reseller channel program.

Another thing that has impressed me is how Ted creates massive leverage in his business using a combination of “micro-consulting”, standard process templates, and high-quality interns who are able to execute marketing programs following his directions, website content (it’s all there!) and learning as they go – incredible business model for any consultant entrepreneur to learn from, for sure.

I will post more as this develops and share my learning journey when I can.  Meanwhile, check out the Chanimal website.  There’s something there for every marketer – I promise you that!

 

 

 

 

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

It’s been a while since I posted, as I have been heads-down coding and building a new site and product that are about to launch next week…

More importantly, this could be an opportunity for us all to make some money together – if that’s sounds interesting.

The new product is called “SoftNAS”.  It makes what used to cost $60K to $750K or more available to businesses for 80% less – a way to manage a small to medium size business’ data safely and at a reasonable price.

Check it out here

 

 

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

This is my first post in months… mainly because I have been heads down developing a new product and been in so deep I’m just now coming up for air!

Earlier this year, I was serving as CTO for a start-up company providing hosted desktops in the cloud.  Great idea – move business desktops into the cloud.  Unfortunately, the cost of business-class NAS (network attached storage) from vendors like NetApp, EMC and Dell turned out to be so expensive, the company couldn’t make money as its hosted storage cost of goods were just too high.  While very disappointing on the one hand, after working so hard in a start-up that failed, I was quick to also recognize this as a potential opportunity…

That’s a brief back story for what’s about to be launched into the market early next year – a subscription-based NAS product that makes cloud storage and VM storage affordable by all.

Incidentally, we just launched our SoftNAS Forums.  Let me know what you think about it.  I’m using vBulletin as the platform for the forum – very nice forum software.

So why does this matter, you might ask?  Well, a typical small to medium corporation invests several hundred thousand dollars to manage their business-critical data today. With SoftNAS, we are reducing those costs to a few tens of thousands for 90% the same functionality.

At a time when companies are struggling to hire more employees, provide decent health insurance coverage for existing employees, and keep growing (or just keep the doors open), saving money on IT infrastructure and storage costs is a very good thing.

Anyway, I will be working on a launch for SoftNAS (the new product) starting in January, which will provide an opportunity to get re-focused on product launches and online marketing once again.  Should be fun!

I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving!  (and if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, have some turkey and dressing anyway – good stuff!!)

Happy Holidays!

Rick

 

P.S. SoftNAS is available for free download for anyone with a small business with storage needs.  If you have a small business or like technology, you find it useful (would be great to get your feedback on it)

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Who is your product launch for?  

It’s an interesting question – you might be surprised (and even entertained) by the answers that you would get if you asked that question of most companies who plan to launch a new product, website or venture.

In my business, I have the opportunity to work with a lot of different corporations and entrepreneurs who are launching new products and businesses.  And it’s like déjà vu all over again (Yogi Bera) with most every new client…

When we’re getting ready to launch a product, it’s common to become so all-consumed by our own internal preparations and activities, that we either overlook or take for granted the most important part of the launch – getting our MARKET and our CUSTOMERS ready for US!

Launches are not just about us getting ready to go to market…they are about getting the market ready for what will be launched.

In reality, most prospective customers in our target market are so busy taking care of their own businesses (and personal lives), they have precious little time available to pay attention to what’s being launched by everyone in the market (except perhaps big brands like Apple, Microsoft, etc., who are able to muster enough resources to make a big splash anytime they want).

Customers are so busy, in fact, they probably couldn’t care less that a new product is being launched, so when that day you’ve worked so hard to prepare your company and product arrives, it’s no wonder it can easily seem like nobody cares…

There are good reasons for this – and it may not have anything to do with whether there’s a market need or interest in your product.  It typically has more to do with one’s PERSPECTIVE around WHO the launch is for.
So I ask these questions again…

Who is your product launch for?

Is it for your company?  To get the product right, and everything in place so you’re ready to ship it?

Is it for your customers and market?   To engage with customers early (before grand opening day), to educate them, get some of them to try the product early and provide real customer feedback?  To educate the customer on the issues and big ideas around your unique selling proposition and differentiation?  To answer their questions and major objections before launch day arrives, so your sales will be double or triple what they have typically been on launch day?

The right answer is usually – all of the above.  In most cases, you need key, representative partners and customers involved early on with you, to help you validate your product’s readiness, and to give you objective feedback and guidance on all kinds of things  – from product messaging, product content, and product readiness to customer problem, priority, budget and context that will help you and your sales team hit the mark right the first time.

So the next time you have a product to launch, consider this.  Invest at least 10% to 20% of your time, budget and efforts in helping your prospective customers and market to be prepared for your product launch and it could double or triple your early sales results – that’s a darned good ROI.  In fact, it can mean the difference between massive success and dismal failure…

Not sure what needs to be done to properly prepare your market and customers?  Here are a couple of links for additional information:

Product Launch Process

How to Launch  Product

 

It’s an easy trap to fall into… focusing almost of your resources, time and energy on getting your company, infrastructure and product ready for the market.  But now that you know the truth about who your launch is for, you have a big advantage and the proper perspective to help you.  It’s easy to fall in, because we are all basically selfish creatures – in it for ourselves and what we want to get (usually money).

The reality is, when you can find it within yourself to put others, in this case, your customers and marketplace, ahead of your own selfish needs – everyone wins.

Product launches are for your customers – not for you and your company.  When customers are prepared properly for what’s coming, they win – and when customers win, then you and your company win.  It’s as simple as that.

 

 

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

The Startup Owners Manual

June 23, 2012

Tweet As a serial entrepreneur and consultant who works with startups and established businesses launching new products and entering new markets, it seems I have made a career out of forging ahead into the “unknown”.  I recently started using the “lean startup” method of new business model and product development.  According to Wikipedia, the Lean […]

Read the full article →

HealthSpectiveSM Launch – Amazing Software for Self-insured Employer Cost Savings

June 21, 2012

Tweet We just completed a mini-launch campaign for HealthSpectiveSM, a healthcare SaaS solution for self-insured employers that typically yields benefit and claim cost savings of 2% to 7% per year – amazing software.   Check out the HealthSpective Launch Microsite. I had the opportunity to work closely with the Dynamic Health Strategies team, the creators of […]

Read the full article →

May 1, 2012

Tweet Be sure to download this product launch white paper:   “How to Successfully Launch Your Product or Website Online” This paper is a 22 page, step-by-step guide, including proven strategies and best practices to create buzz and drive sales using the power of the Web and social networking.  In it, you will learn: The 4 Phases of a successful launch […]

Read the full article →

Do your landing pages pass this test?

April 18, 2012

Tweet We all need conversions to generate lead flow and sales – and the online sales funnel process’ front-end always begins with some form of headline for an email, blog post, social media post or landing page. One of my favorite bloggers Copy Blogger and conversion sites recently conducted an email subject line copyrighting contest. […]

Read the full article →

You can’t conjugate the dead ones

March 27, 2012

Tweet Have you ever had a potential BIG sale or deal that would make all the difference for you and your business, but just couldn’t close it for some reason?  Boy, I know I have seen my share of it.  And I still see it with clients all the time, where there’s such enormous opportunity […]

Read the full article →

Targeted Buyer Language vs. Generic Product Language

February 15, 2012

Tweet You may (or may not) have noticed that I’ve been on a six month hiatus – from blogging and doing much of anything, except working in a start-up company (it takes a lot of energy, focus and time to make start-ups work)…  Anyway, I was looking over some material I wrote a while back […]

Read the full article →
Download the Launch Report

Register now to receive this step-by-step guide containing strategies and best practices to create buzz and drive sales using the power of the Web and social networking.

Download the Launch Report

Powered by Subscribers Magnet