Process improvement

The problem with personas, round two


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Those persona articles I wrote recently (here and here), created a bit of a stir out there in BlogLand. Adele Revella from Pragmatic Marketing mentioned my concerns about personas and then went on to describe how those problems could be addressed, including not talking to salespeople about personas, but by relating stories about real buyers. Good advice.

Running business on email: The mighty subject line


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Email has become the message medium of our age. Just as we learned how to address and stamp an envelope, just as we learned how to fill out a FedEx form, we are now - still - learning how to use email effectively to run our businesses, and to buy and sell products and services.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time this week talking about how frustrating it is when someone doesn't do what I'm about to recommend. Suffice it to say that stream-of-consciousness, flaky subject lines don't help you manage your business or increase your revenues.

Email and your revenue


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Salespeople (or, I should say, order takers) who are used to taking calls all day are still having a hard time adjusting to the email-driven business world we live in now. The same is true of many small business owners.

The phone is no longer the "instrument of choice" for today's busy buyers. Their preferred way of contacting companies when they are interested in a product or service is via email. And yet, too many salespeople and entrepreneurs are still treating email as an intrusion into their busy day. Because they get so much email and spam, and because they don't want to spend all day typing notes to people, they just aren't giving incoming email buyers the attention that they deserve.

A buyer's hellish experience


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There's a joke - you've probably heard one of the many versions of it - that I think of as the "demo" joke. My favorite version is the one starring Bill Gates:

 

Bill Gates died and found himself standing in front of St. Peter, who was sizing him up.

 

"Well, Bill, I'm not sure whether to send you to Heaven or Hell. After all, you helped society enormously by putting a computer in almost every home in America, and you gave away a lot of money. But, you also created that evil Windows program. It's a close call, so I'm going to do something I've never done before: I'm going to let you decide where you want to go."

Bill replied, "What's the difference between the two?"

Fast, right, cheap: Welcome to the standard


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"Fast, right, cheap. Pick two."

Print shop owners used to like to post this little truism near the front desk of their shops. There's a lot of wisdom on those five words. If you do it too fast, it's likely to be wrong. If you take too much time obsessing over details, it isn't going to be fast. And if you get it cheap, you might also get it fast, but it probably won't be right.

The problem is, today's customers assume that they can get "all three" if they just look hard enough. Google has given them a virtual, endless, global shopping mall. If one vendor can't give them all three, they'll just keep looking. Click. Click. Click.

 

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