Sales, Marketing, and Money

Nothing happens until someone sells something. Attributed to Thomas Watson, Sr., founder of IBM
Everyone knows what sales is
Sales is what makes the cash register ring, although these days not everyone may know what a cash register is. Sales is revenue, the top line, ka-ching, money in the door, the act of buying, the transfer of money in exchange for a good or a service. The aim of a profit-driven business is to bring in sales that exceed the cost of fulfillment and delivery. As we saw, Profit is what is left over after you subtract Costs from Sales.
Defining marketing is a little trickier, and even at Fortune 100 companies, the role of marketing isn’t always clear. Often sales takes the lead, and marketing plays a supporting or subordinate role. That is partly because sales is very easy to measure: either you have orders and cash coming in the door or you don’t. But according to Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, marketing drives sales. He wrote the following a long time ago:
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
A contemporary of Drucker’s, marketing Professor Phil Kotler, said that the aim of marketing is to make selling unnecessary. Marketing encompasses an entire array of activities that are designed to makes sales easier. Promotion, publicity, advertising, pricing, positioning, branding, messaging, communications, and distribution are only a few aspects of marketing. One issue is that measuring the effect of such initiatives on sales is difficult at best for many companies, especially brick and mortar enterprises. Marketing initiatives are designed to work together, and sometimes you can’t tell whether it was pricing, advertising, or store shelf position that caused customers to buy. John Wanamaker, owner of the first department store in Philadelphia, is famous for saying, “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
Online, it is easier to measure the effect of the elements of your “marketing mix,” as testing is much more precise. You can run A/B split tests where half of your visitors see one offer and the other half sees another. If one pulls better than the other, then you will see if you can improve the higher performer and discard the lower performer. The line between Sales and Marketing has become increasingly unclear, partly because of the Internet. If you can buy from a company’s website, is it due to Sales or Marketing or both? The answer may be academic, but there is no doubt that you need to focus on bringing in the money if you are to succeed in business.
Money brings with it a whole host of issues. Some of us are not well-prepared to receive money. Some of us are brought up with the idea that having money is bad or evil or that anyone who has a lot of money is dishonest. Such thinking can be a major obstacle on the way to success. Each of us needs to be sure that we are ready, able, and willing to accept money and success.
Pricing is another issue when it comes to money. I know many entrepreneurs who are afraid to raise their prices out of fear that their customers will go somewhere else. Or they themselves wouldn’t pay premium prices, so they don’t think others will either. We can’t go deeply into pricing here, but price and value have a lot to do with each other. Figure out how to add more value to your offerings, and you can raise your prices. You can also include guarantees and other methods of reducing buyer resistance and perceived risk.

Know Yourself

Principle 1.  You need to know yourself. Focus on your strengths. Outsource your limitations.
Everyone is different, and everyone has different capabilities. A management expert named Meir Ezra, who has built several million-dollar companies, estimates that the average entrepreneur possesses about 5% of the expertise and experience really required to grow a company. That’s not a big number and it exposes shortcomings that most of us have. A software developer has a great idea for a product but knows very little about accounting, marketing, and legal affairs. A caterer knows a lot about cooking and the culinary arts but little about finding customers and scheduling jobs efficiently. It is no wonder that so many businesses fail to make it to the end of their 3rd year.
One of the first tasks of an entrepreneur is to take stock of his or her strengths and not try to do everything. Lower level tasks and ones that the entrepreneur doesn’t want to tackle should be outsourced, using a broad definition of the word. Not everyone is good at organizing, completing things, making sales calls, and the like. You need to focus on what you do best and perfect that, not try to be a jack of all trades. You can’t be all things to all people, so don’t try to be that to yourself.
Apple Computer was founded by two people named Steve. Do you know the last names of both of them? Steve Jobs has become a household name for a variety of reasons. He was the showman, out front rallying the troops, persuading people to buy, and acting as his own PR and advertising firm. The technical genius behind Apple was a fellow named Steve Wozniak, and he was responsible for making sure that the products conformed to the elegant designs that Apple is famous for. Known as a technical prodigy while at Hewlett-Packard, the Woz quit his job there to found Apple. One story he tells has to do with Jobs’ desire to make a small number of transistors do the work of many. In the 70’s, economy of design was not much of a concern in the computer industry, and engineers simply increased processing power by adding more components. Jobs wanted everything to fit into a small space, so he challenged Wozniak to create a new design that would make fewer components do the work of many. Wozniak was initially very skeptical, but he eventually found a solution. This attitude of “doing more with less” became a standard at Apple. For Jobs, who was known as a fierce taskmaster, elegant design and robust functionality went hand in hand. He wouldn’t tolerate the bulky and cumbersome phones that other manufacturers brought to the market. By insisting on “the impossible,” he wound up transforming an industry as well as how consumers thought about the devices they owned. (I’ve heard about a wedding toast where the best man counsels the groom to hold his new bride’s hand with the same love and devotion he shows his phone.)

Are You Doing it Alone?

Out of the thousands of things you can obsess about, only 3-4 matter right now.
Perry Marshall
Developing the entrepreneurial mindset is one of the most important things you can do. When you are your own boss, when you can’t go running to someone else for cover, you had better know why you have chosen your path in the first place. As they say, “Know Your Why.” You may want freedom, unlimited income, a lifestyle business that allows you to be with your kids, or the ability to work from anywhere in the world. All of this is possible when you call the shots. And only you can tell yourself why you do what you do. When things don’t quite go your way, you need to draw upon your “Why” for support and inspiration. You can’t rely on the contradictory advice you are going to get from others. In this chapter we’re going to look at some of the less-talked-about characteristics that make up successful entrepreneurs. Some of them may go against your own nature, which is why you need to be fully aware of them.
You Can’t Do it Alone
Giving up control is one of the hardest things for an entrepreneur to do. We are brought up to be self-reliant, and we think we can do it all. As a result, we can take on more than we should and find ourselves overwhelmed and confused.
There are tasks that we are good at and others that we are not so good at. As I mentioned earlier, experts say that each of us excels at about 5% of what it takes to succeed in business. We can get by for a while doing the other 95%, but sooner or later, you will need to delegate and share the work. You don’t want to try to become an expert at 100% of what needs to be done, which is often our first inclination. No, you can’t do it all.
Outsourcing is one way to get things done, and there are ways of finding people who are willing to work for a lot less than you might imagine. In the Philippines, you can find college graduates with excellent English skills who will work for $5 an hour. You can also take on partners or employees as you grow. The bottom line is that you have to recognize your limitations and take action accordingly.

How to Accelerate Your Success

How to Accelerate Your Success
Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
Albert Einstein
You can avoid the dismal fate of most small businesses. But you won’t find a foolproof plan anywhere, despite what a lot of people will tell you. (Do you know why nothing is foolproof? Because fools are so ingenious.)
In order to succeed in today’s world of entrepreneurship, far more is required than capital, teamwork, planning, and a product or service that fits the market. There are thousands of examples of companies that had all the money and talent in the world but went down the drain nevertheless. Speed to market, acting with a sense of urgency, understanding what it takes to acquire a customer, and understanding the motivations of your customers are all key.
The psychological aspects of business are often far more important than having a good product or service. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door,” but he lived in a completely different era. Whether or not such a viewpoint was true then is not important, but it is certainly not true now. Our era is characterized by noise, clutter, and confusion, and lots of it. When AOL gave everyone 10 MB of storage in the early days, the Internet quickly became flooded with minute trivia, useless information, and downright stupidity. And it’s only gotten worse. Today, low quality is drowning out high quality, and you need to find a way to rise above it all in order to get noticed.
And don’t forget that IBM used to tell its sales force to instill Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) in the prospect’s mind. You couldn’t go wrong buying IBM, but if you bought from the other company, you could lose your job. The FUD Factor is alive and well when so much information is generated every day that one can’t possibly keep up. Knowing what is valuable and what is not is a full-time job. (Mick Jagger used the term “useless information” in the hit song Satisfaction.) You need a reliable filter to help you sort things out.
In my extensive experience, there are a number of timeless principles that all entrepreneurs should know and practice. They have nothing to do with gaming Google or figuring out the latest Twitter trick. And while others may offer timeless thoughts too that have great value, mine go far beyond the typical suggestions about setting goals, being persistent, fostering innovation, and working with the end in mind. While the above character traits are necessary, they are hardly going to prepare you for the rough and tumble world in which you will find yourself. The principles that I am going to explore will provide you with a roadmap, a foundation, of what to expect as you go through your entrepreneurial journey. When things seem to be going haywire, take heart in the fact that you are not alone. Many have been there before you, and they have not only survived, they have thrived.
In the following articles I have described timeless principles at work in business and in life. Not all apply equally at all times, but they are filled with insight and wisdom. Some of you may not agree with me, and that’s fine. There will always be exceptions. But try them on and see how well they fit before you decide that they are not for you. We’ll be coming back to them in various ways, and you need to keep them in mind as you go about your everyday life. They are not in a particular order of importance, and they should be taken together and absorbed over time. I’ve heard about some of them for decades, and at times they take on new meaning. They can be very powerful if you use them accordingly.

QC Within the Oil and Gas Industry

QC and QA

Importance of  QC and QA  in Customer Service

I my last article I discussed the customer and customer service.

One of the most important aspects of customer service is QC and its counterpart QA

According to Wikipedia, ” Quality control (QC), is a process by which entities review the quality of all factors”  This encompasses production  or processes . This approach places an emphasis  on three  things:

  • Elements which include controls and job management.
  • Competence
  • Soft skills such integrity, organizational culture and relationships.

“…whereas quality assurance (QA)  attempts to improve and stabilize production (and associated processes) to avoid, or at least minimize, issues which led to the defect(s) in the first place.”
These vary in importance from saving a few dollars to billions of dollars and can in many cases  save lives or even have catastrophic affects on the environment.

The Evolution of QC – Quality Inspirational Stories

The following video, by Sipho Tjabadi, General Manager, Quality Management – Group Capital, Eskom , highlights what disastrous affects can result from poor qc and  human and financial losses happened due to breaking the basic rules of qc with emphasis on three live examples of poor qc:

  • Challenger space shuttle disaster
  • Toyota defective brakes
  • Third, BP’s drilling rig explosion

Cost Of Poor QC
The issues of qc and qa are extremely important ones in today’s world. Many different sources use the word “quality” so much that its true meaning is being taken for granted much like other values in society. When we talk about qc we want it to really mean something to our customers and everyone we work with.
How Do YOU Define QC?
Commonly the word “quality” is used to define a new standard that exceeds the average expectations. It’s a word that measures relationships between a business and its customers, as well as products and services provided. QC is actually an active process; a pursuit of qc in any field of life is in fact an ongoing process of striving towards perfection, when after listening to the needs of customers we try to meet and exceed those needs as much as possible. There are some areas of our lives where we cannot accept low standards, such as when lives are involved and high-risk situations are put of the picture. Whenever as a company we test and evaluate new software programs to provide critical data to our customers, we are very aware that even a small margin of error in our calculations can lead to big a consequence; that is why we always maintain the highest qc testing standards possible. We know how important it really is to thoroughly explore every aspect of a program before releasing it to customers.
What Does QC Depend On?
In order to establish quality, you need to first address the other critical points without which true qc would mean nothing. Many of these principles are unfortunately disappearing rapidly, and becoming more valuable every day.
These points are:
1) Honesty
2) Trust
3) Open Communication
4) A Combination of optimism and pessimism together
You cannot be assured that you have received the highest qc product or service unless you:
A) Trust the people that are serving you to fulfill their promises to the best of their ability, and/or…
B) Have a thoroughly honest enough relationship with your co-workers and clients to be able to question everything. This simple, yet profound step is what forms the foundation of the third element, good communication. If the service providers really can’t fulfill certain responsibilities, and have the integrity to admit their limitations, then you know you have found a reliable business partner for the future. To serve others with honesty and integrity is what it means to be truly profitable, and history has demonstrated that any business which rests on profits from intentional deceit and corruption cannot escape exposure, sooner or later.
The role of companies when we create new products and provide services is to also be both optimistic and pessimistic, which is actually not a contradiction. When we design new technology and create new templates and ways of sharing data, we have to remain thoroughly optimistic during the process in order to never give up before the target goal is reached. Even famous inventors in history maintained this kind of untouchable enthusiasm and optimism, such as Thomas Edison. After he had discovered the perfect material to use for the light bulb’s filament, he was interviewed and asked how he was able to keep going with his experiments after he had failed so many times in his laboratory. He answered that he never felt as if he had ever failed; he simply felt that every failure was really just another step in the process of the ongoing experiment. The pessimistic part only comes into play mostly after the product or service is completed, because that sense of divine dissatisfaction will help us to more clearly and critically evaluate ourselves to see where our weak points really are. If we ever sat back on our laurels and stated that we could never have done something better, we would miss many opportunities to grow and evolve with the constantly changing demands of our market.
It was because of these four reasons, honesty, trust, open communication, a combination of optimism and pessimism together, that Thomas Jefferson is famously referenced for discussing that for a man to assume public trust, he would be wise to also consider himself public property. This point demonstrates that trust, like qc, is primarily another person’s assessment of us, and furthermore is a reflection of how we treat others. Jefferson’s statement here strikes upon the truth that in order to be trustworthy, we need to step outside of our own, self-centered perspective as much as possible. In order to truly serve a customer we have to think of their needs as actually becoming our own needs as well. We have a responsibility once we accept trust to fulfill and maintain it to the best of our ability. It only takes one suspicion to begin destroying a customer’s trust and qc and qa. Everyone wants to be able to trust others, and as long as we truly keep the customer’s best interests at heart, not only will we remain a truly ethical business, but topics like qc and qc management will become our favorite topics and focus points naturally.
When G-Logic Solutions was founded, it was created with this basic understanding of qc management in mind. Without qc in monitoring the fundamental information we provide for key software development, we would not have established the lasting relationships we have made today within the oil and gas industry. It takes real experience in the field, years of rigorous research and testing, and the ingenuity and dedication of creative minds communicating in total honesty to build the tools we have available to our clients today. In the Oil and Gas Industry especially, efficiency in planning makes the all of difference between keeping a low operating budget or wasting time and valuable resources. One of our primary goals is helping exploration and production companies within the petroleum industry get all of the information they need, in a useful interface, to allow them to drill in highly accurate and advanced ways. We also facilitate real time data communication between everyone involved to help enhance the speed and qc of decision-making and work. Our experience with advanced 3-D modeling technologies helps predict future developments, and allows us to work with developers to implement innovative measurement while drilling practices. We work with services to provide quality geological data management tools that have proven to be essential to our customers. All of these advantages together result in the highest quality of planning, as well as reducing unnecessary costs (such as reducing drilling times) and thus improving overall performance.
None of this work would have been achieved without our commitment to real qc.

Customer Service

Customer Service in the Petroleum Industry

Customer Service Starts with understanding What the Customer Is

I’ll start to define customer service with the following quotes:

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises; he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.” Mahatma Gandhi
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