Brian Chapman, director of global marketing at Honeywell Process Solutions, was the end note for the Marketing and Sales Summit. His talk was called “Mindshare to Market Share: Applying High-Tech Marketing Practices to the Automation Marketplace.”
“I feel a little funny, because I don’t have 22 years in the industry,” he said. “We talk about this industry that we call high tech, as if it were different from the automation industry. The automation industry IS a high tech industry, we just adopt technology more slowly than the rest of the high tech industry.”
I want to talk about this concept of influencing the influencer.
“I can’t explain it—but I have a funny feeling that I’m being Googled.”
In the high-tech world, information is an industry—exclusive high tech agencies, hundreds of trade magazines, dailies, weeklies, monthlies and quarterlies. Every newspaper and business pub has a technology beat. There are a dozen analyst firms targeting a multitude of audiences fro Wall street analysts to desktop users. The first industry to adopt the internet radically changed how companies went to market, and hundreds of millions of dollars spent every year.
In the IT world, brand is king. New categories created, always #1. Creative work is critical to rise above the clutter. Segmentation, segmentation, segmentation. Understanding the sales cycle and knowing when and how to impact it.
This case study is specific to understanding the sales cycle and knowing when and how to impact it.
“I have never worked in an industry with a more complex sales cycle. I think we do it on purpose.”
New Product Introduction Case Study
This is from the IT world…the product was a competitor to Microsoft Office.
–New market with total sales less than $300m
–3rd in a maret of 6 (#1 in the category sold $150m+)
–annual sales of existing product $50m up from $8m
—-approx. $30m investment in upgrade
—-12 month sales expectation was $100m
Conclusion: Needed to get smarter…couldn’t buy market share.
–We won 76% of the time we were on the bidders list
–We were in less than one-third of the bids
–Purchase by committee.
We didn’t know how to get on the short list.
The Line of Business Manager
30% of the vote, and he owned the checkbook
19% of vote, highest complaint quotient
51% of the vote with veto power
The IT guys sit at the bottom of the funnel, with veto power. So regardless of what everybody wanted, regardless of the line of business manager’s choice, they can make the project succeed or fail. This guy can use his veto power, or covertly fail the project.
Primary target was the IT guy, Secondary target was the Line of Business manager.
Influencing the Influencer….
Network Administrator: the primary influences:
Wall Street (#4)
Advertising and Promotion (#5)
Peers and User communities (#3)
Trade Magazines(#2—testing labs)
Trade analysts (#1 weight)
We were the least influential group in getting us on the short list.
In the automation industry, the #1 influencer is the supplier.
Peer groups are #2, trade magazines are #3.
It is critical to end users to have that direct interaction with vendors. This may be changing, but it will change slowly.
So, who influences the influencers?
Suppliers influence the trade analysts, Wall street and the user communities and peers.
We built an entire plan around influencing trade analysts and trade magazines, since that was #1 and #2. We had a $14 million budget and we did it in 90 days.
The Plan/The Results
–Focus on the trades (analysts and labs)
Top seven analyst firms for the category with monthly visits, paid to write custom reports to write customer experiences.
Top ten labs for reviews: special team created to support review process, and hardware and software donated to the lab
Mix the audiences: unheard of at the time
Three day launch event: 100 journalists, 50 trade analysts, 20+ Wall Street analysts, 300+ customers
…and we just held our breath to see what would happen.
At the end of the day, we were frequently listed as #1 by the analysts and labs. We went from being on less than a third of the bid lists to 75%, and we hit our $100m revenue target six monts post launch.
The labs and analysts had emotional ownership in the product because we even let them have input into the design of the UI.
How does that apply to our world?
We don’t dissect the sales cycle nearly as well as we should.
Our engineers at Honeywell are convinced that they are the only ones who can talk to the engineers at our customers. We are trying to tell them that the customers are people first, and engineers second.