Customer Service Business Plan


Answer the following questions:

  1. What is your mission statement? A mission statement should be a summary of the following points as well.
  2. What product do you produce? What are the components of the integrated products-services, distribution, support, relationship, etc?
  3. Who are your customers? What are the major sub groupings of customers, or market segments?
  4. Where are your customers? Geographically? On terms of level in their organization? How many steps are there between them and you? How do they get your products?
  5. What do your customers buy? How close is it to what they need? How do you know?
  6. What is your relationship with your customers? How do you know they are getting what they need? How do they learn how to use your products?
  7. What do they do with what they buy?
  8. Who are your known competitors? Who else provides products or services that could be substituted for you in the customers’ eye? Who will your competitors be tomorrow?
  9. What is that your customers most value about your organization (not just your products)? About your competitors?

10.  What trends are there in your customers’ businesses or lifestyles that are likely to change what they will need from you?

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Product Development Process


The product development process involves analysis of the marketplace, the buyer, the company’s capabilities, and the economic potential of new product ideas. This process may be both expensive and time consuming. To accelerate the process, many companies create multidisciplinary teams so that manufacturing and marketing plans can be developed in tandem while the product is being designed.

  1. Generation and Screening of Ideas: The first step is to come up with ideas that will satisfy unmet needs. A producer may get new product ideas from its own employees or from external consultants, it may simply adapt a competitor’s idea, or it may buy the rights to someone else’s invention. Customers are often the best source of new product ideas.
  2. Business Analysis: A product idea that survives the screening stage is subjected to a business analysis. At this point the question is: Can the company make enough money on the product to justify the investment? To answer this question, companies forecast the probable sales of the product, assuming various pricing strategies. In addition, they estimate the costs associated with various levels of production. Given these projections, the company calculates the potential cash flow and return on investment that will be achieved if the product is introduced.
  3. Prototype Development: The next step is generally to create and test a few samples, or prototypes, of the product, including its packaging. During this stage, the various elements of the marketing mix are put together. In addition, the company evaluates the feasibility of large-scale production and specifies the resources required to bring the product to market.
  4. Product Testing: During the product testing stage, a small group of consumers actually use the product, often in comparison tests with existing products. If the results are good, the next step is test marketing, introducing the product in selected areas of the country and monitoring consumer reactions. Test marketing makes the most sense in cases where the cost of marketing a product far exceeds the cost of developing it.
  5. Commercialization: The final stage of development is commercialization, the large-scale production and distribution of those products that have survived the testing process. This phase requires the coordination of many activities—manufacturing, packaging, distribution, pricing and promotion. A classic mistake is letting marketing get out of phase with production so that the consumer is primed to buy the product before the company can supply it in adequate quantity. A mistake of this sort can be costly, because competitors may be able to jump in quickly. Many companies roll out their new products generally, going from one geographic area to the next. This enables them to spread the costs of launching the product over a longer period and to refine their strategy as the rollout proceeds.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Geographic Information Systems


The administration and management of Sales territories presents a tremendous challenge, even to the most experienced sales managers. While you would like to have your salespeople feel that territory administration is done fairly and reasonably, the truth of the matter is that it is usually more of an art than a service. A geographic information system allows a salesperson or sales manager to view and manipulate customer and/or prospect information on an electronic map. Customer information can be accessed directly from contact management data. Information on potential prospects can be entered into the system directly as it is captured, or the information can be purchased in bulk in computer format from third party sources.

Once the information is plotted on a map, the administration of territories becomes immeasurably more accurate. The information can also be manipulated much more easily. In addition, this type of visual representation will often reveal buying patterns or trends that would not otherwise be apparent.

Salespeople can use geographic information systems in planning their sales calls to make the most efficient use of their time. Drive time is minimized when sales call planning is done with geographic considerations in mind.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Partnering with Customers


  1. Pick high-visibility, vocal customers as your research partners and test sites. When you succeed together, they’ll spread the word quickly to their peers and pave your way into the market.
  2. As your customer list grows, organize their names and phone numbers by product and geographic area so you can easily provide references keyed to a prospect’s interests.
  3. Gather passive (i.e., written testimonials and quotes from customers to use in your sales materials, ads, and proposals. Remember to use videos.
  4. Use active testimonials with important prospects: Ask two or three present customers to call a prospective one, rather than waiting for the prospect to call them.
  5. Use on-site testimonials. Arrange a tour of customer premises where prospects can see your products performing.
  6. Find customers willing to meet prospects on your turf to endorse you and your products.
  7. Conduct joint presentations with your customers at industry meetings. Coauthor articles to automatically share the limelight with your customers.
  8. Bring your customers together at least once a year to share ideas with each other, give you feedback, critique new product concepts, and have a good time. Invite a few key prospects—they’re likely to come away sold.
  9. Take customers to trade shows and go to theirs. The better you know each other, the more value you both receive.
  10. Treat your customer-partners as heroes. Thank them—and more. For example, feature them in your newsletter, mail them a poster-sized letter signed by all your employees, or send a dozen balloons to their offices.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Sales Call Reports


When the members of a sales staff are spread out over a large geographic area, sales call reports are a critical components of a sales manager’s efforts to keep a finger on the pulse of what is going on in the territory.

It is critical for both sales and management to have a finger on the pulse on the business. This means knowing where the business is and where it isn’t, and being able to analyze the situation by product, by geography, and by timing. This allows everyone to do a better job at sales planning.

There are, of course, a variety of means by which a sales call report can be delivered to a sales manager. Sales reports that are submitted by mail often do not arrive on a timely enough basis to allow them to be as useful as they should be. Every sales manager will, from time to time, discover in a sales call report a situation that requires, in the manager’s judgment, immediate attention.

The electronic mail component of a sales automation system is completely portable. Sales force automation allows a salesperson with a notebook computer to communicate with a similarly equipped sales manager anytime, anyplace. Better still Black Berry handsets with GPRS connection is the best solution.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Bases for Market Segmentation


Two broad types of variables are commonly used for market segmentation. Socioeconomic characteristics of consumers, such as gender, age, occupation, income, family life cycle, education, and geographic location make up one type. The other type consists of behavioral variables, including benefits sought from products and services, usage behavior, lifestyle, and attitudes. For industrial buyers, socioeconomic characteristics may include company size and location, and industry or customers served. Behavioral variables may include purchasing objectives and practices as well as product and service benefits. The appropriateness of any one or combination of variables in a specific situation will depend on whether or not a variable relates to purchasing, use, or consumption behavior and responsiveness to marketing programs.

The choice of variables to use to segment a market often depends on insights into buyer behavior, provided by creative research. Even people with similar usage needs often have differing lifestyles representing various value sets. For example, some people have an active lifestyles in which sports and fitness play an important role, while for others arts, fashion and trends may be very important.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Knowing about Matrix Organization


A matrix organization, also known as matrix management, is an organization in which one or more forms of departmentalization are super-imposed on an existing one. In one example, product departments are superimposed on a functional departmentalization. This company’s product division is functionally organized, with departments for functions like production, engineering, and personnel. Superimposed over this functional departmentalization are three product groups. Each of these product groups has its own product manager, or project leader. One or more employees from each functional department (like production and engineering) is temporarily assigned to each project.

Combining customer and geographic organizations is another common matrix approach. For example, a bank may be organized geographically, with separate officers in charge of operations in each of several countries. At the same time, the bank has a customer structure superimposed over this geographic organization. Project heads for major bank customers lead teams comprised of bank employees from each country who concentrate on the local and worldwide financial interests of that customer. Bank employees in each country may report to both their country managers and their project managers. Some matrix organizations are more formal than others. Sometimes temporary project managers are assigned to provide coordination across functional departments for some project or customer. Other firms sometimes add a semi-permanent administrative structure (including, for instance, project employee appraisal forms) to help build the project teams’ authority). Matrix organizations have proved successful in a wide range of companies.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please contact www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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