Following on from part 1 of Integrated Change’s post on how app building charities can learn from the best salespeople, Scott Hague concludes with his last three take-away points. If you missed the first post, you can find it here.
I believe that app building charities can learn a lot from the clever, strategic and successful breed of salesperson. I’m not saying that you rush out and train a sales force that is highly tuned into your product’s value but I do believe that by implementing some of these principles early on in your project, your chances of app success will be significantly improved.
4. Know Your Target Market
The most successful salespeople will know their target market inside and out. They will know what affects the market, the competition, the financial pressures, the regulatory guidelines and what changes are coming.
They know how to reach out to people in the market and converse on a level par. They transform themselves to an outsider to an insider. When building an app you need to do the same.
Once you have explored your market in detail you must also remember that your customers within you’re defined target market will have different expectations, goals, needs and outcomes. They are not all clones.
Think about traditional segmentation criteria like geographic location, age, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, relationship held with you and how they value your service (if you already provide one to them).
Then think about what issues they face as an individual, what trigger events do they have and if there are any common trends. I like to categorise these as qualitative and quantitative measures. Give each one a score and then review your output. The highest scores will reveal the market you should target or at least point you in the right direction.
I also find that supplementing this activity with a PEST analysis can add even more weight to the analysis of your target market. That is the Political, Economic, Social and Technological factors affecting it.
Once you’ve done this combine and cross-refer your insights with those from knowing your customer (point 3 in my earlier post). This will provide your organisation with powerful, actionable insights.
5. Know Why Your Solution Will Help Your Customer
Have you ever stopped to think why you bought that shiny new product recently? How long did it take you to decide to buy and who or what influenced your thought process? Maybe it was to impress someone or maybe it was because the product was positioned to show why it helps you rather than what it does.
There is an important distinction here. As an example, I really like the headlines that Zen Desk use on their website backed up by a great, humorous video. It’s a good example of the ‘why’ and not the ‘what’. Go take a look at it here. You will notice in the video that they have spent time understanding many of this article’s points; then successfully reinforcing why you should change to their product and why the time is right for you to choose Zen Desk.
It’s all too easy to focus on the ‘what our solution’ will provide. Yes, that’s important but it shouldn’t lead as the key message or be any part of your value proposition.
In my opinion, ‘what’ your solution provides is meaningless if I don’t understand ‘why’ it will help me. If you build these ‘why change, why you and why now’ messages into your app’s proposition you will significantly increase your chances of success.
Just like in point 4 above, you may wish to think about supplementing this. A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis will help you to identify your internal and external strengths and weaknesses and highlight what opportunities and threats lie ahead. Collaborate on it with key internal and external project personnel and you’ll get insights and answers that you had never even considered; so be prepared for a few surprises.
6. Know Your Competitors
If you’ve not already carried out a competitor matrix now’s the point to do one. You may well have more than one competitor, so it’s a good idea to choose the top three or five.
There is no secret ingredient to completing the competitor matrix. Start by creating a simple matrix of benchmark items and give each item a score to you and your competitors. The key here is being totally honest. There is no point in making yourself out to be best if you’re not. And even if you are, there will still be room for improvement (and your competitors will be fast on your tail).
Again try and invite other people from within your organisation to obtain their view.
Successful salespeople know their competitors intimately. They aim to keep abreast of changes, challenges and developments in their landscape and they feed from other people within their own organisation to enhance their insight further.
7. How To Do Points 1-6 Really Well
Don’t get bogged down in spreadsheets
Although you are going to document each of these activities, try not to get too bogged down in paperwork and Excel spreadsheets – that’s no good for anybody.
Remember that, fundamentally, you are trying to work out what makes you great. So have fun at the same time and enjoy the experience!
Build your value proposition
Now that you understand the six key traits, you should start to think about building your value proposition around the information you have collected.
’ If you choose to tell people things, people will talk back to you in the form of resistance and rejection…’
The core value proposition should be a short statement that connects with your target market and customer. It shouldn’t contain any buzzwords or technical jargon and it shouldn’t focus on the ‘what’s’. Remember, the objective here is to connect your value proposition with your customer and you must tell them ‘why’ your solution will help them.
“Value is most clearly and measurably defined as that which the customer will take action to obtain or keep”
Michael J. Webb, Sales and Marketing the Six Sigma Way
Keep the value proposition focused around what you have learnt so far. Test it out on other people, departments and colleagues. Make sure it’s bulletproof by validating the value proposition against the classic objection of ‘so what’ or ‘what does that mean to me’.
If this trips you up, try tweaking it so that the objection never crops up or you have a very good answer to answer the objection. Spend time on building the value proposition. It’s a really important task. It will help you to connect your other marketing messages and activities together into one harmonious piece of excellent marketing.
The problem doesn’t always lie with getting your app noticed
People often ask ‘How do it get my app noticed’. Lets be be clear, these six points wont necessarily do that for you. You could have all the visibility in the world and still not convert (downloads and users) to the numbers you need because you haven’t connected the value to the user and vice versa.
However, if you’ve followed these six points then you will be in much better shape to convert users when you do get to the point of promoting your app.
A steady ship never made for a good sailor
There are so many variables in getting this right and there is no perfect answer or secret formula for success. You have to work really hard to make your app work and any additional ammunition you can use to do this will only help your cause.
I have presented on this very topic to the NHS and at various HANDI events over the years (view my presentation at EHI Live last year here) and provided consultancy to several digital agencies. They have all felt this to be a very enlightening experience and one that’s helped them to achieve success in creating the right project foundations.
A Shift Of Mind-set Is Required
The retail world has had to deal with enormous changes in consumer behaviour and become more mobile focused. I believe that the public health sector has to shift their mind-set and take a leaf from the retail sector.
I have used terms such as break-even, return on investment and even ‘customers’ which some may find a little too commercial for their charity organisation. Whether you are dealing with patients, research groups and healthcare professionals or whether your app is free or not publicly available, the commercial world has a lot to give and we can learn a lot from them.
It’s not always about the colour of money but quite often, thats what it comes down to. Mobile apps and the eco-system they live in do not come for free.
Maybe my message is getting through as per the recent announcement from Public Health England demonstrates. Still, there is some way to go.
As such, I would like to end my two part series with this statement, taken from a fantastic book by Jim Collins. It links back to the very start of my first post. You may want to print this out and stick it on your office wall!
“The only way to remain great is to keep on applying the fundamental principles that made you great”
Good to Great; why some companies make the leap and others don’t