A book that tells you exactly how to grow your revenue.”
“No one is better at knowing how customers think.”Jeffrey Tarter
“All in all I’m pleased to say that the ROI for her work with FieldOne Systems has been phenomenal. It is probably one of the best decisions we have ever made.”Shloma Baum
First I will find out what you are doing – and what you should be doing. I do this with a powerful and efficient interviewing process that I have put to work for hundreds of CEOs. Then I present my findings – qualitative and quantitative – to you and your team. We will then get to work on making changes – starting with those in the “biggest bang for the buck” category.
As we work on making the necessary changes, I will help you take what customers want and apply it to your products, processes, and people. We will also identify new opportunities and make sure your company “owns” those opportunities.
I can help with strategy, processes, people management and training, recruiting, improvements in marketing, selling, and product management processes, and with product design. I am especially adept at designing new models/sites for improving the customer’s experience.
I work on an hourly, project, or retainer basis – whatever works best for you and the nature of the work. I always try to work myself out of a job, making sure you have the tools and processes to continue on the new, revenue-producing path.
One of the questions every seller must answer is, “What’s going to happen to me after I buy?” The following description of the three-phase revenue improvement process will answer that question for you.
Revenue Reality Check process:
Conduct in-depth, open-ended interviews by phone. Interview customers, employees, managers, and influencers.
Trends will emerge by the 5th to 7th interview of each type of person.
Questions asked have been refined via thousands of customer interviews, but we will also ask questions specific to your product or market.
We will ask them to rank your company in several key areas.
Deliverables: Conversation Report (word-for-word), Executive Summary, and comprehensive Recommendations.
Competitive and market research / analysis, with report
Present to you and your team, and discuss findings.
We have deployed and perfected this method for hundreds of companies. We have found that:
Managers read every word of the Conversation Report – it’s fascinating reading – and the most efficient way to “get into the heads” of existing customers and prospective buyers. The data allows us to “reverse engineer” successful sales in order to create new sales in quantity.
The most important points are made obvious via this method. You will know exactly what you need to fix, and what you should be promoting (it is not what you think) and how you should be promoting it.
You will learn things that your competition will never find out – because they are making the same mistake everyone makes. They’re assuming and acting on their assumptions.
You will be even more confident about your own “secret sauce” and be able to help employees strengthen that perception/reputation with everything they do.
Once managers understand what customers really want, their course is clear. Marketing, selling, and product management/design decisions are based on objective reality, not subjective internal agendas.
Revenue Gap Analysis Process:
The findings in the report – including the quantitative data – allow us to “grade” the company in a number of areas (such as product, pricing, people, processes, reputation, etc.). We aggregate the ratings provided by each type of person interviewed, to clearly see the company’s strengths and weaknesses.
In today’s market, the weak areas create a vulnerability that can be (and will be) attacked by competitors. And weak areas are “out there” for everyone to see, thanks to the conversations that customers have with each other on the Web.
You may think a weakness is not a big deal, but that’s only because you are not aware of how many sales you are losing because a competitor said, “Oh, you don’t want to buy from them. They have a terrible problem with X.” This problem can easily be confirmed by the customer by typing a search phrase into Google that includes your company name and the “X” problem. You will have lost the sale before you even had a chance to defend yourself. These invisible lost sales are a major problem for all companies today.
The Revenue Gap Analysis provides yet more clear-cut direction for the management team. We will know what’s important to customers, what’s not working, and what is costing you sales.
Quantifying this data helps to overcome the beliefs that stall revenue. In my experience, the two biggest revenue inhibitors are reluctance on the part of management to make a necessary change, and the introduction of a jerk into top management. Jerks always have their own agenda, which usually runs contrary to the company’s agenda.
Revenue Optimization Process:
Once we have analyzed and discussed the data, it’s time to set to work to get you on the road to higher revenue. We will:
Develop a remediation plan that solves the quickest/easiest problems right away, and starts the process for solving the more difficult problems.
Build plans, assign owners/teams/timelines/objectives/budgets.
Get total buy-in to necessary changes to avoid management reluctance.
Keep the customer’s wishes at the forefront; they will recognize and reward your efforts.
Revenue remediation / improvement can involve:
People: Assessing, training, recruiting, managing, coaching.
Processes: Improve current processes or create new ones. Analyze current workflows, find the inefficiencies, and streamline.
Policies: Employees react to stated (or unstated) policies, and behave accordingly, which has a direct effect on the customer’s experience. Any policies that are stalling growth are changed or eliminated. New policies are put in place that direct more customer-centric behavior.
Positioning: How you present yourself is absolutely critical to your success. Your content is your first – and sometimes only – salesperson. We make sure that your messages address the concerns of your current customers and answer their questions. If your content doesn’t answer their questions (if you think of your experience as a buyer, you will realize how often this is the case), you will never know they were interested. They will simply click away. Website content is critical, of course, but all other vehicles must also sell properly for you, including social and video.
Campaigns: Proper positioning leads to effective campaigns, and campaigns are effective when they 1) address the customer’s real concerns (guessing won’t cut it); 2) appear where and how they would expect to find them and are most receptive; 3) are consistent, educational, and inviting. The best campaigns bring highly qualified leads to your salespeople (or better yet, your customer experience staff), who quickly answer the remaining questions and help the customer make a great decision.
Systems: We examine current systems and determine if they are helping or hurting the customer experience. We also partner with a systems improvement team. It’s not enough to fix the “visible” aspects of the company – what the customer experiences – but also the “backend” of all the systems that support those experiences.
Management Coaching: I work closely with CEOs and entrepreneurs to think through the course of action relating to any and all areas of revenue growth. This is a large portion of what I do every day. I serve as both a sounding board and an a trusted advisor with no agenda except to increase revenue.
“She is a person of the highest integrity, straightforward and blunt, yet very personable. Kristin draws on her extensive and varied experience in high tech to provide practical solutions to issues and problems.”Tony Baran, CEO
Kristin Zhivago’s contention is that vendors of goods and services are searching in the wrong places to find answers as to why they are not succeeding in attracting potential buyers to purchase from them and thus increase their revenue. They don’t recognize that their customers are the only ones that know the real answers. Posing the right questions to their customers will inform them what their customers want and how they want to buy it.
With her clear-thinking approach through verbiage that can be described as superb in its economy, Zhivago in her Roadmap To Revenue: How To Sell The Way Your Customers Want To Buy advocates a change in the usual way companies conceive about sales and marketing. In fact, Zhivago is quite forthright in her contempt concerning some of the existing marketing techniques that hammer consumers with a great deal of noise and clutter about products and services that cost companies millions of dollars with little to show for it. She further affirms that most of the time marketing and selling are out of touch as to what your buyer really wants from your product or service and as she maintains: “Marketing and selling is what you do. Buying is what your customer does.” After all, is it not the buyer that determines whether the company will succeed or not? Consequently, to improve revenue, Zhivago advocates a different approach – one which she describes as shifting from a company-centered approach to a customer-centric one. Her fundamental message is to engage your customers and listen to their needs wherein you align your organization with your customer’s buying process.
After presenting her readers with a general overview, Zhivago breaks down her process into three fundamental steps which she fully treats within chapters three, four and five of the book. It is here where we learn how to interview customers, create reports, and what to do with all of the information we have accumulated. The three steps are as follows:
1) Discover: Interview your customers, find out what they want and how they want to go about buying it. This can be accomplished through the use of in-depth, one-on-one phone interviews. It is here where readers will learn whom to interview, how to interview, questions that should be posed to your customers, transcribing the interview, creating a conversation report, and distributing the report to the individuals that will be involved in a subsequent brainstorming and planning meeting.
2) Debate. Resolve the differences between what they want versus what you have to sell, and how they buy versus how you sell. In this step, you arrange whom you wish to be present in the brainstorming and planning meeting, which should be conducted over a period of two days. The participants should come from a broad spectrum of areas in your organization such as marketing, sales, websites, systems operations, and customer service. The first day would emphasize all the important issues that are important to your customers and this would be followed by building your promise by using the information garnered from your customers.
3) Deploy. Document your customer’s buying process so you can support them every step of the way, then build an action plan. This step is covered in day two, now that you know what exactly you have to deliver to your customers.
The remaining chapters of the book analyze more closely how to support your customers’s buying process, the four levels of buyer scrutiny which Zhivago breaks down into light, medium, heavy and intense, and finally the way to keep your company on the right path to increasing revenue.
Roadmap To Revenue is certainly a maverick book containing act-on-it-today advice rendered by an acknowledged master who has meticulously presented information that she has garnered from her many years as a Revenue Coach to CEOs and entrepreneurs helping them increase their revenue by understanding exactly what their customers want. Moreover, the book provides great insight relevant to viewing the customer purchasing process as a whole and the need to change our attitude if we hope to increase revenue. It is one book that should be a top reading priority for CEOs and entrepreneurs who, as Zhivago states in her opening dedicating remarks, “feel a strong sense of responsibility to their customers, employees, and stakeholders, and who want to grow their businesses without resorting to the deceptive techniques used by the manipulative world.”