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Train Wreck or On Track: When Your Company CXO Meets Your Customer

I’ve been a buy-side executive most of my professional career.  I never counted, but my guess is I’ve “experienced” over two-thousand face-to-face encounters with sales people, five-thousand phone calls, and probably twenty-thousand emails, voice messages, text messages, and old-fashioned letters.  As you can imagine, I’ve seen all kind of sales strategies, methodologies, techniques and gimmicks ranging from the truly outstanding to the very ugly.

Interestingly, I only remember the extremes: the 10% of the very best sales campaigns and the 10% of the very worst.  The 80% in the middle are undifferentiated fuzz in my mind.  If I remember your name and the company you represented, there’s a 50/50 chance I either loved you or hated you … not personally mind you, but professionally.

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Ten Dirty Little Secrets About ROI Analysis

Have you noticed that ‘ROI’, a term formerly reserved for the outcome of an in-depth investment analysis, has evolved to a catch-all buzzword used by sales and marketing people?  Everyone touts ROI to the point it has become meaningless noise to most buy-side executives.  ROI has morphed into another financial benefit waste word along with efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity.  Many sales professionals pull out the ROI wand as if the mere mention of the word carries some magical influence over their customer’s investment analysis.

I’m not suggesting that discussing ROI with your customers is inappropriate.  But I am suggesting that you stop using the R-word if you can’t say something more substantive and quantitative about the financial benefits of your solution.   If you want to improve your relevancy with customer executives, you better be able to engage them in a dialog about the financial impact your solution will have on their business.  This goes way beyond throwing out a ROI number.

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Catch The First FinReg Waves Washing Up On Investment Banks

Hang ten in the financial services industry and catch some of the first waves of business model changes washing up on the investment banking shores … dude. As I advised in a prior blog post, Selling Into FinReg, NOW is the time to sell the financial value of your solutions. Catch the wave! SeeWSJ article.

The regulatory sea change, that is andwill be (with 243 rules remaining to be written) the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (HR 4173), has begun to upend business models across the financial services industry. And Basel III, the global bank reform standards issued last month and scheduled to be finalized next month, has raised the wind speed and accelerated the pace of structural changes.

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How To Break Open The Corporate Piggy Bank

In business, cash is king; but the king is starting to hoard his riches. Sales professionals better get a big hammer to break open this bulging piggy bank.

By now you’ve probably heard that companies around the world, particularly in the U.S., are building up record cash piles. U.S. corporations hold more cash on their balance sheet than at any point on record. Nonfinancial companies in the S&P500 stock index are sitting on a record $2 trillion, according to FactSet. S&P reports the average company in its flagship index is carrying cash in the bank equal to 11.6% of their stock market value compared to less than 3% a decade ago. According to J.P. Morgan Chase, if cash balances for the companies in the S&P500 index returned to normal levels (about 7% of assets from the current 11%), it would result in spending of $428 billion!

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FASTalert: New Medical Loss Ratio Threshold Mandated by Feds Will Jumpstart Technology Spending by Health Insurers

See WSJ Article.  The new minimum Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) requirements mandated by the federal health overhaul will force health insurers to adjust their business models and aggressively reduce administrative expenses.  The fastest way to reduce the MLR is to implement technology initiatives to automate and streamline processes and transactions.

MLR is a performance metric that measures the amount of spending on medical expenses as a percentage of total premiums or revenues.  The new law stipulates that the MLR must exceed 80% for providers of individual and small-business health plans, and 85% for large-company health plans.  Said another way, providers of individual and small-business health plans must not allocate more than 20% of total premiums to administrative costs plus profits, and providers of large-company health plans must not exceed 25%.

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