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12 Elements to Consider w...
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Meet the Press - Todd Bra...
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  12 Elements to Consider with a Reseller Agreement
Posted by: chanimal - 10-08-2021, 09:33 PM - Forum: Sales & Channels - No Replies

First, I am not an attorney--nor do I play one on TV, so I can't give legal advice. These guidelines are typically reviewed with the attorney so they know the criteria for a reseller agreement.

Agreement - Use case requirements
1. Many of the partners are small companies - they don't have an in-house attorney.
2. They see hundreds of these agreements. They are a connoisseur of agreements.
3. Anything out of the norm raises a red flag. The agreement should always be in layman's language.
4. If too hard to understand (too long, weird clauses, legalize)--they just don't sign up--either intentionally, or not then (equals never). They can see it at our portal--they just won't reply.. We are. too hard to do business with)
5. If it is in another agreement (EULA), it should not be in this agreement
6. It should be electronic--exactly like the EULA. Paper or even DocuSign is so a decade ago. Industry-standard. Exception is 256-bit encryption products with " do not sell" constraints - requires a
7. Should be standard enough they do NOT get negotiated--too hard to scale, defeats a standard program
8. Easy in, easy out clauses - saves a LOT of legalize
9. Refers to policies - in the portal (can always give temp access account). Then we don't have to change agreement with simple policy changes
10. No heavy NDA - rule, we don't give partners confidential information (no roadmaps, no code, etc.). They are PAID to talk!
11. Try to standardize worldwide if possible (taxes, terms not possible, but otherwise yes)
12. General compliance with laws and indemnity - you screw up, you pay, we screw up we pay

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  Top 3 Things that Make the MOST difference with a partner
Posted by: chanimal - 03-11-2021, 11:47 PM - Forum: Sales & Channels - No Replies

I was asked the question, “Do any of your channel trainings walk through creating joint business plans? If so, which one?” But it turned into the top three things you should do with a partner.
 
I am not a strong advocate of joint business plans with partners. Resellers don’t like to create them (and most aren’t strong in marketing, so don’t do much), vendors don’t like to read them, and partners seldom follow them.
 
Instead, I am a strong advocate of the Marketing Plan of Action which covers ONE thing that is done per month to promote the product. If a partner has 10-15 vendors, they just can’t do much with each of them. So, to get ONE promotion per month is real progress.

When partners first come on board I would always do the following:

1. Get the product on their website (using an SEO-optimized page the vendor has created). This way they can generate their own leads. One vendor that I worked with had over 4,000 partners and over 200 Channel Account Managers (CAMs). Yet only 13% of their partner had the product on their website—yet they were sending them leads. That is a travesty!

I helped them with this and a few other things…they had a $257 million DELTA increase in sales the following quarter and were shocked.

I have an easy way to test a “good” channel manager. If they say they have resellers in Austin, TX I type in their category (i.e. CRM). If their resellers don’t show up on the home page (should be one of the top 3 listings) then the channel manager is NOT doing their job. Resellers have an advantage with local SEO (think of them as getting an extra 25 points/100 for being local (type in bike shops and you see local bikes shops, not ones in a different state)—yet the channel managers are not showing their partners how to leverage this local advantage. And a local SEO website is the gift that keeps on giving—since it generates leads to the partner 24/7 (so you don’t have to send them leads (and they do great if they are also a referral partner)).

Here is a video I use for the resellers to convince them to use the landing page (it shows several samples, including one partner that has dominated on Google in his entire region for over 3 years—and never lost the #1 Google pole position): https://youtu.be/boei0kwg5pw

2. Send an email that announces they carry the product. They MUST have their landing page set up first, or where do they send the respondents? They should also announce a webinar—an excuse for the email. I’ve attached a few samples of actual email templates.

3. Get prospects to a webinar. The reseller may have anywhere from 50 to thousands of companies they have worked with. They have the inside track and a relationship to get the prospects to attend. Then you, the vendor can give the dog and pony show, the reseller gets further exposure to the demo (although they should have a demo script in the portal) so they can get it down, and they can attend with their prospects. You present, then show them how to generate a quote and close the deal. This is a “model call” and is good training for an internal salesperson also—and if you do the same thing with partners you do with internal sales… you usually get the same good results. Plus, when they see interest and money, they become further committed to selling your product.

These three simple steps apply to small to large partners. I have only found the largest of all even partners to even have a single person in marketing (they’re called re-sellers—not re-marketers). In their case, you can come up with a detailed business plan—but it is really a marketing plan since it concentrates on promotions. It is also similar to the plan of action—but it often includes more “rinse and repeat” activities and may extend over the entire year—but it should still have something every month.

Regardless, I usually bypass the big “fluffy” plan and just go with a quarterly meeting with my accounts and set up the next 3 promotions. They are bite-sized enough to knock out, and you stay closer to your accounts with more regular contact. You also change your role from a channel sales manager, to channel marketing manager (a regional marketing manager)--unless you have both roles in your team—although I’ve only been marginally impressed with those channel marketing types that I’ve met (they often create “corporate” branding campaigns—not pragmatic direct response pieces customized for the partner--so their stuff looks nice—but doesn’t pull.

These are some of the basics that flip my ratios around. Most channel managers that attend my courses agree with the 80/20 rule when asked and say only about 20% of their partners are producing. In my case, I typically have over 82% of my partners producing and spend the rest of the 18% getting the non-producers up to speed (always with the first three items). It’s the block and tackle promos that always work.

The different Chanimal University courses cover how to do all of these things—I would always start with the Certified Channel Manager course, then you can branch into other specialties.

 
I hope that helps. 
 
Ted

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  Forum Rules
Posted by: chanimal - 11-03-2019, 01:28 AM - Forum: Forum Rules - Replies (1)

Please follow these rules when posting in this forum:

  • No advertisements or spam
  • No illegal activities
  • No pornographic material of any kind is allowed
  • Do not post copyrighted material without the permission of the author.
  • Please use descriptive titles, nothing like "I need help." Help with what?
  • Place your posts in the correct category
  • If you put an e-mail within the forum, expect it to get spammed (spambots like to troll forums). No e-mails of "friends." Disguise it if you must.
  • Some announcements, if it is a HIGHLY relevant product or service that applies to members of the Chanimal community.
  • Absolutely no swearing of any kind - PG only, please
  • If you voice your opinion about a product or service, or especially an individual, please make sure this is phrased as an opinion to avoid legal recourse
  • Chanimal is NOT responsible for your posts and opinions--you are. This is not a highly moderated forum, we want free discussion, just be respectful.
Thank you for reading and following these rules.

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  Meet the Press - Todd Brabender
Posted by: chanimal - 11-02-2019, 09:56 PM - Forum: Rate Products & Services - Replies (1)

I first found out about Todd while consulting with a company that made singing software. The previous firm got 8 press hits in six months and the GM asked if that was good. "Fire them," was my response. He then found Todd, who worked a "campaign" model for 3 months at highly competitive prices (similar to the Chanimal Micro Consulting program). We had over 200 press hits in the first 30 days.

I have since recommended him to numerous companies I have worked with and he ALWAYS does a terrific job. Click HERE for an interview in the Chanimal Blog.

You can find Todd at:

www.spreadthenewspr.com

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  Video: How to Finance a High-Tech Start-Up
Posted by: chanimal - 11-02-2019, 09:45 PM - Forum: Financing - No Replies

Check out the video that was produced by Chanimal called, "How to Finance a High-Tech Start-up" at http://chanimal.com/video/index.html

It was available for sale, but now it is available for FREE on Youtube. It is almost 1 hour long so it is divided into 5 parts:

Introduction - Commercial (overview of the video): http://youtu.be/-8JAoYzk1rw
Part 1: http://youtu.be/KMx3O9ZkjG4
Part 2: http://youtu.be/t3TLYEzParI
Part 3: http://youtu.be/qy4h6PbJRUw
Part 4: http://youtu.be/fWrObekYVA8
Part 5: http://youtu.be/6W9VYfHSPBk


FULL Video (entire length): https://youtu.be/KQ0KL3uJ6RQ

Enjoy!

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  How to Set up MAPI Pricing
Posted by: chanimal - 11-02-2019, 09:38 PM - Forum: Price & Margin - No Replies

Chanimal MAP Pricing

The following are two different samples for MAP pricing. The first one is an indirect approach to impose MAP pricing, the second is a straight forward, comprehensive treatment (separated by ****):

EXAMPLE # 1

Reseller Prices. The prices a reseller pays for Products and Services will be set by the Company. Subject to the Company’s ability to impose maximum resale price and minimum advertised price limitations, the reseller is free to determine its resale prices unilaterally.

Special Pricing. The company may provide resellers with special pricing, rebates, discounts, offers, promotions, or other special incentive programs Resellers in whole or in part ("Company Programs"). Such Company programs will be limited to Resale made to one or more End Users. Any such Company Programs must be in writing, which includes email notification from Company, and must specify a fixed time period during which such Company Program will be provided. If no time limit is specified in writing, the time period shall be ninety (90) days from the effective date of such Company Program. Company may condition any such Company Program on VAR's agreement not to resell the Products and Services subject to the Company Program at or above particular prices determined by Company. No such condition will prohibit VAR from selling at any price below the prices established by Company.


*************

EXAMPLE # 2

Minimum Advertised Price Policy

The company understands the need for its resellers to retain profits from its retail sales of its products. Accordingly, the Company has adopted this pricing and advertising policy.

Program Details

Resellers who are eligible for Co-op funds and are advertising any Company product must comply with Company’s unilateral Minimum Advertised Price (“MAP”) policy. This policy does not extend to a Reseller’s actual resale price, which Reseller sets in its sole discretion.

Company has not, cannot and will not make any agreements with any Reseller either expressly or by implication, concerning the resale prices of the products that Autodesk sells. Company acknowledges that each Reseller is free to determine its own retail prices and to advertise such prices. Similarly, Company has the right to determine the Resellers to which Company sells, and reserves the right to discontinue, and is formally announcing here that it has adopted this policy for its Resellers to follow. The company will uniformly and unilaterally implement the terms of this policy to those Resellers who fail to conform to the MAP policy.

Company also reserves the right at any time to change either this policy or the list of products to which it applies by adding or deleting products or modifying the MAP levels. Company will notify Resellers, in writing, in advance of any changes.


Responsibility

The Reseller’s entire organization is responsible for compliance with this policy. If any one location within a Reseller’s organization violates any component of this MAP policy, the consequence will apply to the entire organization.

Should Reseller work with other organizations in an affiliate relationship, both Reselling organizations must be Company Authorized Resellers. It is considered a violation of the MAP policy if a Reseller has advertised below MAP through an unauthorized affiliated company.


MAP Application


MAP policy applies to all forms of external advertising including, but not limited to:

  • Print ads (inserts, magazines, newspapers, posters, etc.)
  • Broadcast (radio and TV)
  • Direct Mailers, including email
  • Faxes
  • Internet (banner ads, broadcast emails, destination pages, third-party sites)
  • Billboards
MAP policy does not apply to the following:
  • In-store displays, banners or price markings provided they are not externally visible
  • Quotes, contracts, price lists provided for purposes of consummating a transaction as opposed to solicitation
Map Rules

Products to which MAP applies will be noted on the Company’s Price Lists posted with the company’s web portal and with any Distributors (excludes Retail products). The MAP price for each Product must be no less than the Suggested Retail Price indicated on the company’s web portal.
  • Resellers advertising a Company product governed by MAP must show the MAP price in close proximity to the Product or not show any price.
  • Deviations of up to one dollar ($1) below MAP are permitted to allow for various pricing conventions to be met.
  • Advertising without any reference to price does not violate the policy.
  • “Call for Price” or “Too low to show” advertising does not violate the policy.
  • MAP “struck out” (example: $299) is considered a violation of the policy.
  • Promises of price matching or beating competition prices do not violate the policy.
Promotions

Reseller bundled promotions do not violate the policy as long as the following criteria are met:
  • If a price for the Company Product is noted in the ad, the Company MAP must be used.
  • If the Company Product is being given away free as part of a bundle, the value (MAP) of the Company Product must be listed in the ad. Additionally, it must be listed in conjunction with the product, and not the footnote.
  • Rebates are not considered MAP compliant.
Note that Company bundles are subject to the General Map Rules above. Moreover, Company may sponsor promotions and rebates. During such periods, ads may include the promotional MAP or rebate, subject to the General Map Rules above.


Internet Advertised Pricing

Price advertising on the Internet must also comply with MAP on generally accessible web pages. A price that is listed on the front page of Reseller’s website, or front page of a section (e.g.: computers, electronics, hand helds, etc.) within Reseller’s website must comply with MAP. Should the Company Product be viewed as the result of utilizing the search function, the first time the product appears as a result of that search, the price shown must be MAP compliant. Additionally, listings on shopper’s sites and “paid for” advertising must follow MAP guidelines.

A “catalog” format on your site that lists the product, product description and “buy or purchase” button is not considered advertising and is considered your selling price (as long as it is not the front page of your website or front page of a section and the requirements of the previous paragraph are met).


MAP Communication

This MAP policy may be changed by Company at any time at its sole discretion. The Reseller will be notified in writing by email or by posting on the portal web site of any changes.

Non-compliance of MAP Policy

Non-compliance with this unilateral MAP Policy is considered a violation of Company’s Reseller Policies and will subject the Reseller to forfeiture of Co-op funds for a period of four months, calculated based on Co-op accrued during the one month immediately preceding and the three months following the publication or initial display of the price advertisement.

If Reseller can show that a violation was due to a system error or misinterpretation of the MAP policy, then Company may grant an exception to the penalty, no more than once per 12-month period. If an exception is granted, the Reseller must correct the non-compliance within one (1) business day. If the error is on a website, the advertised price must be changed. If the error is in print, a retraction must be printed.

Non-compliance Notification
Company will notify the Reseller in writing of the non-compliance.

MAP Policy Questions

MAP compliance is the responsibility of the Reseller. All questions should be in writing and submitted to the channel manager working with your account. The only Company Representative authorized to answer questions regarding this MAP policy is the MAP Policy Administrator:

John Doe
Director, U.S. Channel Management
Company
Contact Information

No other Company employee may answer questions about this Policy or modify this Policy.

Because this MAP Policy is a unilateral policy of Company, Company will not respond to complaints of resellers regarding the terms and conditions of this Policy. All other responses to questions will be made within five (5) business days from receipt of the question. In the absence of a response from Company, the ad placement is at Reseller’s own risk.

Because of legal constraints, no Company reseller should discuss this policy, or its retail prices, with any other Company reseller.

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  How to Determine Reseller Margin
Posted by: chanimal - 11-02-2019, 09:35 PM - Forum: Price & Margin - No Replies

How to determine your reseller margin for a SaaS product
 

  1. Review the Chanimal presentation, "How to Create a SaaS Reseller Program" - slide 32 on margins. Video found at: http://www.chanimal.com/resources/videos/
  2. Compile competitors’ margins. You can sometimes find it on 1) your competitor's website (see HERE), by 2) sending an email to the channel manager (use a generic email address), or even by asking a reseller about their program (some will send you the entire kit). You can often 3) Google it, “Microsoft margins,” or “How much margin does Microsoft pay,” “What is the commission for Microsoft,” etc. (try different combinations – often it is on a website and Google can find it).  Questions to Ask:

    1. Who pays who?  Do I place the order and pay you, or do you collect and pay me?
    2. Do you have levels?
    3. Where do you start?  The lowest, or can we come in higher?
    4. What margins do you pay for each of the levels?
    5. What are the qualifications per level?
    6. How long do you pay?
    7. How soon do you pay?
    8. Do you have a partner program page that explains this or a document you can send?
  3. Determine margins for "like" products if you can't find any exactly like yours. For example, if you sell enterprise software to IT, you might compare to Oracle, Microsoft, etc. Find out as above.
  4. Determine how much to pay (by level). Examples: 10% affiliate, 20% authorized, 30% gold, 40% platinum?  This is not the actual % - these numbers are only an example (competitive research will tell you).  Tip: you will probably be a price taker (and margin taker) in a competitive market.
  5. Examine what behavior you want to reinforce--do you want your resellers to support the account after the first year?  Can they switch the customer to another product at the end of the year (if they don't make any further commission).
  6. Based on this, over what period do you pay?  a) over the first year, b) over a few of the years, c) over the entire life, c) combination.  Even enterprise pay after the first year – 20% maintenance fee, or upgrades.
  7. Do you pay the same amount the first year and subsequent years, or does it vary?  Example:  30% first, 15% second and thereafter.
  8. Who collects and who pays who?  Do you collect and pay the reseller a "commission" or do they collect and pay you the balance after their margin? 70% collect (for SaaS) – 30% resellers collect.
  9. How quickly do you pay?  Bad Example (Salesforce).  They collect. They pay 30 days after the end of each quarter. If you make 1,000 in commission and it will take 4 months before you see anything!!  You should pay as fast as you can afford--within 30 days.  (See SoftLetter Stats for actual by company type).
  10. When through, test your margins with your resellers, then finalize.
 
NOTE: 

Resellers built their model on a certain revenue coming in. If you pay LESS, they either can’t afford you—or they go under.  Most SaaS models are based on a 2.5 year return—if the app would usually provide $1,000 revenue (if a desktop/enterprise application), plus 20% maintenance each year, that would add $500 so they need to make $1,500 (plus the upside of more money past 2.5 years (it is essentially a finance plan).


So if a reseller used to make his margin all at once (he made 33% - he made $500).  We have to make sure HE makes the same amount he built his company around—or we end up with skinny and dead resellers.
 
We have to take care of our salespeople, we just need to figure out how to pay them the same amount they would usually make—even if over time.

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  How To Create A Competitive Matrix
Posted by: chanimal - 11-02-2019, 09:32 PM - Forum: Product - No Replies

Creating a Competitive Matrix

How Do You Compare?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions from prospects and resellers, yet I often find a company that does NOT have a competitive analysis (or it is seriously out of date). In addition, we can't properly position a product and answer the question, "Why would I be a FOOL not to consider you?" without first understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the product. So, we have to make the matrix.  I usually prefer using an intern to do this, since it is easily teachable, but it can be time-consuming.  In fact, if you do not set a deadline and put your feet to the fire, you may take months getting it done (versus about 1 1/2 weeks (avg time)), plus a few tweaks.
The following are the detailed instructions I provide to interns (or anyone internally) to get this done.  We are using PROJECT MANAGEMENT as the example category - since it is one of the most competitive spaces with a lot of competitors and market segments--so anything else is easy.  NOTE: Do NOT skip any of the steps (or it can take longer since we usually have to backtrack).
Please PRINT this document so you can follow each step.

Start by watching the video on positioning
This video is one of the most powerful presentations showing why and how your product should to be positioned (one of the first things a resellers looks at)—but it also shows how the matrix is used as a critical part of the positioning and decision process and provides the motivation to go through these steps. It was created for and used by CompTIA as a guest speaker and received one of the highest viewer ratings of any presentation they gave (4.9 out of 5). They also made over $22,000 an hour charging companies to review this content.  It is 2nd video on this page:
https://www.chanimal.com/resources/videos/
 
Creating the Matrix
Welcome to the positioning team.  This is going to be FUN (actually, tedious, but we can have fun, knowing that the resultant information will be powerful and incredibly valuable).  Thanks in advance for your help.
Attached are some sample competitive matrix samples.  What we are really looking for are areas where we differ from the competition.  We will use the project management category as the primary SAMPLE because it is VERY competitive with about 200 competitors.  As such, it has a lot of examples and it is also all the more important to differentiate our product.  One of the ways is with a competitive matrix.  Following is a process I recommend (this uses Project Management as an example):
PHASE I - Secondary Research
 
We always want to look for existing information about the competition and the market before we do all the manual leg work--especially since some categories have matrixes almost completed and all we have to do is add our product. It would be a pity to spend a week digging up all the information from websites, forums and documentation--only to discover a site that has the matrix completed (see the affiliate-software-review PDF). I would spend a few hours just looking for existing research before creating your own matrix--2 hours versus 20 hours of boring research!
 
1.      Determine the different “types” of project management software.  We want to see if the market is split into segments--high-end needs, middle needs, or by the size of the company, etc. We do this so we can "de-position" an entire segment at once if we choose.  For example, in Data Storage the market is split into software only, enterprise, Linux only, open-source, consumer and cloud-based.  If someone is looking for cloud--we can eliminate all the segments at once (making our list of competitors much shorter.  Back to project management, do we have features that put us in a project management, a PPM or other areas?  If so, we need to know that.  A lot of times we can look at industry analyst reports (see Gartner report).
a.      Gartner is a major industry analyst company (about 1 billion in revenues).  They “position” different products as the leaders, etc. and also set up the categories.  This link shows the latest as of June 2009.  http://mediaproducts.gartner.com/reprints/oracle/article75/article75.html
b.      This helps us see a macro view of the overall market and if it is divided by segments. We can put our own product in one of the existing categories and it narrows our search.
2.      Determine who the major players are in the industry.  The report above will also list the major players who are on the radar screen of the analyst.  Type in “review project management” or “reviews” or competition, etc. on Google and you will see a LOT of articles.  Here are a few samples:
a.      http://www.informationweek.com/news/software/enterpriseapps/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=181502663  actual review of four different applications
b.      http://project-management-software-review.toptenreviews.com/  Shows several applications.  Note the “categories” that are being compared and the format.  This will help you to determine your own category.
3.      In many cases, the category is so big that there are companies that compile competitive matrix information for project management software (or our own type) and then ask for contact information to access it for free.  I would create a second e-mail address on Yahoo.com, etc. and use that. 
a.      Following is one of those types of sites that compile competitor's information (look for more). http://www.capterra.com/project-management-software
b.      I’ve included an attachment that has a grid from one of those types of companies (this one is for affiliate software—but the company that has this data may also have one for project management). 
c.      There are others.  Some allow you to pick your exact features, or category and produce a readymade matrix for you.  Search for these types of sites and bookmarks so you can come back to them.
4.      Determine who our primary competitors are (those top 5 you run into the most). If you have sold a product, you can select the top 5 you run into the most. If not, then you can consider from the analyst reports, from "toptenreview.com" sites and from Google Searches (although a company that may be good with SEO may not be one of your potential top competitors). 
5.      STOP.  Meet with the team to confirm you have the right competitors in the right segment before you move on.
6.      Now, start to create our own matrix.  We will create two versions (usually different tabs in the same spreadsheet).  The first is for INTERNAL use only.  It will show our strengths and weakness.  It is just as critical to know where we are weak as strong--or we may go into a competitive product sales meeting with the Cisco Kid and find ourselves outgunned--our product may not be best for every segment and size and it may be better to "get out of Dodge" and target a segment we are better suited for.  When we have later finalized research, we can create a copy of our tab and turn off the areas we are weak in and that becomes our "public" version.  It will be used by us on our website, with the press in our reviewer’s guide, in presentations and by our resellers.
 
PHASE TWO - Create the matrix. 
You may be tempted, but do NOT jump to this section until you have completed the items above (it will slow down you down if you do not do this leg work first).
 
7.      Categories. Start by listing the category types (PPM, APM, etc.) that you see in most of the reviews. You can also get the categories from your product manager, CTO, etc.  If you were to compare CRM apps, these might include Pricing, SFA, Integration, Marketing Automation, or within Project Management: Collaboration, Resource Management, Project Management, Remote Access, Platforms, etc. Most product types will have standard categories (pricing, support, etc.) along with their own unique categories. The features will fall under these categories.  If you have to capture information from different sources (websites, competitors, etc.), then always use the TABS on the bottom of the spreadsheet (Gartner, Salesforce, Zoho) and dump your links and source information in these tabs (see the CRM Competitors.xlsx sample matrix for a good example).
8.      Features. Next, list the major features under each category that you see in most of the reviews.  Adding the categories and the features (underneath) gives you a general framework for your matrix.  Now, go to the competitor's websites (one by one—do NOT skip between companies (stay with each one until you have captured all their information) to add their features--company by company. Each one might add some new features under each similar category (some may even add new categories) so your matrix will look like an upside-down stair step. You will then go through all the competitors on a second pass to confirm if they have any features you may have picked up by their competitors (these will often be harder to confirm (see documentation, FAQ, web searches, etc.).
9.      Tip.  We don’t start by using just our own categorization since we may be later to the market and may not categorize the same (we may have to re-name our features to conform to industry standards we weren't aware of until we started).  We would then map our feature names and categories to the common names that others have already defined. 
10.  Fill in our information LAST (since it is easier for us to get our answers than competitors).
11.  Arrange the closest competitors next to us. The competitors we run into the most (or will) should be rearranged so they are closest to us.   
12.  Remember: If you find features from other software that we do not have, then add it to the spreadsheet--we may actually have it, or we may not (and it may or may not matter).
13.  The last thing you do (after hitting their website, reviews, FAQ, documentation, outside articles, and reviews) is called.  Your Persona:  You are a project management (or replace with your category) consultant (for now you are (how do you like your new title? J), or you work with a consultant (Chanimal) doing research on the latest updates.  NEVER LIE.  If they ask if you work for a competitor—say yes, the jig is up and they’ll hang up.  But most of the time they will not, so it is fair game.
14.  Review. Once you have some substance, then don’t hesitate to e-mail it to Chanimal (please copy your direct manager on your e-mails—but he won’t need to respond… just so he knows what we are working on) or set up a meeting review it. Sometimes you'll find some tips, or we can reduce the features saving you a lot of final leg work.
 
PHASE 3 - Hard-to-get information.
When you cannot find the information, put a question mark? in the grid (do not guess).  Then try one of these additional steps:

  1. Google the name and the feature.  One intern completed most of his part of a large matrix almost twice as fast as the other (very good) intern--by constantly Googling, rather than manually looking.
  2. When using Google, use the name (product name) and search terms like "reviews, compare, matrix" etc. You can also use the company name with the terms, “PDF,” "features," "guide," "manual," "datasheet," “reviewer’s guide,” etc. to see more detailed info. Don't just look on the website.  A Google search will check their forums, support, install, etc. sections. It will also find “loose” documents that may be sitting on their reseller’s websites.
  3. Review websites like Captera, G2Crowd, etc. may list features that fill in the holes.
  4. Go to their "live chat" and ask specific "pre-sales" questions.
  5. Call the companies--last (as mentioned previously). Start with support. Next call sales, etc. ONLY if they ask, tell them "I am an intern working on a project for an industry consultant who recommends products." (if this applies)
  6. Call their resellers and ask for the same information. Use a similar dialogue.
  7. Look for any publications, white papers or books.  If books, get it at the local store (don't wrinkle it), get your info and you may be able to return it--or get a pre-approved budget.
 
PHASE 4 - Formatting.
22.  Polish. When we are ALL done and have reviewed it and finalized it with the team, we’ll  create another copy and call it Public.  We'll give it a formatting polish so we can use this publicly.  We'll make sure the data is consistent. We will also re-word any possible negatives, or combine features (has both feature 1 and feature2) to see if we can switch it to Yes. 
a.      For example, "Uses External Email "might be NO.  Change to, "Does not use external email" and you will get a YES.  Convert all cells to YES or NO (do not put notes or qualifiers in the field). Change your feature descriptions if needed to produce a yes or no response. Save the spreadsheet with a new name, then either delete or hide all the NO's for your product. 
23.  Make sure you have the company name and the product name and the version or date on the top.
24.  Conditional Formatting.  Use this feature (Excel) to convert all NO's to RED (white text) and all YES's to Blue (black text). Do not use Red/Green like a traffic light--you'll get too may responses that it looks like a Christmas tree.
 
PHASE 5 - Distributing.
25.  WARNING: NEVER send this original matrix to anyone outside of the company/or not working with you as an Excel file--it also contains the internal weaknesses (flaws) and way too powerful for a competitor to have (several of my companies have made this mistake).  Convert the “public version” to a PDF first.  The easiest way to convert to a PDF that looks decent is the print to PDF, but chose "custom postscript" as the paper size--then keep adjusting the size so it has equal ½” borders.
26.  Outlets. I would post the matrix on the website (with some exceptions)--it puts all the competitors on defense, reduces the sales cycle (one-stop shop when they can validate their decision with your matrix), distribute to industry analyst, use it in your press kit reviewer's guide (it helps set the criteria for the entire review), incorporate it in your sales PowerPoint, and leverage it to tighten your product positioning (Multiple reasons why someone would be a fool not to consider your product).
 
Q&A
  • Should I publish this? 
Yes--the public version.  It puts the competition in defense mode (they have to defend all their RED no's).  It also creates a stir--important to mix things up in a crowded space. It definitely helps prospects "see" your strengths and shortens the sale cycle (they feel like they have already done due diligence).
  • Should I list an unknown competitor? 
Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  If they are unknown, but you slaughter them in the matrix--it doesn't matter if you mention them in your matrix, the prospect usually won't bother looking (why when they are mainly "red").  You can also use, "alternative 1, 2" etc. 

If there is a major competitor that is well known--then I would definitely list them. 
  • Exceptions.
If you are the undisputed market leader--you may need to know the information within the matrix, but you may not need to publish it except in the reviewer's guides to press, analyst, etc.  You won't see MS Word publishing their matrix anymore (like they used to do against WordPerfect).  You also will NEVER want to even acknowledge a minor competitor when you dominate your market space--it will raise them up to your level.  MS Word would import WordPerfect files, but not Ami Pro (later Lotus WordPro) since they already won against their primary nemesis.  

If you are a minor competitor--then you ALWAYS want to compare yourself to the top player(s) to raise yourself to their level (and they would be a fool to acknowledge you and counter (which would allow you to "draft" their brand equity)--if they do, then keep it going and try to turn it into a two-way "Rocky vs the Champ" fight.  More details in the
Strategy content.

The following are some examples that are part of the Competitive Matrix Kit.
-         Acme comparative matrix.  Shows a generic matrix.
-         Affiliate software. Shows one of the sites that compare software for a living.  It is all in a database where you can pick the competitors and compare them.
-         IQ Reseller.  This sits on their home page.  Note the color—the competition is “de-positioned” in a sea of RED.
-         Sample Competitive Matrix.  Another sample.
 
Contact me anytime!
Ted

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  New Channel Person - Orientation Checklist
Posted by: chanimal - 11-02-2019, 09:23 PM - Forum: HR & Operations - No Replies

Orientation - New Channel Sales/Marketing Orientation Checklist

  1. Review the company master plan of action, existing competitive matrix.
  2. Review every page of the channel section at http://www.chanimal.com/html/channel_marketing.html . Be prepared to be tested on everything (MDF, VARs, phases of a reseller program, elements of a VAR kit, how to recruit resellers, ways to keep them motivated, software that helps you with the resellers).
  3. Review every page of the channel SALES section at: http://chanimal.com/html/channel_sales.html
  4. Review the sample portal site at http://chanimal.com/vars/portal/. Be prepared to be tested on everything. The levels of a program, deal registration, current promotions, different marketing tools, etc.
  5. Watch the sample 7 minute video review of the Indigo Rose portal site (look for the “Click here for quick video…” link)http://www.chanimal.com/videomaker/Indig...tation.wmv
  6. Review the company reseller partner program and portal site—whatever is done so far (if at all). Read EVERY document and make a long list of questions. Be prepared to be tested on our reseller agreement, our levels, lead policy, NFR copies, promotions, support capabilities, our presentations, etc.
  7. Review the outstanding deliverables for the portal site and prioritize them. Mainly competitive matrix and powerpoints. We will also do demo scripts, etc.
  8. Help complete these deliverables directly and with the intern.
  9. Review the promotional e-mail that is sent to the resellers and the way the system sent it out. (Check with Chanimal)
  10. Review a sample reseller spreadsheet (contains competitor’s resellers)
  11. Review the partner follow-up spreadsheet that shows the steps to recruit and follow-up with our reseller partners. Ask Chanimal for this sheet.
  12. Practice doing a review of our own portal—since you will need to start the orientation with the latest resellers.
  13. Work with the team to get a demo script completed. It is not that hard—watch someone give a demo and document the items shown. See samples at http://chanimal.com/vars/portal/html/Password/demo_scripts.html
  14. Contact any of our new resellers (if we have any so far) to get them through the orientation process (whatever needs to be completed). 
  15. Start the next phase of the recruiting process (send out the next batch of e-mails, follow-up via phone with those that respond, contact the good ones that don’t respond (they are often very receptive, it is just that their system may have blocked our e-mails)). See the plan of action for these steps.
  16.  Stop and regroup. Good job!!

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  Copywriting - Stop using the word "Solution"
Posted by: chanimal - 11-02-2019, 09:04 PM - Forum: Promotions - No Replies

STOP Using the Word "Solution"

The word "solution" is probably one of the most often misused words in copyrighting--especially in high tech. In fact, everything seems to be "a solution." Is this correct? Why yes. But if everything is a solution--does that mean your product is everything? See the point? It is too vague--or in simpler terms, it is an unarticulated word. It is also a lazy word--for lack of thinking enough to call it what it really is.

Or are we actually trying to hide what our product is, or perhaps we are being "creative"--what, by not actually articulating our product? I don't think so--especially since solution (replace "solution" with the word "everyone") is using it (whatever "it" is--sounds Clintonian to me).

BTW, we should not use the word "solution" just because we see it so frequently and think it is in style, or acceptable (I even wonder... nahh, I'm not nuts!)--most folks don't have a clue about what makes effective copy (even many so-called marketing folks (shameful abuse of a title)). Monkeys copy other monkeys--want a banana with that copy?

I was responding to a question within a forum from the owner of a high tech product website said that nobody could understand his product. I went to his website. On his product page, he used the word "solution" over 60 times! I then copied the text, replaced the word "solution" with "crap" and posted it on the forum. I then explained that he obviously had very "crappy" copywriting. And if you are selling a "solution"--then what exactly are you selling? It sounds like fertilizer to me.

For heaven sakes, carpet is a solution, the law is a solution, paint is a solution, a light bulb is a solution, corn is a solution, dog food is a solution--exactly which solution is your product? You can replace the word solution with just about anything--again, an unarticulated word. The only case where the word solution has to be used is when describing a liquid solution in chemistry. Uhh...if you are selling chemical solutions--then ignore everything I've just said.

Heck, I'm surprised a high-tech marketer hasn't named his kid "Solution." Or, since it seems to be used to describe all the products, then perhaps solution 1, solution 2, solution 3 (any more solutions and he would have to be a Mormon or a Catholic). At least then he would have an entire family of solutions--sounds like a chem lab!

As such, whenever possible, the word solution should not be used to describe a product--it is just bad copywriting (period). Is it software? Then call it software. Is it a network interface card--then call it a NIC (we love acronyms) or something--just not a solution! Is it CRM software? Enough said.

But STOP calling everything a solution. If for the life of you, you don't want to "call it what it is," then don't be lazy--get a Thesaurus (there's one built into Word--or you can Google it). Hearing everyone call their product a solution (even "solution" selling) just ticks me off and makes me waste time writing ditty's like this one--which, by the way, is also a solution (to fix bad copywriting).

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