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Category Archives: Productivity

LinkedIn Endorsements – Do we need to learn some etiquette?

Having endorsed people at LinkedIn, and getting endorsed by people for my skills, came a strange thought in my mind: Is there a need to have some etiquette; when you are on a strong platform as LinkedIn?

Question comes in mind is: What is the difference between endorsement v/s recommendation? For sure these two are different…and the difference is? In simple sense; recommendation is more painful [You got to write a almost a para for your connection] where as endorsement is “one-click” way to give kudos to a contact and they are based on the skills you have entered into your profile, according to the LinkedIn blog.

Endorsement gives more credibility to your profile, as it lets the visitor of your profile know that all those skills which you have added were not just ‘Added;; there are people who really are verifying this fact.

For now my LinkedIn feed is filled with people endorsing, and getting endorsed…for sure at some stage this ‘New Feature’ would also fade out…however when it comes to etiquette on endorsements; there is only one; and that is absolutely un-official:  I call it “Respect the Reciprocity”.

If you are getting endorsed by someone in your network, though it’s not necessary for you to endorsed the person for same number of skills, but as a matter of ‘Spirit of Reciprocity’, you should go ahead and endorse the person for skills you know he possess.

Make sure not to flood your contacts with endorsement; as that may result in ‘Give and Take’ kind of approach, which social platforms are quick to discard…you may end up spoiling or at the least hurt the authenticity of your  connection.

For sure; it is not ethical to claim possession of a skill that you have not earned,so if you end up getting endorsed for a skill which you don’t possess, what you should do? Can Linked In come up with a way to give me an option of saying ‘I don’t deserve to be endorsed for this skill’?

I might be thinking too loud here, but being ethical and maintaining authenticity is a must for having a successful and long lasting career.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Blogging, Productivity, Social Media

 

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Product Management – Win/Loss Analysis

Definition

Whilst there is a ton of information about the definition of Win-Loss Analysis, I’ll describe it with a few points:

  • Win-Loss analysis is the process of analyzing a recent customer loss or a win. A process which involves contacting customers after a sales activity and determining what went right, what went wrong, identifying areas of improvement, and discovering what the competitors did right or wrong.
  • It is about taking corrective action in order to mitigate loosing deals in the future and further reinforcing energies in areas of strength.
  • Win-Loss analysis provides the most actionable intelligence information available to a company based on its sales results.
  • Win-Loss analysis provides an accurate measurement of how an organization is positioned with decision-makers and key influencers within customers’ organizations.

Who needs Win-Loss Analysis

Win-Loss Analysis is critical to companies that are characterized by:

  • Strong competition
  • Financial and strategic decisions impact customers’ buying decisions
  • Lengthy and costly sales cycles

Involved parties

Win-Loss Analysis requires involvement from almost all teams and individuals that were involved in the sales process, of course the customer too. Here’s a quick list:

  • Customer
  • Sales
  • Pre-sales / BA
  • Product Manager
  • Others who have interacted with the customer during the sales process

Lead

It is easy to outsource the entire Win-Loss Analysis process to third parties, but small companies prefer to do it themselves. In such a case, it is appropriate to have Product Managers take the lead for the end-to-end process. Product Managers being the creatures who interact with almost every team inside and outside the company would be able to comprehend the evaluation in an unbiased manner and propose appropriate recommendations based on the analysis.

Tools

Win-Loss Analysis does require a few simple tools to get the process going:

  • Questionnaire

– List of questions soliciting answers from customers and internal parties involved in the sales process

  • Analysis Report

– Report based on customer answers to the questionnaire
– Recommended course of action

  • Trending Report

– Half-yearly/Annual
– A report highlighting patterns and common themes in wins and losses
– Recommended course of action

Process Workflow

1. Pick the right accounts

– It is entirely left to us to identify the accounts for this exercise
– There might be obvious strategic and political reasons to include or not to include certain accounts

2. Analyze Win/Loss internally

– It is extremely essential that internal teams conduct discussions before including the customer
– What to ask and not to ask the customer and who to ask questions are a couple of things that can be sorted out in this discussion

3. Prepare custom questionnaire

–  It is essential to have a standard questionnaire to ask customers, and it is even more essential to customize it on a case-by-case basis

4. Interview customer

– The win-loss analysis team interviews the customer
– This could happen in a face-to-face discussion or over the phone

5. Package analysis report

– Based on the answers given by the customer, prepare a report for it
– Make sure to include lessons-learnt and recommended corrective actions

6. Disseminate results within the company

– Share the win-loss analysis report with all key stakeholders in the company so everyone concerned gets visibility into the customer acquisition process and has an idea of the recommended corrective actions

7. Trending report

– Win-Loss Analysis reports for different accounts are like “data points”
– Connecting the dots and identifying patterns in wins or losses will be of significance to the executive team in taking the business to the next level

Benefits of Win-Loss Analysis

Okay, this is the last section of a lengthy post. Some of the benefits of Win-Loss Analysis are:

  • Improve existing business

– Drive product, sales, and marketing decisions by getting empirical and pragmatic information
– Identify current trends in the market place
– Improve competitive advantage & market share
– Increase top-line revenue: get accurate information at the opportunity level that optimizes sales efforts

  • Influence customers positively

– Customers will value the engagement and relationship with us, specifically the lost ones, when the pitch is something like: “Hey customer, we know you have chosen another vendor for the services, but if you could spare some time for us in completing the Win-Loss Analysis it will help us discover the gaps and reasons as to why we lost you and will help us work on those areas which will put us in a position to better serve you in the future when we bump into each other again.

  • Identity the product stand

– Discover strong and weak points in the product
– Make it more competitive
– Influence product roadmap

  • Company processes

– Discover efficiencies/inefficiencies in company processes (sales, product, support, et al)

  • Tap new markets

– Tap new and unknown markets / market segments. This comes from the fact that some customers might have unique needs which we might not even be aware already. In such a case, it is essential to profile the customer and research the need in the market place — may be we will end up discovering completely new market segments which we can go after once we have built the required product capabilities.

All the information in this post has been based on Internet research and my past experience. Your thoughts are appreciated.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Product Management, Productivity

 

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Abandonment of Shopping Cart – Part III

So far you (Part I, Part II) have been reading about Abandonment of Shopping cart – the reasons behind these abandonments and the possible impact of the same. Let’s see what we can, we should, and we shouldn’t do with a shopping cart process…and yes by seeing I meant…SEEING 🙂

With this we come to an end of three series article on abandonment of shopping cart. There are many ways you can simplify it, best is to MAKE IT SIMPLE. Someone spending money on your site, would never like to do this if s/he is not confident and / or is not presented with simple approach. So next time you look out for a shopping cart, do give these points a “Note”. 🙂 Cheers!

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Productivity, UX and Usability

 

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How you can ‘Re-Brand’ yourself?

You’ve worked long and hard, sacrificing to build a solid reputation. When you’re out of the room, you know what they’re saying: He’s an innovative marketer. She’s a terrific patent lawyer. He knows everything about the Latvian export market. But what if you now want to rebrand yourself?

People reinvent themselves all the time – to take on a new challenge, shift into more-meaningful work, or rebut perceptions that have hindered their career progress. Sometimes the changes are major. Sometimes the rebranding is subtle, as for an executive who wants to advance but needs to overcome the knock that he’s “not good with numbers.”

Taking control of your personal brand may mean the difference between an unfulfilling job and a rewarding career. Your path may make perfect sense to you, but how can you persuade others to embrace your new brand – and take you seriously?

I’ve learned that five steps are key to reinventing yourself for the business marketplace, whether your desired changes are large or small.

 

 

1. DEFINE YOUR DESTINATION

Rebranding isn’t easy, and if your plan is poorly thought out, you’ll end up confusing yourself and others. Start by determining where you really want to invest your energy. Check out relevant industry trade journals, do informational interviews, even try some internships. If you’re looking to advance or shift laterally within your company, see if a shadow program or a sabbatical is available – and seek out a mentor who can guide you.

 

Next you need to build the skills necessary for your new path. If you’ve been a game developer for the past decade, you may understand the technology better than anyone else in the company. But if you want to move into video game marketing, technical savvy isn’t enough; ask yourself what else you need to know – and how to learn it. Learning the skills you need will give you the confidence to start publicizing your new identity – and the credibility required to assume it.

 

 

2. LEVERAGE YOUR POINTS OF DIFFERENCE

What’s your unique selling proposition? That’s what people will remember, and you can use it to your advantage. After losing popularity to newer, even more right-wing talking heads, the conservative pundit Ann Coulter had to reinvent herself. She didn’t entirely abandon her old brand; she reconfigured it to compete in a new marketplace. Leveraging her unique blend of blonde vixen and conservative firebrand, Coulter is now courting gay Republicans who enjoy diva-style smack talk. As Coulter understood, previous experience can distinctively color your new brand and help you stand out.

 

Finally, use distinguishing characteristics to your advantage, even if they’re not strictly relevant to your work. Robert Reich, the former U.S. secretary of labor, is under five feet tall. He knew that people seeing him for the first time would be surprised – and he didn’t want his height to be a distraction. So he’d loosen up crowds with a joke or two about his stature and, in the same vein, titled his campaign book “I’ll Be Short.” Like it or not, “short” was part of his brand – and he shrewdly leveraged it.

 

 

3. DEVELOP A NARRATIVE

You used to write award-winning business columns … and now you want to review restaurants? It’s human nature to have many interests, to seek new experiences, and to want to develop new skills. Unfortunately, people often view that as the sign of a dilettante.

It’s unfair, but to protect your personal brand, you need to develop a coherent narrative that explains exactly how your past fits into your present. The key is not to explain your transition in terms of your own interests (“I was bored with my job and decided to try something else,” or “I’m on a personal journey to find the real me”) but to focus on the value your prior experience brings. This is particularly relevant for the fresh-out-of-college set, whose early career opportunities have been hobbled by the recession. A stint flipping burgers may not be the ideal resume builder, but you can get credit for learning valuable skills on the front line of a customer service organization – if you tell your story well.

One caveat is that your narrative must be consistent with your past.

 

 

4. REINTRODUCE YOURSELF

Once you’ve embraced your rebrand, making new contacts is the easy part – they’ll take the new you at face value. The harder slog is reintroducing yourself to your existing network.

 

The truth is the vast majority of people aren’t paying much attention to you. That means their perceptions are probably a few years out of date – and it’s not their fault. With hundreds (or thousands) of Facebook friends and vague social connections, we can’t expect everyone to remember the details of our lives. So we have to strategically reeducate our friends and acquaintances – because they’re going to be our buyers, recommenders, or leads for new jobs.

 

First make sure that all your contact points (Facebook, LinkedIn, personal website and so forth) are consistent and up-to-date. Don’t forget to reach out by phone or e-mail to all the people on your list – individually – to let them know about your new direction and, where appropriate, to ask for help, advice, or business.

 

Also, think strategically about your “unveiling.” Are there projects you can get involved with that will showcase your new interests and abilities (or help you develop them)? Volunteering on political campaigns or for charitable causes is one high-profile way to make new contacts and develop new skills. Leveraging opportunities within your company is another. If a major new initiative is launching, try to jump on board. If competition is too fierce, you can take on jobs that others don’t want but that will help you meet people and build crucial connections.

 

 

5. PROVE YOUR WORTH

Every art student has a portfolio ready to be shown at a moment’s notice. It’s no different in the business world. There’s a wide gulf between my knowing that you’ve launched a new business and trusting that you’ll do a good job for clients. I may like you a lot, but unless I see proof of your skills, I’ll hesitate to put my own reputation on the line by sending you referrals.

 

That’s where blogs, podcasts, videocasts and other forms of social media come in. The first step is securing your own Internet domain name and starting to produce unique intellectual property. The second, even more critical, is ensuring that your material offers real value.

 

After you’ve demonstrated your ability, solidify your rebrand by associating with the leading organizations in your field. Make a focused effort to publish in respected journals, speak at industry conferences, or take on a leadership role in your trade association.

 

Finally, you have to be consistent and committed as you move forward. Especially in the Internet era, traces of your old brand will never completely disappear – and as long as you’re thoughtful about what you’ve learned along the way, that’s OK. The challenge is to be strategic about identifying how you wish to be perceived, developing a compelling story that explains your evolution and then spreading that message. Consider it “search engine optimization” for your life: The more connections you make, and the more value and content you regularly add to the stream, the more likely it is that your new brand will be known, recognized and sought out.

 

 

Author Note: Dorie Clark is the CEO of Clark Strategic Communications, a consulting firm that helps clients build their brand reputation and increase sales.

 

Copyright (2011). All rights reserved by New York Times Syndication Sales Corp. This material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.

 

 © 2011 Harvard Business Publishing

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2011 in Productivity

 

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iDoneThis : An excellent productivity App

Wow…productivity hasn’t been so easy….Thanks to J Fox for this…
iDoneThis


 
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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Product Reviews, Productivity

 

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Increase your Productivity….16 easy ways…

If you ever wanted to know what it is about to be as productive as possible, here are few of the brilliant tips from 16 Tips to Simplify Your Life (and Increase Your Productivity) and here is my list after customization.

1. ……I have no idea what to write here

2. ……I have no idea what to write here

3. Start your day with exercise. (Hmmm, I have not been doing this…)

4. Plan your day ahead. Spend at least 10 minutes on planning the day and 10 more minutes on reviewing the previous day. Make your notes and observations. ( 10 minutes, this is too much for me to even spend..thinking is such a waste of time…)

5. Make sure to plan a decent holiday break once a year. (I find it should be at least 10 days for it to become truly regenerative.) (Ah ha…this is what Priya has been telling me…but…

6. Learn to protect your time. The data says workers are interrupted every 11 minutes. Distractions destroy productivity and complicate your life.

7. Make a list of ever growing quotes that have the power to change the way you think. Hang a few of these at your desk. Change them regularly…(Isn’t it a waste of time…lolzzz)

8. Start and track Projects(small and big) that fuel thinking. Share them with the team and be an example. (Hunh)

9. Capture the knowledge you gain and share it with the team. Take Feedback. Collaboration can make wonders. (Hmmm, this is what I have been doing learning from others…I don’t know how much people learn from me…)

10. Build the team spirit with the help of the team and help them in becoming more productive by sharing the knowledge.

11. Have your visions clearly defined.Have more focus! (Now what is this VISION?)

12. Post Everyday. (Ask me 🙂 )

I will get back to you guys after one month…to give you s hindsight as to where I am…

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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Productivity

 

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