Jan 14, 2009

Top things to focus on during recession for B2B companies - An interview with Don Chapman

Over the coming months I'll be interviewing thought leaders and executives in key industries and disciplines with the goal of helping B2B companies grow and be successful. I hope you get value out of these interviews.

My first interview, via email, is with Don Chapman past President of Novell Canada. The topic? What else, the recession.
Chris Herbert: We're in a recession! What are the top 3 challenges facing CEOs during these troubled times?

Don Chapman:

1. Manage the balance sheet to insure liquidity. Be very tactical such as cash management, when you spend, expect a high return or do not do it

2. Employee morale. Share with them the market status, competition and your company strategy to win

3. Customer relations. Your customers are having a tough time. Do they see reducing expenses by not buying your services.

CH: What are the top 3 things a CEO should focus on?


1. Love your customers. This is the time for your customers to see you as a partner helping them with the challenges of the recession

2. Increase market share. Your competitors are weaker, there is less to go around, this is the time to take their top accounts away and gain market share. You have a better chance doing this in a recession than in an up market

3. Engage your employees and partners with your strategy to have 100%+ satisfied customers and win major new accounts.


CH: The sales pipeline is looking bleak. The deals are no longer flowing. If the sales director only had 3 things to focus on to improve the situation what would they be.


1. Review all present accounts for upsell opportunities. Be creative with bundling services and sharing risk

2. Review each of your competitors top 3 accounts to determine the strategy to win the business. (this also keeps your competitors in their accounts trying to save them instead of being at your best customers trying to win them)

3. Update the suspect database (target market) with telemarketing blitz days and then aggressively reach to all of them at least once a quarter.

CH: I understand you play in a band? Can you relate to being in a band to running a company?


1. Like a football team, if each player was doing what they thought was best to win the game, from the stands it would look like chaos or sound really off

2. A game plan with a team effort to execute and work together will provide superior results

3. Success is achieved when all players are working in harmony from the listener or customer's perspective.


CH: What are the 3 most important things a business professional should do to thrive during these tough times?


1. Know and be able to show the value you contribute to the business. This could be revenue, cost reduction, risk reduction, improved customer satisfaction, new ideas that get implemented

2. Contribute your thoughts to the company strategy to succeed but most important, align with the strategy. Do not sit on the sidelines saying why it will not work

3. A positive attitude is contagious. Be contagious. You are the only one who determines how you feel.

Thank you Don for this great advice. To read Don's bio click here.

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