A Black Friday like no other

One trend that I wasn’t aware of is just how big Black Friday has become outside the United States.

Holiday deal days are becoming more important. Reports showing Black Friday is now the most popular deal day in France, Germany, Italy and the UK.

When people think of Black Friday, they normally think of hordes of people in stores, some lining up in the wee hours of the morning to make sure they get the doorbuster deals. That’s not going to happen this year; that’s not what consumers want, and it’s not what retailers want. How should retailers think about Black Friday? How can they best take advantage of that day?

Certainly is becoming a big deal globally. In the situation that most retailers are in, where they are now having to move so much of their sales through the online channel, they’re worried about the capacity to deliver products to homes—whether the third parties are going to be able to get them there and whether their own warehouses can keep up with the online demand. So one of the interesting things we’ve seen about Black Friday is retailers now starting to spread out these blockbuster events, so they’re able to “level load” their supply chains and ship products in a way that doesn’t create a massive spike that they can’t fulfill.

We will also see consumers participating in these events more digitally than ever. Research also show before a lot of the recent shutdowns in Europe, that there was already a lessening of folks wanting to go in stores—people wanted to go online.

I think we’ll see even more of that. Consumers are wanting to participate in these events in a modified way: either completely online or buy online and pick up in store or pick up outside the store. We’ll see a lot more physical distancing and a different way of delivering so that retailers can not only meet the demand safely but also manage delivery, inventory, and their profitability.

The COVID-19 situation has really prompted a big increase in the focus on the online experience for shopping and the pick-up-in-store experience. And retailers have scrambled to create an environment that provides an OK—or, in some cases, a great—shopping experience. So they’re now starting to think about how do we actually make this profitable? How do we take costs out of delivery or out of buy online, pick up in store, so that we can make money like we used to when we were running stores in a traditional environment? We’ve seen a bunch of different reactions from retailers. In many ways, this crisis has forced some retailers that traditionally operated in one way for a very long period of time to become much more agile. We see a lot more aggressive moves than we’ve seen in the past.

Brand management done right

Brand Management

For brand managers, protecting brand integrity and reputation are top priorities. Growing brand trust, value, and recognition starts with making the right brand assets accessible, communicating clear guidelines, and enabling on-brand re-use. 

Only when brand assets are centralized, can they be distributed to internal and external parties in a consistent, efficient way.

Drive brand consistency

Easily share Brand Guidelines with all relevant stakeholders so everyone understands how to use your brand’s assets. Your brand assets and the guidelines on how to use them can all be found in one place, making it easy for you and your colleagues to always use the correct branding assets in the right way.

Brand management is an all-encompassing term to describe marketing techniques and approaches for boosting the overall value and reputation of a brand and its products over time.

When done right, an effective brand management strategy helps to establish and engage with a loyal customer base who will perceive a brand and its products positively, ultimately driving bottom-line revenue and higher brand equity.

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Top sales innovators are embedding data and technology throughout their organizations to reimagine sales

Sales has always been a “sensing” organization, attuned to changes in customer sentiment, shifts in demand, and the requirements of different buying stages. But those senses are being flooded as customers shift to digital engagement, leaving sellers with more channels to cover and more interactions to manage.

The pandemic has amplified these challenges, exposing weaknesses in existing sales models and gaps in digital readiness. In many ways, this data revolution in sales matches what happened to marketing departments three to five years ago, when they were forced to reorient their functions to be more analytically driven. With more data flowing in from nontraditional sources such as video calls and webinars—few of which are captured by current sales processes—understanding which customers to focus on, what they care about, and how they want to engage can often feel like a guessing game.

However, some sales organizations have reduced that guesswork. They are bringing science to sales and are harnessing data in ways that deliver double-digit gains in return-on-investment (ROI). These organizations start with centralizing commercial operations and generating insights from internal and external data sources, including web and email scrapes, information from virtual calls and pitches, and other analyses. These improved insights allow sales organizations to be more agile in aligning their resources and adapting their operating model. To hardwire these capabilities, smarter automated processes are built into a new operating models. Performance metrics and coaching are then tailored to the needs of the company and the requirements of the individual salesperson.

Centralize commercial ops and generate actionable insights

Many sales organizations face significant challenges in guiding teams dispersed across large territories. This limits the ability of sales reps to share best practices, access valuable customer insights, and expedite sales processes that can make a meaningful difference to their bookings. To make the most of the abundance of data and draw the right insights, forward-thinking sales leaders have centralized commercial operations functions and created “commercial hubs” that distribute better and more targeted insights as well as drive more agility in the organization.

Enable an agile go-to-market model

With the insights generated by the hub, sales leaders can use advanced intelligence to better align sales reps to the right sales opportunities, pulling the right people in at the right stage of a deal, assembling teams with the necessary skills to innovate and design products and services that customers want, and providing insights that help close opportunities.

For example, instead of simply assigning larger accounts to field reps and smaller ones to inside sales, a global telecommunications company now lets the type of transaction—what is being sold to whom and when—determine the go-to-market approach. Simple transactions are handled by inside sales or digital channels, while field reps (after an initial lead-nurturing stage by the inside sales team) cover more complex purchasing. In the past, when a prospective customer initiated a query on the company’s website, the digital-sales team referred it to an inbound call center that had basic technical and selling capabilities but was unable to convert complex transactions.

Design smarter, automated sales processes

With a centralized commercial hub generating insights and an agile operating model redefining how sellers work, sales organizations can trigger the next level of value by redesigning their core sales processes to make them more “intelligent.”

In the average company, for example, reps spend only about 16 percent of their day in front of the customer, virtually or in person. By contrast, best performing reps in the spend 40 to 50 percent of their time in front of the customer. The difference? The top organizations redesign their sales processes and thoughtfully automate whatever they can. Research shows that up to 30% of tasks can be automated.

Empower and reskill the front line

In many organizations, capability building and sales training are undifferentiated. Centralized commercial hubs, smart processes, and responsive go-to-market structures can help sales reps significantly improve both their performance and job satisfaction, as long as they understand how best to adapt to the new operating model and leverage the insights to which they have access. To deliver on that opportunity, organizations need to update not just what they teach their sales reps but also how, by establishing tailored learning journeys.


Prepare for the best #Blackfriday ever

Prepare for the best #Blackfriday ever

The countdown has started, but there’s still time to optimize your 2019 Black Friday ecommerce sales strategy.

We’re expecting another record-breaking year for holiday ecommerce sales.

“Modern shoppers tend to prefer online shopping, and while the deals themselves might not be quite as good on Cyber Monday as on Black Friday, the former tends to drive more actual revenue for sellers”

Are your team and website ready for the boost in traffic and transactions on all these upcoming dates?

To help you refine your plan, we’ve identified some Black Friday ecommerce tips to save you time and convert more customers:

“You can’t go into Black Friday and put 15% off, 20% off and expect to do well. Everything comes down to your offer—it’s the one time out of the year you can lower your prices without feeling like you’re losing brand integrity”

“The challenge for retailers is that as sales start earlier and earlier, it puts increased pressure on them to deliver the discounts they have trained their customers to expect”

Go all-in on VIP customers

Don’t be afraid to go even bigger with discounts and offers to your best customers.

Your discount strategy should also be part of an overall master plan leading up to Black Friday.

Create a master plan for Black November

Many retailers begin promoting their sales a month or so before Black Friday. So, you’ll need to pace your promotions throughout what is now referred to as “Black November”.

• A Black Friday buzz-building campaign that includes a countdown, deals, and specials using ads, email, and social leading up to the event.

• Sneak peeks on door crashers and other amazing sales that will go live during the weeks leading up to and on Black Friday

• A coordinated promotional strategy across all online channels—websites, emails, and social—to maximize sales on the day of your sales

• An influencer and micro-influencer engagement strategy to boost word of mouth about special offers

• Post-Cyber Monday deals (e.g., extended sale offers) for last-minute shoppers emphasizing shipping dates and gift wrapping throughout December

• Buy traffic early (before costs begin to soar) to build social audiences

• Remain top of mind by remarketing frequently

• Narrow your AdWords ads to high purchase intent keywords, like “buy [blank product]” or “best deal on [blank product]”

Additionally, consider how to capitalize on your growing social audience as part of your integrated Black November plan.

Build anticipation through social media

Leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can make an emotional connection with customers using inspiring imagery and highlighting positive testimonials on social platforms. 

Ten days away from Black Friday, Blenders shared an Instagram giveaway. Two days before the giveaway, they built hype around “the biggest Black Friday Sale. EVER.” using #blackfriday.

If you need bulk merchandise or any other kind of advice into running a successful black friday, connect with the team of NKOB.it today

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Budgeting in the post Covid era

The financial-planning process for 2021 presents an opportunity to turn hard-earned lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic into an enduring exercise in linking strategy to value.

Scenario and assumptions

When kicking off the 2021 budgeting process, CFOs will need to revisit and pressure-test the scenarios, assumptions, and decisions that were made (or not) during the COVID-19 crisis. That review is critical, as different parts of the organization will have similar questions related to crisis response and recovery. Everyone will need to be on the same page. Teams in sales and marketing, for instance, must have a common understanding of when the economic return and the next normal officially start—and therefore how to budget for travel and expenses.

Finance teams will need to determine which of the economic scenarios they projected actually materialized and then systematically examine how various strategic initiatives launched during the crisis have affected corporate performance (in revenue, pricing, sales volume, and competition). Consider the case of a vertically integrated retailer. When its brick-and-mortar stores needed to close in April 2020 as a result of COVID-19, the retailer quickly invested in an e-commerce platform and a logistics partnership to facilitate sales.

Reimagine the business from a zero base

Traditionally, business leaders have balked at using zero-based budgeting as a means to understand the critical drivers of a business. The approach—in which expenses must be justified for each budget period—is too arduous, they have argued, involves too much micromanagement, and poses countless other challenges.

Many of those objections evaporated, however, in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis—probably because business leaders no longer faced the base decision about whether to shift spending but rather the more urgent choice of how much and where. For example, a mining company now force-ranks large capital- expenditure projects along a spectrum of potential

returns and risks, while a major hospital chain has reallocated conference and travel budgets toward telemedicine and work-from-home capabilities.

Hold back some spending centrally

In most companies, budgets are typically fixed for the year, but in response to the COVID-19 crisis, many businesses have had to be more flexible, confidently shifting resources as needed to survive. To monitor the situation in real time, for instance, they have deployed spending control towers, cash war rooms, and dashboards. And they are using different kinds of key performance indicators (KPIs), such as the cash-burn rates of suppliers and distributors and the growth rate of COVID-19 cases.