Risk/reward management is core to effective sales and marketing. Definitions of marketing abound, but all sales and marketing activity is characterised by taking informed chances on outcomes such as those for strategies, products, services, promotions and pricing. For example, the possible outcomes of a direct mail campaign may need to be offset against investments in market intelligence; or the further development of the sales team may need to be balanced against a series of new market entries and product launches; or a new sales technique needs to be integrated with a traditional sales force.
Where complex decisions form part of an overall marketing strategy, then risk/reward management techniques function as part of a decision-making process which helps marketers to understand their environment, the portfolio of risks which they manage and the scale of benefits they should seek from their activities. Z/Yen applies risk/reward management techniques through its proprietary strategic risk/reward methodology to help clients improve their performance in sales and marketing. The strategic methodology is broken down into specific programmes for new business development, such as ongoing segmental sales, key account management, marketing support systems, marketing management/administration, pricing structures, price modelling, demand profiles and research.
Z/Yen combines its strategic assistance with practical sales and marketing experience in techniques such as sales force motivation, market research, direct sales, database marketing, contract sales, client profiling and segmentation. Sales and marketing techniques need to be embodied in processes, internal skills and measurement systems. Z/Yen seeks to develop measurable marketing plans, typically taking in a wide number of leading indicators from contact hit rates, to impact measures, customer-as-asset returns, weighted strategic contribution and market share. The overall process needs to be sold to the sales and marketing team, then recorded, tested, documented, trained, installed, automated, measured and reviewed (whew). Increasingly, the sales and marketing process is, or is part of, an accreditable ISO9000 or MQA programme. Z/Yen are strong proponents of "tight-loose" sales and marketing systems which can be subject to stringent external verification in order to gain the credibility and backing of senior management in what is frequently a high-risk function. For commercial organisations, see PPRISM, for voluntary sector organisations, see PPRIFM.
In practice, Z/Yen has, at one extreme, temporarily taken over sales and marketing for clients in seriously deficient situations. When minimal involvement is appropriate, Z/Yen has quickly reviewed sales and marketing effectiveness as part of a continual improvement process. Z/Yen's deliberate policy of aligning its rewards with its clients' long-term objectives helps to ensure that clients have confidence in many of the `soft' recommendations which frequently result in this hard-to-measure area.
Z/Yen's experience in applying risk/reward management to sales and marketing covers industries and services as diverse as information services, distribution, government, high technology, charity fundraising, publishing, finance, printing and media. Z/Yen's services deal with strategy - message refinement, communication of message, risk/reward analysis of options; systems - concept, design, implementation, review of core and support marketing systems; people - sales force motivation, training, in-field support; organisation - structure, style, measurement.
Z/Yen is also exploring the nature of sales & marketing activity to provide a comparative tool for industry professionals. Participation is now being invited for the current Sales and Marketing Budget Benchmark.