Testimonial from Buell Duncan, IBM

“Sound, practical advice on how to get marketing and sales aligned and performing at their peak.”
— Buell Duncan, Vice President Marketing, IBM Software Group

Testimonial from Amy Bermar, Corporate Ink

“This book helps solve the marketer’s dilemma: How do you reach your prospects in the fastest, most cost-effective way? Getting it right creates market leaders; getting it wrong relegates good products to the discount bin. IBM and Adobe have already found that Routes-to-Market is critical to their bottom lines; now the rest of us can join the party.”
— Amy Bermar, President, Corporate Ink, The Wall Street Journal 2007 “Top Small Workplaces” Winner

End of first full manuscript in sight

The 3 of us are ensuring that we maintain our working rhythm every week. At this pace, the first full manuscript should be there in a couple of weeks. This is going to be a landmark for us. We know that further work will be needed but it is special to feel that we are reaching this stage.

The Buying Cycle and the Sales Cycle

The Sales Cycle is the sequence of steps that vendors follow to engage with customers throughout their Buying Cycle, as shown below.

Buying and Sales Cycles

As you can see, the Sales Cycle includes all of the customer-facing activities of marketing, sales, distribution and customer service.

Across the 5 steps of the Sales Cycle, vendors have a choice of many resources for communicating with customers and for providing products and services to customers. The resources can be internal or external to the vendor. For communications, the resources include a wide variety of media (websites, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, the vendor’s newsletter, etc.). To provide the vendor’s product or service, the resources include many different types of sales and distribution channels (e-commerce, telesales, catalog, retail, specialized resellers, distributors, etc.). After-sale services can also be provided by various resources (systems integrators, call centers, factory repair, field repair, self-service, etc.).

A “route” is a combination of internal or external resources that moves the customer from the beginning to the end of the Sales Cycle.

The Routes-to-Market methodology helps vendors plan, operate and optimize their routes. Optimized routes produce more revenue and profit per dollar spent on marketing, sales, distribution and customer service.

The RTM methodology was originally developed by the authors at IBM and has been subsequently adopted by Adobe Systems, Canon, Cisco, F5 Networks, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, Plantronics, Sharp, Sun Microsystems and other companies. The authors’ book, Building Routes to Customers, includes case studies on some of these companies’ use of RTM.

Progess Report

Here’s an update on our progress writing the book, Building Routes to Customers. We finished another chapter yesterday. That’s 11 completed and 5 to go. My motto is “a chapter a week is all we ask.” It’s a riff on the Blue Diamond Almonds ad on TV, in which one of the farmers from the Blue Diamond Growers co-op looks straight at the camera lens and says, “a can a week is all we ask.”

Just so you don’t think I’m nuts, the “can a week” ad campaign has among the highest rates of return of any ad campaign worldwide. Every dollar spent on that campaign produced 4 dollars in profit for the Blue Diamond Growers co-op every year between 1962 and 1995. That’s a mind-blowing ROI. (Source: National Institute for Commodity Promotion Research and Evaluation, Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University.)

If our book sells as well as Blue Diamond almonds, it would be a huge best seller. On that happy note, I’ll go back to writing the next chapter now.

Springer to Publish Our Book

I’m very pleased to announce that Springer Science+Business Media will publish our book, Building Routes to Customers: Proven Strategies for Profitable Growth, this fall. Springer is the largest publisher worldwide of science, technology and medicine books, and the second largest publisher of journals in those fields.

Senior Editor Nick Philipson selected our book to help Springer expand their business and economics line. My co-authors, Jean-Claude Malraison and Antoine Leboyer, and I are very excited about working with Nick and his team.

Posting this news seems like a great way to kick-off this blog, which will be about the Routes-to-Market methodology that we explain in the book, and about related ideas, events and trends.