Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Sunday, March 6th, 2011
Expanding business overseas is important. If you are a small EDA vendor, going global before you are ready can be suicidal. Here are some signals that can help you decide you if you are ready to go global.
Have you been successful at home?
Local success is a prerequisite to going global. Foreign buyers may not know your company and will look at your previous success and local references. It is difficult enough to adapt success to new geographies, languages and cultures.
Knowing what works at home and adapting it to new markets is the best approach. Going to a new market without strong success in your own backyard is usually a bad idea.
Are you being approached by local representatives who want to sell your product in their markets?
This could be a sign that there is demand for your product in new foreign markets. You will notice local firms asking questions about your product, visiting your website or requesting information. The local experts may have uncovered trends or market changes that will open up new opportunities for you.
Monday, December 20th, 2010
An EDA buyer may need a product to be modified in order to fit a particular need. The EDA vendor is concerned with spending resources towards customization without a commitment. Impasse?
No! This is the perfect place to put the Contingent Purchase Order in play. The Contingent PO guarantees that if certain items are delivered, an invoice will be paid. It lays out a clear set of objectives to be met and focuses the buyer and the seller on solutions and deliverables.
Why would you want one?
The buyer’s uncertainty is often a reason for decision delays, which are detrimental to both parties. The vendor does not receive the revenue and the user waits for the tool’s benefits. The Contingent PO can break this cycle. The vendor commits to deliver to a well defined set of objectives in order to be paid. This reduces the buyer’s anxiety when purchasing a customized product or dealing with a new vendor.
Sunday, October 24th, 2010
Today, globalizing is as important as having the right products and going after the right markets. Making the local sales operations productive is imperative whether the goal is to grow or merge a small company.
Globalizing is as important as having the right products and going after the right markets. In EDA all strategic customers have global operations. Most of them will look at products from different global perspectives, will do evaluations in different locations and will consider purchasing new products only if they serve their multiple groups. Wide Area Network software is the norm, not the exception. An evaluation in India, for a customer in Europe who will place an order in the United States is not uncommon, but it can wreak havoc on a non globalized sales force.
Sunday, July 18th, 2010
I had been working with a client on a new product positioning. It was a very valuable product offering and not very complicated to explain to potential customers. We were on the way back from a busy one week trip to Japan. We had been presenting the product for five days of double two hour meetings followed by wonderful working dinners, where each night the great sake threatened to open the locks to our as of yet unannounced product features. We were taking a few notes and talking about what we had learned. Then the client put his pen down on his note pad and asked “How do you think Europe will react to this. With all sensitivity extracted by the previous nights and days, I responded: “Europe? Which Europe?”
If you watched the World Cup of Soccer, you probably noticed the difference in styles, speeds and organization in the different teams. You may have noticed the French team exercising their individualism even against their own coach, the German team fast and well organized with few outbursts of anger, while the Spanish and Italian teams were full of fire and showing their frustration with pouts, grimaces and much hand flailing. You may also notice the nationalism and rivalry amongst their supporters. This should convince you that Europe is not a country, but rather a continent with different cultures, rules of conduct and ways of doing business. Europe isn’t any more uniform in its ways than the soccer fans are in the color of their face paint (see reference reading below).
Monday, May 31st, 2010
As an insider on the vendor side of the table for the past 25 years, I have heard some of the best techniques from experienced DAC visitors. I am going to share a few of these with you and may the vendors forgive me.
I attended my first DAC in 1985 as a salesman for one of the big vendors. We used to call them the D.M.V. (Daisy, Mentor, Valid). There was no Synopsys, no Cadence. Synthesis was something that plants did with light, but the frantic road to DAC has not changed. Besides the demonstrations, the vendors are creating value statements, positioning and gathering competitive information. The result will be dozens to hundreds of slides and just as many hours of internal meetings. They are all focused on bringing their latest to YOU at DAC.
The most experienced conference goers are also busy preparing their DAC visits, not only who they want to see and what they need to find out, but how to get it. After they figure out which of the big vendors is serving the best lunch and secure their tickets to what could be the last Denali party, they will put some of these techniques to work. You can too.
Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
DAC veterans will remember the year 1995 when View Logic gave away baseball bats at DAC. Imagine the scandal when an airline captain refused to let one of our salespeople take his bat on the plane! Today the scandal is luggage charges and those of us traveling to DAC this year are going to be prime targets of this not-so-gentle nickel and dime maneuver. Unless you fit everything you need in a carry-on bag.
A properly packed carry-on can fit all that I needed for a life time! No reversing inner garment jokes please. If I can carry enough clothes to make it to the weekend, there is time for laundry, so I dare say I can live from a carry-on forever. I have made a 4 week world tour from a carry on and had room to bring back a few gifts, but no baseball bats.
Let’s start with our friends at the airlines and their faithful assistant the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). When you carry on you have to know the rules. Most airlines define a carry on as a bag with total dimensions (height + width + depth) of 45 to 51 inches. Each airline has slightly different rules, so it pays to check. A good list of acceptable dimensions, by airline, can be found at http://www.luggageonline.com/about_airlines.cfm. A computer bag or a briefcase is allowed on as long as it can go under the seat in front of you. TSA sets specific rules for what you CANNOT carry on at https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring. Also check the 3-1-1 rule on the size of liquids that can be carried on http://www.tsa.gov/311/index.shtm. Even if you think you know, check the rules for two reasons: 1. The rules do change and 2. You can always get a laugh thinking that someone needs to be reminded that dynamite is forbidden in your carry-on. Tourists!
Saturday, May 1st, 2010
One common complaint from many of my clients is how frustrating they find selling through distributors or resellers. This commission-only channel is motivated very differently than salaried and commissioned sales people. Making the right changes to the managing processes and the field support can turn an indirect channel into a very effective face of the company.
These field people collect commissions only when they sell something. The most successful resellers will always focus on the lines that bring in the money. Help them to bring in the money and you will be on top of their line card. The game is all about maximizing their limited selling time, providing good information and avoiding surprises that defocus them from selling.
I often see excellent products that are very successfully sold by a vendor’s direct channel, but struggling with an indirect distribution channel. This is a sign that the channel may not have enough information and they cannot credibly represent the product or answer objections. There are a few simple things that the sales manager can do to make his/her product easier to sell.
Monday, April 19th, 2010
One evening in 1993 when I had just started working in international business, I contacted a very important customer from a well known Japanese semiconductor company. This was a big accomplishment, because many of our people had tried for weeks to find a time when he would be in the office. I was ecstatic and the conversation was going very well. Just as I began to get information on his company’s needs, my other line rang. I could see it was my boss, so I asked the customer to “please hang on”. He immediately obliged me and hung up! Three weeks later, when I reached him again, he explained that he hung up because I asked him to do so.
International communications is a delicate art. In verbal and written communications it is imperative to be sensitive to the audience’s cultural differences, be clear, concise and request feedback to make sure that the correct points are understood. Verbal communication is the easiest, because the feedback can be immediate as in my example. On the other hand, initial verbal contact usually happens on the telephone where listening carefully to the other party’s reaction is most important. A speaker should be cautious and sensitive to hesitation or pauses and out of context commentary by the other party.
I recently spoke with an Electrical Engineer in Europe and I told him that my client was sponsoring a seminar regarding gotchas in semiconductor design verification. Silence… I quickly rephrased the statement and told him that there were many unknown factors that cause problems during circuit verification and that we have a seminar to teach engineers how to avoid them. He immediately engaged by asking some questions.