Driving global sales for manufacturers

Andrew Dorn, Industry Leader, Information Intensive Business, Acxiom Corporation

When Andrew Dorn, Industry Leader, Information Intensive Business, Acxiom Corporation, was recently researching the top manufacturers in the United States, one topic kept coming up — the strong growth expectations focused on the world’s emerging markets. With the economies of the U.S. and Europe in flux, Dorn felt that, now more than ever, manufacturers need to be attentive to those emerging markets.

“The world is now flat,” says Dorn. “Competition comes from everywhere, so manufacturers need to be everywhere.”

Because of that, Acxiom has partnered with Smart Business to present a special one-hour webinar: “Driving Global Sales for Manufacturers: Why global growth for manufacturers is more important than ever.”

During the webinar — on Wednesday, September 19 at 1:00pm EST — we will discuss why global sales for manufacturers is critical, what factors should be considered in developing or refining the  international strategy, and, finally, present a roadmap that can be employed to optimize chances for success.

Featured panelists will be Zia Daniell Wigder, Vice President and Research Director, Forrester Research; Jennifer Barrett Glasgow, Global Privacy and Public Policy Executive, Acxiom; and Michael Biwer, Managing Director, Acxiom.

“As you enter the global market, it is imperative you understand the privacy laws in each country as they are quite complex and some are very stringent, for example, having criminal penalties for some violations,” says Barrett Glasgow.

Other topics to be discussed include:

  • How to determine which countries to enter and what data to gather to understand regional customer requirements
  • Recommended approaches to building country-specific strategies that can help facilitate smooth transitions, lowest possible cost-of-entry, and consistent performance
  • Considerations for navigating the complex web of country-specific data protection and privacy laws companies must adhere to in their efforts to connect with customers and prospects
  • Best practices used by leading companies that have successfully entered new markets

“The U.S. and European economies are still recovering and the balance of growth is constantly shifting,” says Dorn. “For example, China and Brazil have been experiencing strong growth. They are encountering a maturity curve, but that doesn’t lessen the importance of the issue — manufacturers need to be diversified and have a presence in all major world markets.”

The webinar, “Driving Global Sales for Manufacturers: Why global growth for manufacturers is more important than ever” will be held at 1:00 pm EST on Wednesday, September 19.

Click here to register for this free event!

Chrysler U.S. August sales up 14 percent

DETROIT, Tue Sep 4, 2012 – Chrysler Group LLC reported its 29th consecutive month of year-on-year sales gains with a 14-percent rise in August.

Chrysler sales were 148,472 vehicles, which the company said showed its best performance for August since 2007.

U.S. auto industry sales should be 14.6 million new vehicles on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, including medium and heavy-duty trucks, Chrysler said.

Taking out the medium and heavy trucks, that would be about 14.3 million light cars and trucks, compared with 14.1 million projected in July.

Analysts use the light vehicles sales figure as a key measure of the industry’s health.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters last week expected an August annualized sales rate of 14.2 million light vehicles.

Chrysler is managed by and majority owned by Fiat SpA.

Cisco shares rise as dividend hike eclipses sales worries

SAN JOSE, Calif., Thu Aug 16, 2012 – Shares of Cisco Systems Inc. looked set to open up 7 percent on Thursday after the network equipment maker’s dividend hike overshadowed a lackluster quarterly sales performance and prompted several brokerages to raise their price targets on the stock.

Shares of the company, which closed at $17.35 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday, rose to $18.49 in premarket trading on Thursday. The stock had fallen 11 percent after Cisco reported a weak third-quarter profit in May.

Cisco said on Wednesday it will raise its quarterly dividend by 75 percent to 14 cents per share after reporting fourth-quarter revenue largely in line with analysts’ estimates. It also said it bought back $1.8 billion worth of shares in the quarter.

Barclays Capital analysts said the higher dividend suggested a significant shift in direction and placed Cisco near the high-end of its large-cap IT tech peers such as Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. in terms of dividend yield and free cash flow.

“The 75 percent increase in dividend and commitment to return at least 50 percent of free cash flow in dividend and buybacks was not expected given high offshore cash balance and should be rightly viewed as sign of overall confidence on part of Cisco,” said Citi Investment Research analyst Kevin Dennean.

Retail sales in July point to rebound in consumer spending

WASHINGTON, Tue Aug 14, 2012– Retail sales rose in July for the first time in four months as demand rose broadly for everything from cars to electronics, a sign that consumers could drive faster economic growth in the third quarter.

Retail sales rose 0.8 percent last month, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.

It was the biggest gain since February and well above analysts’ expectations. Economists polled by Reuters had expected retail sales to rise 0.3 percent.

The report bolsters the view that the slowdown in economic growth during the second quarter will prove temporary.

It also offers some relief for President Barack Obama, whose November re-election bid has been imperiled by a weak jobs market. Republican challenger Mitt Romney is focusing his campaign on the weak economy that has plagued Obama’s presidency.

The report could also splash a bit of water on hopes the Federal Reserve could soon launch another bond-buying program to help the economy.

Job creation in the United States slowed dramatically in the second quarter as consumer spending cooled and economic growth slowed. Job creation accelerated in July although the unemployment rate still rose to 8.3 percent.

Pointing to a strong increase in consumer spending during July, the so-called core measure of retail sales – which excludes autos, gasoline and building materials – rose 0.9 percent. That was the biggest gain since January.

Joe Takash – Why you need to sell yourself before you sell your product or service

Joe Takash, president, Victory Consulting

Joe Takash, president, Victory Consulting

Ten-year old Billy Johnson gets home from school and has been thinking about an ice cream bar all day. He wants one badly. Unfortunately, the only people home at the Johnson house are Billy’s teenage siblings, Susie and Jake. Billy’s only shot is Susie. She is a less difficult sale than Jake, a constant wielder of oldest sibling authority. As Billy approaches Susie, she quickly anticipates his motive and cuts him off.

“Billy, you can’t have an ice cream bar. It’s too close to dinner and it will ruin your appetite.”

It’s over. Billy’s cooked without a chance to negotiate or be heard? Why? He didn’t reach the ultimate decision-maker. But wait, who’s that walking in the house in good spirits and with a bounce in his step? It’s Dad!

Billy rushes the big guy with a gushing hug and says, “Hey Dad, can I have an ice cream bar?”

Dad’s golden response: “Sure, sport, and I tell you what, get me one too.”

Yee haw, sale closed!

Think of all the time in business you have put in and the energy you’ve exhausted on attempts to cajole client contacts who love to say no but can’t really say yes. It can be a frustrating, morale-beating process. It’s also a less-than-efficient business practice.

Making a connection with the buyer isn’t always easy, but the first question I challenge you with is, “From whom are you requesting an ice cream truck?” (Let’s think big here).

As you peruse the following steps to find the buyer who will say yes, extract what may help you streamline greater results in less time — because time is an entity you never get back.

See yourself as a peer

Are you confident enough to dialogue on equal ground with the big wheels that run the show? You would be shocked at the number of experienced professionals who will say no to themselves in insidious, unconscious ways. To view yourself as a peer, use positive self-talk and manage that internal cynic. How you see yourself, then present yourself, is every bit as important as the service or product you offer.

Do your homework

Feeling like a confident peer versus a hopeful vendor requires preparing accordingly. When it comes to connecting with buyers, you must know:

  • Their company
  • Their competition
  • Your product and service

You’d be surprised at how many service providers don’t know when a company when was founded, what their mission statement says, who their biggest clients are or who they compete against. As far as knowing your own product and service, read on.

Speak in sound bites

Most elevator speeches make the listener want to take the stairs.

When you speak to the buyer, get to the point and remember that less is more. Too many sales professionals ramble on aimlessly about what they’re selling, leaving the buyer confused or annoyed. Decision makers want you to be brief. So, prepare only information that demonstrates how they will benefit and what their return on investment will be. If you don’t have this ready to roll in 15 seconds or less, practice and get feedback.

Ask great questions

Conventional sales jargon used to say “ABC” which stood for “Always Be Closing.” Buyers are more perceptive than ever and most know when it’s really about your benefits, not theirs. Today’s world of collaborative relationship selling, especially with high-level buyers, should be labeled “ABO” for “Always Be Opening.” The questions you ask are the golden nuggets that lead you down the path to “yes.” Be sure your questions are open-ended and tie directly into the objectives the buyer has and how they will know when successful results are realized.

“I can’t change the direction of the world, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

– Jimmy Dean

Now go find that buyer!

Joe Takash is the president of Victory Consulting, a Chicago-based executive and organizational development firm. He advises clients on leadership strategies and has helped executives prepare for $3 billion worth of sales presentations. He is a keynote speaker for executive retreats, sales meetings and management conferences and has appeared in numerous media outlets. Learn more at www.victoryconsulting.com.

Boeing profit up on rising plane deliveries

CHICAGO, Wed Jul 25, 2012 – Boeing Co. reported an increase in second-quarter profit on Wednesday as rising airplane deliveries offset higher pension costs.
The plane maker and defense contractor reported a profit of $967 million, or $1.27 per share, compared with $941 million, or $1.25 per share, in the year-ago quarter.
Sales rose 21 percent to $20 billion, boosted by commercial aircraft sales.

Boeing targets 1,000 civil jet orders in 2012, CEO Albaugh says

CHICAGO, Mon Jun 11, 2012 – Boeing Co. expects to sell 1,000 commercial aircraft in the calendar year 2012, including the 737 and wide-body models, the head of the company’s commercial division told Reuters on Monday.

“I think we are going to get there, there’s a lot of demand for big aircraft out there,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of an IATA airlines meeting in Beijing.

Chrysler new-car sales in May miss estimates

DETROIT, Fri Jun 1, 2012 – Chrysler Group posted a 30 percent increase in May new-car sales in the U.S. market but fell short of what analysts had expected.

Chrysler, controlled by Italy’s Fiat, reported May sales of 150,041 vehicles, up from 115,363 in the same month last year. While it was the best May sales performance for Chrysler in five years, the results were below several analysts’ estimates.

The rest of the U.S. auto industry is scheduled to report sales results later Friday. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expect an annual sales rate for the month of 14.5 million vehicles.

Some industry officials expect the rate to be lower, however, as warmer weather earlier in the year pulled demand forward and led to stronger-than-expected sales. In addition, falling gas prices have reduced the pressure on consumers to get rid of gas-guzzlers and buy more fuel-efficient cars.

Auto sales have been one of the bright spots in the economy for several months and the monthly sales results offer an early snapshot of consumer demand.

Sales have shot up this year despite cooling consumer confidence and mixed economic data that illustrates how shaky the recovery has been over the last three years.

One factor fueling the sales growth has been Americans’ increasing need to replace their aging cars and trucks, which are now a record 10.8 years old on average.

Higher fuel prices in the first quarter prompted some consumers to swap older, less fuel-efficient models to lock in fuel savings. According to Swiss bank UBS, 63 percent of dealers said higher gasoline prices increased demand in the first quarter.

With gas prices falling again, the pace of new-car sales may moderate in the second and third quarters, but the underlying consumer appetite for new cars and trucks as a result of pent-up demand remains strong, UBS analyst Colin Langan said.

Retailers report strong May same-store sales

NEW YORK, Thu May 31, 2012 – Several top retailers reported stronger-than-expected sales in May, as shoppers overcame growing anxiety about the U.S. economy and the job market.

Victoria’s Secret parent Limited Brands Inc said on Thursday that sales at stores open at least a year had risen 6 percent in the four weeks ended May 26. The report came the day after department store chain Macy’s Inc posted a 4.2 percent increase. Both companies beat Wall Street forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Meanwhile, Costco Wholesale Corp’s May same-store sales rose 4 percent, hurt by the strong dollar’s impact on overseas sales. Analysts were expecting a 4.3 percent increase.

Other top retailers reporting May sales later on Thursday morning include Kohl’s Corp., Gap Inc., Target Corp. and Nordstrom Inc.

Many analysts had warned that May sales might suffer because an unusually warm spring in much of the country prompted many shoppers to make clothing purchases earlier. Still, many chains benefited from the timing of Mother’s Day — this year it fell on May 13, five days later than last year.

Fred’s Inc and teen retailer Zumiez Inc. were among the other chains to report higher-than-expected May sales, while home furnishings chain Pier 1 Imports Inc. said its same-store sales for the first quarter ended on May 26 had risen 7.2 percent.

Housing market recovery gains traction with rising sales, prices

WASHINGTON, Wed May 23, 2012 – The U.S. spring home-selling season got off to a strong start in April with rising sales and prices providing evidence that a housing market recovery was gaining some traction.

The housing sector has been the Achilles’ heel of the economy ever since the home-price bubble burst.

Data this week, however, have painted a relatively upbeat picture for the market and underscored the economy’s resilience.

“The recent buoyancy in housing market activity has raised hopes that this beleaguered sector may finally be on the verge of a rebound,” said Millan Mulraine, senior macro strategist at TD Securities in New York.

New home sales increased 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted 343,000-unit annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. Compared to April last year, sales were up 9.9 percent.

The report came on the heels of news on Tuesday that home resales hit a two-year high, with the sector getting support from investors who are increasingly seeing value.

Even more encouraging, the median price for both new and previously owned homes surged last month, a further sign of life for a market that has struggled to come back from its 2006 collapse.

The improving tone could be a boon for President Barack Obama whose housing policies have been decried for doing too little to help distressed homeowners.