Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Xerox Colourful Insight

In the early 2000's, Leah Quesada was VP of marketing for Xerox with the task of marketing "ColorCube", a new solid ink based printer, to the K-12 education market in North America.

On the surface Xerox's situation was a marketer's dream, they had a highly differentiated product in a market that only used black and white printers but Leah was concerned that education budgets were being stripped around the country and that a standard 'product feature' marketing campaign may fail.

Leah observed that initial sales efforts to sell based on superior technology were not getting traction.

Leah's team brainstormed the situation to develop "commercial insight" which is defined as "an insight about the customer's business that the customer does not appreciate and which could be uniquely serviced by Xerox's products and services", by brainstorming what the customer cared most about and what the customer is missing. Note the emphasis on customer business.

Xerox commissioned research on K-12 students (their customer's customer) and were able to show a significant link between use of colour in education materials and improved student outcomes.

Leah's team armed the sales teams with this research and taught them how to lead with the research insights in their customer meetings. Xerox used the response of the customer to their commercial insight (the effect of colour on learning outcomes) to decide whether or not they were talking with a 'mobiliser", someone that could mobilise their organisation to make a decision on purchasing colour printers.

Using customer insight and customer mobiliser approach Xerox had a 17% lift in sales in a vertical market that had been declining.

Company: Xerox
Source: "The Challenger Customer", Adamson, Dixon, Spenner, Toman, 2015 Penguin Books. Chap. 5
Story Type: Business Purpose; Insight
Labels: Sales Skills; Business Development; Persusion
For Story Students
The Setting: Launch of the new cartridge free solid ink colour printer/copier for the K-12 Education market
The Complications: Declining school budgets and unwillingness to buy new technology
The Turning Point: Commissioned a study to show that children learn better whith colour education materials versus black and white
The Resolution: Armed the sales team with the customer insight that children learn better with colour and smashed their sales targets
The Point of the Story: Armed the sales team with the customer insight that children learn better with colour and smashed their sales targets
How to use this story: In sales training and in sales strategy meetings

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