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Archive for June, 2011

Disrupting Hollywood and Bollywood

Technology has already disrupted the media (print and TV) and music industries. I think that not too far from now, the movie industry will also go through such a disruptive phase.

I think that the trends that could disrupt the movie industry are:

  1. Availability of high speed bandwidth in the developed nations and getting increasingly available in the other developing nations. This will enable the Youtube’s and the Netflixs’ of the world to bring in movies in the digital form right to your PC or TV on-demand 24x7x365. The number of people who will watch movies streaming online will see a hockey stick kind of growth. I also see a dramatic increase in the number of films being produced exclusively for online distribution. More likely that these will be short films (<20 mins long).
  2. Crowdsourcing as a concept can work well here as well. I expect that soon the crowdsourcing model that has enabled hundreds of music artists to release their own work will also find a footing in the film industry. The power of the production houses like Disney, Fox or WB will gradually reduce as has been the case with music producers. I am sure there will be directors with good scripts will reach out to the online community to crowdsource funds to produce a movie and use the same crowd to review the movie before finally releasing the movie and sharing the profits as well. I will not be surprised if there does not exist a specific crowdsourcing site exclusively to produce movies.
  3. With the technology advancing, I also foresee that global teams will be organically formed to produce and work on a movie. The physical boundaries will fade when it comes to the project.
Imagine the following:
I have a good script which I think can be made into a movie.

I approach a crowdsourcing website to assist in listing the project idea on their crowdsourcing website (exclusively for funding movies or other generic website) along with your proposal on the revenue sharing plan.

I create a project plan for the movie. I identify the team (technical and artists) who could work with me on the movie. I also create an estimation of the budget required to complete the filming of the script. I post the project plan and the plot idea on the website and appeal for funding.

People who want to invest in movies regularly visit this site and read your project proposal.

If there are people who are interested in your project, they can commit to investing in your movie whatever amount they want to. The amount is held in a paypal kind of account.

Once you have a commitment for the total amount you had budgeted, you launch the movie.

A regular project update is sent to all the investors and the funds are released to you as you move from one landmark in the project to the next as per the plan from the paypal account.

Once the movie is completed, the movie is released (online or in cinemas) and the revenue generated is split between the investors and you as the movie producer (as per the terms you have agreed with the investors).

This is currently my imagination and could very well turn into reality soon, maybe in a different form than my imagination.  

Cry for help from a movie buff

June 30, 2011 5 comments
I like watching a lot of movies as soon as they release and in a movie hall. However, of late I have a feeling that watching movie in a multiplex immediately after release has now become very expensive, if not inhibitive. So, as much I miss going to the cinema, I have still stopped going to the multiplexes and started to wait for these movies to be available as home video or screened on television.


If I am to believe what my friends have to say, this number is only growing.

This got me thinking. I wanted to think and come up with an idea that could be a win-win situation for all.

Idea: 

One simple and old idea could be to offer a season (monthly, yearly, weekday, etc) pass.

How do I benefit:
If they charge me say a 1000 bucks for a monthly pass, I am in. This is still more than I spend on movies currently. However, I am interested because this means I can watch as many movies I want to watch and at the multiplex where I like to watch these movies.

How does the multiplex benefit:
This works on the same principles as a monthly bus/train pass works. Guarantees minimum income; more revenue per consumer; better cash flow; lower cost of capital; increased loyalty, etc. If properly packaged and marketed, this can result in additional revenue for the Cineplex.

How does the industry benefit:
More people watch movies in the cinema halls than currently.

Of course this will mean to re-work the arrangement with the distributors of movies in terms of revenue sharing. But I think that the benefits far outweigh the cons in this case.

Hope PVR’s and INOX’s of this world are listening. 
Categories: Business Model Tags: , , ,

Selling real estate (Homes)

June 27, 2011 2 comments

I have been out house hunting for some time now and am appalled at the quality of sales people and sales processes that are being used by the best in the industry.
The current sales process works as follows:
  1. Prospecting: Use advertisements (traditional & new age), road shows, email campaigns, etc to create awareness and interest in the project. Prospects who are interested in the property contact the builder.
  2. Qualification: The prospect is maintained in some system, CRM or otherwise, for future follow-ups. The only qualification question that is asked are the following:
    1. Type of apartment is the prospect interested in (Villa vs Apartment, 2 or 3 BHK, etc)
    2. What is the budget?
    3. What is the location?
  3. Closing: Provide the price list and negotiate the price to close the deal. If the deal is not closed in that meeting, the only follow-up is to call and ask for the deal or send a follow-up email.
Now, the question is if this is the best that they can do? I think there are a lot more ways for these folks to improve their sales process. For example, some ideas that they could try out are as below:

  1. Prospecting:
    1. Referrals: How many times do these sales people tap into the existing database of satisfied customers for more sales or references? The only reference customers they get are the one’s that are being referred to them. I have not seen any sales person actually seek out references from existing 
      1. I know one builder who has used this way very interestingly. He urges his customers in a project to decide whom they want as their neighbors as they will be stuck with them for a long time and you do not want to have a bad neighbor. This is an emotional connect to the customers to try and get their friends/relatives to buy in the same property. So far he has been successful in selling his projects using this approach.
    1. Corporate tie-ups: Employers are always eager to find ways to improve employee retention and do not always have budget for monetary incentives. In this situation, a builder can sign an MoU with such employers to offer limited period, highly negotiated prices for their employees. This can be a win-win-win situation for all involved:
      1. there are employees who are considering to buy a home, they will be tempted to consider the property offered by this builder as they get a good 
      2. The employer can showcase that they value their employees and want to look after them by offering great 
      3. The builder gets high quality leads from one single organization which is easy to manage and can build a base for them to start a referral drive from these leads.
  1. Qualification:
There are a lot more criteria than the budget, location and type of projects, that can help a salesman close a lead. Some of questions that the sales folks could ask are: 
      1. Liquidity: How liquid is the prospect?
      2. Need: This their first property or is this an investment?
      3. Cash flow: How does the prospect see his cash flow change over the next few years? Is there a promotion, salary hike or big cash inflow likely?
      4. Family members: How big is the family? Is this a joint family? Are there elderly people in the family? How many kids do they have? How big are they?
      5. Tertiary needs: What are their religious beliefs (Certain beliefs require that you stay close to their place of worship)? What other cultural beliefs do they have?
  1. Closure:
The answers to all these questions can provide enough information for the sales team to identify the most important decision factors for the prospect and hence can use this to highlight the right aspects of the property to the prospect which fulfills his decision factors.

I believe this will help in closing more deals and help home buyers in getting the best homes that their money could buy. 
Categories: sales Tags: ,

Effective sales review meetings

June 13, 2011 3 comments

All sales managers hold fortnightly or monthly or quarterly sales review meetings. How managers use these meetings talks a lot about their leadership skills.

Does your team look forward to these review meetings or dread them? Do they think it adds value to them or is it looked as a necessary evil?

I think sales managers can use these review meetings to do the following:

  1. Identify any good wins and celebrate them.
  2. Facilitate learning from deals won/lost.  
  3. Gauge the motivation level in the team and pep the team up.
  4. Discuss the sales numbers (target v/s actual), current pipeline health check.
  5. Identify the folks who need help in achieving their numbers. Sit down with them post the review meeting to understand the situation and guide them (one-on-one).  
All this is possible if the sales manager collects all the information prior to the meeting, spend some time going over the same and come prepared for the review meeting.

This is a big shift from the current method of conducting sales review meetings but will ensure that the sales manager not just manages the sales team but leads them and become a training ground for future sales managers. 
Categories: sales Tags: ,

Sales Quota 2.0

June 2, 2011 1 comment
We are living in an era of constant change. The speed of change is simply astonishing. Though all of us are aware of this and the impact it has on businesses (more significant for the small businesses), not many have changed the way we conduct the business and subsequently, the way we define and set sales targets for our sales force.

The most common way to define this is still to decide an annual quota for each sales person (probably an increase by a certain % on his previous years sales figures) and incentivize him/her if they over achieve on this quota. This worked in the past, when there was a lot more stability in the environment and pace of change was slow.

There are two possible outcomes at the end of the year.

Sales targets are met or over-achieved: 

We all are aware of the tendency of sales teams to bring in only so much business so as to meet or slightly exceed their sales quotas. They tend to defer the additional sales to the next quarter or year as they know that their quotas will become even higher the next year if they over-achieve significantly. So, unless the sales person knows that he will not get the additional sales quota next year, the chances of him significantly over-achieving are very slim. 



Sales targets are not achieved: 
If the sales team is not able to achieve their quotas either due to a change in the environment or over-expectation from the organization, their morale goes down. There is hardly a downward revision of the sales quotas for any sales team in any sales organization. So, the business might suffer further loss of sales due to low motivation levels in the sales team and hence accelerating the business’s downward spiral. 

In all eventualities, the ability of the business to adjust to the changes in the business environment is greatly hampered. And in a world where the pace of change is very fast, this could even question the very survival of small businesses.
    How do you set sales quotas?
    The answer to this question lies on the typical sales cycle and how long does it take to close a sale from the time we receive the lead. I think that the best duration would be twice the time it takes to close a sale. So, if the typical sales cycle for your organization is about 2 months, the best way to assess and re-define the sales quotas and change the rewards accordingly would work the best.

    This gives a business the time to adjust to any change in the environment. Also, the smaller this duration, the more sales the team will close.

    By simply changing this one parameter, businesses can see significant increases in their overall sales.