Winner Commercial Director of the year

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Interview Selecta

Kristien Jansen

As I enter Selecta’s offices the first thing that greets me is the authentic and delicious aroma of fresh coffee. Selecta is the leading vending and coffee services company in Europe. The market leader (with a turnover of more than 740 million euros) employs 4,300 motivated people, who provide
 6 million customers in 18 countries with self-selected coffee, soda, snacks and candy on a daily basis, from 140,000 workplace and public sales points. The company was founded in 1957 in Switzerland, where its head office is located.
I’m visiting commercial director Kristien Jansen. Before starting the interview
I help myself to a delicious cup of coffee, sit down and enjoy what Kristien has to say how about setting goals, the creation of a positive brand experience, cooperation with top brands like Starbucks and the achievement of success. (Kristien was elected Commercial Director of the Year!)
“Participating in such an election is great fun. But winning the award is obviously
a nice boost. At the same time the next day is just business as usual, with or without this prestigious award”. That’s Kristien all over, sensible and down to earth. “You don’t want to get carried away by these things”, she says. “Two other women also made it to the final round. That was very unusual, because it is such a male preserve.
So if three women make it to the podium it’s great. They weren’t there because they were women. They were there as a result of their performance and, of course,
to win the prize. The fact that I won it does not, of course, diminish their individual achievements.”

Nevertheless, the jury thought you had earned the award. Would you like to share what you did with our readers?
“To achieve your ambitions, it is necessary that you have a clear goal. For me that goal is always linked to turnover growth. Because: no profit without turnover.
That’s what appealed to me so much about the Bitsing method – that you use turnover as your goal and focus all the resources
of the organisation in the achievement
of that turnover goal. Financial resources
are, of course, necessary for growth.
When I joined Selecta we had little financial resources to invest. If that’s a fact, you’ll just have to deal creatively with that situation – which is what I did. It appears that I had quite a few opportunities that I could deploy to achieve growth.
My ambition is to be number one in terms of the coffee experience. I put this question to my colleagues when I first came to work here and I got many different answers.
So, we first asked ourselves on how we
want our customers to experience us.
And ultimately, Frans, you used your Bitsing method to help us find our Golden Egg, which defined our point of difference.
Or, to use Bitsing terminology, made us uncopyable. The outcome was so simple, but so true. It was something that had always lain hidden in our organisation,
but which we had never raised.”

That was your independence wasn’t it? Being independent is what makes Selecta uncopyable?
Kristine answers, “Yes! Selecta has three USPs. The first is that we are European market leader. This means that we have
an organisation with room for innovation; one in which we are supported by plenty
of expertise and a wealth of best practices. This enables us to behave and operate like
a market leader, even in countries in which we are not. Our second USP is that we offer the best service. This is widely acknowledged and is supported by the fact that Starbucks chose us, as it’s exclusive partner. And if Starbucks selects you…well, everyone knows how proud Starbucks is of their brand and that they wouldn’t share it with just anyone. Which is where our third USP becomes relevant – the Golden Egg. We can always offer the solutions that fit our clients, because we are independent, not tied
to a particular brand of coffee, nor coffee machine. Bitsing helped us enormously in identifying our Golden Egg and also in identifying other USPs. The score map analysis showed us where we really differentiate ourselves from competition”.

So how did you use that; what did you
 do with it?
Kristien: “We expressed our independence in the theme of unlimited enjoyment. With Selecta, enjoyment is unlimited – and we used this uncopyable theme to communicate with our environment.
With our employees, our clients, our prospects and with other stakeholders. The Golden Egg supports the sales department in so far as it enables it to easily express what differentiates us. Look, what I believe is that when you’re selling something, which really contributes to the achievement of your client’s goals, you will make the difference. Our clients are all unique. They all have different objectives. So for us the task is very much focused on how we can ensure that each solution fits the client’s needs.

Does your independence enable you to de- liver that? Does it make you indeed uncopyable in relation to other market players?
Kristien: “Yes! That’s the important thing
- the Golden Egg. That’s what Bitsing has made clear to us. Another important thing: it made us think about our resources and the selection of media in the marketing, sales and after sales process.
It starts with the B. This is where we commence our carefully structured approach to our prospects. Our target group is facility managers. You have to stand out in order to gain awareness in this target group. We achieved this by sending them cookie tins bearing our name. We developed this campaign two years ago and are still using it.”

At the time you did a test on a very small number of recipients.
Only when this proved successful did you approach the entire market.
Kristien: “That’s right. We dispatch cookie tins every month, pro rata to the number of ‘I’s we require and the number of visits (‘T’s) we need in the relevant period. This makes it much easier for the marketing and sales departments to follow up with the next step and we get a significant improvement in conversion from
B to I and I to T.”

So how did you do the I and the T?
“Well, the cookie tin arrives empty.
But when you open it you confront the first step towards the I: a flyer in the tin refers you to a teaser website, where you can order your own cookies. You, the customer, deter- mine what happens, you make independent (our Golden Egg) decisions, you order your own cookies – and then we deliver. And so this is the first promotion towards the T. When we deliver the cookies you’ve ordered we make a follow-up appointment, for the real, hard T meeting. We use a tailor-made, risk-free non-commercial traffic offer for this. When we did the test it was an offer of sharing research information of an independent (coffee) survey amongst thousand employees.
Our current, risk-free offer depends on the topic, on what is happening at that time. So, at one time it could be ‘the Coffee survey’, at another ‘fair trade’, or ‘sustainability’. It’s always a general subject, but one that always relates to the experience of coffee and our independency. Now, for instance, we’re sending cookie tins to a selection of the businesses that rank in ‘Great place to work’.
The interesting thing is that we thought this up ourselves. External agencies are often used for that, but we didn’t have the budget.
We were facing a growth challenge but
we also had to make profit. So, we had to be creative with the resources that we had. In this situation you have to consider your options carefully. You can only spend the money once, so the question is, what do you invest it in?”

So you put a whole lot of e ort into getting this right, but what did it ultimately deliver? Did it have effect and if so what?
“We had experienced a three-year decline, but after one year of Bitsing we had broken this trend and accomplished turnover growth. My team did this by no longer investing in blunt pencils: markets, target groups, products and initiatives. Instead we used the available time in a productive way, as prescribed by the pencils analysis. In addition, we compared our marketing, sales and after sales activities with the Bitser steps, to check that each target group on a particular step was getting the attention it deserved. This provided a clear overview of the roles of our marketing and sales departments,
as well as account management. While previously marketing had expected sales to do everything and, of course, vice versa. We got a lot of help in making the right choices by checking, a few times a year, where we are investing our time and available budget – using the pencils analysis and the BITSER steps.”

So what role will Bitsing play in your future?
Kristien is firm. “We will keep using it. It’s automatic now – part of our daily processes. It defines what we have to do. For instance if our European market leader position means we have to innovate, if we have to try out something new, we no longer blindly commit people and use budgets already allocated
for other purposes. We don’t touch them. We examine step by step whether the innovation will develop into something worthwhile, whether it has the potential to become a sharp pencil. We also do things like entering partnerships in order to limit risks and maintain the correct degree of focus. When you are forced to not just throw money at an opportunity you become far more creative in your approach.”

And then you received the commercial director of the year award.
Kristien continues, her tone modest, “Yes, I am proud that we turned the trend around in the two and a half years that I’ve been here. My motto is ‘dream it, believe it, achieve it’. Which is also about our dream – to be the number one coffee experience. You have to make your dream concrete. Each department has given its own interpretation to our dream. Keeping our core values and Golden Egg in mind.

ROI is out, ROS is in

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What ROI really means

The term ROI is commonly taken to mean ‘return on investment’. ROI stands for what you get back from an investment.

But what is that exactly? What do you actually get back as return on your investment? According to this definition, it could be anything. The traditional business definition of ROI is much too broad, too superficial, has no deeper meaning.

This website has already made amply clear that the Bitsing method represents the new modern economic era. It’s an approach in which tools and terms are specifically defined – so there’s no room for the ‘free translation’ of meaning that ROI invites. Accordingly, in the world of Bitsing, the term and concept of ROI – return on investment – just don’t exist.

What if your ‘return’ is a financial loss and collapses your organisation? You can achieve a great ‘return’ on your investment with increased sales and new customers – but you can still go bankrupt because you paid too much for the return.

So from now on we’ll only talk about ROS. With the Bitsing method you can now look forward to having a Remainder On Spend – in which you end up with more money than you spent on achieving your objectives (a Remain). Traditional business thinking was happy with ‘return on investment’.
In Bitsing we focus on the positive financial remain, delivered by the money you spent – the Remainder On Spend. This is what it’s all about. And, as you can see, rather not talk about ‘investment’ at all, but rather about ‘spending’. Investment implies that you never know what you will get in return. While with expenditure you know precisely.

Forget ROI, say hello to ROS: Remainder On Spend.

Who are Bitsing?

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Businesses, governments, not-for-profit and other organizations ranging from multinationals to the smallest, one-man operations were applying the method to achieve their objectives
- simply and easily, in a wide variety of business sectors and in challenging markets. Bitsing appeared to work – for everyone.

So get started!

The Bitsing method is for everyone involved in achieving the objectives of a company, institution or other organisation.
From global brand to start-ups. You could be a CEO, entrepreneur, manager, salesperson, foreman, professional or student. Bitsing is to inspire and coach you and will provide valuable insights for everyone.

The discovery of prediction

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The year of 2000
The discovery of world’s first predictive business management model

Fortis Bank Commercial Banking – tripling sales – at a profit

• Discovering ‘results prediction’ (quantification methodology)
• Achieving profit objectives
• Commitment of the internal organisation is critical to achieving success

It’s the year 2000. Peter-Frank Haarmans phones me. He is marketing manager of Fortis Bank Commercial Banking, the bank’s business banking arm, which serves large, international organisations. He asks, ”An acquaintance showed me the BiTSing model. Is it true that it has produced such significant success stories?” My answer was, of course, predictable – and led to a meeting. From which it appeared that Peter-Frank had a problem, or rather, a challenge.

The bank had given him an assignment. It wanted to become more results-orientated. People had become used to doing things without asking themselves how these things the bank. Peter-Frank’s primary focus was on integration of the independently-operating marketing and sales departments. Marketing was currently focused purely on the qualitative aspects of the bank, such as its positioning in the marketplace and the advertising campaigns. The sales team focused purely on recruiting customers. He admitted that qualitative support (marketing) and quantitative sales were essential for the success of the business. However, he thought they should work in combination to achieve a single goal, profit. “The end result must be that we make money”, said Peter-Frank. ”I recall that the sales team had no idea what marketing was doing, and that marketing, in return, did not concern themselves about sales.”
Peter-Frank had the insight that the BiTSing method would, by definition, change this situation. After all, it integrated all factors affecting profit into a single model. And from the moment of its introduction, everything that the bank did would be founded on this rational, BiTSing process. ”Measurement is knowledge”, became the credo of Peter-Frank. Marketing had to prove that it supported sales and sales had to prove that it was achieving sales as a result of that support. The results of their activities were measured and reported. And marketing and sales consequently grew towards each other.
Peter-Frank: “Few businesses do this sort of thing well. It’s also not that easy to interweave these different, departmental cultures.” Measurement and reporting also exposed new and painful issues. Regardless of how well marketing and sales worked together, the number of customer appointments necessary to generate a healthy number of sales – and the consequent profit – just didn’t happen. This was blamed on the fact that Fortis Bank was too small a player in the big world of international banking. Too small to attract the attention of multinational clients. Fortis’s market share was, after all, only 6% – six times smaller than the market leader and an obstacle that seemed impossible to overcome.
The BiTSer model, however, shows that the size of a business has no influence on its success. The model, in fact, revealed an entirely different problem at Fortis: the focus was wrong. Its people focused on the wrong things when approaching target groups. As a result of this insight, the bank changed its approach completely, basing it on the rules and laws of the BiTSer model. Every decision maker in the bank’s multinational prospect companies had to be taken up the BiTSer ladder, step by step. This process started with brand awareness and ended with the stimulation of referral sales among the prospect’s business connections. The marketing department positioned the bank as uncopyable. This, in turn, laid the foundation for the sales team, using the correct supporting materials, to achieve appointments and sales. Meanwhile special ‘Service Teams’ boosted loyalty among the bank’s existing clients. The entire process wasn’t always easy. Peter-Frank was committed to not investing any money unless a profitable result was clearly in sight. In addition, commitment was required from the internal organisation. For without them, success was impossible.
”A chain is as strong as its weakest link”, said Peter-Frank when I interviewed him for this case study. ”Implementation was extremely important, so I focused on turning every weak link into a strong one.” He also points to the fact that the focus on the internal organisation is often not sufficient. His advice? ”This really requires significant attention, particularly if you want to successfully apply the BiTSing method, which places a specific focus on this aspect of the organisation. Your internal people are part of the process, so never forget the internal component”. He succeeded in imbuing his internal staff with belief in the new approach, as well as getting the commitment of management. BiTSing gave Peter-Frank the scope to introduce the necessary changes -and to go for profit. Discovering ‘results prediction’ Peter-Frank wanted to justify the necessary investments before starting to develop campaigns and reshape the internal organisation. This would facilitate obtaining the necessary budgets. His question was, ”How can I demonstrate that by putting money into something I can also generate profit from it?”

This was essentially his brief to me, and the requirement with which we both addressed the BiTSing model. The BiTSing model, as manifested in the programmes it deploys, demands quantification, putting a specific amount of money alongside each step of the BiTSer ladder. A new model started to take shape on a single, A4 sheet; a model that was predictive. It showed how a turnover target could be achieved using a specific number of new and existing clients and that investment in each program of every BiTSer step would you deliver a demonstrable profit. As a whole, the model predicted that the required program investments would deliver turnover – and profit – for Fortis bank. As a result, the necessary budgets were approved and the programmes were rolled out. The results Nearly everything that could be measured was measured – initially to benchmark the starting point and later both during and after program implementation. Measurement included how the markets reacted to the uncopyable proposition that was attached to the brand; the effects at each BiTSer step; the achieved sales – and the profits. ”This show that we weren’t only scoring well in terms of sales, but also on many other dimensions”, said Peter-Frank. The results were nothing short of excellent.

Spontaneous brand awareness improved from 36% to 54%. The percentage of businesses considering Fortis bank nearly doubled, from 13% to 24% – and one fifth of the total target group requested information on the bank. Research showed that the bank was seen as international, business-like and a ‘bank for me’. And these scores were higher than those achieved after previous Fortis campaigns; campaigns which had consumed millions.

This increased preference for Fortis prepared the way work for the sales team to efficiently achieve appointments. The response to these appointments rocketed from 8% to 45%! A response of 12% was achieved within the first two weeks of the campaign. Effectiveness in terms of achieving appointments went from the 3 appointments per 10 contacts to 9 out of 10. 33% of the entire target group ultimately make an appointment. While the costs of securing an appointment dropped significantly, from € 1,400 per appointment to € 209.
The new approach enabled Fortis Bank to achieve its objectives. At least 33% of people who agreed to an appointment became clients of the bank. A success rate of one new client for every three appointments. Ultimately, 1.3% of the entire, reached target group became clients of the bank. Which was three times more than the objective. Profit was 2.5 times more than expected. The bank forecast that its investment would be 19% of the estimated profit, while actual investment ended up as just 8% of the actual, achieved profit. A small change – with big consequences To measure the effect of the uncopyable proposition a study was carried out among the Fortis bank target group. A brand programme supporting the uncopyable proposition was tested against a purely product-based program. The brand program with the uncopyable proposition elicited a 45% response from appointments while the program based purely on products and services produced a response of 8%. Communicating only about products and services only achieved less than a fifth of what BiTSing had proved to be achievable. How did the staff of Fortis bank experience the programme? Peter-Frank: ”We discovered that the degree to which we could influence the internal organisation was proportionate to the degree to which we could manage implementation properly – and that less influence on internal operations means you become dependent on what your people just happen to pick up. You have to rely on non-client facing staff to a high degree. You can never forget them. Without them you can maybe do a lot, but never everything that’s necessary for success” These are the results (out of 10) of an Internal employee satisfaction survey: Effectiveness 8 Creativity 8 Debate with colleagues/collaboration 9
Staff commitment 9 Internal support 8 Team spirit 9
Understanding the issues 8 Peter-Frank concluded: “We succeeded, despite the fact that Fortis Bank was a small bank at the time. We conquered the market on the basis of predicted results and predicted profits. And we achieved a return on the investment of our marketing euros.”
Peter-Frank Haarmans is currently an independent, interim manager. He helps departments within organisations to work together on an integrated basis – and towards a common goal: Financial profit.

The international Bitsing top 5

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The international Bitsing top 5 contains the 5 best Bitsing companies. The scoring works as followed:

The score is high when:
1. a company is successful in achieving their (financial)goals with the Bitsing-method
2. a company is far on its way on creating a professional Bitsing-process
3. a company is far on its way with the implementation of the Bitsing-method
4. a company sees the Bitsing-method as an automatic process where every employee knows what to do. It has become a part of the daily work-routine.

The definition of Bitsing

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Bitsing is a (scientific) business management method that enables businesses, organisations, institutions, employees and individuals to seamlessly achieve their goals, with a pre-predicted outcome and (financial) return on the operations and investments that Bitsing – for the purpose of obtaining the goals – tells them to perform.

In short: Bitsing means undeniably achieve goals, with an up-front predicted outcome and (financial) return.