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Semaphore Forms Joint Venture with Topline Strategy

Semaphore Forms Joint Venture with Topline Strategy

to Provide Technology Due Diligence

 

As you may have read in our last S4 Reporter, Cris Miller, the founding director of our Technology Due Diligence Practice retired last Friday September 30th. With Cris’ departure, we decided to form a Joint Venture with Topline Strategy, a Boston-based provider of strategy consulting services to technology companies, in which Topline will take over day-to-day management of the practice.  It will operate under the name The Semaphore Technology Diligence Practice.

Over the last 5 years, we have formed a close partnership with Topline Strategy, working on dozens of engagements together. Together we’ve been able to provide our clients more complete answers to questions about their technologies and the markets for those technologies. 

With the retirement of Cris Miller, who was the driving force behind our Technology Due Diligence practice, we thought the best way to continue our commitment to clients as well as grow the practice was through a Joint Venture with Topline Strategy. Through our long partnership, the Topline team has demonstrated a true understanding of Technology Due Diligence as well as built strong relationships with our principal technologists and major clients. Having them take the business forward was a natural.  We have been working together on the creation of, and transition to this, Joint Venture for the last three months.

As part of the agreement Cris Miller will be joining Topline Strategy as an advisor and Topline Strategy will continue to work closely with our Private Equity Advisory group, providing both strategy consulting and technology due diligence services to Semaphore’s clients and portfolio companies.

As Topline Strategy will be the operating partner in our Joint Venture, going forward, please feel free to contact Jon Klein (jon@toplinestrategy.com) with any questions about Technology Diligence or visit its website www.toplinestrategy.com. Of course, you can also reach me (mdisalvo@sema4usa.com) if you have any questions.  I know you join us in wishing Cris well in his retirement as Topline and Semaphore  continue to fulfill our common promise and commitment to aiding investors and the M&A community with the right knowledge and correct solutions to ensure success.

Mark S. DiSalvo is the President and CEO of Sema4 Inc., dba Semaphore (www.sema4usa.com), a leading global professional services provider of Private Equity funds-under-management. Semaphore currently holds fiduciary obligations as General Partner for seven Private Equity and Venture Capital funds, is a New Markets Tax Credit lender and advises General and Limited Partners as well as corporations around the world. Semaphore’s corporate offices are in Boston with principal offices in New York and London.

Topics: technology diligence, Technology Assessment, due diligence, business advisory, technology, private equity funds, Semaphore, diligence

Does Steve Jobs Matter (to Apple Shareholders)?

Next week, Apple will announce its first earnings since Steve Jobs stepped down from his role as CEO of Apple on January 15, 2011 due to health reasons. So far, the market has taken a wait and see attitude as to what it means for the company. After a relentless rise where the stock has more than tripled over the last 2 years, it has been trading in a narrow range for the last 2 months. The market is undoubtedly waiting for the next earnings report and the future guidance that comes with it to reassure them that Apple will be okay without him. Or, to confirm their fears that it won’t.

Often the market overreacts to news like this. In the end, one person rarely makes a critical difference in a company as large as Apple. But this case may be an exception. Read on to hear why…and what the implications are for other companies.

To understand Steve Jobs and his unique position, first, let’s consider the cases of some of the other technology visionaries. Starting a world-changing company is a very, very difficult feat and in our view, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, Michael Dell, Jeff Bezos and a few more deserve the billions that they have earned.

Yet, without diminishing their accomplishments in any way, greatness does not come from genius alone. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell makes a compelling case that timing is equally as critical to creating mega-success. Bill Gates was fortunate to have been ready when the PC was born, Jeff Bezos when the Internet first took off, and Sergey Brin and Larry Page as the Internet’s growth was making it too unwieldy for first generation search technologies to handle.

Strengthening Gladwell’s case is the fact that there are very, very few cases where companies, despite the presence of the same visionary founders, are able to replicate their initial success within an order of magnitude (or maybe even two orders).

Google is a great example. Google has probably tried harder than any other company to create new transformational innovations outside of its core business. Yet despite all the investment they’ve made in Google Mail, Google Docs, Google Books, Android, and countless other products, Google is still a one product company. Over 96% of their revenue in 2010 came from Internet advertising.  The only part of the business where they have achieved leadership outside of search is YouTube, which they bought.

Microsoft is a similar story. Practically all of the company’s success can still be tied to having DOS chosen as OS of the IBM PC. In 2010, the company earned over 73% of its operating profit from the sales of the Windows OS and Office Suite. If you include the contribution of the Backoffice tools (SQL Server, Sharepoint, Exchange, etc.), which could easily be considered extensions of the Windows Server OS, that percentage goes up to 93%. Everything else – Xbox, Windows Live, Bing, MSN, etc. – contributes just 7% of the operating profit.

This brings us back to Steve Jobs and Apple. What makes Steve Jobs truly unique is that he has done it more than once on a grand scale – In 1984 with the Mac, 1995 with Pixar, 2005 with iTunes, and 2007 with the iPhone.  My belief is that there are many individuals who can take what Steve Jobs has already created and take it forward. Assuming the company picks the right CEO to replace him, Apple should continue to soar on the strength of what Steve Jobs has already done. What is at risk is the next innovation that could take the company to new heights.

So what lesson should you take from Steve Jobs, Google, and Microsoft? The answer: Unless you have a Steve Jobs on your staff (not just a Bill Gates or Sergey Brin) you can't count on 'The Next Big Idea' to fuel your growth. Even if you do everything right, there is just too much uncertainty. Instead, what you should focus on is maximizing the opportunity you have. While Microsoft and Google may not have created a second transformational innovation, they made the most of the businesses they were in. They deeply understood their markets and competitors, strategically expanded into adjacent areas, made smart acquisitions, found new channels, expanded globally, and capitalized on new technologies.

In our Corporate Growth Planning practice, we work with executive teams on creating strategies to grow revenue 3x, 5x or more. While there are rarely shortages of good ideas, companies often struggle in sorting through and prioritizing them. In our experience, there seems to be a natural human reaction to pursue the 'Next Big Thing', especially in entrepreneurial companies. The real challenge is creating a disciplined and fact-based process that leverages all of the growth avenues available, not just the brightest shiniest objects.

This article was contributed by Jon Klein. Jon is the founder and general partner of The Topline Strategy Group, a strategy consulting and market research firm specializing in emerging technologies. Jon brings a unique blend of strategy consulting and hands on operating experience to The Topline Strategy Group and works closely with Semaphore on a variety of engagements.

Topics: technology, market diligence, due diligence, Corporate Growth Planning

Thoughts on Jeopardy Analysis

Blog 3 of 3 in the Due Diligence Often Discovers Discrepancies series

I expect that there are many folks out there who will challenge our analysis.  I’ve anticipated some of the objections and have addressed what I think are the three major ones below.

 1. Shouldn't some of the points that we reallocated from Watson to Ken have gone to Brad, lowering Ken's revised total? While that is true, Brad would have also taken additional points from Watson. If we had data from Brad, we expect that the gap between Watson and Ken would be narrower, but that Ken would still enjoy a solid lead.

2. What about Game 1? Watson did even better in Game 1 than it did in Game 2. Wouldn't that have kept Watson the winner? Probably not. The reason Watson racked up such a huge total on Game 1 was that it answered 29 of 32 questions correctly in Double Jeopardy.  I didn't have a tape, but I believe Ken and Brad also knew many of those answers and were shut out by the buzzer. Allocating those responses across players would have put one or both players within striking distance when they got to Final Jeopardy. Watson blew Final Jeopardy with a comically bad answer to an easy question.  So, what would likely have happened is it would have been in second if not third place heading into Game 2

3. What about the humans' own "unfair advantage".  Humans tend to ring in before they know the answer and then have several seconds to figure it out. If they had to answer right away like Watson, wouldn't Watson cream them?  While this is true, I take exception to the notion that this represents an advantage for the humans.  Instead, this represents a fundamental difference in how computers and humans process information.  While it can take humans a few seconds to work out the right answer, we can intuit nearly instantaneously whether or not we will be able answer the question. Great Jeopardy players have great intuition and rarely get questions wrong after they ring in, as Ken Jennings demonstrated by getting just 1 question wrong in Game 2. Watson on the other hand seemed to either come to an answer very quickly or never got there. It doesn't have intuition and more time didn't appear to help it significantly. Changing the rules to take out the intuition factor would shift the advantage to Watson but would be counter the goal of the contest - figuring who is better at answering questions.

Let us hear your objections and observations.

__________________________________________

This article was contributed by Jon Klein. Jon is the founder and general partner of The Topline Strategy Group, a strategy consulting and market research firm specializing in emerging technologies. Jon brings a unique blend of strategy consulting and hands on operating experience to The Topline Strategy Group and works closely with Semaphore on a variety of engagements.

 

Topics: diligence, due diligence, market, analysis

The Real Jeopardy Story

Blog 2 of 3 in the Due Diligence Often Discovers Discrepancies series.

As I said in my previous Watson blog earlier this week, Watson, a computer built by IBM, faced off against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, the two greatest Jeopardy players of all time and trounced them.  In a two day match, Watson earned $77,174 to Ken Jennings' $24,000 and Brad Rutter's $21,600. While the results seem to show that the human race's crown as Jeopardy masters has been passed, a deeper analysis of the facts tell a different story.  I have no doubt that one day a computer will be Jeopardy champion, but that day isn't today. What you saw wasn't a fair match among opponents but rather something that was closer to an infomercial demonstration where the product produces "too good to be true" results based on a tilted playing field.

Now back to the game...In Jeopardy, you're not allowed to push the buzzer right away. You have to wait until Alex finishes reading the question.  At that point, a light goes off and then you can ring in to answer.  If you try and anticipate the light and ring in too early, you are locked out for a quarter second, meaning that there is next to no chance to win the buzzer race. This is where Watson's unfair advantage comes in.  If during the period Alex is reading the question, Watson comes up with an answer that it thinks is right (based on my observation, that would be an answer that it has scored as having an 80% or more probability), it can ring in just 10 milliseconds after the light goes off - enabling it beat the human contestants, with their mere mortal reflexes, to the buzzer every time.  So, even when the human contestants know the answers, Watson gets all of the points. The Jeopardy results didn't accurately reflect Watson's question answering ability, they reflected the combination of its question-answering ability plus its superhuman reflexes.

So how would Watson have fared if it had to rely on just its question-answering ability?  To answer that question, we analyzed the results of Game 2 of the two-game series (Ideally we would have analyzed both games, but since we only TIVO'ed Game 2 and the match isn't available online, it'll have to do). In Game 2, the three contestants scored as follows:

-                Watson: $41,413

-              Ken Jennings: $19,200

-              Brad Rutter: $11,200

 However, final scores aren't necessarily a good measure of how each player fared. They are highly dependent on how players bet in the Final Jeopardy, who gets Daily Doubles and how much they bet on Daily Doubles. Taking out Final Jeopardy and Daily Doubles, the players scored as follows:

-                Watson: $25,200

-              Ken Jennings: $14,600

-              Brad Rutter: $5,600

In watching the game, it was pretty easy to tell when Ken Jennings wanted to ring in but was beaten to the buzzer by Watson.  He held the buzzer chest high and you could see when he pressed the trigger and lost. Since Brad Rutter kept his buzzer below the podium, it wasn't possible to tell when he tried to ring in.  But, the data from Ken Jennings is enough to figure out the impact of reflexes.  Of Watson's $25,200, $19,200, all but $6,000 worth, was won on questions where Ken Jennings tried to ring in.  Had Watson and Ken had equal reflexes, it stands to reason that Ken would have buzzed in first in half those cases.  Adjusting for reflexes (including the possibility that Ken would have rung in first and gotten it wrong, hurting him instead of helping him) would add $9,088 to Ken's score and taken off $9,344 from Watson, giving revised scores for those two players of:

-                Watson: $15,856

-              Ken Jennings: $23,688

Since both Watson and Ken Jennings got the Final Jeopardy question right, instead of losing, Ken would have had a sizable victory over Watson.  In conclusion, we’ll end this post with our own game of Jeopardy.

Category: Man vs. Machine  

$1,000 Clue: As of February 16, 2011, although not the fastest to the buzzer, these biological beings were still the best at answering Jeopardy questions.

Question: What are Humans?

Look for our next blog and the final on this series where our partner and colleague Jon Klein of The Topline Strategy Group explores what he feels are the three top objections.

This article was contributed by Jon Klein. Jon is the founder and general partner of The Topline Strategy Group, a strategy consulting and market research firm specializing in emerging technologies. Jon brings a unique blend of strategy consulting and hands on operating experience to The Topline Strategy Group and works closely with Semaphore on a variety of engagements.

Topics: diligence, market diligence, due diligence

Due Diligence Often Discovers Discrepancies

Our partner and colleague Jon Klein of The Topline Strategy Group explores one very public example.

Earlier last month, Watson, a computer built by IBM, faced off against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, the two greatest Jeopardy players of all time and trounced them.  Or was it rigged?

First we'll look at the Watson backstory.  When the project was approved, management explicitly required that the technology could be commercialized.  Back in the 1990's IBM invested heavily in a project that resulted in Deep Blue, a chess playing phenomenon that went on to beat the best human player, Gary Kasparov.  While the company won bragging rights, it turned out that there were no commercial applications for the technology.  IBM didn't want to make that mistake again. When Watson was approved, it was done so with the belief that its question answering technology could be applied to many fields including healthcare, as an expert diagnostic assistant to help doctors, and retail, as a next-generation recommendation engine.

 Over the years, I have seen many mind blowing demonstrations of gee-whiz technologies that never achieved commercial success.  Each time investors got frustrated with the progress of the business, the management team would cook up another demo which promised that a breakthrough was just around the corner...and in the process, relieved the investors of several million more dollars. The most egregious cases are the ones that have created some of the most high profile public flops (think the Apple Newton). My analysis is that IBM execs just witnessed one of the best gee-whiz demos of all time and before they sink in any more money, they should have independent market and technology due diligence performed on Watson’s commercial prospects. The critical question they need to answer is:  Can this generalized question-answering technology actually provide enough value over the purpose-build expert systems that already exist in fields like medicine to justify its cost? It’s a question that the Watson team cannot answer. They have too much personally invested in the program to come up with any answer other than ‘Yes’.

Look for our next blog coming soon where we'll get to know how the game was rigged in Watson's favor.

                        __________________________________________

This article was contributed by Jon Klein. Jon is the founder and general partner of The Topline Strategy Group, a strategy consulting and market research firm specializing in emerging technologies. Jon brings a unique blend of strategy consulting and hands on operating experience to The Topline Strategy Group and works closely with Semaphore on a variety of engagements.

Topics: diligence, market diligence, due diligence

Hogs-Head of Marketing had by all

Posted by Cris Miller on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 @ 9:30AM 

Marketing Due Diligence

Last Thursday there was a Happening…Monsters of Pork… at Petit Robert as part of a spectacular program of market oriented seminars and symposia under the brand Future M.  The pork party was a real experience.  I had been to the location before for quite an elegant lunch.  The restaurant has changed hands, not quite as fancy, more bistro than formal dining.  There were 100s of people and to this grizzled veteran they all appeared under 15…well maybe under 30.  Most of the folks I talked to did not know why they were there, other than to be part of a happening.  And it was that. Every half an hour, in a separate room, they packed patrons in and dissected a pig.  Knives and cleavers flew while hog-heads fell, ribs retrieved and internal organs separated.  A bit of food was passed and quickly disappeared, although generous vodka drinks were served, so no one seemed to mind.  I missed the pulled pork as it did not show up in the hour and a half I was there.  A great time was had by all.   The Miller rating for a Boston “happening scene” - 90.  The Miller rating for leads/new business – 0 (but you never know).  Who knows, maybe I’ll kill a wild bore someday and will have learned plenty.  For sure, there was nothing boring about this event.  Thanks BzzAgent.

Topics: diligence, market diligence, due diligence

Board Knowledge and Perspective

Posted by Cris Miller on Thursday, September 23, 2010 @ 10:45PM 

I field calls from GPs and CEOs all the time.  Invariably they are doing a deal, whether investment or acquisition, and need either verification that the technology and/or markets targeted are real or a product exists and someone wishes to buy it in the future.  Less often we get calls from Board of Directors.  Those calls are less exact as to what the caller requires.  A lot of it is because the Board member making the call carefully ensures that they have not lost confidence in the CEO (even if that is not the case) and are fulfilling independent diligence on the company itself, the markets or an acquisition opportunity.  

A while ago we had a call for help from the Board of Directors of a growth stage technology company.   After discussion, it was evident there was agreement that the firm needed to conduct both technology and market due diligence for their company.  Initially the request was for a technology review to determine the viability of commercializing the core platform technology upon which two successful products had been built. 

The CEO was a technology wizard while the Board was comprised of non-technologists and retired business people.  After Semaphore’s chief technologist had reviewed the platform product’s architecture, patent and documentation, we had a review session with the CEO.  The discussion immediately dropped into techno-jargon only the brightest geeks could comprehend and appreciate.  The conclusion was that the product was adequate for internal use but was deficient in form and substance for outside consumption.

The CEO reviewed the findings with the Board who had market/business questions about the size of the market for such a product, the competition for such a product and the value of the product.  Our market research/strategy group took the baton and came back with some interesting results that were presented directly to the Board.  It was intuitively obvious to the casual observer that:

  1. The product in its current condition was a non-starter
  2. The market for the product if it were “cleaned up” would have 5 world class competitors and 10 mid-market competitors
  3. The product in its new state would be woefully deficient in features, so much so  that its value would be difficult to sell at any price
  4. The effort should be scuttled

The lesson learned here was in order to get the correct answers, the Board needed to be educated to the best of its understanding.  To accomplish that education, independent technical and market due diligence was necessary.  The readily available technical answer alone was not sufficient since the product could have been improved.  It took the market diligence, in concert with an agreed technology product plan, to make the business case not to proceed with the questioned direction. 

Crispin Miller is the head of the Diligence Practice at Sema4 Inc., dba Semaphore (www.sema4usa.com), a leading global professional services provider of Technology and Marketing diligence, and Private Equity funds-under-management services.  Semaphore currently holds fiduciary obligations as General Partner for seven Private Equity and Venture Capital funds, a New Markets Tax Credit lender and advises General and Limited Partners as well as corporations around the world. Semaphore’s corporate offices are in Boston with principal offices in New York and London.

Topics: Semaphore, diligence, technology, technology diligence, market diligence, Technology Assessment, due diligence, investment

The Most Important Thing You Don’t Know About Market Due Diligence Continued…

Posted by Jon Klein of The Topline Strategy Group on Thursday, July 14, 2010 @ 2:15PM

Blog series 4 of 4

Conducting Pipeline Interviews

There are two keys to conducting Pipeline Interviews. First, make sure to interview accounts at a variety of stages in the pipeline. The reasons why prospects don’t progress past the first meeting  usually concern the fundamental fit of the product while prospects that drop out later in the pipeline  typically don’t close due to issues related to value proposition. You have to conduct interviews with accounts at different stages to get the whole picture.

Second, never interview live prospects. Since they haven’t yet fallen out of the pipeline, you don’t know for sure that they aren’t going to buy. Therefore, they aren’t reliable data points as to why prospects don’t buy. In addition, the last thing you want to do is interfere with a sales opportunity.

            __________________________________________

This article was contributed by Jon Klein. Jon is the founder and general partner of The Topline Strategy Group, a strategy consulting and market research firm specializing in emerging technologies. Jon brings a unique blend of strategy consulting and hands on operating experience to The Topline Strategy Group and works closely with Semaphore on a variety of engagements.

To read the full White Paper, please go to Semaphore News and click on the May 3, 2010 link titled - White Paper – Market Due Diligence

Topics: diligence, technology, technology diligence, due diligence, market diligence; law firms;, Pipeline Interviews

3 of 4 - The Most Important Thing You Don’t Know About Market Due Diligence Continued:

Posted by Jon Klein of The Topline Strategy Group on Thursday, June 17, 2010 @ 10:00AM

Blog Series 3 of 4

Pipeline Interviews: The Missing Piece

 

At this point, you may be thinking, "The analysis addressed the overall market size, the potential penetration of the market, and the company's likely share. Shouldn't that be enough?" Actually, it isn't. The typical due diligence process is based on the critical assumption that the accounts that have purchased a solution from the company or its competitors are fundamentally the same as accounts that have not yet purchased. Given enough time, the non-buyers will eventually buy a solution if it has a strong value proposition.

But what if that assumption is wrong? What if the accounts who haven't bought are somehow fundamentally different than the ones that already have purchased in a way that isn't obvious from segmentation factors like size or industry? If that is the case, then ‘I haven't purchased yet' becomes ‘I'm never going to purchase' and the market is far smaller than calculated. And, if the market is smaller than you calculated, the company may never reach its revenue projections.

 

Pipeline Interviews: Interviews with Accounts that Fell Out of the Pipeline without Making any Purchase

 

 

So how do you sort out whether or not you have an ‘I'm never going to purchase' problem? The answer is through Pipeline Interviews. Only prospects that have had sales interaction with the company but decided not to purchase anything can answer this question. They know whether their decision not to buy is primarily a timing issue or is due to something more fundamental.

Continuing with the CRM for Law Firms example, it turns out that approximately 30% of law firms with over 100 people have a fundamentally different selling model than one that is supported by a CRM. Examples include firms who primarily serve consumers and those that focus on a very narrow subspecialty and act as a subcontractor to general practices. These types of firms will never buy a CRM system since it doesn't fit their business.

In this case, the market turns out to be about 70% as large as calculated using traditional methods.   We have conducted numerous due diligence projects over the years where the market turned out to be a fraction of the size originally believed, including:

  • A company providing translation management software where the real market turned out to be only 10% of the original target: $1B+ companies with 25% or more of their sales overseas. Many industries, such as aviation, do business solely in English everywhere, regardless of local language and do not need translation. Others, such as packaged goods companies, develop custom materials in each market and do not need translation either.
  • A company providing software simulations for training repair technicians on maintaining products found that the real market was only 25% of the original target: $500M+ companies that provide low and medium tech equipment such as lawn mowers, pumps, and oil field equipment. Because the process of repairing each product is unique, a separate simulation is required for each product. For the cost of a simulation to outweigh its benefits, the product either has to have very large sales (over $100M/year) or a very long lifecycle (10+ years). The Pipeline Interviews revealed that most companies did not have a single product with sufficient sales (they had a wide range of smaller products) or a long enough lifecycle to make a simulation economical.

                  _______________________________________________________

This article was contributed by Jon Klein. Jon is the founder and general partner of The Topline Strategy Group, a strategy consulting and market research firm specializing in emerging technologies. Jon brings a unique blend of strategy consulting and hands on operating experience to The Topline Strategy Group and works closely with Semaphore on a variety of engagements.

To read the full White Paper, please go to Semaphore News and click on the May 3, 2010 link titled - White Paper - Market Due Diligence

Topics: diligence, technology, technology diligence, market diligence, due diligence, Pipeline Interviews

2 of 4 - The Most Important Thing You Don't Know About Market Due Diligence Continued...

Posted by Jon Klein of The Topline Strategy Group on Thursday, June 10, 2010 @ 3:00PM 

Blog Series 2 of 4

The Standard Market Due Diligence Process

The typical market due diligence effort generally includes three components. To help explain each component and how they fit into the overall market assessment, we'll illustrate this section using an example company that provides CRM software for law firms.

A Market Sizing Analysis

Market sizing analyses are generally quantitative exercises aimed at establishing the Total Available Market. The figures are normally developed bottom-up based on the size and industry segmentation and are supported with top-down data

Example: CRM for Law Firms

Bottom-Up: The solution is targeted at law firms with 100 or more lawyers. There are 1,000 law firms in the US of that size and on average they will spend $100K/year on our solution. Therefore, the market potential is $100 million/year.

Top-Down: Gartner Group estimates the market for legal software is $1 billion and this solution could be about 10% of what a firm spends, or $100 million/year.

 

 

Market Sizing Analyses Establish the Total Available Market

 

Customer Interviews

While customer interviews serve several purposes, when it comes to market due diligence, their primary function is to establish whether the company is selling a pain killer that is likely to be widely adopted across the industry or a vitamin that will be purchased by just a select few.

Example: CRM for Law Firms

Pain Killer: "Our client relationships are managed by teams of attorneys. There is no question that unless each attorney working with a client has access to all of the contacts and opportunities at the account, we lose business."

Vitamin: "The CRM has made the client management process easier and saves us time. Do we win more business because of it? I'm not sure I'd go that far."

Customer Interviews Help Determine Whether the Company has a High Penetration Pain Killer or a Low Penetration Vitamin

 

Loss Interviews

The flipside of customer interviews is loss interviews. Loss interviews provide excellent insight into how the company stacks up against competitors. Understanding whether the company has a strong or weak competitive position helps determine the share of the market they can expect to win.

Example: CRM for Law Firms

Strong Position: The loss interviews uncover that losses are largely attributable to factors that have to do with the company's core offering such as competitors buying the business and relationships.

Weak Position: The loss interviews uncover that losses are largely attributable to a systematic limitation of the company's offerings.

 

Loss Interviews Provide Insight Into the Company's Potential Share

 

This article was contributed by Jon Klein. Jon is the founder and general partner of The Topline Strategy Group, a strategy consulting and market research firm specializing in emerging technologies. Jon brings a unique blend of strategy consulting and hands on operating experience to The Topline Strategy Group and works closely with Semaphore on a variety of engagements.

To read the full White Paper, please go to Semaphore News and click on the May 3, 2010 link titled - White Paper - Market Due Diligence

Topics: due diligence, market diligence; law firms;

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