What is the perceived value of your new product features ?

I’m currently working on an internal sales training regarding the next release of our API Management product. While preparing my material it turned out I was not fully satisfied with my notes and wanted to explain in a more graphical way which were the different types of features of our new release.

There are indeed three main types of features:

  • Features that create Value to attract customers
  • Features that ensure Quality for reputation and customer satisfaction and retention
  • Features that create Innovation to differentiate your product from the rest

After a few thoughts, I decided to leverage the Kano model which is very useful to position features on a map.

Kano was a Japanese professor who designed a model that describes three unique types of customer requirements:

  • The basic requirements (called by Kano “Must-be” quality): those are features that MUST be in your product. They are taken for granted by your customers and result in customer dissatisfaction when not fulfilled. They represent the price on entry of the market.
  • The performance requirements (called by Kano “One-dimensional” quality) : those are features that result in satisfaction when fulfilled and in dissatisfaction when not fulfilled. The level of satisfaction/dissatisfaction is proportional to the level of achievement/non-achievement.
  • The excitement requirements (called by Kano “Attractive” quality): those are features are also called “WOW Factor” or “USP” (Unique Selling Proposition). They delight the customer when delivered but don’t cause dissatisfaction when not achieved. This type of features incorporates a level of “excitment”, spurs customer imagination and makes him discover what he never thought of before.

This means you can classify your product features into one of those three categories. You might also have features that don’t fall into this classification that are called by Kano as follows:

  • Indifferent quality: These features are neither good nor bad and they don’t result in either customer satisfaction or customer dissatisfaction. They are often features that need to be done for internal architecture design and better code maintainability.
  • Reverse quality: I like this type of features because illustrates the paradox of  human nature. Those features generate dissatisfaction proportional to the level of fulfillment.  This usually due to the fact that the customers might not like it for personal reasons.

The other interesting aspect of the Kano model is that the “Excitement requirements” evolve to the “Basic requirements” and need to be replaced by new “Excitement requirements” through innovation to keep differentiating from competition.

The Kano model can be represented graphically as follows:

Kano Model
Source: kanomodel.com

To conclude, please check out this excellent video made by KanoModel.com

How to build great software demo videos ?

We live in a world of communication. More than ever, software vendors need to communicate loud to get spotted by their target customers. And this is the responsibility of the marketing team to identify the most efficient ways to promote the products and know-how of your company.

Whitepapers, datasheets, webinars are good assets to generate interest in top of funnel acquisition campaigns but once people start to show some sign of interest, a demonstration of your product can accelerate the conversion process and make the difference with competition.

Here are a few tips to build great product demo videos:


Give me access

Get access to the product. This statement might sound basic but you might be surprised to see how many software vendors don’t offer an easy access to their products internally. Most on-premises solutions require complex installation and there is no central internal place you can connect to access your software easily for demo. Even SaaS solutions might not offer an easy access to their internal teams due to difficulties to get around the complex account provisioning process – as an internal employee, for example, you need special rights and do not have to pay for the service. When such an access exists, the version might be old because this is not a top priority internally. So, the goal here it to get an early access to the latest release to be able to promote the new product features efficiently.

KISS - Keep it Simple and Stupid

Identity a series of short scenarios focusing on the strongest value proposition. Your product does surely a lot of things. But keep in mind that customers expect easy to use software. The new paradigm is now “Do less but do it great“. Goal is not to show plenty of features that are in most cases useless to the majority (the 80/20 rule) but to focus on the core features and make them the simplest and most intuitive, on top of a very performant infrastructure with no downtime and a high speed. So, pick up 3 to 5 basic scenarios that do the job and don’t be frustrated to not show everything your product can do.

Script software demo scenarioTest your scenarios. After defining the scenarios, test them “as a dummy” and identify the points of friction. By “points of friction”, I designate the moments when the experience is less fluid – due to bugs and poor design. Be very careful of simplicity. The navigation must be intuitive, simple and efficient (no more than 3 clicks to perform a simple operation). Duration is also important: a demo video should not last more than 5 minutes too keep people interested. If your scenario is too long, split it into two videos. Last, define a title that mentions the value proposition explained in the video.

Script your scenarios. Once your scenarios are well defined, start to write a script. Writing a script is essential to have a perfect speech. Share it with other people – this is important to get feedbacks from other team members – and improve it. Think of testing your script multiple times to make sure you don’t miss anything. Last, if you are working in software, better have a video in English. So if you are like me not a native speaker, ask a native speaker to make edits to your script.

Screen recording

Find the right voice. Now that you have very solid scenarios with their scripts, you need to find THE voice. This is something to think of carefully as this will have a strong impact on the quality of your video. Take a voice that is clear and not too high nor too deep. Of course, if you record your video in English and you are not a native speaker, I encourage you to ask an American or English colleague to  achieve more professional result.

Record your video. This step might seem faster but is actually very time consuming. You also need to have the right tools for that. There is for example Camstasia that is a very good tool but if you search on Google, you will find other tools that might better fit your needs and budget. An interest feature of such a tool is to be able to cut the video if needed as you might record it in several pieces.

Prepare your video asset.  After recording, you need to spend some time to cut and reassemble it to get the final version. Think also of inserting an introductory slide with a title and if possible a call to action at the end of your video.

Publish it: Here you are ! Publish your video on your Youtube channel. Your video asset is starting a long life. The average life of such a media on the Web up to two years, potentially meaning plenty of upcoming leads! If you haven’t done it in the video, insert a call to action link in the Youtube description. In order to optimize your SEO on Youtube, think of filling the title, the description and the other meta tags properly. Last but not least, don’t only think Youtube, multiply your video presence on other video platforms and use the embed code to have it displayed on many relevant blogs and web sites.

Watch out this interesting video I discovered on Youtube:

Dubai and the UAE – The amazing place

I’ve just spent two weeks in Dubai and the neighboring Emirates and I discovered an amazing booming country …

Amazing because of its history: 50 years ago, this place was only the desert.

The desert can be discovered with Jeeps or Quads


View from the Arabic Sea


Amazing because of the speed of construction: there are roadworks everywhere and new buildings are popping up like mushrooms out of the desert. For people living there, they need to update their GPS software almost every month …

Dubai Marina
Dubai Marina


Amazing because of the mix of modernity and tradition: there are many towers and the variety of the architecture is very rich.

Dubai Atlantis
Dubai Atlantis


Architecture prodigy in Abu Dhabi
Architecture prodigy in Abu Dhabi


Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque


Amazing because of its surprises: The UAE offer a lot of surprises.

  • Burj Khalifa: the highest tower in the world in Dubai
  • Dubai Mall:: one of the largest shopping mall in the world
  • Dubai aiport: one of the largest airport in the world that has become a huge hub between Europe and Asia with its famous airliner Emirates.
Burj Khalifa at night with laser show on it


Dubai Burj Khalifa


Dubai mall's aquarium
Dubai mall’s aquarium


Toy store in Abu Dhabi
Toy store in Abu Dhabi


I encourage you to have a look at the list of UAE Guiness World Records that is very impressive.


Amazing because of its development strategy: Dubai is a place for business; to prepare for the next decades, they have invested a lot of money in digital business and smart city technologies. In terms of IT and software, they have the big advantage to not have any legacy to maintain, so that they can invest directly in the most modern technology.

Dubai has announced a Smart City initiative that will leverage the Internet of Everything to become one of the world’s most connected and sustainable cities with the Expo as the platform for unveiling this vision.

Dubai has recently won the bid to host the World Expo 2020, with the theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

In today’s highly interconnected world, a renewed vision of progress and development based on shared purpose and commitment is key. While a single human mind, and individual country or a specific community is both unique and remarkable, it is by working collaboratively that we truly advance” – His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

Dubai smart parking
Dubai smart parking – Pay your parking with SMS



Too hard to innovate? Go shopping!

It’s all about growth!

Without growth, companies become less competitive as their cost increase and they face the need to invest in human or technology resources to prepare the future. And for technology companies, this even a matter of survival.

Company growth is made of two distinct kinds of growth: internal growth and external growth.

Internal growth consists of generating more revenue out of the existing product portfolio. It demonstrates the ability of your company to grow by itself and the efficiency of your sales strategy and execution to be predictable and repeatable.

On the other hand, external growth is necessary when your existing market has reached maturity and there is a need to extend to adjacent markets. And this need gets stronger in ever changing economy such as the software market where it is extremely complex for tech vendors to keep up with all technology disruptions.

Growth Model

Large companies have difficulties to innovate

The larger companies get, the more difficult it is for them to innovate. Innovation is a state of mind that requires a lot of ingredients: entrepreneur mindset, thinking outside the box, disruptive market vision, strong technical expertise, good money to spend, personal commitment life-style. Innovation doesn’t rime with processes nor immediate performance and reporting.

As every rule has their exceptions, I’ve always been impressed by the capacity of Google to keep innovating despite their size. I think there are two main reasons that: first, they generate plenty of cash with Adwords – above $45 billion a year – and that gives them plenty of money to spend in innovation. Then, innovation teams are made of extremely talented people – Google Map was invented by a small team initially.  Last, every employee is encouraged to spend time imagining new projects outside of his daily mission and working with other colleagues with a large freedom of action.

But this is an exception, for most of the companies, innovating is very hard – impossible I would say – and keeping a pace of +30% yearly growth becomes more and more difficult as the products get older.

The BCG Growth-Share matrix

The BCG Matrix illustrates the need for “Cash Cows” to finance the future “Stars”. Those “Cash Cows” are meant to disappear with their market at some point and the raising “Stars” will become the future “Cash Cows” to finance innovation.

BCG Growth Share Matrix


Mergers and acquisitions to the rescue

As innovation is almost impossible in large companies, the external growth strategy consists in acquiring smaller companies that are still agile and have proven initial success. The best scenario would be to buy “Stars” but they are usually much too expensive and this limits the potential targets to the “Question Marks”. The objective then is to optimize the chance to turn those “Questions Marks” into “Stars”.

Which company to buy?

Before starting a formal approach leading to negotiations, there is a preparation work to be made on the product marketing side:

  • Which are the adjacent target markets we want to address?
  • Who are the companies visible in this area – in the analyst reports for example?
  • What is the brand awareness of those companies?
  • Whom do they sell to, who are the buyers?
  • What is their distribution model?
  • What is their pricing model?

Then, the marketing mix of every candidate company needs to be properly analyzed to optimize the chance to succeed in a future integration:

  • Product: will the target products be combined with your existing products or should they be sold separately?
  • Place: can you leverage the different distribution channels to cross-sell efficiently ?
  • Pricing: is the pricing similar to your existing pricing models
  • Promotion: is the marketing funnel similar to yours and addresses the same targets or is it a fully different promotion model?

Depending on the results of this analysis, you will find companies that make more sense to engage with than others.



How to turn an acquisition into a success?

Making an acquisition succeed is extremely hard. Actually, many fail leading to millions of dollars in loss & profits.

I think there are three major challenges when acquiring a new company:

  • the people integration: the acquired company has a specific culture that is most probably radically different to yours, people have their working habits and processes. Everything can get confused during integration and this often leads to many people leaving.
  • the sales enablement: how to train your existing sales teams on the new products? Which pricing strategy? Which influence on the bonus plan? Are the buyers the same or do sales teams need to sell to other buyers they are not used to talk to?
  • the technology: technology challenges are often under-estimated but they can be hard to overcome, especially if the products are meant to be integrated together.

It seems important to me that large companies establish formal written processes explaining the different steps to integrate a  new company successfully. Those processes should be drilled down into every department and monitored very closely at every acquisition.

Companies who have an efficient process in place to acquire and integrate new companies successfully will compensate largely their lack of internal innovation and keep growing significantly.


Take vacation, it’s good for the business

The winter school vacation are just over here in France. It was a good time to take a week off with my family to go skiing in the Alps.


A lot of sport, a lot of sleep and a lot of fresh air … People often say that one week skiing is worth two weeks in the Caribbean islands. Even if we can’t deny this statement from the financial perspective, the fact of taking some fresh air with an increased production of the red blood cells is definitely worth it. Without mentioning the nice Savoyard restaurants and the walks, the  station village and the joy of your kids to get their ski medal at the end of their week of ski lessons.

When you come back, your are fully reloaded, full of vital energy. Vital energy is extremely important to me, I need to keep it flowing to feel alive and undertake new projects. I preserve this energy with good sleep and regular sport activity during the year but nothing compares to a full week of skiing downhill.



Taking vacation is not just leaving your work for a while. I have actually never stopped working in my whole life, I think it’s part of my brain structure. But this is mostly about getting away from the daily trouble, from all the noise that pollutes your brain and pump out your energy. The state of your life is the state of your mind, so it’s worth taking some break to regenerate it nicely.



It’s also a matter of new perspective. While going to a remote place, you meet new landscape, new people and make new activities, that changes your daily routine and gives you full new perspective when you return.


While I was running my own company in the past few years, I realized that the best ideas I got and the best decisions I took for my business happened when I was on vacation. This is about letting your brain loose and let it work for you as a background task without you even noticing it. There was a huge progress over the past years in neurosciences and the way our brain is working is simply amazing. Look at the ideas you often get while you sleep … I experience the same on vacation.



So take some vacation, it’s good for the business! The most difficult experience I think is the first day when you return and need to process all emails you got while you were away. Good luck with that !



Personal thoughts on high-performance teams

While every market faces big disruptions and the competition gets fiercer than ever, organizations need to remain strong and at the top of their game. The key of success doesn’t reside only in new process or new organization charts but in the ability to rely on the commitment of the teams to success. High-performing teams who are ready to embrace the challenge and achieve the goals you give them.

What is a high-performance team?

A high-performance team goes beyond individuals, it’s about collective performance. I like to take the example of a soccer team: if all players are strong individual performers with limited team attitude, the team won’t succeed; but the team has more chance to win if it is made of equally performing players who are highly sensitive to collective performance.

HPT acronym High Performance Team,color chalk handwriting on blackboard

High-performing teams are very focused on their objectives. You cannot expect a team to perform great if they were not explained clearly what performance means to their organization and management.

That’s the reason why you need as a manager to be very focused on giving a clear and stable direction to your team:

  1. Define your strategy for the upcoming period (year or semester)
  2. Define and validate your objectives to support this strategy
  3. Share this strategy and your objectives with your team
  4. Assign individual objectives to every member of your team and show them how their individual objectives contribute to the team success. Individual objectives should be set for a short enough period so you can evaluate and adjust if needed.
  5. Make sure you are able to monitor those objectives closely and you can reward their achievement in a good way.

vision and action

The Management by Objective is a management discipline invented by Peter Drucker in the 20th century: “MBO becomes a process by which the objectives of an organization are agreed to and decided between the management and the employees, this way the employees understand what is expected of them and help set their own individual goals. Therefore they attain both their personal goals and the organization’s targets.”


Is every company ready for high-performing teams?

While every company would like to have high-performing teams and keep growing, the reality is not that simple. I recently read a book called “The Five dysunctions of a team“. This is an entertaining novel about a promising startup of the Silicon Valley. Their problem: they have the best product, the best customer references, the most cash, the most experienced executive board, the most talented employees but they are not leading the market. Why? They are a dysfunctional team that started to dysfunction due to an absence of trust across the board and the departments and that led to fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results.  I recommend you this best-seller if you haven’t read it yet.

The 5 dysfunctions of a team - book


How to keep a high-performance team?

Whereas identifying key contributors to your success is pretty easy, keeping them in your team requires much more attention and work.

I personally pay much attention to keeping the dialog open and listening to people. “One mouth, two ears” … One of my role is to make sure my team members have everything they need to work efficiently and can trust me on making them grow and fixing their issues.

I recently read a very interesting article “Bad mistakes that make Good Employees leave“. There is a mention of “Brownout”, that is a sort of disengagement. Why are the main reasons for employee brownout?

  • A lot of stupid rules
  • Everyone treated as equal
  • Poor performance tolerated
  • No recognition for accomplishments
  • No care about people
  • Big picture not showed to people
  • People are not let pursuing their passions
  • Not making things fun

The following info-graphics circulating on LinkedIn over the past few weeks is also very interesting to illustrate why employees stay in their companies:


And you, what are your thoughts on high-performing teams?

How to build a successful marketing campaign?

As the new fiscal year is getting closer, it’s time to finalize the budget and the business plan for next year. Defining the new marketing plan and marketing campaigns is the standard exercise every marketing manager needs to walk through and explain to the executive committee. As your performance objectives are defined based on the product line revenue, including the contribution of your marketing activities to the sales pipeline, and the new year is going to start very hard, better be well prepared with a rock-solid plan you are confident with and will be able to follow with no major surprise during the year. In this plan, defining the right marketing campaigns properly is what will help you succeed in generating a lot of business to your sales teams.

What is a marketing campaign ?

“A specific, defined series of coordinated activities designed to help market a product”

“An overarching platform of themes for promotion that guide us internally to create and implement product and industry market programs, and a set of tactics for each.”


The marketing campaign canvas

If you are already used to the lean startup business model canvas, you will recognize the same structure in the following marketing campaign canvas. This helps you put your ideas together and be sure not to forget anything important.




The prospect personas [1], the pain points [2], the value proposition [3], the channels [4] are in general not very difficult to fill in, that’s something you are used to talk about.

Content materials [5] are built on a regular basis and assuming you are not new to your business, you already have a large asset portfolio you can leverage for your activities: update your assets with the modern message you want to vehicle for the next year and build the few ones you will need to cover the product updates and the matching value.


The key activities [6] are usually defined using the previous year as the baseline: reinforce activities that performed well and remove others that didn’t. All activities are federated into a local [country specific] and a global [cross-country] marketing calendar.




Key metrics [7] will be requiring most of your time when building your marketing campaigns. In large organizations, you will need to work very closely with functional teams for every channel (digital marketing, event marketing, email marketing …) and understand every metric out of  your corporate marketing automation tool precisely. For example:

  • for the email channel, you will focus on the open and click rate,
  • for the PPC channel, you will focus on the ad performance segmentation and your landing pages,
  • for the SEO channel, you will focus on your content and linking strategy and your semantic structure,
  • for the event channel, you will focus on the number of attendees vs logistics costs.



The cost structure and the budget [8] will be determined by three main factors:

  • your market
  • the company ambition in terms of growth
  • the propensity of your executive board to spend on marketing
The stronger, more differentiated the product, the less it needs to be propped up by advertising.



The ROI [9] is the holy graal of a good marketer. If you manage to have an accurate ROI calculation with no error (meaning no unjustified assumption), you could potentially get no limit to your growth (even though there will always be internal bottlenecks to sustain this growth in your organization). But mastering your ROI is heavily complex and requires a huge maturity of the organization because most metrics are extremely difficult to get – even though they might exist somewhere. Understanding metrics is not just a single exercise, it applies to every channel. You also have other factors influencing your metrics such as the period of the year, organization changes, employee turnover …  Understanding the conversion ratio at every stage of the lead/sales generation process is a real endeavor but the benefits are definitely worth the pain. Last but not least, you will definitely need your best management skills to federate people around your initiative.