10 Modular templates to structure your business and manage your leads12 min read

Un compas et un dessin industriel

Over the years, we have found and use numerous tools to guide our lead generation process. Here is a non-exhaustive list of tools that can help you to get a clear picture on your business.

This collection of tools is still a work in progress as we keep on discovering new ones every now and then. So we will keep on adding the best to this article. You may know lots of them but we hope you’ll discover some. Consider this article as a Swiss knife or a tool box.

We tried to present those tools in the order they are needed in a business management.

Business Model Canvas

Let’s evacuate the most famous yet the most essential one.

Business Model Canvas

What is it used for?

It helps you to map your whole business by forcing you to design every commercial aspects.

How does it works ?

Here is a video explaining how it works.


SWOT

InternalExternal
Strenghts


Opportunities


Weaknesses


Threats


SWOT

What is it used for ?

This method helps you position your solution within a specific environment. So you can have a better view of where to allocate your efforts.

How does it works ?

SWOT means Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. It is divided in 4 quarters to fill with the description of 4 aspects of your solution. Those aspects can be focused on the interactions of your solution with your customer environment or, on a higher scale, within your whole market. Let’s detail each quarter :

Strengths: here you describe the qualities of your product / service : specific features, an expertise… Anything making it more interesting than your competitors.
Weaknesses: this it the opposite of the strenghts, you tell here every default or lack of feature. It is always a good thing to be clearly aware of all the potential improvements to make, even if it is sometimes difficult to accept.
Opportunities: those are not related to your product but to the environment where your product evolves. What could happen and would be profitable to your business? That could be a new law, a new tendency, a collaboration, …
Threats: this is the opposite of the opportunities: what are the risks for your product? What could happen, with what probability, that would compromise your business plan?


Porter’s 5 forces analysis

What your solution could be replaced by?



What your customers can negotiate on?



What are your direct competitors?



What your suppliers can negociate on?



Could some new threats for your solution appear?



Porter’s 5 forces analysis

What is it used for ?

It is similar to the SWOT, it helps positioning your solution within its market to better understand its surroundings. This analysis was built to complete the SWOT and benchmark your solution through another framework, to get another point of view.

How does it works ?

You complete each section to define the position of your solution. Here from top to bottom, left to right:

What your solution could be replaced by?
Considering a whole universe of solution,s try to imagine which existing solutions, of any kind, could replace yours. For example, virtually any software solution can be replaced by Microsoft Excel, or more commonly by a spreadsheet editor with macros and formulas.
What your customers can negotiate on?
If you have not some many customer, therefore they have more leverage in the negociations. If you solution requires some of your customer assets, you need them as much they need you, so it’s about both give and take… Which can complicate the deal.
What are your directs competitors?
Basically you list all your existing competitors and their power over the market.
What your suppliers can negotiate on?
If your solution requires hardware material then your pricing depends on the hardware market. Maybe you have a very unique supplier so he defines the pricing?
Could some new threats appear to your solution?
Out of your direct competitors, are there other companies with the power to disrupt your market. For example, before selling the iPhone, Apple wasn’t a competitor for the phone manufacturers.


Value Proposition Canvas

Value Proposition Canvas

What is it used for?

It helps you matching your solution against a persona (a modelling of a user) and vice-versa.

How does it works ?

Here is a video explaining how it works.


SOFA (SPIN selling variant)

SituationOpinionFutureActions






SOFA Matrix

What is it used for ?

It is a very simple tool to understand the current situation of a lead and his dynamic to improve it. This tool can be used during the meeting with the lead to define with him his situation. The purpose, once the SOFA is done, is for you to adapt your argumentation the best way you can to explain how your solution will help him resolving his issue.

How does it works ?

It consists in 4 paragraphs detailing 4 specific aspects about the leads issue:

Situation: this paragraph is used to describe the current situation of the lead: what are the issues, how does it works or what doesn’t work?
Opinion: what is the personal opinion of the lead? Is he satisfied? How happy is he? How angry is he? What is on his mind about this situation?
Future: what would be his dream situation? What does he want to change about the situation? In 1, 6 or 12 month what does he want the situation to be?
Actions: starting from the current situation and according the future he wants, what are the actions your interlocutor has planed to execute to reach it?

There is a very similar tool called SPIN selling which has been a lot documented. The 4 letters/paragraphs stand for Situation, Problems, Implications, Need pay-off. The philosophy is slightly different and may better suits you in some cases.


Interlocutors qualification table

NameJob & ActivitiesM-RACIIssuesFrictionsArgumentsObjectivesActionsStatus
Interlocutors qualification table

What is it used for ?

Your first meeting with a new lead has ended. There were several people at this meeting. This tool will help you to define the responsibilities of each person and therefore adapt your upcoming argumentation to each of them to match their specific needs.

How does it works ?

It is a table where each line represent an interlocutor and it has the following columns:

Name : obviously the name of the interlocutor
Job and Activities : the position of the interlocutor and what are his activities in the company
M-RACI : it is a personal version of the well-known RACI matrix allowing to rank the responsibility of the interlocutor over the topic of the meeting. RACI means Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed and we personally added M for Most Important. It shall qualify the one we absolutely need to convince.
Issues : they are the personal issues of the interlocutor. What are his specific pain points, the ones that we need to address if we want him to work with us?
Frictions: regarding the solution we present to the interlocutor, why wouldn’t he buy it? What is he saying against our solution?
Arguments: what can we tell our interlocutor to sweeten his frictions and to prove him our solution will solve his issues?
Objectives: here are our objectives with this interlocutor. Do we want this interlocutor to be our sponsor, to be a user, to recommend us to other people…
Actions: what do we have to do for this interlocutor? Send him a detailed presentation? Send him a report? Make him a demonstration? …
Status: what is the status of this interlocutor? Is he an ally? Is he still to be convinced? …


SONCAS

CustomerSecurityPrideInnovationComfortMoneySympathy
Interlocutor 1
Interlocutor 2
SONCAS

What is it used for ?

Helps you understand the motivation of the interlocutor in front of you. It can extend the interlocutor’s qualification table to build your strategy and argumentation to convince your leads.

How does it works ?

SONCAS is a french acronym standing for Sécurité (security), Orgueil (pride), Nouveauté (innovation), Confort (comfort), Argent (money) and Sympathie (sympathy). Those 6 items represent the motivation categories spectrum of a customer. In other words, the motivation of a customer for solving his issue can be broken down into one or several components corresponding to those categories. So when you try to understand what is your customer’s need’s origin, you can ask yourself: what does he look for? And build an argumentation matching his motivations.


Benefits, features & proofs

NeedsBenefitsFeaturesProofs
Benefits, Features & Proofs

What is it used for ?

Sometimes, we want to fire all of our product features to a lead in order to convince him to buy it. But it is often a bad strategy because he may not need all of them. At the ends of the day it could make him feel your product does a lot he doesn’t need, so why pay for so much?

Once you have clarified your customer’s needs, a good strategy is to aim for each one with this set of 3 actuators to logically explain how your solution will match your customers needs.

How does it works ?

So once you have a clear understanding of your customer’s needs, thanks to the previous tools, take each of them and point the specific benefits your solution provides.
Then, explain how each of those benefits are brought by the specific features of your solution.
Finally to close this logicla circle, connect those features back to the needs with proofs. This might be the hardest part of the argumentation if your solution is really innovative or really young, you may not have so many “field” proof. But you can show some market study results or provide a free trial.

Besides, one need doesn’t requires to be covered by only one benefit. It can be one need to several benefits or several needs to one benefit. It is a many to many relationship. And so it is for all the couples. The more bounds you show, the better because it will demonstrate how your solution is made for you customer.


Co-Innovation Builder

Co-Innovation Builder by Corship Team

What is it used for ?

It helps you define / map a collaboration with a corporate. It is very useful when your collaboration lies on an innovation or a proof of concept.

How does it works ?

We have written a full post about it.


MANACT

LeadsMANACT
Lead 1
Lead 2
Manact

What is it used for ?

If you do not have a Customer Relation Management software (CRM) to organize your lead generation funnel yet, you can use the MANACT methodology to sort all of your leads out by their maturity level. Then you will know how to continue the exchange with each of them.

How does it works ?

MANACT stand for Money, Authority, Need, Ability, Compelling event and Timelines. All those items represent checkpoints you need to validate. The purpose is to have an instant view over all your leads and where they are located in your acquisition process. So you can complete it with text describing the situation on the fields, with colors, with smileys or with percentages to tell how much of this checkpoint is validated, but you need to have the details recorded somewhere, into a dedicated lead file for example.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to know if you have covered the checkpoints:

  • Money :
    • Have you talked about money?
    • Is the budget defined?
  • Authority
    • Do you know who is in charge?
    • Are you in contact with a decider?
  • Need
    • Do you have a clear understanding of the need?
    • Do everybody agree on it?
  • Ability
    • Is our product ready?
    • Are the need and the solution matching?
    • What are the risks?
  • Compelling Event
    • Are all the stakeholders on board?
    • What could make things happen faster?
  • Timelines
    • When is the next meeting?
    • Is the collaboration roadmap clear?
    • Do you know what you have to do?

What about you?

dialog

Did you know those templates?
Have you used them for your business?
How did they helped you?
Do you have some other to share in the comments?

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