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How does your organization spot trend? Do you detect problem or future opportunities? How have your organization handled such information? The cool hunting and problem spotting gets balanced with the right amount of due diligence and orientation to seek information.

Most managers can articulate the major trends of the day. But research by authors Elie Ofek and Luc Wathieu reveals that managers often fail to recognize the less obvious ways these trends are influencing consumers' expectations.

This is especially true of trends that managers view as peripheral to their core markets. The digital revolution, for instance, has led people to value offerings that provide instant gratification and help them multitask. The authors found that this information is as important for a company that sells sports shoes as it is for one that sells video games.

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Here's another interesting article on 'FREEMIUM' . Every business creates certain values and services that they give for free. This is done to support the core product or the service and increase customer base. This started with gaining industry leadership, but soon became a must factor. But, a free service incurs a price and holds threats from the competitors. How and where does a business draw its line to balance.

How to Make Freemium Work: Coordinate Your Team

While many like Levie have rushed to embrace freemium with open arms, its history remains a cautionary tale. The biggest problem companies run into is that they stake too much in freemium without coordinating all the parts of their business.

Take Helpstream, for example – the Silicon Valley software company that provided free customer relations applications. Even though freemium works for many software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, it failed Helpstream because of a fundamental misunderstanding between marketing and sales. Helpstream's former CEO Bob Warfield acknowledged as much when he wrote on his personal blog, "Sales was not particularly interested in any of the goals the CEO had set forth," namely using freemium to spread sales. The sales staff contended the strategy was taking away commissions. What sales failed to realize, Warfield argued, was that even if it didn't make money initially, freemium could bring in a ton of potential customers.

Levie, despite his success with freemium, acknowledges what a tough sell it can be with a sales team. "On one hand sales will love you," he said during his presentation. "But on the other hand sales will hate you because you have to sell against something that people can use for free.” Indeed, Levie admitted in an interview that, “The No. 1 competitor we lose business to is our free product.”

With that in mind, you’ll need to clearly lay out the benefits to your sales team and make sure they’re on board

To continue reading: How to Make Freemium Work For You

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