Author Archives: Yafit Davis

Under promise and over deliver – really?

How many times have you heard the above phrase used by suppliers and various sales people?

Despite Oscar Wilde’s famous words, consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. When it comes to building a relationship, there is a lot to be said for providing what you need, consistently. All businesses plan their activity based on their own resources as well as those of their suppliers and sub-contractors. Whether you run a time-critical operation such as manufacturing or a service business like marketing business, you need your suppliers to deliver on their promises so you can deliver on yours.

When viewed in this context, under promising and over delivering is not particularly helpful. The problem here is twofold:

  1. When you first start to work with a client, you have a certain amount of guess work to do, and you can’t always guarantee your performance at that stage.
  2. We all get excited about taking a new client on board and sometimes feel we must be willing to provide extra services or do things differently to complete the sale.

So how do you manage new clients’ expectations whilst building a good relationship, without going out of your way and affecting your bottom line?

Here are some words of wisdom from Dwayne Johnson, ‘Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.’

I could not agree more, the key things to consider are:

  • As a business owner or sales manager, you need to have confidence in your product and its ability to deliver to your target market. The key here is to know what you are good at and with whom. That’s not to say that you should not develop new products or enter new markets but do so using the knowledge you have already gained. People generally understand that it’s hard to provide full proof guarantee in advance and respond well to honesty and social proof. So even if they are a new client in a new market, tell them it is so and then use examples from other markets to explain how you approach things and what worked for you in the past.
  • Bespoke service is one of those buzz words that’s easy to sell and appeals to some customers, but it can be hard to deliver on. To scale and grow your business, you need processes and every time you agree to provide a service outside of this, it affects your bottom line. It also makes it that much harder to deliver and is likely to cause issues and to affect your service.  Tell your new clients about your systems and how consistently they work, question their need to have things done differently and learn to say no. Most customers will appreciate an established business who isn’t a push over.
  • To work well with a new customer, there needs to be some synergy between your business and theirs. If you are finding that they constantly push for extras and question the way you do things, they might not be a good fit for you. In my experience, success comes from partnership and shared values, and this is definitely not an overrated buzz word.

Having a key definition of the products and services you deliver as well as understanding your target market and how to reach them is key to identifying quality prospect sand closing sales. Click here to find out how we can help and get in touch to discuss your requirements.

Developing the hidden opportunities in your customer base

Whatever way you look at it, generating additional sales requires additional time and resources to maximise the opportunities available to you. As with most other things in business, working smarter rather than harder is the key to achieving the best return on investment.

You doubtless already have strong working relationships with long standing clients, but how well do they understand you and the full range of services your offer? Research conducted in 2021 for a leading B2B business portal found that 65% of the companies surveyed sold just one product or service to their top ten customers. There are two points to take away from this:

  1.  There is an audience who is already convinced of the key benefits to them of dealing with your company.
  2. Sales of one product or service is more vulnerable to your competitors than a wider range of sales would be.

A client who benefited from YBDT’s help in selling more products to existing clients is Harrier Pneumatics. Their core business was built around supplying new and replacement compressors to industrial customers. Working with our Sales Enablement Consultancy service helped them to identify the best routes to adding to the suite of products and services that their existing clients would benefit from. As in this example, an important part of YBDT’s sales consultancy is analysing your existing client base and their activity. This improves your understanding of the best opportunities to add sales, and to strengthen customer relationships. This goes well with another measure from the said report which states that 70% of the businesses surveyed said that they welcomed proactive approaches from trusted suppliers that saved money or improved their own customer service.

When working for Harrier Pneumatics we discovered that many of their customers were replacing components when regular maintenance would prevent failures, preventing costly production downtime and emergency call outs. Planned maintenance helped Harrier by keeping them in more regular contact with clients and putting them on the spot to discuss upgrades and system expansions. It moved them from being just suppliers of a single part to being a dependable partner in the upkeep of compressed air systems.

YBDT’s sales consultancy service is ideal for companies who need to understand how, why, and when their customers buy. It may be that purchases are made cyclically meaning that you need to be ahead of the competition in discussing renewals of maintenance contracts. Products bought irregularly mean that you need to be in front of the decision maker often enough to seize the opportunity when it arises. Likewise, if you depend on distributors to feed your business string relationships and knowledge of exactly what you do is critical to enable them to sell your products and services effectively.

A final relevant statistic: “It is six to seven times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.” I mentioned earlier the risk associated with supplying a single product into a major client. YBDT’s sales consultancy service can help you make the transition from supplier to partner, safeguarding existing work, and building firm foundations for the future. Get in touch with me to learn more about how YBDT can help.

Consistent messages inspire customer confidence

In one of our newsletters recently we used the quote “Consistency breeds familiarity, familiarity breeds confidence, and confidence breeds sales” from Jay Conrad Levinson. He was the author of the 1984 book ‘Guerrilla Marketing’. While many of the marketing strategies that he suggested proved short-lived, his key point about consistency being the best way to secure long term customers is more valid than ever.

There has been lots of research into how businesses buy. The main takeaway from it is that it needs an average of seven contacts before a client is ready to make a buying decision. When they surveyed clients from a range of business sizes and types the CRM provider HubSpot discovered that 44% of sales people gave up after a single follow up. Pressure of sales targets, and servicing existing clients was blamed for this. But whatever the reason there is a mismatch between what the average internal sales team can achieve and the potential customer’s mindset.

Connecting with the client is the most important thing you can do to build a relationship. Emails only take the process so far. Picking up the phone and letting them hear your company’s name and the fact that you are there to support them when the time is right to talk is the single most effective way of following up a sales conversation.

In a restaurant the waiter will often follow up delivering food to your table, asking if everything is OK. Often, we just smile and say, “yes thanks”, but occasionally we do need something else or have a problem that is stopping our enjoyment of the meal. The same applies in a sales conversation. You provide the answer to a question and then follow up appropriately to confirm that all was well with the resolution to the query. The biggest concern of a salesperson can often be that they are being annoying or intrusive with follow ups. The reason for employing a professional lead nurturing service is to make the difference between being supportive and the waiter who constantly asks if everything is fine.

New business is vital to your business growth. Generating and nurturing leads that build a pipeline of sales potential for the future can be something that does not fit easily into the working pattern of your existing team who are focusing their energy on servicing and retaining existing customers.

YBDT can help you create and implement a clear business development strategy to generate and nurture leads up to the point that your sales team can take them on to orders. We can’t put it any better than one of our long-term clients. David Champ of TC Consult. “Using YBDT gives you an opportunity to focus on your sales process. Ultimately, it’s a much quicker more efficient process than trying to organically grow a sales team. If you are familiar with your core business but not with sales, why would you try and create a spec for a business development manager when you could use experts to help you and see results a lot quicker?”

Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.

What’s more important, getting the strategy right or keeping activities up?

The phrase ‘putting the cart before the horse’ certainly comes to mind in this case, so here are a few interesting facts (kindly supplied by Phrases.org.uk):

  • The earliest known reference to this phrase was made by John Haywood in 1589
  • hysteron proteron is a figure of speech we inherited from the Greeks, in which the thing that should come second is put first
  • There are more ‘horse phrases’ in English than those referring to any other animal

Education moment over, let’s consider the question in the title, in terms of what’s more important; both a good strategy and quality activities are as important. The question to consider rather, is order and timing. The answer very much depends on your personality type and I have used some information from DISC profiling to explain this better below.

According to DISC research there are four key personality types:

  1. Dominant (D): Places emphasis on accomplishing results and “seeing the big picture.” They are confident, sometimes blunt, outspoken, and demanding. Whilst people who fall within the D behaviour style will appreciate the need for a strategy to run a successful course of action, they will generally feel that ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ and would therefore want to see some timely actions they can measure and analyse.
  2. Influential (I): Places emphasis on influencing or persuading others. They tend to be enthusiastic, optimistic, open, trusting, and energetic. People who fall within the I behaviour styles generally have low attention span for details and could find a strategy document cumbersome and limiting unless it’s entirely their idea. High I’s would prefer to get out there and approach things in a way that suits them, the moment and complements their skill.
  3. Steady (S): Places emphasis on cooperation, sincerity, loyalty, and dependability. They tend to have calm, deliberate dispositions, and don’t like to be rushed. People who fall within the S behaviour style would want to make sure that any new approaches or changes are accompanied by a clear strategy ensuring everyone is on board and in agreement. Once they have approved the strategy, they are happy to turn to action.
  4. Conscientious (C): Places emphasis on quality and accuracy, expertise and competency. They enjoy their independence, demand the details, and often fear being wrong. People who fall within the C behaviour style find the notion of making a mistake terrifying and often procrastinate as a result. With high C’s, achieving timely action can sometimes be difficult.

So, the answer to the question does depend on your behavioural style but from a lead generation perspective our recommendation is to always create a detailed strategy first covering your goals, target markets and campaign approach. Once you have this in place, ensure you follow up with a timely action to ensure your sales are not delayed.

At YBDT we can help you create such a lead generation strategy and support it delivery. Read more about it here: https://www.yourbizdevteam.co.uk/sales-and-marketing-strategy.php

Selling clarity for your technical products

Some products are relatively straightforward to sell. Potential clients can appreciate the function and benefit of the offer. Other products need a certain a level of understanding before the business gain becomes clear.

An interesting example of this is Newicon, a client we started to work with sometime ago. They help companies to create effective digital products. That can mean websites, mobile apps, desktop software, or anything else that falls into the digital realm. One of the things that all their clients have in common is that they are doing something new and often untried.

Lead generation for a company like this is often about building confidence. Giving potential clients the information they need about Newicon to feel they can say, “I don’t know if this is possible but can you…” They have a vision for their business that they hope Newicon can turn into reality. This sort of confidence is not built in a single call or meeting and when Newicon approached YBDT to help them generate strategic leads they were clear that it was not an overnight project.

YBDT’s work was in two main areas, firstly, taking responsibility for the follow up for new and existing leads. The confidence we mentioned above is generated through understanding and building a relationship over time is the way to create understanding. YBDT’s telemarketing team spent time with the potential clients building trust and interest until they were ready for the more technical conversation that is the domain of Newicon’s own team.

The second critical aspect of this work was having a clear sales process through the efficient use of a CRM system that could keep the senior team up to date on the progress of prospects. This allows accurate sales forecasting and workflow management and can ensure that when a lead reaches the stage where the technical discussion is taking place that the resources to support it are available. Of course, “technical products” take many forms. Developing hardware solutions that fit the needs of a client demands the same level of understanding to effectively support development as software. Being clear on the potential customer’s values and expectations is often as important as their requirements for product performance.

The word “confidence” has appeared several times in this piece. Client’s confidence in Newicon to deliver the final digital product that they will build their business around, and Newicon’s confidence in YBDT to turn over a critical path to growth to us. Rich O’Brien, Newicon’s Head of Digital said of our work, “Since day one they have been attentive to our needs, provided expert advice, and patient support, and have been willing to go the extra mile to make the campaigns work.” Building a relationship with our own clients is the first step on YBDT’s path to supporting your plans for growth. Once we have your confidence, the possibilities are endless.

YBDT’s long experience in all aspects of sales and marketing support makes us the ideal partner for software and technology based businesses. We can help you create and implement a clear business development strategy and generate and nurture leads to the point that your sales team can take them on to orders. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.

Can you build your business on referrals alone?

Here is a great quote from the American politician, Bob Bennet: ‘in sales, referral is the key to the door of resistance’. I could not agree more and nor can most companies we speak to. So much so that it is very common to hear business owners and sales directors say that their conversion goes up to as much as 90% when following up on referrals.

So why are referrals so much better than a lead?

It might be worth understanding the difference first, here is Ivan Misner’s definition:

‘A lead is a contact that may come from any number of sources. The contact is generally not expecting your call.  A referral is the opportunity to do business. When you contact them, they already know who you are and what you do. It is stronger than just a lead in that this prospect has talked to your mutual acquaintance and is generally expecting your call.’

For me, it’s not so much about the prospect expecting your call, you can get that through other methods of lead generation, but more about the building of familiarity and trust. This is what happens when someone they trust recommend you and effectively make you an extension of them in the eyes of the prospect. In a competitive market, it can be very hard to decide which supplier to use. The less you know about the topic you are looking to resolve, the harder is it to trust a third party, a good referral is therefore a great way to save time and make a better decision.

How can your business get more referrals then?

You could say that referrals happen over time through the building of your brand and reputation. In a perfect world, if you work hard and do a good job, customers should be coming to you. This is why many established companies see 70% of their business coming from referrals and repeat business which helps them build longevity and success. Whilst it will be great if you could just focus on your work and expect referrals to come to you, there are two key questions you need to consider here:

  1. How do clients purchase your product and service? Is it a very competitive industry you are in? What is the key deciding factor?
  2. How well do you stand out against your competition, do you really make a difference to your clients? Will they be happy to sing your praises?

In my experience, if you operate in a niche market and offer a unique service, you will get more referrals as there are not many people who do what you do. However, if like most businesses, you operate in a competitive market, you will need to build referral partner relationships to increase your referral rates. This can be done through a number of channels including formal and informal networking as well as client referral schemes and more.

However you get there, building an effective referral network depends on two key factors:

  •   Being clear on who you want to work with and why
  • Making a real difference to clients through your work

These may sound obvious, but they take some thinking and changing. 68% of customers who stop buying from an organisation do so simply because of a perceived indifference. When it comes to building referral partnerships, this can become even a bigger issue, making it hard for people to refer you effectively.

So, can you build your business on referrals alone?

At YBDT we prefer to have several funnels providing new business leads into our company. This is because whilst referrals are easier to convert, they depend on your networks’ availability and access to prospects who need your services at a given time. Therefore, you will find that referral numbers fluctuate greatly from month to month making them hard to forecast.

So, if you are looking to grow your business you will want to create other options to give you and even flow of new leads. However, referrals are key and learning how to become more effective at generating them is important. Our next sales enablement webinar will be offering tips on how to do just that, click on the link below for more information and registration: https://www.yourbizdevteam.co.uk/ybdt-lunchtime-webinar-20220322.php

Growing your insurance business needs positive action

At first sight the prospects for the insurance markets in 2022 seem less than optimistic. With the news full of economic and political gloom it would be easy to see this year as a time to hunker down and wait for the storm to pass. The insurance industry news is far more positive however, with businesses making acquisitions, investing in new technology and recruiting new staff.

With many companies focusing their business development teams on retention and support for existing business generating new prospects can take a back seat. This is despite the 2021 Insurance Value Creators Report from Boston Consulting suggesting that the businesses that thrive in 2022 will be those targeting new business as well as maintaining their existing client portfolio.

The balancing act that this needs is illustrated in YBDT’s work for Higos Insurance. With a business providing independent insurance advice cover for wide range of commercial and personal risks Higos have opportunities in many sectors. The personal nature of Higos’ service means that their internal sales teams spend a lot of their time working with current clients. The leadership team were keenly aware that they needed to generate new prospects for their skilled business development managers to convert. They approached Your Business Development Team in early 2020 to build a strategy for identifying renewal dates and understanding current cover and future requirements of targeted industry and geographic areas.

Once the objective of building a pipeline of potential future business was in place, monthly telemarketing campaigns were implemented to specific regions of the country and industry-based databases. With a highly skilled insurance industry telemarketer on YBDT’s team we were able to provide directly relevant information that Higos’ internal sales teams could use to offer better cover and cost options to potential new clients. Once this information has been added to a CRM system for review by Higos sales team they were ideally placed to secure new business from the YBDT led campaigns.

The result of this ongoing work has been a steady input of prospect data into Higos, giving their team the information that enables them to help the client improve their insurance cover, as well as knowing when action will need to be taken based on YBDT’s telemarketer providing expected renewal dates. As Higos BDM, Nick Reynolds told us: “I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending YBDT to any organisation that want to create a sales campaign or indeed want to enhance their current sales structure. Their professionalism, organisation and tenacity has created sales opportunities for me and my colleagues meaning we can generate more new businesses in the months to come.”

YBDT’s long experience in all aspects of sales and marketing support makes us the ideal partner for the growing insurance business. We can help you create and implement a clear business development strategy and generate and nurture leads to the point that your sales team can take them on to convert to new business. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.

Why having a goal makes a difference to your bottom line?

The business world is full of jargon, The bottom line, that figure in the far-right hand corner of your financials, is the outcome of all of the work of the business. It is the single most important number to define the health, or otherwise, of the company. As an overall indicator of your performance, it shows that your products and services are valued by your customers, you are controlling costs effectively, and that you understand your market and where you sit within it.  The New Year is traditionally time for planning and I would hope that you have included some goals regarding your bottom line this year.

That said, not all goals are made equal. We have all come across SMART objectives, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound goals benefit your business in many ways. A colleague once worked in a business where SMART was jeered when it was mentioned in sales meetings. That company no longer exists which is a good indication that it is a valuable guide to goal setting.

Thinking about the effect of goal setting on your bottom line,

  • Having specific targets for growth allows you to set actions and intentions that can be transmitted to your team. Giving them clear objectives to work towards helps them feel included in the business and motivated to support your plans.
  • Measuring the impact of your work on the key figures tells you that your plan is working effectively.
  • Time-bound goals help you define where you want the business to be at a given point in time.
  • Having these signposts in place also keeps your goals realistic and achievable.
  • SMART can at times appear to be a bit of a cliché, but that is because it is universally embraced, and that is because it works.

Unfortunately, there is no magic wand that you can wave to create new business. It is a process that follows clear rules, which you can use to set SMART goals, making the effect on your bottom line predictable allowing you to plan with greater certainty for the future of your company.

The bottom line of the bottom line is that you are in control of how it looks and investing in the future by developing your sales pipeline through targeted lead generation and nurturing is the best way to ensure the growth of that all-important number.

YBDT’s long experience in all aspects of business development support makes us the ideal partner for your business. We can help you create and implement a clear business development strategy and generate and nurture leads to the point that your sales team can take them on to orders. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.

Keeping going is often the key

In our recent blogs we have been talking about creating a growth mindset and planning for your business growth. Building your plans will nurture the growth mindset, and that in turn will help develop the other tool needed for success in the marketplace, resilience.

Every business owner will have challenges thrown at them, from the small and easy to overcome to the significant. Those who are growth-minded see these challenges as an opportunity to learn and strengthen their skill set. The resilient sales person and their leaders will have understood that life, and business, will not always go as they would wish. They will also have the ability to stay the course and work through adversity, as most businesses have had to over the last two years, and emerge stronger. While we hope and expect that business conditions will continue to improve in the coming year, having the tools to take some of the uncertainty away will mean you control your business destiny better than those who have the fixed mindset that looks for reasons why they are not succeeding.

Planning for growth, looking for opportunities and adopting the growth mindset all build resilience into your team, your business, and yourself. Creating a positive culture in your business will shape the mindsets of your team and help them face the challenges that all businesses face, and overcome them. Carol Dweck says that fostering a growth mindset “takes dedication and hard work” but focusing on simple things like the language you use when talking about your business and praising effort and innovation will go a long way to fostering the positive approach that will see your company succeed.

One major challenge for any business is time:

  • Time to make all the calls you need to
  • Time to research a project or customer
  • Time to perfect your offer and understand what your potential customer needs from you

Taking a growth-minded approach allows you to realise that you can’t do everything by yourself.

At Your Business Development Team, we believe that selling is a process of building and developing relationships. These can take time to yield results and our lead generation and nurturing services work by taking away the need for you and your team to do everything yourselves, providing you with extra time to build sustainable sales for 2022 and beyond.

For example, letting go of the follow up process too soon often means missing out on sales. A specific targeted plan to draw potential clients towards you will help you convert more sales. We take your initial leads and follow them through to the point that your sales team can pick them up and make the final close. Get in touch with us to start planning your route to business growth in 2022.

Mindset affects everything including business growth

We all know that the human brain can do amazing things some great and some not so great. When looking up the difference between human and animal brains I found the following statement:

‘The main difference between humans’ brains and animals’ brains is that humans’ brain have a remarkable cognitive capacity, which is a crowning achievement of evolution whereas animals’ brains show comparatively less cognitive capacity.’

Mindset certainly falls within our cognitive capacity. The term growth mindset was coined by Carol Dweck of Stanford University. The theory categorizes human learning and intelligence patterns into two categories – fixed mindset and growth mindset.

When individuals believe that they can improve their abilities, intelligence, and talents through their efforts, it is termed as growth mindset. On the other hand, a fixed mindset is when individuals consider that their abilities and talents are constrained to a fixed set.

So how do you know if you have a growth mindset? I am sure that you will be able to find plenty of tests online if you are that way inclined. I think there is a simple way to determine this, when you come across a new challenge, do you:

  1. Get very worried, spend your time thinking up all the reasons why you can’t do it?
  2. Get excited and engage in finding the best way to deal with it yourself?
  3. Start looking for others who might be able to help you?

I would say that if you answered 1 you have a fixed mindset and if you answered 2 or 3 you have a growth mindset. This is a very broad way of looking at things and in many cases, it will depend on the challenge and your natural tendencies as we all have our preferences and interests.

In our work as a lead generation agency, we naturally come across many companies who are looking for growth. But does this mean all of our clients have a growth mindset? Not necessarily.

Despite saying that looking for others to help you when facing a challenge is a sign of a growth mindset, this can sometimes be the tip of the iceberg. Just like in the theory of omission by Ernest Hemingway, the true story is often hidden underneath the surface. Companies approach us for two main reasons:

  1. They want to grow their understanding of business development and work in partnership with an experienced team that can offer them a tailored strategy and delivery.
  2. They want to pass the buck to someone else, who by magic, will solve all their problems or at least can be blamed for not solving them.

I am sure you can work out for yourself who has a growth mindset out of the two but more importantly, who will get more out of working with us?

Most companies face a lot of challenges when working on their sales and lead generation, it is not easy to get consistent success and keep going in a linear line. More typically, you will find that you have ups and downs. Outsourcing your lead generation to a specialist is a good idea if:

  • Your company is in the right place for it
  • You have the resource to develop the leads in-house
  • You are prepared to go on a discovery journey
  • You are looking to work in partnership

If you tick all these boxes or want to check if you do, get in touch to discuss further.