Author Archives: Yafit Davis

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.

Proper planning = Sales success

Over the last two years most businesses have inevitably simply been reacting to circumstances. What this means is that for 2022 creating a clear sales strategy will be a key component in the drive for the growth that was not realised in 2020 and 21.

Without a strategy, sales managers will make decisions based on what is currently in their minds. This usually results in constant changes of direction and much wasted effort as the latest great idea is chased down. A sales strategy will deliver clear priorities, guidelines, and goals that the whole team can understand and work with.

A great example of how this can work is YBDT’s work with TC Consult, a Cardiff based Quantity Surveyor and Construction Project Manager. At first sight the sale strategy for a business like this may seem straightforward. Construction projects can take anything between 3 months and 3 years before any earth is moved. But with every potential project at different stages along the path, and multiple contacts within the target companies, understanding what they want to achieve from each contact, email, phone, or LinkedIn, means that no opportunity is missed.

With a team of specialists in all aspects of sales, as well as working hand in glove with TC’s existing marketing and leadership team, YBDT are in an ideal position to support the creation and implementation of a detailed sales strategy. As David Champs, director of TC Consult, told us; “using YBDT gives you an opportunity to focus on your sales process, find new sources for lead generation and it helps you focus on your core business.” He said, “I’ve enjoyed working on the content, the sales consultancy has really developed nicely, and the attention to detail in the administration has been excellent”.

YBDT’s meticulous approach to building sales strategies for a wide range of businesses supports and supplements existing sales and marketing resources. From arriving at a clear definition of your target markets, to a comprehensive understanding of products, USPs and trading story, YBDT will guide you towards a sales strategy in line with your vision and goals for the business. 

The next step in planning is creating a workable and effective sales process which includes recognising and acting upon initial interest and then nurturing the prospect to the point that they can make buying decisions. YBDT can examine your existing process and work with you to refine it to provide your sales team with qualified quality appointments with customers ready to buy.

To quote David Champs again, working with YBDT is “a much quicker more efficient process than trying to organically grow a sales team”. Get in touch with your Business Development Team to start planning your route to sales in 2022.

You can access and read the full case study covering our work with TC Consults here.

Feeling overworked? How about some lead generation?

John Lennon famously referred to life as what happens while you are busy making other plans. This quote is particularly apt now when many businesses find themselves working to capacity and beyond. According to many articles and news items, the unprecedented demand created by the pandemic has meant that many are trying to deliver 12 months’ work in 3 months, which obviously puts a lot of strain on staff and systems.

One direct result of this situation, which we come across a lot currently, is companies putting their sales operation on hold. If you have limited resources to support your existing clients and you are struggling to recruit new staff, the thought of new clients coming on board may seem like complete madness. I agree that existing clients always come first and providing good service is key to your reputation. However, I don’t think you should ever let go of your sales operation as it’s the life blood of your business.

Since most things, good or bad, do not last forever, the current surge in demand will also come to an end and you will be back to chasing new clients. This will be hard to do having abandoned your sales activity for a long period of time.  So how can you manage to keep on top of your sales operation whilst being stretched in all other directions? Here are a few ideas for your consideration:

Review your sales strategy. It may well be that you are very busy and stretched but potentially you might also be allocating the wrong resource or banging your head against a brick wall. If this is the case, reconsider your current sales strategy and operation:

  • Where would you like to be at the end of next quarter?
  • Are you approaching the right target markets?
  • Have you got the right case studies and sales collateral?
  • Are the right people in your team covering the right roles?

Review your sales process. Like many other processes, it may well be held up by various bottlenecks and unnecessary admin slowing it down:

  • Where are most opportunities being held?
  • What are the biggest obstacles?
  • What could you do more?
  • What could you do less?
  • How are you measuring success at the moment?

Consider technology and new tools. Once you have looked at reshaping your strategy, consider the tools you are currently using to makes sales happen:

  • Is your CRM working for you and the team?
  • Is the CRM set up to support your sales process?
  • Are there software tools that can support your sales operation better?
  • Could some of you selling be done using digital marketing?
  • Would an effective content marketing help?

Ask yourself if this is the time to outsource or bring in an expert? Often sales success can be stuck in your blind spot. It may well not be your area of expertise or passion. Given that you are very busy but don’t want to let go of sales, why not consider asking someone else to help?

At YBDT we can help you with both lead generation and sales consultancy which means that we take the ownership for creating a strategic, tailored plan and then deliver on it. In the past 12 months we have increased our sales consultancy offering and you can read more about it here.  Get in touch to see how we might help.

When selling gets personal

There are few decisions in business as critical as choosing a coach. They will become embedded in your business and be privy to your successes and failures. Putting a coach or consultant in front of potential clients needs to be handled sensitively. Some businesses choose to work with coaches at the point they are having problems, so building a supportive relationship that forms confidence in the coach through regular contact is a critical path for fostering long term connections.

In our blog back in July we talked about building a sales pipeline that is fit for the future. Coaches and consultants need that pipeline every bit as much as businesses with a less intangible offering. We talked then about the gap that can occur from not having an eye on work for the future while supporting your existing projects. Businesses, and their owners, need the backing of their coaching and consulting network more than ever so you may be spending more time on each client than may have been typical before the Pandemic. Where does that leave the time to create the work that will sustain you in 2022 and beyond?

While Your Business Development Team have supported manufacturing industry over the last eighteen months, we have also been working to generate and develop prospects for TAB – The Alternative Board. TAB have a unique method of working, including advisory boards made up other business owners, one to one coaching, and a suite of business tools. To fully realise the potential offered by this supportive offering takes a little time, and explanation. Working with YBDT gave TAB the opportunity to have the conversations leading up to the point where a potential client understood that TAB was the best option for them and needed to take the next step towards working with them.

It is equally important for the coach or consultant to understand that the prospective client will benefit from their service. And the only way to achieve this is to spend time learning the nuances of the business. A quotation that I am fond of is Wanda Allen’s “80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th contact yet, 90% of sales people make 3 contacts or less”. Few coaches will have the time to give adequate attention to their existing clients as well as having the conversations over weeks or months that potential clients need from them. So, they need an alternative way, which YBDT can provide. As Jonathan O’Shea. MD of TAB Bristol North said to us. “I know the process and structure works in different businesses and sectors, which shows that their work with me is not a fluke.” Get in touch to learn more about the range of services we can bring to supporting your search for new clients.

Change for Success

Over the summer we have been talking in our blogs about reorienting your sales and marketing effort to suit the changed business landscape of 2021. Thinking strategically, and planning for future achievements is a critical path to success.

Identifying and exploiting new opportunities requires quick, decisive actions. Your Business Development Team have worked with Sentinel Group Security (SGS) for several years. Over that time as the market for effective, personalised security services has shifted, YBDT have kept pace with the changes, and provided solutions to support SGS’ priorities. You can read the case study on our work for SGS here. YBDT worked with them on the creation of their contracted manned security division which has seen them grow into one of the premier suppliers of officers to the security industry.

Relationships are key to success in the security industry, so YBDT’s proven lead nurturing service was invaluable in creating the foundations for the ambitious targets set by the client. Running targeted campaigns aimed at specific industry sectors using direct mail and the trade press to establish the SGS brand in the minds of potential clients were carried out. As new products such as security workforce management software were introduced, and carefully planned launches were implemented. When unexpected developments, such as the need for additional manned guarding brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic, occurred, the strategy was flexible enough to accommodate a sudden switch in the priorities of the industry and allowed SGS to respond positively to their customers’ demands.

“Expect the unexpected” is a good maxim to live by in business generally, but the last year and a half have shown this to be truer than ever when planning a sales and marketing strategy. The construction industry has had a lot of change forced on it by the requirement for remote working. Entrepreneur JB de Lartigue had recognised an opportunity as far back as 2018 to support businesses in the construction sector who were struggling with the new area of Building Information Modelling (BIM). He created Driving Vision as the vehicle for this drive. With contacts and leads built up through the application of YBDT’s sales and marketing strategy, JB and his team were in an ideal position to exploit the heightened interest in the online collaborative approach to building design of BIM. JB said of our work for him that: “YBDT helped us to have a marketing strategy in place, all the sales, and marketing tools and materials necessary to get our first key prospect just three months after entering the market.” You can read more about our work for Driving Vision here.

Being in a position to embrace a rapidly changing market place for your products and services requires a business to have laid the groundwork. Sales and marketing strategies, relationship building and lead generation and nurturing processes actively seeking your ideal client, and above all a team of professionals ready to support your salesforce in capitalising on opportunities as they arise, promptly. We can be your business development team. Get in touch to learn more about how we can support your success.

Selling creatively creates success

Last month we discussed two companies which successfully utilised our established experience in business development support in the manufacturing and engineering sectors. As we pointed out, these are industries that have not previously needed to rely on active sales and marketing strategies as they could expect to see sufficient repeat business from regular customers.

There are many business sectors currently finding that they need to find new ways of putting their product and services in front of potential customers. The “new thing” can be very simple, here are a few examples:

For SVR Plastics, a long-established business selling into the Civil Engineering market, YBDT provided email and telemarketing services to raise awareness of their product specification guide. The campaign focused on ensuring that SVR’s products were on every merchant trade counter and the desk of the main estimator at each major contractor. A straightforward awareness raising campaign has led to a significant increase in enquiries and orders.

For businesses that do not have a culture of proactive sales, a “soft touch” approach can still bring benefits, as in the case of SVR, regular emails highlighting specific areas of their range supported by calling to key decision makers kept the company’s name in front of buyers with regular requirements.

When Tom and Teddy, the successful man and boys’ swimwear designer brand, came to the UK in 2018, they looked for support in getting them in front of retailers. As part of their marketing effort, they hired YBDT to research and call independent retailers and department stores and invite them to attend their stand at a key fashion exhibition in London. Founder and Director Michelle L’Huillier said: “As a result of this I have had some great conversations with retailers including Harrods, one of our key targets”.

Thinking creatively about what would generate leads for your business, in the distribution channel or when selling direct to the end user, helps your business stand out from the clamour of competitors jostling for the customers’ attention. For Tom and Teddy, the careful research and targeting of the best contacts, in the right companies lead to growth in the U.K. building on their previous success in Australia and the USA.

Creative thinking about sales and marketing comes from our experience of working with companies in many industries. Our expertise, built up over years of creating B2B strategies that support clients’ goals and objectives, means that we can tailor the services we offer to your expectations. Raising awareness of your presence in the marketplace, developing a clear strategy for sales growth, or generating and nurturing leads to the point that your sales team can take them on to orders all form part of our support to help you progress in 2021. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help you realise your goals.

What should you do before you go on summer holidays?

Summer is upon us and for the first time in a while, people are able to go on holiday feeling a little more secure. This means many of us will book to go away on various breaks from long weekends to full weeks. This is great news and will bring joy to many; at YBDT HQ we wish you all a brilliant and chilled time this summer.

However, before you turn off all the computers and shut your office door, spare a little thought for your business development and sales activity this summer. Many companies decide to dial down their marketing over the holidays as they figure not much is happening anyway. In addition, any networking and meetings are much more scarce due to the season. Follow ups are neglected and most prospects prefer to speak again in September.

This is all quite normal and helps with switching off and relaxing which we all need so badly, particularly this year. However, the problem with this approach is that due to the nature of business development activities, come the end of the summer, you will find yourself starting to build your pipeline again and as it’s nearly the end of the year, you might not secure any major sales until the beginning of 2022.

Now, if you have had a brilliant year so far and are not really looking for more business until the following year, than it’s not a problem. If you are not in this position, this might be a real problem for you and the rest of the sales team. So how can you have your cake and eat it? Here are a few suggestions:

Don’t switch off your marketing and lead generation activity all together. Instead create a summer strategy:

  • Keep lead generation and business development funnels like PPC and outreach campaigns active to ensure you keep building your pipeline.
  • Work out a rota for managing leads and involve everyone in the team. This can be a good opportunity for more people to get involved with business development and sales.
  • Arrange meetings and sign up for networking events in the weeks you are at work this summer. It will help you keep connected and have tentative conversations which may uncover and develop opportunities.
  • Have detailed conversations with prospects on your pipeline, aimed at understanding when they might want to move forward, then work out what needs to be done first and get a clear time line in place where possible.
  • Plan your diary and book meetings in advance to ensure you hit the ground running this Autumn.

Once you have done that, make sure you get your cold Pinot Grigio, or whatever tipple you prefer, out of the fridge and pour yourself a large glass. Your summer chilling can now start in earnest.

We hope you find this advice practical and helpful. If you need help setting up a lead generation funnel or support keeping in touch with clients and prospects this summer, get in touch.

Build a sales pipeline that is fit for the future

One of the areas that Your Business Development Team have been working in over the last couple of years is supporting companies in engineering and construction. As these are industries where the focus is inevitably on production, sales and marketing activity can sometimes take a back seat, potentially resulting in gaps in the order book as the pipeline runs dry. Planning for production often needs long term thinking. If raw materials and components have extended deliveries, then the sales pipeline becomes of critical importance. Knowing what orders may come along in the next three, six or twelve months can have a considerable impact on ordering parts and recruiting staff.

Many companies in engineering and construction are well established and have depended on long term customer relationships for repeat business. In 2020 however nearly 30% of construction businesses and 22% of manufacturers stopped production either temporarily or permanently. As many SME companies supplying the construction industry rely on fewer than ten regular customers this represents a major problem, as the work they have come to expect may simply not be there anymore. Your Business Development Team have a suite of services that are ideal for helping engineering and construction businesses rebuild their sales pipeline, putting enquiries and orders in the bank for 2021, 2022 and beyond. Here are a couple of examples.

Recently we supported a manufacturer of cement additives who were looking to expand from their very narrow customer base into supplying the industry distribution channel and directly to large contractors. By researching and contacting the key decision makers in the major builder’s merchants we were able to present the sales manager with appointments at 3 out of the top 4 builders’ merchants, giving our client access to sales in over 1,000 stores. At the same time, our lead generation and nurturing team were working to create understanding of their product at the end user, stimulating demand both directly and through the merchant channel.

YBDT has worked with Harrier Pneumatics over the last couple of years to help them prospect for new customers for their compressed air services. As well as targeting new customers with product led campaigns that open up new markets for Harrier, YBDT have developed a strategy for contacting existing clients to expand the range of services that they take. As with many engineering companies, most of Harriers customers were using them for only one or two of their services, simply because they were unaware that Harrier had other products available that they needed. This is a good illustration of how outsourcing these initial lead generation conversations to us, rather than relying on an already stretched sales team can produce great results, extending your reach with those who already know and like your business. You can read more about our work with Harrier here.

YBDT’s long experience in all aspects of sales and marketing support makes us the ideal partner for manufacturing and engineering 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.

Buying leads V outsourcing business development

If you are in sales or looking to grow your company, you must have read Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill who also said that ‘Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle’.

Whilst we would all like to make sales and acquire new customers with minimum effort on our part, this is not a realistic expectation. I agree with Napoleon that growth comes from continues effort, but I would add using a strategic approach to that. Whatever tools you use to generate leads and develop sales, you need to put effort into it to make it work. For example:

  • Referral partners: Many companies only sell through referrals and that’s a great strategy. A referral from a trusted partner means that you are much further down the line to getting the sale converted. However, to get a good referral partner on board you need to have spent a lot of time in meetings and networking with them first.
  • Content Marketing: Some companies use content marketing as a key inbound strategy. Often, it’s hard to tell if you get any results from this but when people have read your communication and spent time on your website it’s often easier to convert them into customers. Obviously, getting to the point where your content is both engaging and selling takes a lot of time and hard work.

I have spoken before about magic wands and silver bullets; in lead generation we often come across people looking for these. I am still taken aback when I get asked if we get paid for results only but I understand why people ask for this. When Pay Per Click (PPC) was introduced by Google in October 2000, it disrupted the lead generation market, as good products often do. As a result, many companies now expect to only pay for results, which is understandable from their point of view. However, any good lead generation campaign requires a good strategy, testing and measurement as well as lead qualification and nurturing to work. Which brings us back to the first point.

When you buy leads or pay for results you are only actually getting a part way in the sales journey and will still need to put a lot of time into qualifying and nurturing the opportunity in order to convert it. So, it is just a different way of going about your lead generation process where more of it depends on your own resource.

Next time you are considering a lead generation campaign, remember these three things:

  1. Generating the right leads from scratch takes a comprehensive understanding of your marketplace. You will need to consider your strategy and find a good partner to support you
  2. Whatever tactics you use to generate leads, they will need to be qualified and nurtured as part of the process
  3. Your campaign is only the start of the journey as developing new business takes time so be realistic on both your time scales and conversion expectations.

At YBDT we support you all the way from lead generation to selling, leaving less to chance. You can read more about how we do it here. As always, we are happy to support your lead generation effort so give us a call to discuss further.

Sales Performance – beyond the basics

In March we looked at some of the key drivers for sales performance where we made some suggestions in terms of guiding your thinking whilst selling to a changed market place. This month we are looking at improving your sales conversion by breaking down the points you need to address into manageable chunks.  This will make it easier to understand what support you need to progress in the new business world we are all operating in.

Focus: This builds on the “understanding” section of our previous piece. “Are we talking to the right people in the right organisations about the right things?” In 2021 we need to relearn everything about our potential clients. What we knew a year ago will not help us now. They are different, we are different. Focusing in on what is important to customers now will help you establish relationships with people who maybe were not on your radar in the old world.

Time: The one resource you can’t buy more of. As John H. Dean, Vice President at the Bank of America says; ‘just one hour a day used more productively adds up to more than six extra weeks of productive time a year’. By measuring every activity against its importance to your business goals, you can make every minute profitable. As we said in March, the first place to look are those goals themselves. Are they fit for purpose in 2021?

Ask, listen, and act: John H Dean explains it perfectly: ‘Better than any others, these three words summarise success in sales’. Making your questions relevant, and direct, listening to the responses and taking appropriate action are critical to converting potential to actual orders.

Ask, listen and act is also a good summary of how Your Business Development Team can support you. By helping you refine your goals through our business development strategy we can understand the right questions to ask your prospects. Listening to the answers perfects the nurturing and follow up process. Acting upon what we learn from each engagement with your potential clients enhances our delivery of your message to the people you need to buy from you.

The American general Creighton Abrams is credited with the rather dubious quote that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. While we certainly wouldn’t suggest this as a dining choice, the principle of taking a large problem and tackling it one piece at a time is sound business practice. Working with Your Business Development Team allows you to draw the resources you need from our team of professionals to solve the lead generation, sales nurturing, and conversion issues that are holding your business back. To learn more about how we can help get in touch