Author Archives: Yafit Davis

GDPR monster

GDPR is coming – Three considerations to get your business ready

In his new book, Mapping Innovation, Greg Satell came up with some very clever insights regarding innovation. If you have not read it, here is his conclusion: ‘Many organizations get stuck because they end up locking themselves into a single strategy. Every strategy fails eventually because you have to match solutions to problems, not the other way around.’

The book is essentially about using technology to develop new products, solving problems that current products cannot fix. However, this attitude is true for most things in your organisation, marketing being one of them. The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which is coming into effect next May is one such problem that cannot be fixed using old techniques unless you want to be penalised and risk being fined.

As I wrote in my last Blog, GDPR will essentially force you to focus on the right target markets and communicate well with them which is not a bad thing. Still, this can seem like it’s easier said than done so here are a few things to consider if you are going to get your business ready for the new regulations:

  1. You will need to invest time and resources into inbound marketing. Yes, this old chestnut again I am afraid. Inbound marketing is about writing engaging content, sharing your knowledge and generally being seen as a helpful expert in your marketplace. This does not mean you stop selling but rather than constantly sending hard core sales messages, you create interest in your brand which in turn makes it more attractive to buyers. This strategy will be key to retaining more contacts on your marketing database, through generating a higher level of consent.
  2. You will need to consider your lead generation strategy and come up with alternative tactics to approaching new business. However good your content is, you will still need to approach new markets and let them know you exist. As e-mail marketing use for new business is going to be restricted, you need to review and choose other tactics available such as traditional and digital advertising, direct mail, telemarketing and so on. The best way to do this would be to go back to your lead generation strategy and go from there. If you don’t have an up to date strategy, it may well be time to consider drawing one up.
  3. Consider how you manage your databases and what data you keep. In short, you will need to consider what databases you keep and which you delete. GDPR is going to make keeping and collecting personal data for the sake of it unattainable so make sure you review it accordingly.

I agree that this is a challenge that will take some thinking to get over and create a new innovative solution but, with some 42% of B2B marketers saying that a lack of quality contact data is the single biggest barrier to lead generation, I think it will be worth it.

The good news is that we have come up with a GDPR Package designed to support the shift in your lead generation approach.  Click here for more details or get in touch for a chat.

 

GDPR

GDPR: Why does it matter to you as a business owner?

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) legislation, which will be enforced in the UK from May 2018, has been described by many as the biggest shake-up of data procedures in 20 years and this applies to all areas in which you obtain and use data in your business. There are lots of reasons why you should know more about this, including some eye-watering fines making this new legislation non-negotiable indeed.

Yet, as it covers the complex subject of data protection, GDPR is cumbersome and full of fairly ambiguous statements which mean that reading it makes for a poor pastime. However, you will be pleased to know that there are masses of commentary and easier to read Blogs online, which can help improve your understanding of the new legislation.  As my business is affected hugely by this, I have spent a long time researching GDPR in order to understand the main changes and implications: so here are some Q&A’s to get you started:

Q: What is the point of this new legislation?

Since many technological advances have been made since the current Data Protection Act was written, it has become necessary to provide better protection to individuals in the light of the development of malpractice concerning big data. GDPR has therefore set out to ensure that the processing of data is done lawfully and fairly, and is collected for explicitly legitimate purposes, whilst making sure the data is adequate, accurate, and retained for only as long as necessary

 Q: What areas will it affect in my business?

Marketing is only one area of your business that needs to be aligned to the regulation.   The extent of work required to develop policy and processes as well as to ensure you have the right IT infrastructure in place to protect data flows throughout your organisation, needs careful consideration.

Q: How will it affect my marketing and lead generation activities?

It affects marketing in three critical areas:

  1. The consideration of opt-ins, opt-outs, and consent regarding communications. The GDPR mandates that consent must be ‘freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous’, and articulated by a ‘clear affirmative action’. That means you can’t assume consent based on ‘inactivity’, and that a pre-ticked box isn’t going to cut it. Prospects and customers must agree that their data can be used and that they can be contacted.
  2. Individuals will have the right to be forgotten. The GDPR is designed to offer more control to individuals over how their data is collected and used – and this means giving them some means of accessing and removing their data. They can do this when there’s no legitimate reason to process their information, when they withdraw consent for it to be used on the original terms, and when it’s been unlawfully processed.
  3. The legal basis for processing personal data. Practically speaking, this will necessitate better housekeeping of the data you hold and less collecting data for unnecessary, or frivolous reasons.

I know it sounds like a major headache but this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Collecting data indiscriminately doesn’t benefit your marketing results: it hinders them. Some 42% of B2B marketers believe that a lack of quality contact data is the single biggest barrier to lead generation. Making sure you are focusing on the right target markets and communicating well with them, is therefore a good thing and if the GDPR provides some incentive for that, then we should embrace it and make the most of it.

Direct mial and e-mail

Direct mail and e-mail marketing: when to use which?

You might be wondering why I am dedicating so much time to considering e-mail v direct mail recently. Apart from the fact that I think it is always important to consider the tactics you use and these are two big ones for lead generation, I am also gearing up for the new data protection regulations (GDPR) which will affect the use of e-mail marketing campaigns as a major tactic. As always when there is a shift in the market I think business owners need to be prepared and weigh up their options so I thought I will put a few ideas your way.

My last Blog explored much of the comparison statistics covering the use of e-mail as opposed to direct mail, highlighted some interesting facts. However, this Blog will give you a few ideas as to when to use these tactics effectively when developing new business;

When should you use e-mail marketing?

Being quick, cost effective and direct, e-mails are a great way of presenting information, creating an interest and keeping contacts up to date with your latest information. In fact, according to numerous survey people prefer to hear about new companies and new products via e-mails. For example, you could use e-mails for the following;

  • To keep regular contact with clients, prospects and contacts letting them know what you are up to and imparting knowledge to add value
  • To promote a seminar or an event which is relevant to the readers
  • To make initial contact with a new target market using a relevant and helpful style communication

When should you use direct mail?

Direct mail campaigns are more expensive to produce and send if you want to ensure that it looks right. It can also be harder to gauge in terms of results unless you follow up by telephone. It is for this reason that you should use direct mail when you want to make a difference and an impact on your target market. For example you can use direct mail for the following:

  • To launch a new product, service or office
  • To approach a completely new target market
  • To send vouchers and other appropriate gifts
  • To offer very personalised advice which will make your offer stand out

What is the best approach to take?

You know what is coming now, don’t you? The best approach depends on what you are trying to achieve and who you are approaching… Still, I would try and introduce a variety of touches in each campaign to increase your return. So for example you can send an e-mail to your list followed up with a direct mail campaign and a telephone follow up. There are lots of innovative ways you could utilise to create the right impression and maximize on your return.

Overall it is important to remember that a successful campaign takes an investment of both time and money. You need goals, strategy and a plan and then you need a little patience to get things going.

As always, happy to discuss further: here is some information about our strategic planning offer. Otherwise just drop me a line or share what works for you in your business.

E-mail V Direct Mail

E-mail v Direct Mail. Which is better?

Lewis Carrol once said that ‘the proper definition of a man is an animal that writes letters’. Yet according to a recent survey, the number of letters we receive is just 0.01% of the amount of emails that are sent each and every day around the globe!

I suppose the reason is partly due to the fact that the world has changed a great deal since Lewis Carrol’s time and we now live in a world where e-communication has taken over all aspect of our lives. This of course, relates greatly to marketing and has caused many to declare direct mail as dead, reflecting the sharp decline of letters and direct mail sent out year on year.

When it comes to direct marketing, why would you not use e-mail marketing, it has lots going for it? Review the following stats:

  • 43% of people surveyed said they would rather hear from companies they have not worked with before via e-mail
  • 64% would rather hear of your additional products and services via e-mail
  • 62% would prefer to hear about your news and updates via e-mail

In addition e-mail marketing is:

  • Cheap, fast and efficient which makes for a much better ROI
  • Very easy to analyse in terms of the response and level of engagement
  • Easy to automate and set follow up systems for

However, before you write off direct mail all together, it has quite a few things going for it according to some reading I have done recently. In fact, the one thing that stood out for me is the fact that in a fast paced world where 74 trillion e-mails are sent every year compared with only 13.8 million letters, a letter can be perceived as a novelty item and something your company invested in which some of your target markets might find very appealing. Here are some stats to back it up:

  • In terms of ROI the average return on every £1 spent on e-mail campaigns is £7 whilst direct mail returns £38.
  • 79% of recipients act on direct mail straight away compared with 45% of e-mail recipients
  • Direct mail generates 10% more customers than e-mail

I think that, like me, you might feel a little different regarding using direct mail now you have read these stats, won’t you? This is by no means an advert for direct mail over e-mail just a helpful comparison and a strong recommendation that they both have their place in your marketing plan. Once more it all comes back to three main considerations:

  • Your target market
  • Your goal
  • The nature of your communication

Another thing to consider if you are an avid e-mail marketing user is the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that are coming into effect in May 2018. These regulations will limit your ability to target companies you don’t already work with on e-mail unless you have their explicit permission to do so. That said, other forms of direct marketing such as direct mail and telemarketing may be making more of a comeback than you might expect.

It will be good to hear your views on e-mail v direct mail marketing. As always I will be happy to have a chat about your direct marketing strategy so get in touch.

 

Marketing follow up strategy

What is your follow up style?

A while ago, I wrote about sales styles and the importance of using the right style with your client. It occurred to me that we don’t often think about our follow up style and whether it fits our customer’s personality style. A lot has been written about personality styles and there are many ways and models that help identify your personality style. Broadly, these models measure peoples’ personalities by evaluating communication styles and decision making tendencies. Both of these elements are very important when it comes to selling in general but particularly crucial for following up.

Now, some of you may raise an eyebrow or two regarding this. I mean a follow up is just a follow up. Well in my opinion if you get the follow up wrong you could seriously damage your conversion rate. So, what constitutes getting your follow up wrong: ·

  • Not following up at all·
  • Following up too soon·
  • Following up too often·
  • Pushing too hard for a decision ·
  • Not pushing at all

Based on this, you could say that there is a very big chance of getting it wrong because it’s impossible to find a one fits all process and you will be right. So, how do you create a follow up system in your business? Here are a few ideas you might want to consider:

  1.  Before you submit a proposal, agree a suitable time to follow up with your client
  2. Regardless of this, make sure you call to confirm receipt of your document and reiterate when you will speak again
  3. When you call for an update and your prospect is yet to make a decision, ask them what needs to happen in order for this to happen and by when. Make a note and call again based on this timeline
  4. Use a variety of touches for your follow up, including telephone, e-mail and LinkedIn
  5. Always communicate with your prospect, giving them a chance to give you feedback and tell you how to continue speaking to them
  6.  Don’t stop following up until you have a definitive answer but make sure you give your prospect space as we are all busy.

If you take nothing else from this Blog, remember that following up is essential and make sure you consider how your customer would like to be approached.

As always I am happy to speak further if you wanted some advice on following up and other lead generation matters so get in touch.

Following up marketing

Following up is not much fun

This scenario happens to me a lot: I have a meeting with a new prospect which goes really well and they ask for a proposal. I come back to the office thinking I have a deal. I send the proposal through and then the anticipation begins. In my head I have already got a new client but they choose this moment to have second thoughts.

It is at this moment in the sales process that many people decide to give up and lose faith in their product, their ability to sell or both. When this happens to me I remind myself of the sales funnel which goes something like this:

  1. Target market audience becomes interested in a product through marketing, they then become leads and enter the sales funnel
  2. The leads move further in the funnel through additional marketing touches. Through this process they learn more about your product
  3. At some stage they become interested enough and agree to meet up and discuss further. At this stage they become prospects.
  4. The first meeting, even if it goes well, is often not the point at which the sale happens. This is because it is at this stage that costs are provided and this means that the prospect enters another stage in the decision making process.

Highlighting this process actually clarifies the need for follow up at this stage often more than once. Giving up at this stage is foolish as the prospect has not yet made a decision and lack of communication may harm the trust you worked so hard to build.

Yet so many people I meet are scared of following up so they create a strategy around the need for the customer to make the first move. This is about as useful as sending out e-mails and not calling engaged readers or not following up on referrals.

Following up is essential because your potential client is expecting you to follow up and help them through the decision-making process. So, make sure you do and if you are worried about becoming a nuisance, agree the best time to call.  Don’t stop until you get an answer and even if it’s negative for now, find out when you should call again.

Do you identify with any of this? It will be good to hear your best practice when it comes to following up.

 

Start up strategy plans

Monopoly v. competition, or why do new start-ups need a business development strategy too?

I have made two, great new discoveries recently. Audible (old hat I know) and Peter Thiel’s recent book, Zero to One.  Peter Thiel, who famously created and sold Paypal, states in his book that new technology of all types is more important than globalisation. This is because the latter is based on taking a product that was successful in one place and making a success of it in wider geographic markets. Doing this at the expense of progress says Thiele, is unsustainable based on existing resources.

The book goes on to say that vertical growth, which defines creating a new product from scratch is much harder and can be described as moving from zero to one, whereas improving an existing product can be described as moving from one to ten.

Having recently joined NatWest’s Entrepreneurship mentoring program, E-Sparks, this really struck a chord with me. Having met so many people, young and old, who are trying to make their new concept a success, has made me think hard about developing new products. Listening to Thiele’s book has actually given me a new understanding in terms of which ideas are an improvement on existing technology and which are new technologies.

I always enjoy learning new ideas and concepts and I highly recommend that you read (or listen) to Zero to One for this reason. However, I wanted to draw your attention to a particular concept which is key to any Entrepreneur;

In the book, Thiel describes a common mistake many start-ups make, which is to describe their market so narrowly that they dominate it by definition. I could not agree more, we all want to prove that our product is unique because that means that we have a monopoly over our market. Still, sometimes we get so caught up in telling our story of uniqueness we forget to consider if our niche market actually exists at all.

Let me leave you with one last killer quote from the book: ‘If you lose sight of competitor reality and focus on trivial differentiation factors, you are unlikely to build a successful business’.

So let’s bring this back to business development strategy, how is it connected? Well, a big part of it should consider your opportunities in the market place and how your product actually fits in with the existing market. Ask these questions early enough and you will avoid making the said common mistake.

I am currently developing a start-up business development plan and looking for Guinee Pigs to work with. So, if you own a start-up or you know someone who does, get in touch.

Telemarketing scripts

Telemarketing scripts-why are they useful?

You have probably never heard of him, but Alan Lakein, the writer of several self-help books on time management from the 1970s, once said that ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’. This is true about most things including your telemarketing campaigns.

Due to the fact that I run a lead generation company, I am increasingly developing my experience in running telemarketing campaigns and a big part of the planning of such a campaign is creating a script. Telephone scripts have a bad name because people generally associate them with call centres and disengaged telephone operators. Despite that, I can categorically say that having a script is key to a successful telemarketing campaign.

However, there is a caveat to this statement: we are not talking about any old script but a good one. So what should a good telemarketing script consist of? Here are a few points:

  • It identifies the best approach for the campaign, depending on your goal and target market
  • It highlights the outcomes you are looking for
  • It contains an opening statement, stating the reason for calling, as well as a hook to capture attention and help start a conversation
  • It details the questions you would like to ask, covering the information you are most interested in finding out from your prospect
  • It includes a closing statement to leave the right impression and agree next steps

Having this kind of script would ensure that you are more likely to get a positive, useful outcome to your telemarketing campaign because it is geared towards growing your target market understanding. In addition, there are a few additional key factors you should consider including:

  • Using a positive tone in cold calls: It doesn’t matter what you say if you say it without conviction or passion. A study found that human behaviour was only influenced by words to the tune of 7% whilst tone accounted for 38%. Therefore, a fundamental factor in your successful telemarketing script is the way it is delivered to the prospect.
  • Objection handling techniques: it is inevitable that buyer objections will arise and you need to deal with them. Questions are key to qualify and clarify objections. If you do this, some will simply dissipate. If you’ve identified a valid objection, you then need objection handling skills to manage the situation. Consider and plan for the most common objections and your response. That way, you won’t be caught out and you will be more confident of success.

If you read my recent Blogs you will have hopefully gathered that I am not a massive fan of measuring success by the number of appointments made. Telemarketing is a great tool and if used correctly it will save you time and money.  It might even get you some leads.

If you have not had much success with telemarketing in the past whether you run it in-house or outsource it, why not get in touch to see if we can help make it work better for your business.

 

 

B2B Lead Generation

B2B lead generation – is it different to B2C?

Einstein famously defined madness as ‘doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results’. Lead generation activities always make me think about this because you are doing the same activities every month but surprisingly, you start to get better results the longer you do it.

Still, Einstein makes a very valid point, as you need to make sure that you are measuring and testing throughout thus evolving and improving your activities.  One very important thing to do is to identify if you are targeting consumers or businesses. Here is a summary of the main differences in approach between B2B and B2C lead generation.

What is the same?

  • Understanding your target markets: Regardless of your product you need to start any marketing activity by considering your target markets in detail. Notice that I am talking about a multitude here, the more specific the better the engagement.
  • Choosing the right channels: Don’t forget that content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants… I often talk about the ever-growing choice of tactics out there. Don’t get confused, use it to your advantage.
  • Creating engaging communications: Regardless of your industry, find the questions your clients are asking or the pain they are feeling and provide them with an answer.

What’s different?

Target market size: B2C lead generation initiatives often cater to a broad audience. Unlike in B2B where the decision rests with top management, everyone is a customer with purchasing power in B2C.

Sales cycle: The amount of time and resources dedicated to a purchase are often larger in the B2B world. This makes the sales cycle longer, which can take months or even years to complete. B2C sales cycles and transactions tend to be much shorter and usually involve far less money.

Product knowledge: B2B customers are usually more knowledgeable because they tend to do a lot more research before making a purchase than B2C customers. This means that they typically require more valuable content including free case studies, infographics, and white papers to nudge them along the sales funnel.

On the other hand, marketers often tap into B2C customers during their “buying phase.” Lead generation content for B2C often come in the forms of promotions, unique offers, and personal messaging.

Pitch: Since B2B’s primary currency is trust, products or services are sold through professional (and sometimes personal) relationships that are built over time. B2B clients often make purchases from people they know personally or from individuals with which they’ve built a professional relationship.

On the other hand, B2C products and services make sales through price perception and quality. Customers rarely know individual representatives within a company before making a purchase decision.

To illustrate the case further, here is a list of popular strategies:

B2B strategies:

  • E-mail marketing
  • Seminars and workshops
  • Developing contacts through LinkedIn
  • Content marketing – blogs, articles, white papers, guides, Q&A
  • Telemarketing

 B2C strategies:

  • Social Media
  • Lead magnets, Landing pages and newsletters
  • Memberships and clubs
  • Content marketing – quizzes, promotions, special offers
  • Adwords and Social Media advertising (PPC)

I hope you find my interpretation useful and if so I would be grateful if you would share this with your contacts.

If you would like to consider any of these ideas further and want some help doing so you could consider our sales and marketing plan or get in touch to discuss.

Telemarketing tips

Telemarketing tips: Forget making appointments, build your target market knowledge

 

One of my favourite motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar, once said: “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

This is true in most situations but I think it is particularly important to remember when attempting to use the telephone to follow up on sales leads, also known as telemarketing, telesales and cold calling.

In a previous blog I attempted to persuade you to outsource your telephone follow-up. I still believe you should. Whilst you and your team are the best people to represent your brand, your time is much better spent speaking and meeting with actual sales opportunities. If you spent five minutes reading any sales success books you will know all about sales funnels and pipelines. Here are two main things to remember about lead generation:

  • When it comes to developing new business, your marketing campaigns represent the very start of the journey. Creating interest is great but there are still quite a few stages to go through before you can call it a sales lead
  • The more touches you add to your sales process the more likely you are to develop the kind of relationships you are after
  • The more information you uncover about your target market the better

So where am I going with this? Well, I would recommend that you consider all of the above when it comes to arranging your next telephone campaign, be it in-house or outsourced.  Most business owners get so caught up with measuring results that they narrow the desired outcome to making appointments.  Here are a few reasons why it does not work:

  • Most telemarketing campaigns are done as a follow-up to a number of communications, typically done by e-mail, often to new contacts who may have not heard of you or considered your product before. This means that when they are called they are not in buying mode so pushing for an appointment is a little premature.
  • Due to a lot of product information being found online, most buyers are less keen on sales meetings per se and feel they would benefit more from speaking to a product expert who can answer their questions

Is telephone follow up a waste of time then? No, not at all. It is a great tool and an important touch, which adds value to any marketing activity as long as you understand what it is best used for:

  • As a tool to clean up your database and identify broad opportunities and dead ends
  • As a way to speed up your understanding of your target markets and how they perceive you
  • As a relationship building tool

If you are interested in learning more about effective use of telemarketing strategy, you might want to come along to a joint seminar I am holding with my friends at MacArthur Davies on Friday 3/03/17 covering the secrets to telemarketing success.  Click here to find out more and register.