Author Archives: Yafit Davis

What would make your missed opportunities list in 2019?

Writing Blogs this time of the year has the added responsibility of saying something clever providing a useful slant on the year which is nearly finished. One of my favourite authors for key moments is Paulo Coelho as he really knows how to capture them. Here is one which is very apt for this Blog:

‘Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering…’

Being long in the tooth as I am, I have learnt not to beat myself up over missed opportunities. However, I think that learning from every situation is key. So, every December I make some time to consider and write down a list of my 12 biggest missed opportunities of the year, one for every month, along with the learning and changes I have implementing as a result. I find it very useful because there is always a few I forgot about or not done anything with. 

If you find time to do your list this December, I am sure that at least one of those opportunities will be about missing a sale because you did not follow up or kept in touch.  We all do it, it’s easy to do as we are all so busy most of the time. Another problem with following up relates to the above quote; With many leads it’s hard to know whether you should wait, chase or forget so we end up not knowing what to do. 

Another problem many of us are facing at the moment is the serious lack of decision-making taking place. The combination of election, Christmas and Brexit seem to have stopped many companies from going ahead with proposed plans which can be very frustrating if you are the supplier.  If you find yourself with an extensive pipeline but no decisions, here are a few things you could do other than tear your hair out:

  • Analyse your opportunities based on buying personas: I have written before about the importance of taking into accounts buying personas. According to DISC research only 35% of people make decisions fast which means that the rest don’t. This is key statistics to remember when considering how to best follow up with an opportunity. I find that colour coding your top opportunities is useful to managing your expectations and planning your next best step. Try it it’s worth the effort!
  • Start even more new conversations: This might sound like the definition of madness, but it actually stops you from obsessing too much with sluggish opportunities. Consider which target markets you might like to develop in 2020 and make a start as it can take a while. Here are some tips you might want to consider from a previous Blog. 
  • Follow up and nurture your leads: Many buyers I speak to often complain about the fact that salespeople move on and stop talking to them too quickly. Don’t be one of them, people are always happy to feel that they are wanted. Just make sure that you use the appropriate behaviour based on their buying persona as above. Watch this video for more information.

I hope this is useful and that you might find some time to write a list of your 12 key missed opportunities and learning in 2019. I will be very interested in any learning you have gained from this. 

In the meantime, If you are considering your business development plans for 2020, give me a call to discuss further. Have a lovely festive break and a prosperous 2020!

Our favourite 2019 B2B Marketing Campaigns

Well here we are nearly at the end of another year. As is traditional at this time of year I thought I’d take a look back on the year just gone and give you examples of some great B2B marketing campaigns. Here are my top three:

  1. My First choice is HubSpot. Providers of resources for social media and digital marketing on the Internet, plus a range of products for inbound sales. Considering what they do it shouldn’t be a great surprise they are one of the best success stories for the power of B2B social media marketing.

One of the reasons HubSpot stands out to me is they are one of the few companies whose e-mails I actually want to read, because I feel they will benefit me! So much so, HubSpot have a folder in my inbox so I can refer back to the e-mails when I have time. Most other promotional e-mails go straight to the deleted folder! For more details and facts and figures on HubSpot and other B2B social media marketing click here  

  1. Next up is a B2B video marketing campaign from ADOBE. With millennials increasingly in charge of business decisions, a video marketing campaign done right can change the way your brand accesses market space. My choice of a great example is the Adobe – click baby click campaign, see it here. It’s humorous, engages you straight away and I love the unexpected ending!

For more on this video and other great examples of video campaigns done over the years and what makes them work well visit this website

  1. Having just mentioned that millennials are now many of the decision makers in the business world, my final choice for a campaign turns the negative image portrayed of millennials on its head. Although not strictly B2B, I loved the way this campaign took the stereotypes associated with millennials and Gen Z and turned them round. This campaign crossed different media and included TV ads and posters. This was a highly effective and successful campaign with  applications to join the army doubling in the first month.    Click here to see a video of one of their TV campaigns 

I hope you liked my choices above. It will be great to hear about your top marketing campaign choices for 2019. Even better, get in touch and let us know what marketing campaigns were successful for your company this year.

In the meantime, If you are considering your business development plans for 2020, give me a call to discuss further. 

4 top SME marketing tools

There are several Marketing strategies available to SME’s, both online and offline, but it is important to decide which ones are best for your business. To do this you need to think carefully about who you are targeting. This in turn will determine what tools and tactics you should use.

In this article we looked at some digital marketing options. Of course, you don’t need to consider them all at once, but it is a good idea to have several marketing activities on the go to ensure a steady stream of leads.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

SEO is the process of optimizing your website to make it easier for search engines to crawl or “read.” By making small changes to your site and developing content that focuses on relevant keywords, you can work to rank higher on the search engine results page and therefore increase opportunities to drive new traffic to your site.

Improving your SEO will help improve your visibility online by ensuring that new buyers can find you on search engines like Google.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the process of creating and publishing quality content that is relevant to your target audience and provides value to them. It is important to know your audiences, challenges, needs and desires to develop good content marketing.

Content marketing focuses on the long-term, it helps build trust with your audience, promote a positive and foster powerful relationships with your leads and customers.

PPC Advertising/Facebook Advertising

PPC, or pay-per-click works just like it sounds, it is an online advertising model where you pay each time a consumer clicks on your ad content. Google AdWords is the main search engine for this as that is where most of your potential clients will be searching. PPC advertising works as a great supplement to your organic search efforts, allowing you to drive relevant traffic to your site immediately.

Facebook ads are a very effective and inexpensive way to advertise your products to nearly any niche audience, no matter what business you are in. Facebook allows you to target your audience very specifically.

E-mail marketing

Email marketing is a great way to stay top of mind within your customer base and send triggered communications to relevant customer segments.

Most consumers are not going to buy from you on their first visit to your website. So, it’s important to find ways to keep in touch with these potential clients. Once you have captured your visitors’ contact information, you can nurture these leads with e-mail marketing. E-mail marketing is also essential for keeping in touch with existing clients.

webinar invitation, or a special promotion.

I hope you found this useful though one of the main problems we come across when it comes to SME’s is the fact that they don’t do enough testing and measuring and spend their marketing budget looking for a magic bullet. If this resonates with you, we would like to invite you to attend our taster session for our new marketing workshops designed for SMEs. You can find more details and register here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/understand-improve-your-marketing-tickets-77266354747

5 top SME’s Off-line Marketing Strategies

Earlier this month, we looked at digital marketing strategies for SME’s. This blog details five additional marketing offline tools.  As before you need to consider what’s best for your business and think carefully about your target audience before deciding what may work best for you. Consider the following:

  • who is your ideal customer? 
  • How old are they?  
  • Where do they live? 
  • How they would look for your product/service?

Direct Mail

Direct mail marketing can still play an important role in your marketing strategy as online However you can’t just spam people and expect a return on your investment. Just like you need to compel people to click your blog post headline, you need to compel mail recipients to open your letters.  Be creative with what you send, make it standout. A coloured handwritten envelope for example is more likely to be opened than a standard typed envelope.

Telemarketing

Integrating telemarketing into the marketing mix especially in B2B marketing can be a highly effective means for generating leads and increasing sales. By integrating telemarketing before, during or after a direct or e-mail campaign, or digital project, you stand a better chance of creating a better impression, developing longer-lasting relations and gaining invaluable sales opportunities.

Business Networking 

Join a local business group. This is a great way develop relationships with like-minded business people. You can talk over ideas/issues, share referrals, find talent, and identify new opportunities and form strategic partnerships.

Referral Incentives

Referrals are one of the best ways to find new customers. Offer incentives to existing customers and staff to encourage them to get referrals for you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary, get creative!

Distribute Printed Materials

Physical advertising can still be an excellent way to promote your businesses. Flyers and leaflets are a lot harder to ignore than banners and ads on the computer. Also consider including discounts or offers on them to encourage people to try you out. It’s a great way to encourage a customer to make that first purchase from you.

If you want help implementing some marketing strategies to increase leads in your business, Your Business Development Team can help.  In particular, this month, we would like to invite you to attend our taster session for our new marketing workshops designed for SMEs. You can find more details and register here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/understand-improve-your-marketing-tickets-77266354747

Three key tips to a healthy sales pipeline

Here is an interesting quote from my favourite American author, salesman, and motivational speaker, the late Zig Ziglar:

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24-hour days”

Of all the ways that a manager can use to provide direction to his sales team, pipeline management is key for two main reasons:

  1. Managing your pipeline will have a direct effect on improved conversion so it’s time well spent
  2. Having a clean and accurate pipeline, makes reporting on new sales much easier and safer

But how do you go about ensuring your salespeople are managing their pipeline well? It might be an idea to consider the issues they are facing first; as I see it these are the main ones:

  • Poor time management.  Salespeople are not always the most organised and spend many hours of unproductive time on the road
  • Lack of clarity and strategy.  Salespeople are often bombarded with new tools, information and training but do not necessarily spend any time building their own strategy and plans.
  • Self-preservation.  Many salespeople use their pipeline as a shield to hide any issues they might be having. Many assume that if they can claim to achieve a ‘mega deal’ this year, all will be well.

So, what can you do to help your team then? Here are my key tips for sale pipeline management:

Tackle the busy fools in your team:

  • Review their schedules and help them develop a regular weekly plan or a default diary
  • Ensure they include productive office time in their week
  • Make them accountable through weekly reporting 

Introduce individual quarterly strategies:

  • Provide some planning training and mentoring
  • Create a unified template
  • Share good examples across the team
  • Make the weekly reporting session based on their plan 

Stop the fantasy culture in your team:

  • Pay higher bonuses to timely signed deals
  • Ensure they have other opportunities which they can prioritise in case the big one is delayed
  • Introduce a ‘no fear’ culture where everyone can come clean and get help
  • Celebrate failure as a key way to learn and move on

I realise these tips are not actually referring directly to pipeline management but in my opinion, these are the key behaviours that, managed well, can make a difference across the board. YBDT can help you consider how to train your sales team and provide them with the right tools. Click here for more details or get in touch.

What does a healthy sales pipeline look like?

According to research by Vantage Point, 60% of sales managers say that their company does a poor job of managing their sales pipeline, how do you rate yours?

A sales pipeline is a visual snapshot of where prospects are in the sales process. Sales pipelines show you how many deals salespeople are expected to close in a given week, month or year and how close you are to reaching targets.

If you have a pipeline worth £100,000 in contract value and your conversion rate, from lead to sale, is 10%, then you can expect to close £10,000 worth of new business.

If your sales target is £20,000, then you will need to convert twice as many leads.

This is where pipeline analysis comes in. If you can identify improvements within your pipeline that will help you move more prospects from one stage to another, then you’re going to be more successful in your business.

For B2B sales in particular, having a healthy sales pipeline allows you to:

  • Improve your sales process
  • Forecast future business results
  • Analyse different sales strategies for your business,
  • Review your progress for the current financial year
  • Know how far you are from your targets.

A sales pipeline plays a key role both in closing more sales deals and indicating the overall health and future direction of your company. Here are a few tips to manage your sales pipeline.

Follow up, follow up, follow up.

Buyers today have more choice than ever before and with it, they need more help to make the right decision and choose your product or service. The best sales people will make sure they keep following up with leads and keep following up.

Focus on the best leads

Concentrate your efforts on the best, most sales-ready, high value leads.

To help, you could sort your sales prospects from high to low, instead of by date so you can instantly see which leads are most valuable. Also, if you view your sales activities for each lead, you can identify which prospects are the most engaged.

Let go of the dead leads

It is important to know when to let go of a lead. A lead is dead when they clearly tell you they’re not interested. If you can’t contact them, or you’ve spoken to them repeatedly but have not been able to move them forward.

Recognise these dead leads quickly so you can move on. 

Regularly monitor your pipelineYour sales pipeline is changing all the time so you need to monitor the key sales metrics. This includes things like:

  • The number of deals in your pipeline
  • The average size of the deals in your pipeline
  • The average percentage of deals that you win (close ratio)
  • The average lifetime of a deal before it’s closed (sales velocity)

These metrics give you an ‘at a glance’ view of the health of your sales pipeline and your business.

Review pipeline processes

The best sales organizations regularly review their sales pipeline and techniques to make sure things are optimized to ensure maximum efficiency and success.

When it comes to the sales process, each stage can be looked at and adapted/improved over time. This can be done one bit at a time!

Keep your pipeline updated

Don’t let your sales pipeline can get messy and confusing.

It is important to keep details up to date on every single lead by adding regular notes and information for each stage of the sales process. This does mean more admin time, but if you use this time to remove dead leads or update outdated contact information, then it’s time well spent.

Above are just a few good practices for managing your sales pipeline, there are more!

If you would like to discuss ways of improving yours Your Business Development Team would be happy to have a chat and see if we can help.

And please share this article if you’ve found it useful.

How do you know which half of your marketing is working?

I assume many of you have heard this before: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half,” John Wanamaker (1838-1922).

Although this is an old quote, it is still very relevant and represents a source of great frustration for many companies. Marketing often seems like an endless pit which you must continue to spend on, regardless of the results you might get from it. Indeed, many companies I meet want us to provide guarantees that we can deliver results. To the marketeers and sales people that might sound problematic, however, not to an engineer who might spend 80% of their time ensuring processes deliver expected results.

This frustration leads many companies to decide not to spend any money on marketing and rely completely on existing clients and referrals. I think this is a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water. The good news is that there are many things you can do to measure your marketing results. Here are a few examples:

  1. Use a CRM system which has an effective dashboard, providing you with an overview of your pipelines and sales opportunities. Make sure that you are including an accurate picture across your sales process, for example new leads, prospects and opportunities. This means that you will be able see an accurate picture of your sales funnel.
  2. Use Google Analytics regularly to evaluate your website performance. Although it takes time to get your head around it, you can find a wealth of information from traffic fluctuation, website usage and sources. If you don’t have the time to do this yourself, ask your marketing company to help or get training.
  3. Ask for reports on any marketing activity you outsource and set up reports for any activities you carry out in-house. From Excel sheets to sophisticated tools such as Keyhole or Hootsuite, find the tool that works for you and use it.

 This is all very well and might help with the initial discussion, but today, statistics and numbers are relatively easy to get hold of. The real question is what it means and whether it’s any use to your business. Let’s say that you have had 500 more people land on your site through Social Media in quarter two; does this mean you are going to hit your sales target this quarter? Of course, the answer is, not necessarily, which brings us back to square one…

What can you do then to understand if your marketing is working?

Here is what I recommend:

  1. Have a plan and a strategy that you update regularly
  2. Get close with your marketing and understand how it works and what results it brings
  3. Ask the right questions about your results
  4. Be patient and realistic about time scales
  5. When in doubt, bring in an expert

 Hope this is helpful. As always, if you are looking to discuss your options or just for some advice do get in touch.

Staying in your comfort zone might not be an option

I recently came across a great quote which might offer some comfort to those of us who might find the unknown a little daunting: Today’s rain is tomorrow’s whisky, Scottish proverb

Whatever your opinion on current events, it is clear that we are dealing with the unknown. This is a difficult situation for businesses to face, hence the sheer number of planning guides popping up all over the place from everyone, including the Government’s latest PR campiagn. The question remains, 

what do you do to prepare your business for the changes afoot?

The answer to this depends very much on your company and who it trades with, which can prove complicated indeed. However, there is one thing every business can do at times like this: developing your new business sales and growing your pipeline with qualified opportunities. You might say that I am bound to say this given what we do but I think you will agree that it is a logical move.

Growing your new business sales, as we all know, is not particularly straightforward. Indeed, there are many reasons why not to: here are a few prime ones:

  1. Hiring or developing the resources required is expensive
  2. There are no guarantees that you will get a return on your investment
  3. You might have to make concessions or changes to your product to make sure it fits
  4. Developing new business takes a lot of time and effort

This is all true but at times like this you need to ask yourself what alternatives you have, ensuring you maintain your sales revenue. If you have other ways in which to develop business then use them but if not, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone – you never know it might prove to be your making.  

Talking about comfort zones, the picture above shows our tent whilst camping on Mull in August. I have included it here because it’s a prime example of me being out of my comfort zone. Camping is not my thing, especially not in Scotland where it rains very often. But on our recent holiday we decided to go for it, and it did rain indeed.  Still, I found that the view from the tent every morning was worth every drop and I gained a lovely experience which will stay with me. I can therefore say, from experience that I would strongly recommend both getting out of your comfort zone, and camping.

As always, if you are looking to discuss your options or just for some advice do get in touch.

What is your favourite B2B marketing strategy?

This week I have discovered that there is definitely something about the North Sea air that really clears your thoughts. I assume it’s the cold wind that hangs around even on a lovely sunny day. I am sat writing this during our summer holiday to the Scottish Island of Islay, a very peaceful and beautiful place indeed. We have just had a picnic and as you can see from the picture, I am ready for the Scottish summer. This means that my family can run around and enjoy the rock pools whilst I stay warm enough.

This brings me to the point of the Blog today which is all about diversifying and working with the conditions you are faced with. We all have a favourite marketing strategy which we tend to believe works for us. For some people it’s e-mail marketing, for others it’s Blogging and for quite a number of SME owners it’s repeat business and referrals. Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with this. If you have been in business for sometime you must be doing something right. 

Having said that, I believe you need to consider two important elements besides whatever it is that you think is working for you:

  1. Market circumstances do change and being able to foresee this in advance can help you prepare and diversify to ensure you are ready for the new situation.
  2. Measuring your results is very important as there is often a big difference between what you think a tactic is generating and what you actually get.

Just in case you haven’t considered the above before, here are a few things you can do going forward:

  • Changes to the market: None of us have a crystal ball but we can still react to change and create a plan B using a variety of tools such as:
  • Developing possible scenarios and analysing how they might affect both growth and business retention
  • Identifying some low-hanging fruit which are relatively straight forward opportunities you can capitalise on
  • Considering new products or services 
  • Considering new markets to tap into
  • Increasing your reach in your existing market 
  • Measuring your results: This is never an exact science but its is important nonetheless. Here are a few things you might want to consider:
  • Get to know how to use Google Analytics better
  • Learn how to use digital analytic tools for your Social Media activity
  • Make sure you and your team are using a CRM system to record any sales activity 
  • Run some surveys with existing clients 
  • Ensure you always ask new people where they heard of you

These are very broad ideas and I am sure that you and your team can come out with much more specific strategies. When you have, we will be very happy to support you in taking your new ideas to market. Click here to get in touch.

How long does your summer holiday really lasts?

Research into wellbeing points out that levels of burnout are increasing, work-life balance is getting worse and many of us experience stress like never before. If you look at it in this light, having some time off in the summer seems like a really good idea.

Most people must agree, which is why July and particularly August tends to be a quieter time at work. So far so good but the problem is that many take this to mean that they can have a break from marketing too. Go off line for a bit and save some money on on-going campaigns. Good for them. There is nothing wrong with some cost and time saving exercises, no one is listening anyway, right?

After all this build-up I am sure that you understand that I don’t quite agree. Before I am accused of being a sad person and a party pooper, let me explain why: I am all for going on holiday, in fact some people might tell you that I have more holidays than most. But that does not mean I stop looking for new business and working through my marketing plan. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Because of the level of exposure to content and easy access to work stuff, most people don’t switch off. Even if they don’t read work e-mails on their holiday, they will be thinking about the problems they need to solve when they get back in the office. Your Blog might just get in front of them at the right time.
  2. I have said this before about December but it’s also true about August: people don’t take the entire summer off, unless they are teachers, but when they are in the office they have less meetings so they are more available to take your calls. You never know, you might just be able to get hold of that prospect you have been chasing for months.
  3. Most importantly, a new sale does not start with the crunch, it starts with a load of other work designed to identify interest. This takes time and you always have to go through it first, unless you just want to sit tight and wait for sales to come to you that is. So if you stop all of the interest creation and new business activity you may well find that you don’t write any new business until January 2020. Can you afford to do this?

So, by all means, have your holiday and enjoy it. Try to switch off and leave all the worries and stress for when you get back. Before you go, make sure you schedule the Blogs to go out as normal, keep paying your marketing company and make sure someone is following up on all of this activity. This just might help with your stress levels when you get back.

If you need help augmenting your resources this summer, check out how we can help here.