Category Archives: Lead generation

These blogs focus on our lead generation services, as well as discussions of the latest methods and tips.

Crisis Lead Generation tips from YBDT

In the past few weeks since the UK has gone into Lock-down, we have been posting tips to help companies consider their marketing during the Coronavirus crisis. Here is a summary of the latest tips in case you missed them:

Tip #1: DON’T STOP YOUR MARKETING ACTIVITIES

As part of ‘doing my bit’ in the current crisis, I have decided to share some daily insights and tips to help your thinking and plans regarding marketing. My first tip is simply to keep your marketing communication channels open.

 I know that everyone is looking at cutting costs and stopping your marketing can be very tempting in this context. However, I think it is useful to remember two things:

  1. If you want to carry on trading, you need to let people know you are working and able to support them still.
  2. This is a time-bound situation, whilst we don’t know how long it will last, we know it will finish. Trust me, once this happens you will want to have a sales pipeline.

Tip #2: FIND YOUR PARTICULAR CRISIS MESSAGE

I see a lot of online conversations about whether you should mention Covid 19 in your marketing content or not. In my opinion, the crisis is so whole-consuming that you have to make reference to it. That said, you will need to find your own voice and decide how you approach it. A few examples I liked today:

  1. Our client, Sentinel Group Security are looking at ways of supporting front line organisations free of charge
  2. My colleague, Adam Young from Fine Young Films, offering a home-made video editing service
  3. Here is our special offer to support companies in the transition to remote working: https://www.yourbizdevteam.co.uk/telephone-services.php

Tip #3: SET SOFTER TARGETS TO YOUR LEAD GENERATION CAMPAIGNS

I often have to manage my clients’ expectations at the best of times let alone in the middle of an unprecedented crisis. Most companies are not in a position to make any purchases right now. This does not mean you should stop all lead gen activities and focus on existing business only. Ask yourself two questions:

  • What can you do which is relevant and helpful right now?
  • Who will benefit most?

There is nothing wrong with offering free of charge or reduced cost services in the spirit of supporting each other. Make sure it is done strategically and within a framework you are happy to support. Then let your prospective clients know what you are doing and target your team to start some useful conversations with new prospects they have not spoken to before.

To let you in on a professional secret, this kind of target is a good one to have anytime. in my experience, all sales start with a useful conversation so make sure you are having lost of them now. This will definitely put you in a better place to develop new business when we are back to normal trading again.

Tip #4CHOOSE THE RIGHT MARKETING TOOLS TO SUPPORT YOUR MESSAGE

If you are looking at running some marketing campaigns at the moment, choosing the right tools to support your message is very important. I have already recommended here that you have a specific approach and message which is relevant to the situation. As part of this process, you will have decided who will be your target markets for this which puts you in the right place to choose your tools.

I am not suggesting that you have to choose one marketing tool only; you can run a number of campaigns using different tools and tactics. In many ways the tools and tactics you use are all relevant as long as they appeal to your target markets and convey your message correctly. Have I managed to confuse you yet?

Here are a few examples to make my point clearer:

  1. If your marketing message is all about reassuring your clients that you are here to support them and still open for business, you may want to choose a personal email with a telephone follow up. This will help you to convey a more personal message aimed at companies with whom you have an established relationship. You will also gain invaluable information through speaking to your clients and understanding their main challenges.
  2. If you are running a webinar to provide business support to companies which is open to all companies in a specific industry, you are better off using Social Media, and LinkedIn in particular, to appeal to decision makers in the relevant industry.

I hope this is helpful to your current thinking. As always, I am happy to have a chat and share the insights we are gathering from the campaigns we are running for clients at the moment.

About Social Distancing and marketing

The current situation we find ourselves in reminds me of a famous quote from Albert Einstein: ‘The measure of intelligence is the ability to change’. One of the proofs to this is the use of the new term, Social Distancing. A few weeks ago, none of us really knew what it meant. Today we are already looking at how we can improve our productivity working from home and considering how we can run effective meetings online. Moreover, if you key ‘Social Distancing’ into Google you get a whole load of great images you can use in your blogs and articles.

I am not making light of the situation; it is a worrying time to many of us whilst we struggle to make sense of it all. When we hit stressful and unknown times in business, decision makers tend to respond in two different ways:

  1. Looking at the situation in the short-term context and evaluating what is best for their company in this light.
  2. Looking at the situation in the long-term context and evaluating what is best for their company in this light. 

The first group will generally put a stop to any expense which they view the business can survive without at the present time whereas the second group will want to stick to business as usual as much as possible. I believe that at the moment the answer is somewhere in the middle, which might sound confusing but is probably the best way to look at things. 

We are already seeing many examples of cancelations and delays in expected contracts and orders. The easiest thing would be to make panic decisions. I try to look at the detail and context to help me make sense of it all. Consider the following:

  1. Is your industry or any of your clients’ industries directly affected by current or future limitations imposed?
  2. Can you approach your clients in a pro-active way to see how you can work through the situation in a way that is beneficial to all?
  3. Are there any new/ updated services you can offer which might be more helpful at the current state of affairs?

Once you are clear if you can carry on working, with whom and what is your ‘best Covid 19 slant’ you can then decide what taps you must shut and what taps you should keep going. 

Before I end this blog, I wanted to remind you that lead generation is a tap you should consider keeping open. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. When there are less available opportunities to do business, you need to cast your net wider and tap into additional opportunities.
  2. This situation is not going to last forever and stopping your lead generation would mean you will have a much bigger hole to climb out of then.

I hope this is helpful even if only as a moment of distraction from the doom and gloom.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch and discuss your options.

New leads versus new sales what is the difference?

To some of you it may seem a rather obvious thing to say but a lead and a sale are two different things and accordingly need different treatment. I often come across businesses confusing the two and ending up losing a good lead that could have turned into a sale or spending too much time working on an unqualified lead because they thought they had a sale they didn’t!

A lead may eventually turn in to a sale but there is a process it needs to go through to get there.

Typically, you communicate to leads en masse, a lead could be a contact on a bought list, a card you picked up from a networking event, referrals, respondents to advertising/social media campaigns or someone who has filled out a contact from on your website.

Trying to sell to a lead too early can lose you a potential sale. For example, collecting business cards at a networking event then going back to your office and contacting them as if you have spoken to them and know them and their needs and trying to sell to them is a big no no! 

The simple but necessary process to turn a lead in to a sale means your leads become prospects, which can be turned into an opportunity and then finally closed in to a sale. Below is a brief outline of what needs to be done at each stage:

  1. Leads need to be treated with a care and respect, they need to be nurtured. You need to communicate with the lead on a one to one basis and encourage them to engage with you so you can learn more about them. You can do this with e-mails or telemarketing for example. If a lead engages in two-way communication this suggests they have real potential to buy from you. The lead then becomes a prospect. 
  2. A prospect has the potential to become an opportunity, to make a sale. So next you need to determine if they have a challenge you can help with and whether your product can bring them any value. Therefore, when handling a prospect you need to determine 
  • How much do they know about your product/service?
  • What do you know about their specific challenges?
  • What do they understand about how your product/service could help them?
  • Do they have a budget?
  • Would they appreciate a proposal?

If a prospect decides to consider your proposal or solution to their challenge they become an opportunity and are one step closer to becoming a new sale and a new client. An opportunity is a qualified prospect you have made a detailed proposal to with a specific cost. If the opportunity you present is accepted and agreed you now have a SALE and a new client. Now is the time to start providing them with your product/service!

So, in summary leads, prospects, opportunities and sales are all different but all part of the same process. It is important to differentiate between the stages so you can make sure your marketing and sales strategy is doing the right thing at the right time! If you would like help understanding the stages and developing your sales process please get in touch with Your Business Development Team. We are here to help and be a part of your team. It’s what we do! E-mail me at yafit@yourbizdevteam.co.uk 

Lead generation and selling: what’s more important?

One thing that has stood out for me in the recent Corona Virus scare, is an interview with the Chinese ambassador to the UK in which he said that the Chinese word for crisis is made of two symbols, one meaning ‘danger’ and the other ‘opportunity’. Famously used by JFK in a speech in 1959, this idea is often used in motivational speeches. However, having done some research, I learnt that, strictly speaking, the above is not actually true but like many other marketing slogans, it still works as an inspirational idea.

Sales are often connected with opportunities and risks which, whilst exciting for some, can be confusing at best and a headache at worst to others. This is why many companies stay away from new business sales and focus solely on developing existing business. As a whole, this is not a bad strategy but it can be limiting in terms of potential growth. If you have decided to dip your toe in new business sales however, there are two different elements you need to consider in order to make it happen;

  1. Lead generation
  2. Sales

In our previous Blog this month, we explained why the two are closely connected, yet very different processes. In this Blog, I wanted to look at the process and how you should approach it for best results;

Three things are very important to consider when it comes to setting your sights on new business sales:

  1. Target markets’ strategy: Understanding who you are targeting and why is key for a successful campaign.  Just making a start and going to market is easier but almost certainly not better. I would definitely recommend that you spend time considering and planning before you start. 
  2. Budget, expectations and time scale: New business development, particularly in B2B environments, takes time. You need to be realistic about how long it will take to get meaningful leads and convert them. This needs to be reflected in the budget you set for the project. 
  3. The quality of your sales operation: If your lead generation strategy is working, your conversion rate will almost certainly drop. This is absolutely not because your leads are no good, though you should always test and measure them. This is because when you have more leads, your sales process and techniques come under strain and reveals problems and bottlenecks. Make sure you review these and make changes when required.

As a lead generation agency, we are often at the sharp end of new business sales and we have seen many campaigns succeed and almost as many fail in our time. This is why we understand how important are the above factors to the success of your growth. 

So next time you get worried about your new business sales make sure you look for failures across the entire process, then implement new tactics, check again, change and so on.  Remember what Leo Tolstoy wrote in Anna Karenina; ’If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content’. Celebrate your success and learn from your failures and most importantly, apply patience.

Click here to see how we helped one of our clients, Driving Vision, to achieve the right blend of lead generation and sales which contributed to their growth in their first year of operation. 

Lead generation V selling what is the difference?

“Don’t count the things you do, do the things that count.”

I love this quote…too many people are rushing round being busy but achieving little. You have to work smart not just hard! This applies to your lead generation and sales processes too.

Lead generation and selling work hand in hand not against each other.  Lead generation tends to be sending out a message to many and selling is likely to be one on one. Your marketing & lead generation activity provides the leads, so your sales people can then take them through the sales process and make the deal!

The lead generation process:

  • Obtain Leads – Begin by attracting prospects to your website by generating engaging content that can be shared through various marketing channels, where ever your potential customers are active
  • Nurture Leads – Once you have captured the prospects contact information, you have a lead. it is now important to nurture them and build up a relationship with them.
  • Evaluate Each Lead – It is important to know which leads are more valuable, so you can focus more of your attention on the ones that are more likely to become customers.
  • Pass Leads to Sales – When the leads have been, captured, nurtured and desire created by the marketing team it is time to pass the lead on to the sales team to convert in to a sale.     
  • Review Lead Generation Process – Constantly review your lead generation process to ensure it is as effective as it can be.

When the prospect has been turned in to a lead, nurtured and qualified, it is ready for…

The sales process: 

  • Make contact – Get in touch and start building rapport.
  • Find the need/pain – Talk to the prospective client about his business, his issues, find out what problems he has that your product/service can help with.
  • Offer Solution – Show them how your product/service offers them a solution to the problem they have or how your product/service will benefit their business.
  • Overcome Objections & Close the Sale – Objections aren’t always a no, see them as a request for more information. 
  • Maintain your relationship – Keep in contact with the client, make sure they are happy. Happy clients will bring repeat business and referrals.

Businesses need a consistent flow of good quality leads in their sales funnel, so your sales team have plenty of opportunity to make deals, and increase sales revenue.

 A lead generation strategy is essential for a successful business. There are a number of ways to generate leads, some of which have been discussed in previous blogs. Take a look at 4 SME Marketing Tools  or 5 top SME’s off-line marketing strategies . What is most important is working out what works best for your business and having a plan in place to create consistent leads. 

However, don’t just think of leads in terms of quantity, quality is essential also! This is why it is vital to think long and hard about who your prospective clients are and the best way to reach them and what the right message is to send them. See my recent blog on being clear on who your target market is.

Once a prospect has been turned in to a lead, you can use them for various purposes such as data list building, e-newsletter list acquisition or for sales leads. A good lead generation plan and quality leads will not only increase sales, it will help generate awareness of your product/service, target desired clients and collect important information about prospects.Why not take a moment and consider whether you have a good lead generation plan (or any) for your business? If not, don’t panic, we can help you put one in place or maybe make improvements to a current one that isn’t achieving what you hoped it would. Contact us at Your Business Development Team and we’ll help you work out what is best for your business.

How to create a successful campaign plan?

Trial and error is a great tool for learning anything and that goes for your marketing too. We all spend a lot of time looking for lead generation tools that work for our business and when we find one, we hold on to it. At the same time, if we try something and it does not work, we strike it off our list forever. I think that it’s a good way to ensure you are spending your budget wisely and getting results.

So far so good but let me ask you two further questions:

  1. How much of your knowledge of success is based on your preference and comfort zone rather than on testing and measuring?
  2. When was the last time you reviewed your tried and tested lead generation methods?

These are really important questions to consider because,

  1. You should base your lead generation campaigns on your target market’s preference and comfort zone rather than your own
  2. New lead generation tools are developed all the time and trends and approaches are developed so reviewing your approach regularly is important

The beginning of the year is often when companies plan their marketing, so this month I thought I would share my approach to campaign planning whilst taking into account the above considerations:

Break your marketing into individual campaigns first and plan each one separately

Don’t go in all directions in one go; it’s much better to have two successful campaigns than five messy ones.

Set your new business targets by working out the following parameters of the sale:

  • Your average sale 
  • Your conversion rate 
  • Number of leads required 
  • Make sure your goals are SMART

Get a better understanding of who you are targeting. Consider things like:

  • Who is your ideal company and why?
  • What is the specific problem that you can solve?
  • Who do you want to speak to?
  • Where are they likely to go for information?
  • What questions are they going to ask?
  • What are your challenges in winning companies in this market?

Learn from your competition.  Do some research to find out:

  • Who are your main competitors in this market?
  • What are they doing to attract new business?
  • Can you offer something different?

Once you are clear on the above, look at tools and tactics:

  • What worked for you in the past?
  •  What can you do successfully using your own resources?
  • Are there any new tools you could use?
  • What is worth outsourcing?

There are many more things you can do but the above considerations are key to setting you off in the right direction. Many companies are set up to do their own planning successfully but if you lack resources or would like another pair of eyes and ears on the case, give us a call to discuss further. Find out more about our lead generation plans here.

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.