Category Archives: Marketing

All the blogs under this category discuss general marketing. Whether it be cold calls, messaging or targeted campaigns.

What are the key sales performance drivers?

The world has changed in so many ways in the last year and businesses have needed to adapt to the shifting situation to keep growing and thriving. Now that we are slowly making our way back to normality, it’s worth going back to basics with your sales and marketing and reviewing your approach to generating and nurturing leads as well as converting those into sales.

If you have been following the same sales path for years, then it is probably time to look at changing things up. Here are a few thoughts to start you on the road to sales success.

  • Clarify: Understanding where your business sits in the marketplace is key to this. What do you do best? Who needs what you do? How do you best approach them? How much are they willing to pay?
  • Goals: Every sales teams needs goals, both as something to strive for, and to give you, as their manager, something to measure your success against. When did you last review your sales goals? Are they fit for purpose in 2021? If they are the same ones you had in 2019 then you should certainly be looking at how your priorities have changed.
  • Results: Drilling down into your sales data will teach you how good your goals are. If your sales team are under-performing, is it about inappropriate targeting and goals setting than under achievement?  Reviewing the number of leads, conversion rates, and other KPIs will help you focus on the real problems and enable you to look for solutions.
  • Activity: Simply doing more is the best way to generate more leads. Talking to more of your existing prospects will connect them to your business more closely. Looking at the results will tell you what has worked, and what hasn’t, meaning you can start to establish a route to growing your sales pipeline.
  • Understanding: Knowing what your key prospects, and your existing customers, want and expect of you will enable you to strengthen your relationship with them. This will help establish a sales process and create workable and effective follow up routines which fit in with your overall process.

These are just the first few steps on the road, and we will look at other aspects of building your sales performance another time. The quickest way to building an effective sales pipeline is to work with a reliable established partner.  Your Business Development Team have a fifteen-year track record of generating and nurturing leads, and supporting our clients in many industries to build and refine relationships. Our “Improved Sales Conversion” process provides a clear roadmap to enhanced understanding, better follow ups and a sales pipeline that you can develop into profitable orders. To learn more about how we can help get in touch

Thinking of taking up some hard selling techniques? Think again

If you are as old as me you might remember Cameron Crowe’s 1996 film, Jerry Maguire, depicting the life a sport agent operating in a high pressure sales environment in LA. As part of their effort to get themselves into an invincible sales mindset, they use the famous words, ‘Show me the money,’ repeatedly. If you have ever worked in a high pressure sales environment yourself, you might remember other techniques used to get the team selling: a pint at lunch, take away pizzas and league tables are some of my memories.

Think what you like of these techniques, most high pressure sales environments belong to the past and were much more popular in the 80s and 90s. That does not mean that holding up a sales job has become easier but many companies have changed their approach. This is mainly due to the fact that the way businesses like to purchase has changed in the past 30 years. A few key changes to mention are:

  1. The internet allows people to shop around and research more easily. Most buyers prefer to get the information they need, download product features or run a software trial before they speak to your sales team.
  2. Centralised budgets, tendering and outsourcing of procurement to professional consultancies, has become commonplace to help quality and cost management.
  3. Many senior people hold very busy jobs and have less time to spare. They are therefore less likely to agree to meetings that do not carry clear value to their organisation.

To adjust to this, many companies have adopted a consultative approach which aims to understand and solve clients’ problems and add value to the organisation. Some of the new lead generation approaches taken up by companies include inbound marketing tactics such as:

  • Providing useful information through articles, blogs and e-books
  • Creating digital funnels based on users’ needs
  • Offering free webinars and workshops to develop interest

It is apparent that nowadays, many companies aspire to developing a helpful and knowledgeable reputation as opposed to hard-nosed sales tactics and lengthy contracts. This is all very well; I am a big fan of consultative selling and we use many of the above techniques ourselves. But what happens when the economy downturns and new sales are harder to come by? In my experience, some companies will pile pressure on their sales team to get in the revenue in any way they can. We may also see more sales professionals lose their job due to a lack of sales.

If you are a business owner or a senior manager looking at this situation and feeling unsure of the best next step, I would recommend that you stick to your guns and keep going with your plan and approach. That does not mean that you do not make any changes or respond to feedback but essentially, try to avoid making decisions out of panic and fear. Here are a few things to consider:

  • If prospects are not making a decision, there is a reason for it. Rather than getting frustrated with your sales people or ditching them, try to get to the bottom of it and see how you can adapt your approach to support this.
  • Jumping from one product to the other, or stopping and starting lead generation campaigns will only set you back. Marketing communication needs time to take hold, out bound lead generation needs a build up to be successful so be patient.
  • Silver bullets are for Westerns. To get the best value out of your sales and marketing, you should listen to the feedback from the market, make small changes and make the most out of every lead you uncover.
  • Having a clear sales process which is adopted across the team is essential to ensure that you keep up quality and conversion. Take our conversion test here to see how good your current process is and make changes if you need to.

In summary, remember that patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude whilst waiting. At YBDT we can help you build a pipeline and then ensure you convert a higher percentage of it. Click here for more information.

Are you being noticed or just seen?

The Leadership coach Tanya Geisler rightly said that people should not confuse getting noticed with being seen but what is the difference?

I think this is best demonstrated on Social Media where many companies choose to be seen rather than be noticed:

When you are noticed:

  • People react to your posts naturally
  • You get higher volume of views
  • Others want to connect and work with you
  • People mention your posts in conversations

When you are seen:

  • You get little feedback
  • Your posts are ignored
  • You get no tangible value from your content

It is worth remembering that posting daily does not get you noticed unless you choose your material wisely and invest the time in making it authentic to your Brand.

Now this sounds like a lot of marketing speech, so how do you go about doing this successfully?

Create a content strategy: As always, a strategy should be your starting point here. Consider the following factors:

  • Who are you targeting?
  • What products/services/skills/ knowledge do you want to share?
  • Have you got any specific solutions that you want to promote?

Consider the key phrases and terms which will interest your target markets. There are a number of free tools like Semrush and Answer the Public that can help you understand what people are searching for which means you are more likely to get noticed. It is important to remember to consider the google suggested searches as part of the mix too.

Set up a theme and posting type structure: Having a weekly structure makes creating the posts easier as you know what you are looking for. Consider your strategy and decide what types of posts you want to share and in what order. Here are a few examples of types of posts you can consider here:

  • Your own Blogs/ articles
  • Interesting articles from others
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Quotes
  • Jokes

Use the above information to write a monthly content plan. This is important for a number of reasons:

  • It makes creating the posts much easier
  • It will allow you to create and use themes
  • Your posts will be more meaningful and interesting
  • You can delegate the post creation or outsource it

We hope you have found this useful. Should you want more, we have created a small series of targeted eBooks, designed to help you put together a successful sales process from lead generation to conversion. Click here to download them from our website.

Planning in the age of uncertainty

Here is a wonderful quote from J.R.R. Tolkien which is particularly apt for the current environment: ‘It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.’

Planning is recommended by experts in all walks of life as a way to support business growth but what happens if planning becomes very difficult due to uncertainty, as we are experiencing at the moment? Do you abandon it all together? I believe that you should always have a plan in place, covering short and long term, whilst not forgetting the dragons nearby. Here are five tips I have collected for you to consider:

  1. A tip from Oxbridge Academy Blog:

Focus on what you can control: You have to accept that some things are completely out of your control. For example, you cannot control most of the effects that the coronavirus has had on your everyday life. While accepting the things that you cannot control, you should focus on controlling the things that you can. This can include maintaining a positive attitude, controlling your spending habits, or deciding to learn something new. In the face of a difficult situation, you may need more determination than ever before to work on yourself and get through the tough times. 

  • A tip from Life Lanes:

Have “go-to” people who can help you every step of the way. Having people you can reach to in times of change can get you through even the most uncertain of times. You do not need to know everything. You just need to know people and organizations you can trust to fill in the gaps for what you do not know.

  • A tip from Management Centre:

Use scenario planning instead of traditional goal setting: Scenario planning can get you outside the normal strategic planning box by encouraging you to think about multiple futures and how these futures would impact on what you would need to deliver your mission. They may even, if profound enough, encourage you to change or adapt your mission.

  • A tip from Great Performance:

Prepare yourself for various possibilities: The most challenging part of being uncertain is the inability to feel in control. Being human, we want to know how things will go so as to be comfortable. Uncertainty takes this from us. Things change too fast for us to experience this. Therefore, instead of expecting specific outcomes from life, it makes more sense to simply prepare yourself for various possibilities. For example, you can make lists of the activities that you will perform in case things go one way or another. One of the characteristics of an uncertain future is luck. This is when things go exactly as you desired. It is important to know that luck happens when preparation and opportunity meet.

  • A tip from Your Business Development team:

Always be selling: Planning for growth is one of the key things that will make a difference to your future as a business. Creating new business and improving your sales conversion are born from a structured process which you can set up and follow in any environment. This process takes time so use the downtime to plan and start conversations with people in your target market. This means that when things move forward you will be first in line for consideration.

I hope you have found some inspiration in our Blog today. If you are looking to create a sales process or strategy, we might be able to help you. Click here to find out more or get in touch to discuss your specific circumstances.

Crisis Lead Generation tips from YBDT, round two…

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 # 5: Test and Measure

Once you are clear on your message and campaign tools, start experimenting to see how you get your message across best. This will ensure that you get a better return from your campaign. Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Try a number of platforms to promote your message
  2. Segment your data and send smaller campaigns to see which get better engagement
  3. Try to use new tactics you have not used before

All of the above are great ways to test but the key thing is to measure your results carefully to ensure you understand what works best at the moment. One more thing to remember is to be realistic and give it time and some repetition to ensure you are being heard.

Tip # 6: Follow up, follow up, follow up

I hope that our previous tips have helped you put together a winning marketing campaign that is appropriate for the current climate. Our tip today relates to what you should do once the dust has settled behind your campaign. To ensure that you are maximising on your return, follow up with every lead you generated and keep following up until you get a definitive answer.

One of my favourite quotes demonstrating this is from Wanda Alan who wrote Follow Up Sales Strategies. She said that 80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th contact, yet most salespeople only make three follow up calls or less. The numbers of contacts are irrelevant, what matters is that you make as many as it takes to get a definitive answer.

Against popular belief, prospects normally appreciate your follow up as long as it is done in a polite and appropriate manner. Timelines will depend on your product and sales cycle but I have been known to keep in touch with people for several years before they eventually became clients. Don’t give up, believe in your product and remember that you are talking to people who expressed an interest in your company.

Tip # 7: Identify your clients’ buying personas

Last week my tip was all about ensuring you follow up with your prospects until you get a definitive answer. If you have followed up on this advice, you might be feeling rather frustrated with some of your leads by now. This is why this week’s tip is all about making some sense of buying personas which in turn will help you follow up more effectively.

When I get frustrated with following up, I take a deep breath and remind myself of a piece of research undertaken by DISC which identified that only around 35% of the population make decisions quickly, the rest still like to take their time but, importantly, do make buying decisions eventually. To help you use this in practice, consider your prospects’ buying decision, of which there are four:

  1. The Decisive: These buyers have a clear picture in their mind of what results they want. They value rapid action so will typically make quick decisions if they feel your solution is right.
  2. The Interactive: These buyers want to shape events and enjoy “getting their way” when it comes to negotiations or buying something. They typically make quick buying decision particularly when they feel a sense of connection with you.
  3. The Stabiliser. These buyers are more passive and introverted and interested in the how and why of a solution. Their primary interests are in maintaining stability so prefer to “take their time” and weigh up all options and outcomes before making a decision.
  4. The Conscientious: These buyers are also more passive and introverted. They too take a much more detailed and accuracy-based approach to their buying habits. Without sufficient data to prove any statements made to them, you will fail to achieve their buy-in.

Now you are aware, I suggest that you take some time considering your pipeline opportunities and dividing them up into buying personas where possible. This will really help with setting expectations and probable timelines. It might even help you to get rid of some dead horses too.

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.

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.

Why you should be clear on your target markets for 2020

Before you do any marketing, it is vital you know your target markets, and when I say know them, I mean really know them, in detail.

Their age, gender, education, where they live, where they work, what they do, what they like and dislike, household size, income, what media they read, listen to etc

Why is this so vital? Well when you put a marketing plan together, you need to know who you are speaking to, how to get their interest and engage them and of course how to reach them. No matter how creative your campaigns, or how much money you spend, if you are speaking to the wrong people there is no point and a waste of your time and money. 

For example – would you place an advert for a mobility scooter in a magazine for Teenage girls! No, of course not, but you would promote the latest lip plumping lip gloss in one!

Once you have identified your market you are also able to craft messages that appeal specifically to different audiences within them. Even when you are selling fundamentally the same service or product you will still need to word things differently depending on your target audience.  For example, a Financial Advisor would need to tailor his message to an older person looking for financial advice for retirement differently than to a young couple looking to buy their first home.  

That’s the basics of it, and with digital technology in 2020 offering more sophisticated options to promote your business than ever before, you really do need to be crystal clear on your target markets to get the best and most cost effective results.

These days technology has made it much easier, not only to find out about your audience in the first place put also to reach them. Campaigns can now be aimed at very specific and niche audiences. To take advantage of this though you have to start with knowing as much as possible about the people you want to reach.

So, if you want to get the best results as cost effectively as possible you need to get total clarity on who your potential clients are. A great place to start would be at our target market planning workshop taking place on January 31st. Not only will this help identify your audience but show you the best way to approach them. Click here for full details

Join me on this workshop to learn about my unique and proven approach, to target market definition, and using it to identify and create your target market(s) in detail. 

We will also look at developing new markets to come up with a campaign plan and approach for your company so you can apply it straight away. 

If you would like to discuss target markets or planning a marketing campaign for 2020 please don’t hesitate to get in touch. yafit@yourbizdevteam.co.uk   

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