Category Archives: Strategy

Blogs under this category explore strategy in lead generation and the many marketing methods that fall under this term.

Why specific is terrific

Have you ever played darts? As a beginner you can find yourself throwing darts randomly, and if you’re lucky you might hit the board eventually. You will however waste a lot of energy getting to the target. In business, this equates to marketing to everyone and hoping for sales. But there’s a better way: defining your target market.

A target market is the specific group of people most likely to benefit from your product or service. They share similar characteristics, needs, and desires. By understanding your target market, you can create closely targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with them, leading to increased sales and brand loyalty. Unlike B2C marketing, where you might target a broad demographic, B2B involves specific companies with unique needs and decision-making processes. Understanding these nuances is crucial.

Targeting the right audience is vital for several reasons:

  • Focused Marketing Efforts: By knowing exactly who you’re talking to, you can tailor your messaging and channels to resonate with their specific challenges and goals.
  • Efficient Resource Allocation: Limited marketing budgets demand strategic use of resources. Targeting the right companies ensures you’re not wasting time and money on unqualified leads.
  • Stronger Customer Relationships: When you understand your target market’s pain points, you can develop solutions that truly address their needs, fostering deeper and more profitable client relationships.

Before diving into the work of defining your market, you need to understand your own business. Consider your business’s core purpose. What problems are you solving for your potential clients? What value are you offering to their business? This foundation will guide you towards the people who need your solutions the most.

Here are some key factors to consider when defining your ideal customer:

  • Industry: Which industries are most likely to benefit from your product or service?
  • Company size: Are you targeting small startups, large enterprises, or somewhere in between?
  • Budget: What is the typical budget range for your solution within your target companies?
  • Decision-makers: Who has the authority to purchase your product or service? Understanding their role and priorities is crucial.
  • Needs and challenges: What specific pain points does your solution address for your target market?
  • Buying preferences: Businesses in every sector have their own specific ways that they prefer to buy. You need to know what that is for your chosen markets.
  • Growth stage: Are you targeting established businesses or those in a high-growth phase with specific needs?

Don’t make assumptions about your target market. You will most likely have some of the valuable resources to inform your target market definition already to hand in your business.

  • Customer Analytics: Analyse your current customer base to identify commonalities. Segment them based on industry, size, and buying behaviour.
  • Market Research Reports: Industry reports can provide valuable insights into industry trends, the active participant, and potential customer demographics.
  • Competitor Analysis: Who are your competitors and who are they targeting? Studying their marketing strategies can offer valuable clues.

As you gather data, your buyer persona will evolve. Be prepared to refine it as you gain deeper insights. The more you understand your target market, the more effective your B2B marketing efforts will be. Remember, defining your target market is an ongoing process. As your business grows and the market shifts, revisit and refine your buyer persona to stay on target for success.

At YBDT we work with SMEs across a wide range of industries. Our sales enablement support provides starts from the assumption that buying choices are made based on strong relationships and a clear understanding of your target market. A clear sales and marketing strategy is an essential step towards achieving growth in your business. YBDT will help you craft the overarching plan, without which activity will lack focus and outcomes will be harder to measure.

Get in touch to book a discovery call today and book the conversation that transforms your sales.

Why a staged approach to business development benefits your business

One of the big truisms of business is the need to have a strong marketing and sales strategy. But for many SMEs, the resources and expertise required to develop and execute such a strategy can be out of reach, at least at early stages of their growth.

This is where a staged approach to business development can be helpful. This involves breaking down your marketing and sales efforts into smaller, more manageable steps, and sourcing appropriate support at each stage of your business journey. This allows you to start with the basics and gradually add more complexity as you grow your ability and resources. Here are the key advantage of this approach:

Flexibility and Scalability:

A staged approach to business development allows you to choose support that aligns with your current needs and budget. In the early days of a business knowledge about the basic how, where, and what of sales and marketing may be lacking. So, help with creating sales collateral (case studies, brochures, or email templates), and support with building a clear sales and marketing strategy will give you the jumping off point you need. As the business evolves, your support can adapt to address new challenges and opportunities. This ensures you’re always getting the most relevant assistance. Content Marketing campaigns, LinkedIn, and telemarketing are natural second steps. With growth comes the need to outsource lead generation and nurturing, freeing up your expert team to close deals and support existing clients.

Cost-Effectiveness:

By applying the limited resources that you will inevitably have in the early days of a business, to the specific services you need at that time you avoid the upfront, and ongoing, costs of hiring specialist staff who may not be fully utilised. By focusing on your specific needs and goals, staged support can deliver a better return on your investment. By having a well-developed strategy from the start, one which anticipates the stages of growth you will go through, you can allocate resources to activities that are most likely to generate leads and conversions.

Expertise and Guidance:

At each stage of your business development, you can benefit from the expertise of experienced sales and marketing professionals who will fit into the niches that work for you at that time. Most importantly you can benefit from guidance on developing effective sales and marketing strategies aligned with your business goals from people who have done it before and know where the pitfalls are.

Efficiency and Focus:

You started your business because you have a passion for it. Using the right support for each step of the journey means you can focus on the aspects of your business that fill your passion, while the sales and marketing is cared for by others whose passion is business development. With a well-defined plan, the right people in place working on targeted campaigns, you can achieve better results with less effort.

At YBDT we work with SMEs of all sizes across a wide range of industries. All of them benefit from our business development support. One of our key aims is to be able to support businesses in the ways they need and want. Which is we developed our staged approach to business development support. This method has supported sustainable development for countless companies over the last decade and a half. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and book the call that starts your journey to growth.

What makes a business development plan strategic?

We have applied the teachings of military theorists to business since the time of Sun Tzu. When thinking about our business development plans one of the most useful quotes comes from Heinrich von Bülow, ‘Strategy is the science of military movements outside the enemy’s range of view, tactics within it’.

So, in business,

  • Tactics are how we carry out our business development.  for example, Emails, telemarketing, content, or social media.
  • Strategy is what supports these activities internally, away from the client’s view.  For example, preparing to communicate effectively with target audiences and making sure the business is ready to take on new customers.

There are some key elements that makes a business development plan strategic:

Clear Vision and Goals

A strategic business development plan begins with a clear understanding of the company’s overall vision. What does the organisation aspire to achieve? These overarching goals serve as the compass, guiding the company’s strategic direction and decision-making.

Comprehensive Market Analysis

A strategic plan must be grounded in a thorough understanding of the industry, market trends, and the competition. This involves conducting market research, analysing competitor strategies, evaluating consumer behaviour, and identifying emerging opportunities. By understanding the external environment, businesses can proactively position themselves for success.

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Strategic business development is not about guesswork. A strategic business development plan should incorporate data analytics to inform decision-making. This includes tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), analysing market trends, and understanding customer behaviour. By understanding the data, businesses can optimise strategies, identify areas for improvement, and allocate resources effectively.

Resource Allocation

Sustainable growth requires effective resource allocation. The plan should clearly define the resources required, financial, human, and technology, and outline how these resources will be allocated efficiently. This assessment will help you identify areas where you may need to invest or partner with others to support your growth initiatives.

Implementation Plan

A well-crafted implementation plan outlines the steps involved in executing your strategies, assigning responsibilities, and allocating resources. It should include timelines, milestones, and success metrics to track progress. It is essential to identify and mitigate potential risks that could upset your plans. Contingency planning, expecting the unexpected, is vital to ensure the successful execution of your business development strategy.

Continuous Monitoring and Evaluation

Business development is a continuous process. You will need to consider how you will monitor progress, evaluate the effectiveness of strategies, and make the necessary adjustments. This ensures that the organisation remains on track towards achieving its goals.

One important point that we only briefly touched on its collaboration and partnership. You may well not have all the resources and skills with the business to carry out your strategy. By working with YBDT’s proven sales enablement process you firstly have our support to create a finely tuned business development strategy. We will guide you towards the overarching plan that touches each part of your customers’ journey.

You then also have the option of using our team of experienced professionals to support the implementation of that plan will ensure that you have the best opportunity to convert prospects to loyal long-term clients.

YBDT’s business development process has supported sustainable development for countless companies over the last decade and a half. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and book the call that starts your journey to growth.

Your planning needs support to be truly effective

Recently I have been supporting a small business who sent me a lovely testimonial about our time together.

“You gave us a safe space to take a step back and reflect on our business, the customers we have and identifying who our ideal customers are. As a small business which has seen rapid growth, we’ve never reflected on this in any structured or facilitated way before.”

As well as a great endorsement of our services, it highlighted a crucial point about how you create your plans for business development. An outside perspective is invaluable, it provides the “safe space” to step away from the routine and examine your goals and vision with someone who can help you be objective about them, and has the expertise to set strategic goals, identify key risks and opportunities, and forecast finances. No matter how well you know your business, an external voice in the process will ask “but have you thought about…” in a way that you simply won’t from your position up close and person with the day to day running of the business.

Other reasons for turning to an external consultant for support with planning your strategy for growth include the ability to access to data, research, and planning tools that you may not be able to find on your own. This allows for more sophisticated and fact-based planning. Having a professional advisor involved in the planning process helps to keep you focused and accountable. Consultants keep things on schedule and follow up on progress.

Developing a business plan can be a time-consuming process, and devoting the time that is needed while also running a busy company can be challenging. As the client we quoted at the start of this piece told us, it is the ability to step back and reflect that is one of the most important reasons to introduce an external voice into your planning. That outside perspective brings fresh insights, challenge assumptions, identifies gaps, and offers an alternative view of the business strategy and plan. When it comes to bringing your plans to life, an external consultant will also be likely to either have or be able to connect you with the people and resources to make implementation of your plans easier.

Working with YBDT’s proven sales enablement process gives you our support to create a finely tuned sales strategy. We will give you the overarching plan that touches each part of your customers’ journey. You then also have the option of using our team of experienced professionals to support the implementation of that plan to ensure that you have the best opportunity to convert prospects to loyal long-term clients.

YBDT’s business development process has supported sustainable development for countless companies over the last decade and a half. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and book the call that starts your journey to growth.

The buying journey can be a twisty road

When planning our marketing strategy, we should always stop and look at the process from the potential customer’s point of view. The way customers experience the buying journey has evolved significantly away from being simply a linear progress to decision making. It has become a dynamic process covering different touchpoints and channels. Understanding and catering to this journey is crucial for businesses looking to thrive in a competitive marketplace and needs to be a key consideration when planning your sales and marketing strategy.

The traditional stages of the buying journey are still very relevant, but each has a couple of new bends in the road.

Awareness

The buying journey starts when the customer becomes aware of a problem or need within their business. This often occurs through various triggers which can include personal experience, but increasingly awareness is prompted by marketing messages. So, at this point it is essential for businesses to create brand visibility and provide valuable content to capture the prospect’s attention. Content marketing, such as blog posts, social media content, and informative emails play a vital role in helping potential customers discover your brand and establish the business as a trusted source of information.

Consideration

Once the prospect is aware of their problem or need, they enter the consideration stage. They are gathering information, comparing products or services, and collecting insights from various sources. Businesses can influence customers during this stage by providing detailed product information, offering educational content, and showcasing the unique value their solutions provide. Testimonials, case studies, and comparison guides can be powerful tools in guiding customers toward your offerings.

Intent

As customers gather information and evaluate their options, they develop a clear intent to make a purchase. At this stage, they might be seeking specific details, such as pricing, warranty, or delivery options. They are ready to decide but usually need something that provides them with comfort that they have made the right choice. Providing transparent pricing, clear calls-to-action, and responsive customer support are good ways to encourage the buying decision.

Purchase

This is where the customer commits to the product or service, and you convert them to a sale. However, the journey doesn’t end here; it transforms into an opportunity for businesses to build on the one-time purchase and create a long-term client. The most important aspect of this stage is providing a seamless, positive buying experience for your customer.

Loyalty and Advocacy Stage

Customers who have had a positive experience with your brand can become loyal customers and advocates. They not only continue to buy from you but also recommend your products or services to others. Cultivating this loyalty is an ongoing process that involves maintaining high-quality products, exceptional customer service, and personalised communication.

Understanding the customer’s buying journey is essential for any business looking to build long-term business relationships. It’s no longer enough to focus solely on the purchase stage; you need to engage with customers at every step of their journey, from awareness to purchase and beyond. Working with YBDT to create a clear sales and marketing strategy will give you the overarching plan that touches each part of the customer journey. Using our team of experienced professionals to support your implementation of that plan will ensure that you have the best opportunity to convert prospects to loyal long-term clients. YBDT’s business development process has supported sustainable development for countless companies over the last decade and a half. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and book the call that starts your journey to growth.

Getting started with business development activity

In our last blog we talked about getting the temperature of your business development right, so that your activity is appropriate to the stage of evolution your business is at now. Whether you’re a startup, or a seasoned entrepreneur, mastering the art of business development is a critical part of achieving your goals. But where to start?  

Before diving into methods, we need a clear understanding of what business development actually is. Business development involves identifying growth opportunities, building strategic relationships, and creating paths for income generation. It’s about creating connections, nurturing partnerships, and aligning your business goals with your market. The foundation of successful business development lies in thorough research and analysis. Identifying your target market, and understanding their pain points, the drivers for buying decisions.  By studying the customer base and identifying your key competitors you will gather valuable insights and can tailor your approach to address specific needs and stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Creating a comprehensive business development strategy that outlines your goals, target markets, and key tactics is the single most important step. This plan should include a timeline, measurable objectives, and a clear roadmap for execution. You should regularly review and adjust your strategy to adapt to changing market dynamics. As part of this you should be looking at your value proposition. This communicates why your product or service is unique and valuable, what problems you solve for your client base. A well-defined value proposition serves as the cornerstone of your business development efforts.

With your target markets defined as part of the overall strategy, the next step will be to research and identify the key decision makers in companies who fit into your target sectors. Sourcing static data lists can be a minefield unless you clearly understand the process of selecting the correct parameters. 

Creating a suite of material to support your business development is vital. Case studies, and brochures need to be professional and able to encapsulate the value proposition you have set out. But there is more to your sales collateral. You need to consider, email templates for follow ups, telemarketing scripts, and how you will appear on LinkedIn and social media. All these items are part of the crucial first impression that you give a prospect so taking short cuts is not an option.

With business development activity planned how will you and your team handle the expected enquiries? How will you communicate with your potential clients? Do you have the telephone, and sales skills to capitalise on each enquiry.

If the to do list for business development sounds daunting, then YBDT can help. The first tier of our staged sales support package is all about helping you get started. YBDT support the creation of sales collateral and help develop the data that will drive your engagement, as well as working with you on the all-important strategy. We can provide skills development workshops and through our mentoring sessions help you stay accountable for the success of your business objectives. Get in touch to book a discovery call, that is the first step to your business growth.

Take your business development temperature

We’ve asked the question, “what sort of lead generation do you need” around different market sectors and targets, but how do you get started on your business development journey at an early stage of your business?  The temperature you apply to your lead generation is related to the budget and resources you have available, as well as where you are in your business’s life story. You can turn the heat up or down depending on seasonal factors, your growth plans or market conditions.

Gas mark 1 – Getting the basics right.

Smaller businesses or ones that are at an early stage of their development need to build the strategy, collateral (case studies, brochures, email sequences), and data that will help you progress. The most important part of any business development campaign is creating a viable strategy. Defining your target markets, looking for opportunities for growth within them, and agreeing campaign goals will help you build a firm platform for success. Once you start seeing tangible results from your lead generation effort you will be able to progress to the next stage of your growth. If you put the basic building blocks for sales success in place early on, they will last you for the lifetime of the business.

Gas Mark 3 – The first step into external support.

You may find that your growth expectations quickly outstrip your ability to create new customers internally. At this point outsourcing lead generation activity will enable you to allocate your own resources to where they will be most valuable, nurturing and closing new clients. Identifying and connect with potential prospects through LinkedIn, and creating content that raises brand awareness and strengthens relationships can be outsourced, often more cheaply than they can be carried out internally. Taking the first steps into proactive marketing, such as direct email campaigns are often better taken with support from an expert.

Gas Mark 6 – Outsourced Business Development

Once your lead generation activities are bearing fruit you will need to consider how you will maintain a pipeline of new prospects to maintain existing revenue levels and continue to grow in line with your objectives for the business. At this point your own sales team will be best employed solidifying relationships with existing clients, and nurturing prospects who are close to a buying decision. Pouring new leads into your lead generation process, and then cultivating until they are ready to be passed on to your specialist sales team to close.

YBDT’s staged support mirrors these steps, enabling you to warm your business development up as the business grows. Our 15 years’ experience of supporting business in many sectors means that we have seen and solved most of the issues that business will face. The first tier of our staged support package includes extensive mentoring and support along with skills development workshops that will put your team on track. The second tier of support introduces the content and data driven components of the YBDT service, paving the way for you be ready to turn the heat up to the full YBDT business development process that has supported sustainable growth for countless companies over the last decade and a half. Get in touch to book a discovery call today and take the temperature on your lead generation campaign.

Playing The Long Game

Successful lead generation and nurturing takes time. We looked in a recent blog at the planning which is needed to build a sustainable strategy for growth. That growth is not something that can be achieved overnight, so it’s important to set realistic expectations and be patient. There are many different tactics you can use to generate leads, the most important part of any strategy is discovering the most suitable ones for your business, and the markets you operate in.

A lead generation strategy will identify potential customers who are interested in your products or services and reaching out to them to start a process of understanding and engagement. By building relationships with them, providing information, answering their questions, and addressing their concerns you will be in an ideal position to act when they are ready to buy. Nurturing leads takes time because you need to establish trust and credibility with potential clients before they are willing to make a purchase. It’s important to provide them with relevant information and solutions that address their specific needs and pain points. This process can take weeks, months, or even longer depending on the complexity of your product or service.

My favourite lead nurturing statistic is Wanda Allan’s ‘80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th contact yet, 90% of sales people make 3 contacts or less’. This stat says more about the reality of time poor salespeople than about their willingness or ability to follow up leads.

This is where YBDT’s sales enablement service comes into its own. Using our extensive experience of lead generation and sales we have put together a three-step process aimed at improving your sales success.

  1. Gap analysis – Our unique gap analysis system identifies bottle necks and other blocks in your sales process.
  2. Tailored sales process – We help you create a winning sales process that is based on your operation and becomes the blueprint to your sales success
  3. Bespoke sales training – With these steps in place we can deliver training and mentoring individually designed to support your team as they adopt the new process.

With time always at a premium for your sales team, lead nurturing service may be the solution to making sure the follow ups are maintained consistently for as long as required, rather than risking the effort of acquiring the lead being lost as priorities within the business shift. The beauty of what we offer is that we can help you with both, providing a full sales support service, from lead generation through nurturing to improving your internal sales mechanism.

Successful lead generation and nurturing requires a long-term commitment to building relationships with potential customers. It takes time to establish trust and credibility, but the rewards are worth it in the form of loyal customers who are more likely to make repeat purchases and refer others to your business. YBDT has built a successful business over the last 8 years by applying the principles of sustainable relationship building to ourselves. And we can help you achieve the same long-term success. Get in touch to book a discovery call that is the first step to your business growth in 2023.

Re-inventing yourself this spring

Michael Altshuler once said, “the bad news is that time flies, the good news is that you’re the pilot.”

When it comes to the British post-Christmas winter, I guess you won’t mind too much if time flies. I for one am always happier when we approach the end of February and I know that spring is just around the corner. Even though the weird and wonderful weather patterns mean we can still have snow in March, longer and lighter days always cheer me up.

In terms of business, this year has mainly been uncertain so far. Despite the fact that the forecast for the recession seems to be becoming shallower and shorter by the minute, it seems hard to come up with a firm plan at the moment. Most business owners tend to sit on their hands in situations like this because moving forward often means spending money which is a worry when you are not sure what is around the corner.

The issue with this kind of thinking is that it holds you back which can become risky when we have to work harder to achieve the same or less results than in better economic times. If you think about it, reality changed in March 2020 with the first lockdown and we have lived with uncertainty ever since, we just called it different things to help the time pass. If there is one thing we learned over COVID, it’s that holding back from giving your business what it needs to move forward does not work. If you look into it, you will see that companies who did nothing to re-invent themselves over the pandemic took a lot longer to move forward when things opened up again.

So, what can you do to re-invent yourself this spring? Today I wanted to share the key points from the process we run at YBDT to create our strategic plan for 2023:

  1. Get clarity on your vision: Don’t keep going and get too busy to see the woods from the trees. Just like a bear coming out of hibernation, you need to clear the cobwebs that affect your vision. Taking a point on what Einstein said, “if you always do what you always did, nothing will ever change”. If you are not sure what you want to get out of your business anymore, get help from a coach or a mentor. Give yourself time away from the business to consider this and keep digging until you come up with something that feels right and that you find exciting.
  2. Get excited about moving forward: we all deal with self-limiting beliefs which hold us back. Sometimes it feels safer not to get too excited, keep your hair on and stick to what you know. But if your business has become a boring job, you might as well get one. Get back to what made you go out on your own in the first place, look at your journey and embrace change. This will help you identify the best way to move forward with your new vision.
  3. Share your vision with your team to create your plan: we all have our blind spots and sharing your plans with your team will help uncover areas that need further consideration. Don’t underestimate your team’s knowledge and understanding of your business. Whilst you oversee things, they often make them happen, giving them a different perspective on things. Not to mention how much quicker and enjoyable planning in a team can be.
  4. Make sure your plan has measurable goals in it: goals are key indicators by which we know if we are moving in the right direction. Without them, you will get lost in that wood again. It’s important to keep your team involved in this and assign goals and actions to them too – after all, you can’t do it all on your own.
  5. Hold each other accountable: don’t lose momentum by reverting to business as usual and forgetting all about the plan. A big advantage of getting your team involved is that you are all going to feel passionate about achieving your goals. By involving others, you offer them a share in the business which makes their job more exciting. Make sure you have regular sessions to check on progress and update each other on the journey you are all taking.

I hope you find this helpful towards having a more joyful spring and a better year overall. Remember that any business plan worth its title will include growth which means generating more leads and selling more. At YBDT we can help propel both. Find out more about our strategic business development plans here and get in touch to discuss yours.

Giving your team the support to succeed

One of the big changes in the sales landscape over the last ten years has been the move towards closer integration between sales and marketing teams. Sales integration allows marketing and sales teams to work together generating awareness of your products and services to a target audience, and then converting those leads into orders. In the past marketing was carried out to generate leads, with a sales team then picking up the leads to progress them to close. In the more integrated world of today both sales and marketing may be involved at all stages to ensure that no opportunity is missed.

Your sales pipeline is a representation of where all of your prospects are in the sales process, is essential. It helps you plan your likely revenue and gauge the state of your business. But it is reliant on the information you feed into it. W. Edwards Deming said, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”, and this is never truer than when looking at your sales pipeline.

By integrating the lead generation and follow up with the negotiation and closing of the sale you have the opportunity to review your progress, understand the client’s requirements and maximise every opportunity, now or in the future. The days of isolated external salespeople pounding the streets and knocking on doors are gone. The companies making a success of sales are the ones who have an integrated support network to feed their front-line sales team with high quality leads ready to buy. Attracting the best sales professionals in a market where they have their pick of jobs means that you need the team in place to generate and nurture those leads.

Your Business Development Team provide an end-to-end strategic service that supports your existing sales team and puts your business in the front rank of companies the best wants to work for. We take you through the steps to creating and managing a sales pipeline that will fuel your sustainable growth.

  • Business Development Strategy – An integrated sales and marketing strategy is needed to bring focus to your activities. We build a clear understanding of your business to ensure that we can help you deliver your business aspirations
  • Lead Generation – In line with the strategy we find the best lead generation channels for your business. Digital and offline channels are used to ensure the best coverage of your ideal markets.
  • Lead Nurturing – This is the critical activity. Taking the time to nurture your prospects to the point that they are ready to buy can take your existing salespeople away from supporting and retaining existing business. YBDT’s lead nurturing service is the answer.
  • Sales Enablement – We support the creation of a tailored sales process for your business. Bringing a clear, concise, shared process together with all sales and marketing collateral into a single point will help embed the process in the company, and support ongoing staff training.

 To succeed in sales, you need to recruit the best people for your market. Being able to offer them a clear path to sales success is what YBDT can do for you, keeping your best sellers focused on the critical path to orders. If you want results-driven services that are tailored to your specific business targets and goals, we can help. Get in touch to learn more about what we can do for your business.