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Sales & Marketing Transformation

Two questions to ask yourself:

Question One:

Does your marketing have the right people, structures, processes and tools to attract and retain customers, drive growth and help you stand out from your competitors?    

Question Two:

Is your sales activity good at starting conversations with potential customers, building relationships (rather than handling transactions), spotting and seizing opportunities?

A freshened up and re-energised strategic approach to sales and marketing can help your business go forward, grow its revenues from existing customers and attract new customers.

Here’s how to transform your sales and marketing activity:

Gather together your key people and ask:

  • How are we using our sales resource?
  • What are our marketing messages and who is actually seeing them?
  • Is our sales and marketing activity driven by our business goals?
  • What is it like being a customer of ours?
  • How easy is it to buy from us?
  • Do we know why customers buy from us?
  • How good are we are at delivering sales pitches and presentations?

Need help to do this?

Give me, Trevor Lee, a call on 07785 390717 or drop me an email and we can arrange to meet up.

   

Things I have learnt during 5 years in business

Monday September 18th marked the start of my sixth year in business so I thought I would share some of the things that I’ve learnt during the first five years.

Hang on in there:

After the initial surge of work from a mix of people I knew and my previous company my ‘order book’ came to a grinding halt. In the second quarter of my business existence (Jan-Mar 2013) turnover was a big fat £0! It would have been very easy to jack it all in at that point. On May 1st 2013 my first regular client came on board (still with me) and I was up and running.

Get Known :

If you operate in the business to business sector as I do then networking, speaking, sharing advice and expertise (through email marketing, social media and getting published) are all great ways to get known and to meet people.

What do you do: It is the question most asked when you go networking. It took me a long time to work out what I ought to be saying. Think of it as a ‘Twitter Pitch’ – i.e describe what you do in 140 characters or 15-20 words.

Linked In: I was on Linked In 5 years ago but had no idea how to use it. I’ve listened to and read articles by Linked In experts and it has transformed the way I use and benefit from it.

Keep Learning: After a 29 year B to B career, most of which was in management I thought I knew everything. How wrong I was!  In the last 2 years I’ve read more business books and articles , sat in on more webinars and listened to more podcasts than ever before. You need to constantly keep learning.

Staying ahead of your Customers: You can add value to your customer relationship simply by being aware of and on top of the latest trends and developments both in business in general and your customer’s particular sector. It requires a lot of time but its well worth it.

Mix and work with like minded people: Easy to say this, not so easy to make happen.  I’ve been very lucky that all the businesses I work with are on an upward growth curve. Life is very exciting when that is happening.

Enjoy what you are doing: It does rub off. I love what I do and I suspect people enjoy working with me.

Be fluid with your offering: The services I listed on my very first business card have since been improved, expanded or dropped. None of them are the same as they were back then. I have learnt to adapt my offering to suit customers needs and market trends.

Be relentless with your own marketing: I remember listening to someone who said that as a start-up business you need to spend 20% of your time marketing your business. I took that onboard and still today aim to keep that up through writing articles such as this, networking, speaking, Linked In, attending events, and coming up soon my own podcast!!

Don’t try and do everything: I had the good fortune a few years ago to spend some time at the Ashridge Business School. I remember three pieces of top advice:

Get Real : about the market and business you are in

Get Connected : with those who can make a difference – contacts, customers, etc…

Get Help : you can’t do it all on your own.

‘Get Help’ I implemented from day one by engaging an accountant and a web designer. I’ve since added an email marketing company and I seek advice wherever and from whomever I can get it.

It is about People: 

Ultimately the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that regardless of the digital age that we live in people still buy from people. I have little doubt that most of the people who have engaged my services have done so because there exists between us a good ‘people connection’.

Don’t forget to say thank you:

A simple ‘thank you for your business – it is much appreciated’ can be a really powerful way of maintaining customers and growing their spend.

So a very big thank you to the numerous people who have given me the opportunity to work with them over the last 5 years. Your business is very much appreciated.

And now its time to crack on with the next 5 years……..

6 everyday marketing opportunities that are easily overlooked

It’s easy when it comes to marketing to focus on the big stuff – the advertising campaigns, the updated website, the new 32 page brochure etc and forget to keep an eye on the things that cost very little in time and money.

So here are 6 things to keep an eye on:

  1. Your voicemail message. What does your voicemail message say and how long does it take to kick in? I left a message for someone recently who’s message said they would be back in the office on February 12th. Likewise I rang a potential supplier and it must have taken 15 rings before the messaging service kicked in. Most people would have hung up by then.
  1. Your email signature. We all have them on all devices. What does your say? I imagine on your desktop it’s packed full of logos and on your mobile it might say ‘Sent from my iPhone’. Email signatures ought to be consistent across all devices – and be up to date and relevant so check yours on every device you email from.
  1. Social Media. You are on social media but is your profile up to date? If someone sends me a Linked In connection and they have no photo and very little information about themselves it makes me think they are not that interested in Linked In. There connection invite feels a bit like a random cold call. Make the most of social media by staying up to date, adding content, sharing your expertise and personalising connection invitations.
  1. Clean your Van. Our roads are full of branded vehicles. What does a clean, smart looking vehicle say about your business? Invest in a sponge! Top tip – one of my business associates runs a fleet of vans and every time he goes to a business event he aims to arrive first and park his clean, branded van in the parking spot closest to the event entrance so all delegates have to walk past it. Great marketing!
  1. Always carry a business card. You never know who you might meet or have a conversation with, so always carry a business card 24/7. Make sure your card reflects you and your business. Better to print 100 really good looking cards than 500 cheap looking ones.
  1. Keep your website up to date. Ideally you should be running a website which has a content management system you can easily manage yourself, particularly the simple things like adding ‘news’ items, keeping any dated events up to date etc.. Google also likes active websites so making regular tweaks can help your search engine ranking.

The key ultimately to marketing success is having the right message reach the right people at the right time.

A regular quarterly marketing review will help save you time and money by identifying marketing activities that are working / not working and as such those that need either eliminating or reducing and those that need starting or increasing.

If you need help kick starting this I can facilitate your first quarterly review and on the back of it I’ll create for you, if you haven’t already got one, a simple 4-5 page marketing plan.

I’ll also come back six weeks after the review to see how you’re doing and help you prepare for the next review which you should be able to do for yourself.

To book your Marketing Review and Plan and take the first steps to ensuring you are making the most of your marketing simply call me, Trevor Lee, on 07785 390717 or email me via trevor@trevorleemedia.co.uk

Are you making the right first impression?

It is reckoned that 70% of customer decisions about the purchasing of products or services are made before any direct contact is made either in person, on the phone, or by email with the company the potential customer is looking to purchase from.

Which means by the time they make that first contact with you there’s a good chance they’ve already decided that yours is the product or service they want to purchase and essentially they are seeking confirmation that they made the right choice in selecting your company to buy from.

So when that call, visit, email or direct message comes in you need to ensure that the first impression the potential customer receives is delivered in such a way that it confirms to them in their own mind that yours is definitely the company they want to buy from.

So if I’ve decided yours is the company I want to buy from and I phone you up and you don’t answer your phone or you don’t answer it in the way I was expecting you to answer it then there is a good chance I’ll change my mind and go elsewhere. And if that happens you may never know just how close you were to acquiring a new customer.

Which means all the time and money that you invested in your marketing activity to attract that customer in the first place is wasted, simply because the first impression you gave when it really mattered fell short.

So the fact that you didn’t answer the phone, or you didn’t answer it very well, or you didn’t return a voicemail very quickly, or the greeting that was given when someone arrived at your premises wasn’t very good, or you were slow to acknowledge and respond to the email or direct message that you received has cost you a customer, wasted your marketing investment and potentially cost you other customers as no doubt that person  will tell others ‘I was going to buy from company X but the way they handled my initial enquiry was very poor so I didn’t go there and I would recommend that you don’t either’.

So how do you ensure this doesn’t happen to your company?

It’s very simple. Assume every time the phone rings or someone you don’t recognise walks into your premises, or you receive an email or direct message from someone making an enquiry, that the person contacting you is someone who is ready to buy.

If you and all the people in your organisation adopt that attitude it could make a huge difference to the number of new customers that you end up dealing with.

And because customers can be great marketeers on your behalf, telling their connections, contacts, friends etc… how great your company was in providing the product or service that they were after, a new customer is a valuable asset. Word of mouth marketing remains one of, if not the best, form of marketing.

It is well known that it costs seven times as much time and money to attract a new customer as it does to retain an existing one, so you can clearly see how important it is not to mess up when the opportunity of a new customer arises.

So here’s a quick checklist to try and help you ensure you don’t miss an opportunity to create a great first impression and secure a new customer:

  1. Create a culture within your organisation that when the phone rings it is assumed it is a new customer who is ready to spend money with you.
  2. Make sure that attitude is not just conveyed to the sales team but everyone in the organisation, and in particular those people who take the initial call.
  3. Make sure that if someone leaves a voicemail you return it as quickly as you can.
  4. Ensure that email enquiries are dealt with within a couple of hours of them arriving in the inbox.
  5. If someone walks in the door of your business make sure they receive some sort of immediate welcoming greeting, and if everyone is fully occupied with other customers at the time you can still make eye contact, smile, and offer a brief verbal greeting.
  6. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer. How would you like to be treated and greeted?
  7. And finally consider some mystery shopping. It’s a great way of gaining feedback on how your company is dealing with that first contact.

First impressions and the customer experience are fast becoming the most important aspects of both attracting and retaining customers. No matter how great your marketing activity is if potential customers receive a poor customer experience that creates a bad first impression then your business will be wasting opportunities to grow revenues.

First impressions and the customer experience is something that all businesses should continually review and seek to enhance.

If you need help kickstarting an enhancement to your customer experience activity then please get in touch with me, Trevor Lee, on 07785 390717 or email me via trevor@trevorleemedia.co.uk.

Is your marketing keeping up with your customers?

One of the challenges for all companies, regardless of size, is trying to ensure their marketing keeps up with customers.

The world is ever changing and so are the buying decision making processes and marketing response patterns of individuals, groups and businesses.

Small to medium sized businesses, regardless of their in-house marketing resource, will find a quarterly review which challenges all current marketing activity really useful. To help you here are some of the questions to ask at that review :

1. Who right now are your potential customers? – i.e who are you trying to reach with your marketing messages and how has that changed in say the last 12 months?

2. Where are you currently investing your marketing money and are you confident that these places are the still the right ones to reach your potential customers? – it is very easy to continue on doing the same old marketing using the same old mediums.

3. What is your current marketing message? Is it the right one for your company today and will potential customers understand it?

4. Are your marketing messages consistent across all the mediums you use? – including website, social, email marketing, advertising, printed materials, signage etc…

The key ultimately to marketing success is having the right message reach the right people at the right time.

A regular quarterly marketing review will help save you time and money by identifying marketing activities that are working / not working and as such those that need either eliminating or reducing and those that need starting or increasing.

If you need help kick starting this I can facilitate your first quarterly review and on the back of it I’ll create for you, if you haven’t got one, a simple 4-5 page marketing plan.

I’ll also come back six weeks after the review to see how you’re doing and help you prepare for the next review which you should be able to do for yourself.

To book your Marketing Review and Plan and take the first steps to ensuring your marketing is keeping up with your customers simply call me, Trevor Lee, on 07785 390717 or email me via trevor@trevorleemedia.co.uk

How often is your marketing activity reviewed?

Your marketing activity review – Monthly, Quarterly, Annually or Never?

For most businesses who don’t have dedicated high level marketing resource the answer is usually never.

Which means the ads run, the website functions, sponsorships continue, the newsletter goes out, someone does some occasional tweeting and facebooking, the leaflets and flyers get re-printed, but potentially without any real consideration as to what the real purpose of all your marketing activity is.

A robust review should ideally happen once a quarter with the following questions being asked:

1. Where is our marketing money being spent?

2. Are our marketing messages consistent across all the mediums we use?

3. Do we know which marketing is generating enquires / responses / leads?

4. Does our marketing reflect our company?

5. Are we buying marketing because we think it’s ‘a good price’ or because it is reaching our customers and potential buyers?

6. Are we getting the best deals from the marketing we are buying?

7. Based on where we want to be as a company what changes to our marketing do we need to make to help us get to where we are going?

The key ultimately to marketing success is having the right message reach the right people at the right time, and not just every so often but all of the time.

A regular quarterly marketing review will help save you time and money by identifying marketing activities that are working / not working and as such those that need either eliminating or reducing and those that need starting or increasing.

If you think this is a good idea I can help you kick start it by facilitating your first quarterly review and on the back of it I’ll create for you, if you haven’t got one, a simple 4-5 page marketing plan which acts as a reminder of what you decided you should be doing when it comes to marketing.

I’ll also come back six weeks after the review to see how you’re doing and help you prepare for the next review which you should be able to do for yourself.

To book your Marketing Review and Plan and take the first steps to getting more from your marketing simply call me, Trevor Lee, on 07785 390717 or email me via trevor@trevorleemedia.co.uk