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Category Archives: Marketing Automated Technology

Outsource your marketing has become a smarter choice for SMB

By | CRM and lead generation, Marketing Automated Technology, Marketing Maturity, Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Marketing Tools | No Comments

marketing landscapeAt one stage as a small business it was possible to do your marketing in-house, much like you might do your book-keeping and manage staff. Now SMBs are outsourcing their marketing as the landscape has changed.

Here are some of the reasons:
1. Marketing has changed dramatically over the past few years and has become more specialised. It has become more technical with more areas of specialisation. Think of the landscape for today; google SEO, Adwords, customer databases, social media, event management branding, mobile marketing, marketing automation,PR, research,telemarketing and strategic planning. Each of these areas of marketing requires a certain skill set and so while managers can get there it is very time consuming and not a good use of the time.

2.The breadth of marketing touch points now reflect the buyers journey. Because our customers are using different tools and resources to find us than they once did (i.e. word of mouth and advertising before and now social media, websites, reviews on line, etc) our marketing needs to be where our customers are and this has created more marketing avenues to be ontop of. It is time consuming and almost impossible for a SMB manager to do this and run the operations of a business.

3.Customers do more of their journey without interacting with sales. THe role of sales has reduced and the role of marketing has increased because of customer behaviour. We do our research before we engage with a company we want to buy from be it buying a new car or health insurance. It is marketing job to provide those resources, tools and advice where the customers are looking and so content creation has become a big part of the marketing mix. Content is time consuming and these days also requires SEO and customer mindset to be effective.IBM-outsource-traditional-sub-process

4. Marketing has become more scientific as we have access to more data. From google, social media, email campaigns, forms, third party research we are now able to know more about what marketing is working and what isn’t and improve it month on month. We are also able to see what our customers want and adjust on the fly. The issue is most SMB don’t have the time.

5. Having a cohesive marketing approach is more important than ever before. We have all been to that website that has a post that was done over 12 months ago, seen a logo on a business card that doesn’t match the letterhead or gone to search a person on LinkedIn not to find their profile. Having an integrated marketing approach is critical to gaining trust and a consistent profile and marketing approach is now more visible.

6.If marketing is not your core business outsourcing frees you up to focus on what you are good at. Outsourcing can be a fraction of the cost of hiring a full time marketer and many times they might not have the core skill set that you need in all the areas of marketing. This variable cost of outsourcing means you can plug and play as you need but still have that expertise. Outsourcing also allows you to step away from the tactical and use your business knowledge on the insights that your marketing expert provides to assist you to make better marketing decisions.

7.While it might be tempting to off-shore your marketing make sure you have done the cost V benefit analysis. Some of my clients have gone down the path of odesk, glance, freelancer and alike to outsource their marketing. The regular response I hear is that the time it takes to manage this resource is making the low fee seem irrelevant. So while we are not limited by geographical boundaries any more and we can access any resource, finding someone that you can communicate easily with, understands the local business environment and has the experience will save you time and money. Keep in mind some functions of marketing are make more sense to outsource and others don’t. Marketers outsource Even as a marketer I outsource writing, design and SEO as these are highly specialised skills.

8. The key reason for outsourcing to a marketing professional is growth. If you want to continue to grow your business you need a marketing plan and continually be implementing in good times and bad. Marketing has shifted in importance as a lead generation tool and with sales being less influential in the customer journey, marketing has shifted into top gear for many companies.

So it might be time to think about your business model and what you spend time on day to day. If it is doing marketing in when you can and you don’t have the expertise then it might be time to change. If it is not at all and you have ignored marketing, maybe be it is time to rethink that strategy. If you hate marketing but you recognise it is important in generating new business talk to us.

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The Marketing Performance Blueprint; we need all the help we can get!

By | Content Marketing, customer centric marketing, Customer Insight, Marketing Automated Technology, Thoughtleadership and Content Marketing | No Comments

“The marketing industry is advancing at an unprecedented rate, creating seemingly insurmountable gaps in marketing talent, technology and strategy. The job of marketer is more challenging than ever before; things like changing customer expectations, proliferation of media outlets, greater customer power, globalization and media fragmentation are making it harder and harder to create a message that will be heard. The result: marketers are largely unprepared for the marketing paradigm shift happening now.”
Paul Roetzer

Today requires a new type of marketer to do better marketing The marketing Performance blueprintOverwhelm is commonplace for today’s marketer. Paul Roezter new book, The Marketing Performance Blueprint is an awesome guide to asking some of the right questions to ensure you have marketing that is effective.
Paul from PR20/20 has run his own agency and so knows how broad marketing is but also understands how we now need to be performance driven and should measure everything we do. We now have the data, and Paul has a great dashboard to assist us make sense of those drivers that shape effective marketing.

I was speaking with a small business today about their google adwords and they said; “Dan I paid all this money and I don’t know if it is working and I don’t even know what to look at to know.” This is a comment that is not uncommon for small businesses. Understanding the elements of your marketing be it; Adwords, SEO, email marketing, networking, trade-shows, SMS, telephone message or whatever and measuring its effectiveness will only allow you to alter those things to make better marketing decisions. Paul’s book is all about understanding and managing the marketing process and measuring what matters.

Listen to my podcast with Paul to gain more insights.

Visit the PR20/20 website to learn more about the book and download a free chapter.

Blog worth reading: Overcoming Extinction

If 2% of the sales happen at the first meeting, what happens to that other 98%!

By | customer centric marketing, Marketing Automated Technology, Sales Process, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

“2% of sales occur at the first meeting; the other 98% will only happen once a certain level of trust has been established“.

Trust ladderThere has never been a better reason for follow up than

that quote from Robert Clays research.

People in business often hope and expect to do business the first time they meet a prospect. Yet studies reveal that only 2% of sales occur when two parties meet for the first time. This actually makes sense when you think logically about it. The higher the time and dollar value of the investment the greater perceived risk from the buyer’s perspective. So what happens after that first call or meeting?

A recent study in the Harvard Business Review** found that companies take, on average, 42 hours to contact a web lead, and that 23% of companies did not respond at all. Furthermore, they found that leads that got a response in the first hour were seven times more likely to make contact with the decision maker. What is going on? Why aren’t we following up?

Stale-Leads

1. Number of people who buy on the first meeting – done their homework

The 2% who buy at a first meeting tend to be people who have already looked into the subject matter, and already know what they’re looking for. If they meet someone who ticks all the right boxes and they get on well, then business may well be transacted. But that is far from the norm. The other 98% will only buy once a certain level of trust has been built up.” So of those 2% are well informed and have done their homework and are likely to be troubled enough about their problem (thanks Hugh – Leaky Funnel) to want to solve it, if they find something that will fix it.

2. Salesforce should be well-informed

“Anyone who believes they can go into a sales situation armed with “101 sure fire sales closes” and make sales is seriously misinformed … and about 20 years behind the times. Professional sales people get to know their prospects; understand their issues; solve their prospect’s problems; and provide irrefutable proof. They build relationships and trust by engaging in on-going dialogue (otherwise known as follow-up). They don’t just peddle their products and services with an armoury of closing tricks.” These days doing your homework has never been easier. In a B2B sale you can use google, LinkedIn to research at a company and a personal level. At a B2C level you can ask open questions to uncover their need and if you have a database keep a record of their likes and purchases to communicate with them about other purchases they might like to consider in the future. (Amazon model).

4. Why we don’t buy

follow up

There are many reasons why people who could benefit from your product, service or expertise do not buy. At least not without further prodding. Inertia. Lack of time. Too many other things on their mind. Concern about cost. Cashflow. Budget constraints. More pressing matters. Your failure to do enough marketing to establish your name in your field so they’ll buy without question … and more. None of the these, by the way, is a negative. They are just psychological and transactional realities you must become aware of and recognise … which is why follow-ups are SO important. You really have to create a reason for prospects to consider you. Given that we know that our buyers are out there researching sometimes it is providing a helping hand to assist them in their research, education and sometimes it is just being there at the right time in the right place (where they are) using email, social media and collaboration marketing efforts.

5. Follow up just not done

Yet isn’t it amazing how often you express interest in a product or service, but never hear from the person or company again? It happens all the time. I actually say I am busy when a telesales person calls but invite them to ring me back and very rarely do they. Research shows, amazingly, that only 20% of sales leads are ever followed up … in other words 80% of potential opportunities are lost without trace simply due to lack of follow-up

People and companies who don’t

F1103B_A

follow-up; who do nothing to build up that trust and relationship cannot succeed, especially in today’s tough economic climate. People need to be sure they’re making the right decision before they commit to a purchase.

6.Tenacity pays off…

According to Clay, different studies carried out at different times, in different places, by different market research companies over a number of years all reveal that 80% of non-routine sales occur only after at least five follow-ups.

Think about that. It takes at least five continuous follow up efforts after the initial sales contact, before a customer says yes.  FIVE!!

There are some fascinating statistics on this:

  • 44% of sales people give up after one “no”
  • 22% give up after two “no’s”
  • 14% give up after three “no’s”
  • 12% give up after four “no’s”

That tells you that 92% of sales people give up after 4 “no’s”, and only 8% of sales people ask for the order a fifth time.

When you consider that 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes”, the inference is that 8% of sales people are getting 80% of the sales! Thus it pays to be persistent and consistent. Remember it is all about catching them at the right time.

OffersIntroduce a five “no’s” follow-up strategy

Once you’re aware of these statistics you should stack the odds in your favour by introducing a “Five no’s” strategy, where you maintain contact with prospects until each one of them has said “no”, or “not now”, or “not yet” … at least five times. Every time you’re in contact you have an opportunity to advance and build the relationship.

Businesses with a “five no’s” strategy will always enjoy a conversion rate many times higher than their competitors who have no such strategy.  What strategies do you have in your business right now to ensure that you contact your prospects regularly in a gentle and meaningful way so that you win their business and their loyalty?

8.Seventy-eight percent of consumers say that they only buy from businesses that make it easy for them to deal with, and a third believe convenience is more important than price.They are at the heart of Customer Experience Management (CEM) and staffed by specialists that are charged with providing the best experience throughout the transaction or journey and ultimately, achieving a tangible ROI. As this transformation has evolved, technology has played an increasingly critical role in linking businesses to their customers. However at the end of the day it is all about how you feel during the sales and after sales process. I once bought a car and because the car dealership did not treat me like the person who was making the economic decision to purchase both my and my husband’s car they lost the deal. I now get my car serviced not by the dealer because they made it too hard for me to get in and get out of the service process quickly.
Read more
9. Acknowledge the Impact of Experience
One bad experience might not send your customer fleeing to a competitor. But then again, it might.  On an internal, process level, bt-autonomous-2take a close look at what keeps your business running every day. If these processes aren’t managed efficiently, they’re costing you time, money, accuracy—and customers. Are there repetitive tasks (inventory checks, transaction reconciliation) that you could automate? If so, moving towards automated processes would save staff time and provide better, faster customer service. However be aware that people like to be empowered but not treated like robots. To actually speak to someone on the phone when doing a service call for a product is a competitive advantage these days.
Read more 

10.“Top of Mind Awareness”

There’s also the fact that 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least 3 months … and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy.

Contacting your prospective and existing customers every 1 month or sooner builds trust and professionalism and keeps “top of mind” awareness.  In this context, your customers do not regard contact for orders, payments and appointments, or the obligatory Christmas card as a meaningful communication. It is important to have an integrated sales and marketing campaign. We are ready when you are.

 

“70 percent of the buying process is now complete by the time a prospect is ready to engage with sales.”

By | CRM and lead generation, Marketing Automated Technology, Online Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

In Phil Fernandez’s book Revenue Disruption and CEO of Marketo, Phil espouses with abundant product information available online—such as customer reviews, peer evaluations, independent analysis, social network referrals, user generated content and more—the vast majority of buyers begin their buy cycle in a search engine or online, effectively circumventing sales people, completing the majority of their buying process and and short list have been completed.

Get Found!

What does this mean for us? Well the role of marketing has increased prior to hand over of a lead to a sales team. It means that businesses need to rethink their traditional approach to sales and marketing. This has a spin on effect to how investments are made.

According to SiriusDecisions, Inc., “70 percent of the buying process is now complete by the time a prospect is ready to engage with sales.” Therefore, marketing now owns the majority of the buying cycle and must implement lead acquisition techniques—such as content marketing and inbound marketing—to engage buyers early and in the formative stages of the buying cycle.

Phil explains his approach called the Revenue Performance Management (RPM) in an interview with CRMSearch that  most sales teams spend 20 to 60 percent of their time inefficiently calling prospects who no longer need or want to be contacted by sales people.If marketing can become more efficient in using lead acquisition techniques (such as compelling content, search engine optimization, search marketing, etc.) to be found by early stage buyers, nurture not-yet-ready to buy prospects, and transfer those sales-ready buyers to the sales team at the precise point when they become ready to engage in active buyer discussions, the sales team will avoid inefficient prospecting and allocate their time to selling activities such as demonstrating value, advancing opportunities, and negotiating and closing sales deals.

Marketo has shifted its spend based on the Phils RPM approach, spending as much on marketing as sales. This actually makes sales more efficient by limiting their sales activities to truly qualified buyers.

How much do you spend on marketing V sales? Is it time to review your approach?

Q:Are your customers smarter than you? A: more than likely.

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Automated Technology | No Comments

Smart Customers, Stupid Companies is a must read book. It details how we now as customers have access to more information than ever before, we have a microphone to share it and we know before we enter a conversation with you ten other competitors who we can go to at a click of a button.

We are getting smarter every day too! We download an app to answer or address any number of questions we might have. Our Iphone or Ipad are our communication, shopping, curating, productivity and relationship device. How stressed would we be if we lost it?Smart Customer image

On the company side, many are slow, inflexible, have layers of red tape, inconvenient and a non existent customer centric culture. The old approach to business doesn’t work any more. We are not getting the experience we want and with the world as our shopping trolley we vote with our click! We have access to information at a click of a button but can the same be said for employees?

The book refers to some key disruptive forces:

  • Social influence: our ability to use customer relationships in our buying journey
  • Pervasive memory: the data that is created as a digital footprint of our experiences
  • Digital Senors: devices that see, hear and feel our activities
  • Physical Web – being all encompassing. Connecting everything

Bruce Kasanoff is a speaker, author and business strategist who helps companies profit from disruptive forces, rather than fall victim to them.

Bruce helps companies understand what comes next, and how they can leapfrog their competitors. His entire career has focused on helping companies leverage emerging technologies to better grow revenues and serve their customers. Bruce with co-author  Michael Hinshaw have asserted that our tolerance to mistakes by companies we engage in is reducing. We now have more information before we engage with them.Companies are still slow to recognise this and so rather than leverage the same disruptive forces like:

  • Social influence; how we use our social contacts to check information, get their opinion instantly
  • Persvasive memory: how we leave a digital footprint
  • Digital Senors: how the world is evolving to have digital recordings of our footprint
  • the Physical web: how our world is changing to be a web of inter-related connected, internet based communications.

Companies are not keeping pace with our need to have a better experience with them. Well most anyway.Bruce believes that it is hard and hard to get away with business the old way. Give us money and we will sell you something. Companies need to use these forces to reinvent but also questions are not really are not doing a good enough job and have to do something about this.

A Bain & Company research study showed that while 80% of managers thought their firm was providing a superior customer experience, only 8% of those firms’ customers agreed.Now that seems stupid.

Listen to my Podcast with Bruce Here.

Resources:

Bruce’s website Now Possible

Smart Customers website

 

 

Big data allows us to take create new insights and connections that were not possible even five years ago.

By | Business marketing, Content Marketing, customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Marketing Automated Technology | No Comments

All of the information that the human race has created from the start of time till 2003 is 5x a-bytes now every 2 days we are creating 5 X a-bytes. Every day the average person today processes more data in a single day than a person did in 1500’s in an entire lifetime. We now have real time data. Each of us leave a stream of digital information about us with our texts, GPS, phone calls, browser history, FB chats and now this footprint is being use to make better marketing decisions. Crowd sourcing is one example and the gamification of health another.

wazeWe are getting insight that we didn’t have before. The Human Face of Big Data is a new book by Rick Solman and documents this change in this interesting book.

Big data is changing our whole world in every field and every industry will be changed by this insight.

pebble

Internet, Mobile phone, Social Media has changed our world. Technology has embedded itself into our lives. Don’t believe it is revolutionary? What is your TTS (time to screen – mobile, iPad, laptop) minutes, seconds?

The world is changing to re-using assets that are already available. Big data has changed the relationship we have with information. What if we can embed video in books. Point your phone at a book and it plays a video? The Human Face of  Big Data does this. Download the Human Face of Big Data App.

big data

Our planet is developing a nervous system that has software at its centre. This change is disrupting markets and creating new opportunities.How is big data changing your business?

Note to self: We have to seek away for those moments of solitude, a walk in the park without our iPhone, iPod or heart monitor device. Off to play with my son! (no not minecraft!)

Big data is a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. Wikipedia

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