first marketing, first sales, new business success

Who starts first – marketing or sales?

I wrote this email to a client today.  I have been working with them to set up and activate the things which will move them towards sales.  And I answer the Chicken and Egg question too…. read on

I think you have made significant progress in understanding three things which are essential to a successful new business development process.

  1. Deep focus on the target prospect companies and how to find individuals and make contact with them 
  2. Validation that there is a flow through activities from awareness, interest, desire, action (AIDA)…. e.g.XYZ is moving down that funnel well.  Also you have closed off the funnel for ABC and won’t waste time with him – he got returned to a ‘holding pattern’ in the newsletter mailing list.
  3. Recognition that we need to get to know more new people and to find ways of becoming relevant to them – from personal chat / email to newsletter subscription to face to face meeting.  
My guidance is being acted upon and you are seeing results which will bear fruit.  Also it’s forcing you to challenge presumptions and to run little experiments to see what the market responds to.  These both change over time and so I have learned never to guess.  But you knew that, didn’t you?

New Business is a Process

Creating a set-up that delivers a stream of leads for your business is how successful sales and marketing combine in a B2B organisation.   The underlying principles are the same for every firm yet the implementation and the diligent persistence of action is frequently what sets apart the successful from the rest.
first marketing, first sales, new business success

Who starts first? Marketing or Sales for new business success.

Can I help you?

If you’d like an appraisal of your current situation and recommendations for improvement which you can implement yourself, get in touch.

What we will do is

  • Review your recent new business success (or otherwise)
  • Assess the process
  • Research the possible bottle-necks, gaps and successful elements
  • Guide towards an improved method

Chicken or Egg; which comes first?

So to answer the question – it depends.  No, that’s not a cop-out.

Marketing comes first when the firm already has revenues and is looking to grow average size of sale, launch new products or new markets.

Sales comes first when the firm has a product and is not yet profitable enough to invest in intensive marketing or isn’t converting enquiries to revenue.

Trendosaur SaaS, retail find products

My SaaS has 7% conversion rate, how to improve?

My eCommerce SaaS has a conversion rate of 7% (2 new subscribers a day). I only get 1200 page hits a month though. How can I get more traffic?

The service is called Trendosaur. It helps online retailers make money by showing them the most profitable products to sell. My subscribers love the service. I’ve been running it for just over a year. The landing page is converting really well, but now it’s time to scale up the traffic numbers. Finding it really hard to get more than 40-50 page hits a day. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I know you should not rely solely on inbound traffic.  That’s a fool’s errand in today’s crowded market.trendosaur logo

Other marketers will suggest SEO, Content Marketing, Lead Funnels, Keyword search terms, LinkedIn Content, SEM, Social adverts, remarketing.  All good ideas and definitely part of the marketing mix needed – but they miss one fundamental comprehension of how modern marketing works.

Inbound and Outbound is the key strategy

When you take a product to market you need both awareness and targeted prospective buyers.

The joy of inbound is that if someone is looking, with good SEO, Keywords and Content Marketing you can appear in search results.  But for B2B markets, rarely is someone looking and the search volumes are so small, so niche that these volumes won’t deliver you the customer buyers in any great size or at scale.

I recommend  2 things

  1. Outbound Selling. Research a list of retailers who could use you and approach them direct. Direct sales is very powerful – it draws attention to you and then your content marketing / SEO will serve to bring them back to your site.
  2. Sponsor a retailers podcast like Ecommerce Fuel with a landing page / special sign up deal.

I used both of these to grow Rowperfect.co.uk/shop such that we now have a paid Christmas promotion page based on that list which is a great case study for this method.

How To Introduce A Business By Email

Connecting two compatible businesses with each other can be one of strongest networking tools for you and other businesses. By connecting the groups, not only are you solidifying your own network, but also helping the two businesses who may be able to benefit each other.

But often times this can be difficult over email.

In my networking group, we’re working hard to make it really EASY for members to introduce each other to new prospects and new clients.

I was asked by the group to help coach them in the best way to write an introduction that others could use.  So let’s say you wanted to introduce my firm to another business. Here’s how you would do it.

 

Hi [their name],
I just wanted to connect you with Rebecca from Creative Agency Secrets. I know you were interested in increasing your business’s online presence, and I’m sure they’ll be able to help.
Creative Agency Secrets is an expert in marketing and promoting businesses using traditional and online methods.  They work as the outsourced marketing team for busy businesses doing marketing that starts conversations and leads to sales.
I have seen their work for [name a client] and used them for my own business to write the copy on our website About Us page.  And I’ve also recommended them several times and had great feedback especially about their careful attention to detail.
I will leave you two to connect – I’ve spoken to you both about each other and shared your emails and phone numbers below.
[both parties’ contact information]
Best,
[Your Name]

The 5 elements of an effective email introduction

  1. Introduce: explain why you sent the email
  2. Start: with their one-liner…. who are they and what do they do
  3. Build: with an example of their work for someone you both know, preferably.  If you can’t say you have worked personally with them, a mutual acquaintance is a positive reinforcer.
  4. Memorability: Add an anecdote that describes your experience – if you can make it funny, cute or WOW that’s best but not strictly necessary.
  5. End: Include all the information they need to continue a dialogue without you….
    We plan on creating a shared document for everyone so they can cut/paste the text into emails for business referrals for new business development.

    The best introductions are when you’ve spoken personally to both parties.  NOTE not emailed, spoken….

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    Want to know more? Make sure to download our FREE e-book “Cold Emails – Doing it right and netting yourself leads”.

    cold emails ebook[/feature_box]

    The Top 5 most popular articles of all time

Featured on the 302 Temp Redirect show

Thanks to Glenn Marvin of Konnector who interviewed me on his 302 Temporary Redirect Show (that’s a geek joke – a website has a 302 error code…. ).

 

5 key activities for B2B Marketing

During the show Glenn asked me what my “always on” fundamental B2B marketing activities are.  If you want to listen it’s at 18:25 through to 20:24.

  1. Database of clients, suspects and prospects.  Regularly updated.
  2. Regular communications to your database
  3. Trade shows and local in person meetups
  4. LinkedIn to recognise the names of people in your industry – and LinkedIn Sales Navigator
  5. Speaking at conferences, events and being a PR spokesperson for your trade magazine.
Groups on LinkedIn

Become an expert in the eye of the client  

Getting recognition for your “expertise” in selling professional services is paramount if you’re to make good profits.  

The stages in the process include –

  1. Setting out your credentials
  2. Outbound publicity – demonstrate you know your ‘stuff’
  3. Getting to one on one conversations around the client’s desired future state
  4. Discussing your services, their needs and fees

I was working with a financial services client and recommended he use the Monte-Carlo method to establish the prospective client’s need for advice. (Go to the sub heading on Finance and Business).   I think it’s very suitable way to frame a discussion when talking about personal finances

Monte Carlo simulation is commonly used to evaluate the risk and uncertainty that would affect the outcome of different decision options.  

First be recognised as an expert

You can’t get these conversations going without first establishing yourself as an expert.  Nobody wants their finances managed by an amateur.  Nor their marketing services.  Just working for a big name firm is no guarantee of expertise – it’s a step in the right  direction.  

Groups on LinkedIn

Groups on LinkedIn

Getting in front of future clients is possible via step 1.  As you establish yourself as an expert you will get noticed (particularly if you use key words relevant to your expertise and audience.  Maintaining your position as an expert in the eyes of your audience can be continued through outbound articles and publicity.

These are best delivered using sites aligned to your industry niche and audience.  For my area there’s a great Reddit thread, a couple of Facebook Groups and a Linked In Group which is very active.  You need to find the ones suited to your needs.  Don’t forget to check out in-person events on places like Meetup.com too – not all communication has to be written!

Finding the right things to say in your publicity and how to start a conversation with your reader are the things you will need to practice.  Conversations in a public forum can lead, later, to a private discussion which is preliminary to taking on a new client.

 

Book a personalised coaching session with the Creative Agency Secrets team – pick the person who best suits your need.

Referral marketing illustration

Case Study: Three ways to increase referrals

Working with a client who makes animated explainer videos – Case Study of how to grow referrals.  We discuss three ways they can get more referral business.

Referral marketing illustration

Image by NWeSource

1.  Innovations in your specialism

Every market changes over time – fads pass, new ideas surface.  So write about what’s happening in your market.  Consider writing about styles, techniques, innovations to be added onto an explainer video (if that’s your business).  So which new styles are coming about?  Where did each one come from – background and timeline of the evolution.

In the writing analyse the change, what are the component parts, which elements stand out.   You could add in new uses for explainer videos – for example in a PitchPack video brochure.

The goal:

  • Give the reader the education and tools to make an analysis themselves of whether their archive of explainer videos is getting dated
  • Show your opinion as a market leader on what’s good, what’s new and what’s to be avoided
  • Create content which you can share with past clients and encourage them to update their videos and re-buy from you.  [This is referring back to prior clients, not new ones.]

2.  Create a Call list

You need to speak to people if you sell in Business to Business (B2B).  The best way to start a dialogue is with Open Questions.  These encourage a longer response from the other person and give you insight into their views on a topic.  Any insight enables you to position your services as a solution to issues they raise.

Here’s an example of a call prompt (not really a script).

“Hello, Rebecca.  I sent you our article about new styles in explainer videos.  I just wanted to get your opinion on it.  What did you think?”

Can you imagine how the call will develop into a discussion?  

Yes, so can I.

Whether you get a new job immediately or not, you stand a good chance of doing some good things

  • Checking your contact database is still current – add new names in if you can
  • Finding out the current situation in the client business with regard to your service offering
  • Reminding them that you exist and have been trusted with work in the past
  • Updating your CRM with lead status (cold, warm, hot)
  • Possibly opening new opportunities for new business.

Create this call list from a list of all your clients from the past 3 years (more if you’ve been in business longer).  Also add to the list from your Linked In connections and those from your co-workers.  Goal to have 100 people on the list to call.

Plan on making 3 calls per week, per person in your team.  Yes, new business development requires discipline and is hard.   We can teach you how…

3.  Getting Referrals

Start to build a referral marketing engine into your daily project work as well.  We find what works best is to connect with them early in the project.

Start with a “Happy call” when you ring asking for feedback on how the job is going.

Then build on this with a similar call just after the project has been delivered.  Remind them of what they said on the earlier call.  This is the moment to ask for a testimonial for the project team.

After getting this, I usually wrap up by asking

Do you know anyone else who might like to meet us? 

My goal is to get two names of people as an introduction.  My big tip to make this successful is to ask the question and then to stay silent until the other person has come up with a name…. stay silent as they “ummm” and say “maybe”, “well”,  “I’m not sure” and still stay silent and they will 80% of the time come up with a name.  If they firmly say no, you can prompt with – maybe a co-worker in a different team or maybe someone from your previous job and see if that can deliver a name.

How to use the introduction….. write an email to BOTH people.   This is my template email that works.

Subject: NAME OF THE INTRODUCER

Hi Alex,

Our AGENCY NAME has just completed a job for INTRODUCER and s/he suggested you as someone who might like to get to know us.

We completed an explainer video (link) for INTRODUCER.

I took a look at your website and [something helpful here which they can use immediately].

Looking forward to connecting.

Lots of love from Rebecca (only joking… use an appropriate sign off).

I always cc the introducer in this message so they know what I said.

In the email you could tell them about the customer satisfaction scores or Net Promoter Score which your team has acquired over time. Or link to TrustPilot Reviews or your Google My Business Review score.

The follow up call is just a friendly get to know you call. No selling.  But if you feel it’s gone well you can follow up with an email linking to a helpful resource from your website.  Here’s one I use frequently.

By the way, I found your website copyright is out of date (2012), here’s an article we wrote which explains how to add code to your website so this updates automatically every 1st January.  Just send this link to your web developers and tell them to make the change – do it once, and it’ll run forever

This is an example of the type of helpful marketing tips which Creative Agency Secrets writes in our newsletter and blog.  We want to enable you to buy web services as an informed consumer (and we don’t build websites, we help our clients to use them actively to win new client business).

Cute eh?

Then you have to put them onto a stay-in-touch programme or ask if they will allow you to stay in touch with a newsletter subscription.  Either way, one call won’t win you business but a dedicated process to provide utility (usefulness) to them, will ensure you are remembered and they take your calls in future.

Printed direct mail promoting a printer

Preparatory work for direct mail lowers costs

Direct mail is a highly effective marketing technique that delivers sales revenue in a short time frame.  

Some direct mail is poorly conceived and so does not achieve its potential.

[WARNING – this is not always true].

Printed direct mail promoting a printer

Printed direct mail promoting a printer

I received three mailers from a printing firm which serve as a great example of a campaign that could have been much more effective with some pre-planning working with an expert in direct mail campaign structure such as us.

Direct Mail campaign structure

Using a mailing list of marketing agencies, three print pieces of DM were posted out.

The copy promoted “digital by nature” and a new world of digital printing.

The positives

  • Each card had a number to show where it came in the sequence
  • Each one showed different paper colours front and back
  • Each card had the print specifications for the front and back detailed which was cute
  • All print was beautifully executed
  • The 3rd card showed how to set up artwork to work with digital White Toner
  • The 4th card showed how to set up artwork to work with digital Clear Toner

The negatives

  • I did not receive the first card so the campaign opener was lost
  • My agency does not buy print or do graphic design, we are not a good prospect for this service
  • No landing page for the campaign on the website
  • When I first visited there wasn’t a mention of the campaign on the homepage, there is now.
  • This goes to a landing page which has the wrong link in the contact us button.

    wrong link

    Wrong link – testing would have showed this up

How I would have improved the campaign

  1. Combined telephone canvassing with direct mail
    1. Checked the database by phone first asking one question “Do you design for print?”
    2. This would have reduced the downstream print and mailing costs, focused the campaign
  2. Published a landing page URL on the collateral
    1. Tested all the links so the contact us URL was correct (it currently references the same page it’s on)
    2. Included a “behind the scenes” video to show the inside track of the skill Valley Print used to create the mailers and the challenges they faced e.g. printing white on black for the envelope
  3. Used a courier delivery not NZ Post to improve delivery success
    1. This is particularly important for a posted print direct mail series
  4. Followed up by phone with
    1. an invitation to watch the video
    2. stay in touch
    3. subscribe to news updates
    4. further qualify for future work opportunities
  5. This would have built a mailing list, fully up to date and ready for in-house new business sales team to continue to work in the coming months
  6. Planned follow up campaigns including more of the excellent tutorials for designers

Ready to talk direct mail with us?

Give us your challenge and let the creative team loose!

Google Alerts

How to Use Google Alerts to Drive Business

Google alerts are an extremely useful resource for promoting your business online. First of all, if you aren’t using Google Alerts to track your business, you’re missing a seriously useful hack. They are particularly handy for staying up to date with relevant and timely information regarding your business, so you can react immediately to any publicity or news as soon as it happens.

But that’s not all Google Alerts are good for…

Google Alerts can also be used via RSS as a news aggregator on your website or blog! This is particularly useful for showing your visitors you know what is happening around you as well as demonstrating a position of authority with regards to your particular topic. Displaying the latest, relevant news results provides a great reason for your fans to continue returning to your site. Tailored, niche content is much easier to digest when it is a subject aligned with your own browsing interests. It may even help increase the likelihood of your visitors purchasing from you!

The best part about this is it can be totally automated, so you don’t have to spend time curating material. But make sure you have tested and refined your alert keywords in order to get the best results. Or, be sure to check the results from time to time in order to filter out anything that doesn’t fit with your brand.

We will be putting together a guide explaining how to get Google Alerts displaying as an RSS feed on your website shortly…

The next application for Google Alerts is a little more intricate: With a bit of research and a thorough understanding of your target market, you can even use Google Alerts to find new business!

Example: How to use Google Alerts to Generate Leads

Our client provides storage equipment solutions to the global rowing community. Although they can retro-fit single pieces of equipment inside an existing boathouse, their biggest projects come from clubs and organisations who have or are building brand new facilities. These new facilities obviously require a complete fit out of storage equipment and therefore, are our client’s ideal market. So how do you know when a new facility is built and looking for storage equipment? Timing is everything – if you find them too late, they may have already sourced a supplier and you’ll have missed the boat. Google Alerts provides the answer!

By setting up alerts with keywords such as “new rowing boathouse”, “rowing building new boathouse” and “new rowing club” for example, you get a nice summary of boathouse developments happening around the world.

Of course you have to continue your research beyond the alert itself to determine the lead’s value. Sometimes, results are completely irrelevant, and sometimes they are duplicates of material you have already covered. However, on the whole, they are incredibly useful at identifying future projects, as they are often newsworthy topics in their local area.

google alerts example creative agency secretsgoogle alerts example creative agency secrets

The next step is to track all your leads in a spreadsheet. Information such as who to contact and where they are located is particularly important. Additional research on the lead’s website often provides the necessary information to point you in the right direction.

In our client’s case, we were interested in contacting the architects of the boathouse, so that we could get involved with the club and their design process, as early as possible.

We have experienced great success building up a database of quality leads for our client in recent months. It is then up to our client to continue the dialogue with the prospective club and come to an arrangement. We have had a great deal of success converting these previously unknown prospects into happy customers, and have done so without investing hugely in advertising, outbound mailing campaigns or other conventional outbound marketing activities!

We have been able to minimise the time taken to research new sources of business through alerts and have increased the prevalence of new business, while making it easy to filter out results of no value. And as it updates you each time a new boathouse is being developed, you don’t waste time searching for them manually. A weekly check of your alerts inbox provides you with enough

Regardless of your industry or business, there’s bound to be a positive application to use Google Alerts for. Whether it is direct lead generation, building a database of bloggers and journalists to share content between, or even researching a network of businesses whose interests align neatly with your own, the uses for it go on and on.

From attraction to traction: build your list with Unbounce landing pages

Landing pages are important to drive valuable conversions for your business as we wrote before, whether from current customers or new prospects. But designing the perfect landing page can take several weeks to accomplish.

Well, at least, it used to.

Enter Unbounce, a tool we are using to create beautifully designed landing pages, built to deliver easily measurable outcomes.

Yes, we know: there’s a ton of groundbreaking offers popping around on the internet every day, promising to be the Holy Grail of marketing. Luckily you have us to filter the noise and point you in the right direction! 🙂

Why we chose Unbounce Pages

This complete add-on tool has the advantage of offering quick creation and editing, cutting a lot of time from the development stage of the landing page strategy for our clients. Unbounce delivers agile results, not neglecting the “best practices” learned by the developers with intense market research. Every Unbounce landing page is completely mobile responsive, which means extra points for you in Google’s eyes.

Having a successful business on the internet is a tricky thing if you don’t focus on driving results with the right strategy. Among lots of features, Unbounce offers A/B tests and Google Analytics tracking that are amazing at collecting data and eliminating doubts in the decision-making process. It can all be integrated seamlessly into WordPress, Joomla and other CMS platforms, so the landing page doesn’t feel disconnected from the rest of your website. When a visitor gives you their e-mail address, it can automatically go to your new MailChimp highly-focused list for future prospects. Simple as that.  Check out all the Unbounce integrations.

Build your mailing list

Do you feel like building a highly-focused list of contacts is what’s missing from your digital marketing strategy? Contact us right away.