Gotta be in it to win it

Business awards have never really been something I have considered entering before. Mostly because the categories don’t really fit.  It doesn’t make sense for me to enter a Marketing category, simply because most of my marketing is networking-based. Entrepreneur-type awards have never tempted me. What I do is nothing new, even if the way I do it is somewhat different to most marketing agencies out there. So what awards could I enter?

This year’s Croydon Business Awards included a Commitment to the Community award (they may have been there before – not sure) and it occurred to me that SME Needs does quite a lot within the community.

So, why not enter…

Croydon has over 13,000 businesses in the borough and over 200 entered.

So far our entry seems to be going well. We are really chuffed that SME Needs has been shortlisted for the Commitment to the Community award. We are one of 85 businesses shortlisted for the 14 awards being presented on the Gala Night.

It’s great to see a number of other companies we know well, including other Sussex Innovation members (Return2Play, Aio, Crystalusion, Safe in Sound) also being nominated. I wonder how many of the awards will be heading into the 50p building???

All we have to do now is complete another entry form and perform well in an interview on September the 6th.

We then find out on October 5th!


Do you close enough leads?

measure your marketingDo you want to grow your business?

To maintain and grow your business, you need a constant flow of new leads into the business. You also need to close those leads, turning them into business. The question is: are you closing enough leads?

Your marketing should be generating a steady, and consistent, flow of leads into your business. IF not, let’s have a chat. If the flow of leads is lumpy, I would hazard a guess, saying that your marketing activity is lumpy too. Are you doing some marketing when you get time?

To understand whether you are closing enough leads, let’s go back to the beginning:

How many leads do you need?

As you plan for the trading year, what are your targets? Many companies I talk to have a “standard” 4 new deals a month approach. Whilst that will be great for some, it may not be enough for others. For some, it will be too many as they either haven’t got the resources to deal with them or they haven’t got the marketing budget to generate that many leads.

You need to have a target to aim at.

I know that one big deal a month can be the equivalent of 4 deals, but you cannot rely on the big deals coming along all the time. What is your average client worth? Easy calculation: Divide your annual turnover by the number of clients you worked with in that time. If you have one, or two, clients generating a big percentage, take them out of the equation.

Are you tracking your leads?

Do you have some way of tracking every lead that comes into your business? Without something, you will never know if you close enough leads. This may be something like Salesforce, Hubspot or Infusionsoft. Alternatively, it can simply be an Excel spreadsheet. My advice: work with what works for you and what makes sense to invest in.

Are you monitoring your numbers?

Most CRMs will provide reporting for you, but Excel can easily calculate your numbers for you too. Let’s look at the numbers you need to track:

  1. How many people visit your website?
  2. How many leads do you get each month?
  3. How many of these become qualified leads?
  4. How many of these become new clients?

The 1st question is there because most people will check you out. Even if they are a referral, they will almost certainly visit your website to see what you are all about, so you need to know this number. If your website is doing its job, you should be getting a steady flow of leads into the business.

The number of leads you get tells you whether your marketing is working or not.

The number of qualified leads is also a reflection on your marketing, with a little input from Sales. If the number of qualified leads you have is far lower than your leads, you are attracting the wrong people. If this is the case, your marketing needs to be reviewed.

If the number of sales that come from qualified leads is insufficient, there are three possible reasons why:

  1. Your close rate is too low, so your Sales process needs to be reviewed.
  2. You are getting too many poor quality leads.
  3. You aren’t getting enough leads.

The only way you will know is if you are measuring your marketing.

I hope this helps.