The 10 rules of Negotiation

The 10 Rules of Negotiating

As this month’s topic is how marketing can help Sales to deliver more deals, I thought I would use a video I’ve seen recently. It looks at negotiating and some key rules around negotiating when dealing with a prospect.

Alan McCarthy’s 10 Rules of Negotiation look at what you should and shouldn’t do. Read more

How marketing data can help you close more sales

marketing data helps you sell more

You want more leads from your marketing so that you can generate more sales.

I know it’s an obvious statement, but let me challenge it for a moment.

What if you could close more of the leads you get?  Would that be just as good?

Your marketing is planned and implemented with the sole aim of generating more leads for your business. Now some will say that it is also there to develop and maintain brand awareness (usually those focused on social media), but brand awareness is there to ensure that people know who you are and what you do – so they can buy from you when the right time arises.

The question is: when is the right time?

Answer: when the data tells you it is the right time.

Let me explain.

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Four ways Marketing helps Sales close the deal

Marketing has two roles:

  1. To develop the leads your business needs to grow.
  2. To help your sales team close the deal.

Let’s talk about the latter.

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Are your case studies working well as evidence you do a great job?

As you talk to your latest prospective new client, you’ve identified their needs. You are talking to them about your solution to those needs. You’ve explained what it is you do and how that will help make their lives considerably easier or better. There is just one thought in their heads at this point:

PROVE IT!

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What are you doing with your testimonials?

benefit of testimonialsMany marketing people will tell you of the benefits of testimonials and how they can help you to grow your business. I’m agree completely that testimonials are a key part of the evidence set you use to help your target audience to buy from here, but are you using them well?  Here’s 12 tips to help you get the best results from your testimonials.

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7 reasons why your business must have a marketing budget

image of multiple £20 notes to illustrate article about marketing budgetsYou must market your business if you want to attract new prospects and then convert them into new clients. So why it is that less than 50% of small businesses have a marketing budget?
If you want to achieve the growth targets you have set for your business, these are the 7 reasons why you must have a marketing budget. Read more

Nobody buys from people they’ve never heard of, or do they?

Back in the “olden days” when you would never get fired for buying IBM, companies spent a huge amount of money generating the brand awareness and brand trust that meant they would be considered as “an IBM brand”. Today, things have changed somewhat and people will buy from brands they’ve never heard of. There is, however, a big proviso in that purchase.

There has to be a very low level of perceived risk. Let’s look at some examples to explain what I mean.

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Marketing Planning – a case study

This month’s blogs have all been around planning your marketing.  Obviously I’m going to say marketing planning is essential, but let me give you an example of what can happen when you do.

Case Study Ninja started in 2016 and I met Sarah, the founder, at a Croydon Tech City event.  For those of you who know Croydon (not the Kate Moss and Tiger Tiger version), you know if has a rapidly growing tech scene and is one of the fastest growing economies in the country. Croydon Tech City hold regular events aimed at new tech entrepreneurs, to help them launch and grow their business ideas.

As you must when networking, Sarah and I followed up our brief chat and business card swap with a further conversation.  I found out that she’d already been talking to other marketing agencies, but I still had an opportunity to pitch. Thankfully I won the work and we set about planning how to take Case Study Ninja to the world.

Who

We brainstormed who to target, why that person and the pains, needs and issues they had.  We matched how Case Study Ninja helps them to their needs and finally looked at the what would stop them buying.

How

The second session looked at what channels and how we would take Case Study Ninja to market. Of course, we considered what social media channels to use, but also what other online, and offline, channels would be used.

The Result

Case study Ninja now has over 70 clients and is thriving.  More detail can be seen in our case study here, but I recommend you also check out their website. If you use case studies as key evidence to help you win new clients, you should seriously consider using them.

Planning your marketing isn’t something you can leave to your marketing consultant. You must be directly involved, for a number of reasons:

  1. You know your business better than your marketing consultant will. Your input is vital.
  2. How will your consultant know what skills you have within the business, and what needs to be found?
  3. Have you been truthful about the budget you have available and what could impact that budget? If not, how can your marketing consultant know what is going to happen?
  4. Finally, you get more from your marketing being a success than anyone. It’s in your interests to be involved.

I hope this helps

Do you have the marketing skills you need?

do you have the marketing skills you need?

You love what you do.

You’re great at what you do

Are you great at telling others how they will benefit from working with you?

Let’s look at why you need to think carefully about this.

You’ve set goals for the business. They’re ambitious and so will take some work, so you need things to work well to achieve them.

You’ve got a marketing strategy that is aligned with your business plan and aimed at your goals. Now it’s time to look at the marketing plan and what needs to be done.

  1. Do you have the marketing skills needed?

Unless you run a marketing agency, it shouldn’t be automatically assumed you have the skills you need. As a business owner, I’d be confident that you can talk to anyone. You can quickly and easily talk about what you do and about some of your clients and the work you’ve done for them. For the networking that most small businesses do, you can probably do this well and be the figurehead for the business.

Whether you have the skills to run an Adwords campaign or to build a following on social media is another thing.

  1. Should you be doing the marketing?

As the business owner, you have a lot of hats to wear anyway. As the Managing Director, you are the figurehead for the business and the leader. Your role is to make sure everything gets done, not to do it.

If you are still heavily involved in the operational delivery within the business, is your time best spent delivering for your clients or trying to attract them? Unless you are going to pay your marketing resource more than your hourly charge rate (bet you don’t), you are far better off earning the money.

  1. Do your staff have the marketing skills?

In the early days, your staff are expected to contribute and do whatever needs to be done. As you grow, they have specific jobs to do. These jobs need to be done to keep the company running smoothly and to keep the clients happy.

Some of the staff may well be able to do some of your marketing, but what is the impact of taking time away from their specific job? Would that mean you need to add resource to get their “proper job” done?

Unless they are under-utilised, I’d suggest you will be better off keeping them doing what you originally employed them to do.

If the goals you have set for the business are ambitious, you need everyone doing a great job.  That means doing the job they are best at. For you, that is running the company and ensuring you have happy staff and happy clients. Your staff need to be doing their jobs, so you have just one more question to answer when it comes to getting the marketing skills you need to have within the business…

Do you recruit or do you outsource?

I hope this helps

So just what is a marketing strategy?

what is a marketing strategy

There is a difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy, but many people get them mixed up.  Let’s discuss…

Perhaps the simplest way to explain the difference is this:

  • Your marketing strategy is what you aim to achieve
  • Your marketing plan is how you are going to do it.

The development of your marketing strategy and plan is the 3rd step in the process we take all new clients through, after measuring the marketing performance over the last 2-3 years and then understanding exactly who is in the target audience.

Your Marketing Strategy

As a business, you will have a set of goals and targets for the next year. They usually include a growth target – we want to grow by 50% in the next 12 months. Your marketing strategy is the first step in achieving that goal.

What does it include?

Your marketing strategy will include the following:

  1. Your long-term business target (50% growth for example) alongside what this means in reality
    1. Are you going to sell to more clients or sell more to your current clients (market penetration)?
    2. Are you going to sell more products to your current market (product development) or, are you going to sell your current products to different markets (market development)
    3. Perhaps you are taking the trickiest route to growth – diversification (new products to new markets)
    4. How many net new clients does this mean?
    5. Whether you assume you are going to lose any current clients – or keep them all
  2. What you sell and why
    1. For stakeholders and for staff to understand the business
  3. The key routes to market
    1. Not the tools you are going to use, but whether you will primarily be using online or offline, whether you are using predominantly a referral strategy or an account management one.

Your Marketing Plan

Your marketing plan will include:

  1. The specific marketing channels and tools you will use
  2. What you expect to achieve from each tool/channel:
    1. How much website traffic
    2. Which social media channels have how many followers?
    3. How many phone calls?
  3. How does each channel contribute to achieving your overall goals?
    1. Which are primarily awareness generation tools?
    2. Which will engage your target audience?
    3. Which are aimed at generating the leads you need?
  4. What is the competitive situation?
    1. How many competitors do you have?
    2. How does your product/service differ from the competitors?

Your marketing strategy shows what you want to achieve, with the plan showing how you are going to get there. You cannot develop a marketing plan without having a strategy in place that matches your business plan. After all, there are two key parts of your business that will help you achieve your business goals:

  1. Operations: ensuring you deliver on your promises to your clients and, ideally, keep as many as possible.
  2. Marketing: developing new leads to generate the clients you need to grow the business.

If the two don’t work together, it will be very difficult to achieve your business goals.

I hope this helps.