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5 things all B2B small business owners should measure

Big Data is all around us, no matter how hard we try to avoid it.  As a B2B business director you’ll be on a large number of different databases and that’s on top of those for whom you are a consumer.  When you can’t beat them, there’s only one thing to do and that’s join them.

I don’t mean simply buy a list and bombard the hell out of it; that won’t win you any friends.  What I mean is make use of the data you have available, either that you are already collecting or you can easily do with minimal impact.  To that end here are my tips on what data to collect, analyse and make use of:

1. How are you being found?

John Wanamaker famously said he didn’t know which 50% of his advertising worked.  Although his was a consumer business, the comment is just as valid for B2B businesses as well. This is the way to find out.

The answer to the question “How did you find us?” will give you all the information you need.  You then simply add it to the pipeline records you keep, whether on a CRM or an Excel spreadsheet.

Now I hear some people saying “but they may have seen us on Twitter and seen our Adwords and our re-marketing ads; which do we record so we know it works?”  To me the answer is simply: record the one the prospect tells you as that had the most effect and got them to get in touch.

The volume of inbound enquiries means it is usually easy to collect the data. The question can be asked on the phone, as part of a Callback Form and at any time before they are qualified, just as long as it is asked and recorded. For outbound marketing, you already know how they became aware of you!

2. Who’s looking at your website?

It would initially be more accurate to say, at least initially, what’s being looked at on your website, followed by who’s looking.

In a B2B environment website traffic will be generated from a combination of people interacting with your outbound comms and then finding you through various routes, be that Search, social media or even direct traffic.

Your outbound communication can easily be used to ensure you know exactly what your mailing list is looking at.  Imagine emailing your perfect client, seeing they click through to your website and then knowing exactly what they looked at.

For those businesses who find you unprompted, the data attached to their fixed IP address will be really useful in helping you know who is looking at you.

At a B2B level, the data starts to flow a little earlier: Fixed IP addresses will give you company names – who’s the person mostly likely to be searching for your services within that company?

3. Who’s buying what from me?

A bird in the hand is worth much more than two in a bush. Depending on what you read, a current customer can be anything up to 10x cheaper to sell to than a new one, so make sure you (or more precisely, your account managers) know exactly what their customers have bought from the range of products and services you sell.  They can then look for opportunities to sell more of the range into them.

4. Where are my customers?

Postcodes and SIC codes can be your best friends. Why? Because they tell you what your customers do and where they are.

Imagine sitting in front of the right person at a law firm in Liverpool. You’re doing well as the sales meeting progresses. They understand why they should use you and the numbers seem right. They then ask that question: what other law firms do you work with?

If you can then talk about your legal industry customers, particularly in the North West, you’re on solid ground and the sale could be just moments away.  If however, you mostly specialise in manufacturing companies in the London area, you’ve still got a way to go to get that signature.

Know your strengths.

5. What’s the value of a new customer?

Our average customer has a value of £4,800 and it costs just under £300 to acquire one. The return on investment is clear.  I know this could be better and the lifetime value will, hopefully, only increase as my business moves forward.  My question is: do you know what your customers cost and what they generate?

Knowing the answer to just one part of this could sway your marketing activity in the wrong direction, particularly if you look at only the cost of acquisition.  If my cost of acquisition as approaching £2,000 I’d have to think carefully about how I went about attracting more new clients, but if I knew they were all going to generate £32,000 it really wouldn’t be a problem.

 

If you don’t measure your marketing performance, how are you going to improve in the future? None of what I’m suggesting you measure is particularly difficult.  You may need to collect, and record, a little more information but the biggest factor in making the most of the data you have available to you is to take the time to use it. I know you’re busy and that time is precious, but imagine a scenario where you KNEW:

Google Adwords is the No.1 driver of sales worth £30,000 a year to retailers in London and that, during that time, they will by 22% of the available products I have to sell and that you spend just £800 to acquire that new customer.

Just how much more effective do you think your marketing could be?


Take your marketing budget to the casino

Casinos are great places.  You never know how much money you’re going to come out with, no matter how much you take in.  More often than not, you emerge with significantly less, but sometimes it can be an awful lot more.  It’s a bit like your marketing in many ways.

Let me explain.

Let’s start in January and add some more detail to my statement.

You start three different marketing activities in January (spending £2,000 per month), and you can see more website traffic and you’re getting more inbound enquiries. Some of these enquiries then converted into sales and new client sales totalled £16,000.

In February your spend was the same and sales totalled £11,500

March followed a similar pattern and created new client sales of £8,500.

Your first quarter’s marketing budget of £6,000 generated £36,000.  That’s a 6:1 return on investment. Not too bad, but could be better.  As you’re now going into your 2nd quarter, what could be improved so you improve the ROI your marketing is delivering?

If you haven’t measured your marketing, there is no way of knowing how to improve that ROI.  Let’s go to the casino.

£2,000 on the blackjack tables could generate some great results.  Just one hand could turn your £2,000 into £5,000 (assuming the casino pays out 3:2 on a blackjack), but many hands that turn the money over many times could create a lot more.

Roulette gives you a real chance to win a lot of money with a right single number paying 35:1.  That’s £72,000 if you get real lucky.  Even betting just red or black could double your money each time you get it right.

Poker is a different kettle of fish as you’re playing the other players as much as playing the cards. This could easily the table to lose your money on fastest.

Let’s assume you had a good night and came out with the same £36,000.  What games would you play next time you go in?  If you don’t know and simply guess that roulette, with a single number strategy, delivered your winnings, your money could disappear very quickly.

It’s exactly the same with your marketing budget, albeit over an elongated time period. Knowing what marketing delivers new sales, and what doesn’t, allows you to reallocate your resources to maximise your return on investment.

New Year’s Marketing Resolution?

2013 is here!

The New Year is traditionally the time when people make their resolutions, with February often seeing the end of even the most resolute of resolutions.  Why not make changes things this year and make business resolutions that you stick to?

Have you got the information you need to make the right decisions about your marketing budgets?  Why not promise to collate what you need and improve your bottom line?

Imagine what could happen:

  1. More accurate information being collated, leading to….
  2. Improved decision-making about how to invest your marketing resources, leading to….
  3. More phone calls from clients interested in your services, leading to….
  4. More sales and a busier team, leading to….
  5. A better return on investment. leading to….
  6. MUCH BIGGER CHRISTMAS PRESENTS IN 2013
And if you don’t fancy bigger presents, I am sure you can think of other ways to use the increased profits you can generate from your New Year’s resolution.

 

Which marketing activity delivers the best return on investment?

There are three ways to improve your bottom line with maximised profits:

  1. Sell more stuff
  2. Reduce the cost of making and delivering the stuff
  3. Reduce your below the line costs

Lets concentrate on No.1

In order to sell more stuff you need to have more opportunities (or sell larger quantities, but we’ll ignore that for now as well) to sell.  This means making more people aware of your ability to supply said stuff and provide sufficient evidence that your stuff is great. In other words you need better marketing.

The question is: How do you make your marketing better?

or, more precisely, how do you get a better return on investment from your marketing resources – both time and money?

There is, thankfully, a very simple answer to that: concentrate on the marketing activities that deliver the best ROI.

Lets look at this in more detail.

Imagine that you use five different marketing activities to generate your sales opportunities:

  1. Pay Per Click advertising
  2. Networking
  3. Yellow Pages
  4. Telemarketing
  5. Social media

Presuming you know how each of your sales opportunities happened upon you (you do know this don’t you?) you can track their path through your pipeline, see how many opportunities from each marketing activity turn into sales, and then compare the total sales value (for each activity) to the money you spent.

You now know which marketing activities are delivering the best, and worst, ROI.

So, in order to improve the bottom line you simply have to concentrate your budget on the best performing marketing activities.  More sales opportunities should deliver more sales, with the money flowing down to the bottom line.

I hope this helps and gives you something to think about over Christmas and the New Year

Merry Christmas

Which routes to market work best for you?

Your marketing budget is precious and you need to ensure it provides a great return on investment for you.  When was the last time you reviewed the performance of each route to market? Do you know which routes to market work best?

You will be using a number of different routes to market with, potentially, multiple campaigns running. Some of them will produce great results and you will be really busy dealing with the sales enquiries and the resulting work so will you have time to monitor the performance of your other marketing activities?

If some of your marketing is not delivering a good ROI, why keep it going?  The money, or time, you use on this campaign can be used for two alternatives:

  • improving your bottom line.  Money not spent goes straight back into your profits
  • Generating more money.  Why not spend it on increasing the marketing activity that is generating new business

If you haven’t recently reviewed the performance of each marketing campaign, you could have been wasting money for quite some time. It’s vital you know your best routes to market. Don’t delay any longer.

Effective Referral Generation – a few simple steps

Ever wondered why you don’t get the number of referrals you would like?
Do you wonder why your best clients aren’t referring their clients and contacts to you?

Definition: A referral is where the person to whom you are being pointed, as a potential client, is in need of your services and is expecting your call.

I put the definition in to separate out referrals from leads.  A referral is given when the referrer has already talked about you to someone they know is in need for your services.  They will most likely have started the sales process by describing what you have already done for them and said what they thought of the work.  At that point the potential referral asks for contact details. If the referrer has already partially qualified the opportunity it only makes your life easier and a successful sale more likely.

Here’s a few tips that should help you get a few more referrals:

  1. If you ask for a referral you might get one. If you ask for five, you will get one, and possibly two
  2. Be specific when asking for the referrals. If you know the name of the person you would like to be introduced to, it makes it easier for you to be referred
  3. When you give a referral, never remember it. If you get a referral, never forget it
  4. Keep in contact for old clients. Just because they aren’t using your services right now, it doesn’t mean they won’t in the future and they cannot provide referrals
  5. Ask for referrals just after you have completed a piece of work your client is really happy with.
  6. Try to give referrals before expecting to receive.  They will feel like they need to work towards finding you referrals then
  7. Get to properly understand your customers.  Only then can you properly refer clients to them and you will also get a better understanding of the type of clients they can refer to you
  8. Check out your customers’ websites to see who they know.  Most companies have testimonial pages or client lists.
  9. Remember that a little bit of the referrer’s reputation comes with the referral. Don’t abuse their trust

If you have any more great tips, please add them in the comments section below. I will add them to the article and provide a link to your website or LinkedIn or Twitter account as a thank you.

I know 50% of my marketing works, just not which 50%…

Which 50% of my marketing works?

The best person to ask which part of your marketing worked is………… your customer.

when was the last time you asked a prospective client how they found you and then recorded it somewhere?

As a small business your time and your money are both valuable commodities.  Your money you may get back but your time is lost forever.  If you could have some of both, by knowing which marketing activities are working for you, how much better do you think your productivity would be and how much healthier your bottom line you be?

By asking your customer how they found you, you gain from a series of learnings:

  • You can see which routes to market are generating  the most suspects, prospects and sales.
  • You can match your marketing campaign expenditure to income and generate campaign return on investment (ROI) statistics
  • You will have an insight into the quality of your pipeline management and sales techniques (from the rate of drop-off through the sales pipeline)

The information generated and the insights achieved allow you to then make quality decisions around your marketing activities and budgets.  Even if you simply stop and pocket the money usually spent on a poor performing marketing campaign, your profits will improve.

For further information or assistance in improving your marketing performance, give me a call on 07770 970 557 or click here and I will call you.

I hope this is useful to you and look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Wanna cut your marketing budget?

In periods of recession there are two budgets that traditionally get cut – training and marketing.

The argument that always goes back to the Finance or Managing Directors is that by cutting either of these budgets, you are damaging the company’s ability to move forward.  If you cut the training budget there is a good chance that the quality of customer service will slip. If customer service slips, customers generally go to another provider of your service or product. If you cut the marketing budget, how do you effectively talk to your current and prospective customers to maximise your profitability?

Sometimes there is simply no alternative but to cut the marketing budget and then the problem is what do you cut?

Henry Ford (cars) and John Wanamaker (retail) are just two highly successful people who said they know half their advertising was wasted, just not which half.  the problem then is what do you cut when you have to in order to save money?

For B2B companies I believe there is a simple and effective way of knowing what marketing works, and therefore should be kept, and what doesn’t work – and so can be cut:

ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS

Whenever you talk to a customer, particularly when they call you as a new prospect, ask what prompted them to call you.  Although I am sure there have been multiple touches, there will usually be one that sticks in the customer’s mind and, in my opinion, that is the one that counts.  Record that answer in your customer relationship management (CRM) system, in your Excel spreadsheet or wherever you keep your prospect list.  You can then analyse the data, understand your marketing performance and then make the decisions you need to.

If you have to cut money from the marketing budget, it would be mad to reduce the spend on the activities that are bringing in the money but it makes absolute sense to cut, or re-direct, the money that isn’t generating the return on investment you need.

If you would like some assistance in identifying what could be cut, give me a call or click here and I will call you

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