Thursday, December 12, 2013

What Role Does Business Development Play At Your Company?

Create A BizD Legacy

Is Business Development just another name for a “sales hunter” who searches for new business or is it inside sales and telemarketing?  Or, do you consider BizD to mean partnerships and alliances or mergers and acquisitions?

At top companies BizD interfaces with marketing, sales, CEM, engineering, R&D, product/service management and production processes.  Only after new BizD ideas are fully vetted for prime time will they be transitioned to the respective operating environment [or a new one will be created]. BizD then moves on to the next prioritized opportunity to continually add significant value to the business.

Continuously Ask Yourself About Your Business

What will your business be like if you continue the status quo for the next couple of years?  What formalized actions are being taken to improve your business?
  • How do you nurture most valuable customers to keep buying and referring?
  • How do you develop new MVCs?
  • How do you find new customers?
Do You Continuously Solicit Internal and External Feedback?

  • What do employees, customers and partners think of your business?
  • How can you make it more attractive for the best employees to join your company?
  • How can you make it easier for customers and partners to do business with you?
  • What would it take for targets to want to do business with you?
  • Should you offer new or modified products and/or services?
  • How do you compare Vs. best in class companies in mission critical processes and programs?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Create Easy Paths For Risk Averse Sales Reps

Top tier sales reps continually stretch their comfort zones.  They gain confidence by enhancing their professional and technical skills.  They focus on expanding their horizontal and vertical contacts within their accounts.  They smartly approach new prospects in unfamiliar industries and territories. They represent their entire product line and are always searching for new applications. They create and tell Success Stories that prove how customers enjoy significant results by overcoming challenges through the solutions they provide. 

Mid-tier reps risk daily disappointment from their status quo strategy.  Instead, they should expand their comfort zones to smoothly navigate an uncontrollable sea of customers, competition, economy and their own companies.

An integrated sales and marketing leadership team can make it emotionally easier for these safety seekers by cuing them into areas where top performers have blazed a path for them.  They can tailor these ideas to their own style, which enables originality and authenticity.

At a minimum, mid-tier reps should retell success stories of top performers as they develop confidence and skills to develop their own.  This content will expand their horizons and they will find it less risky to look for similar opportunities and apply similar solutions because others have blazed the path for them.

Build a portfolio of online press releases and success stories fit for the moment.  Make this part of ongoing sales training and an agenda item during all sales meetings.  Online Press Releases reveal why a customer or partner has selected your company.  Success Stories prove that you delivered on your promise. Video Testimonials make the story real.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Manage Your Next Trade Show Like a Marketing Campaign

The Goal Is For The Right People To Plan To Spend Quality Time With You
As you plan for your next trade show, treat this investment of money, manpower and resources just like you do for any important marketing campaign.   Review the campaign plan to ensure that it will earn an ROI that is commensurate with company marketing investment guidelines.

Determine The Results That You Need To Achieve

  • Which sales opportunities can you move closer to Win status?
  • How many new leads make the event worthwhile?
  • Renew acquaintances with customers, prospects and partners and attract new ones

A Pre-Event Campaign Strategy Is Essential
Rather than hoping that people will visit your booth, your goal should be for your targets to attend your keynote presentation and to schedule a 15-minute time slot at your booth with one of your associates.

  • Develop the Message that appeals to your target audience so they will plan on visiting your booth.
  • Write an Article and Advertise in your industry trade journal one issue before the show
  • Tailor a Media Kit for the event press conference
  • Issue online Press Releases before and after the event
  • Booth staff should be trained ambassadors
  • Your CRM system should be online in your booth

Market The Event To Your CRM Database
Let contacts know you'll be there, what you'll be doing, your booth number and how to schedule a booth calendar time slot with you.  Send personal invitations to a select number of VIPs.
  • Promote your event through email invitations and landing pages with content that highlights trends, facilitates idea exchange and showcases your theme.
  • Registration through online forms
  • Measure results through online reports
  • PURL Postcards direct contacts [for whom you don't have email addresses] to personalized landing pages where they can opt-in to receive an email invitation.
Be More Than "Just Noticed" So Visitors Are Happy That They Made Time For You
Give a keynote presentation at the event in a subject matter theme forum.  Free running booth presentations and pre-scheduled audience style demonstrations enable visitors to self-qualify prior to requesting a 1on1 meeting.  Booth staff catch guests by surprise having pre-learned about them. Offer something of value related to your conversation.
  • Collateral and Handouts
  • Success Stories
  • Product Sell Sheets
  • Give away e.g. company branded flash drive with collateral information stored on it

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Marketing Driven Sales Teams Build Customer Lifetime Value

Don't Ring The Bell After Closing A Sale

After a great effort to close a sale and adequately deliver their product or service, "lost opportunists" move on to the next sale without considering the opportunity presented by the customer that they just served.  Customers who are disappointed by some small thing that doesn't match their expectations may or may not return and probably won't volunteer their reason. When expectations are met, but there is no effort to exceed them, a customer may or may not return, and probably won't refer their colleagues, friends and family. 

Companies that have a consistent process to understand the degree to which a customer is nearing raving fan status are able to adjust accordingly.

Under promise and over deliver can be as simple as alerting the customer when something isn't going to happen as planned.  When everything is on track as promised, how can you exceed expectations?

Ring The Bell After A Repeat Sale Or Referral

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Teach New Customers How To Benefit From Your Relationship

 Manage Expectations With A New Customer Welcome Package

An excellent way to begin each new business relationship

  • Welcome letter from a company officer reinforces the sales proposal's promise
  • Contact information - customer, company, channel partners
  • Date for kick-off meeting to review timelines, responsibilities, potential pitfalls and status meeting schedule
  • Warranties and how to request maintenance services
  • Invoice and A/R process
  • How to request a proposal for future services
  • How to place a purchase order

An Important Synergy - Your Employees Will Benefit

If you teach new customers how to do business with your company, your people will be more efficient and better able to leverage their competencies for serving customers and finding new ones. They will be more effective in creating logical next step opportunities with each customer. They will help your company to learn from customer feedback. They will introduce referrals early in the relationship.

A totally satisfied customer will strengthen the company’s portfolio of success stories. So, start the relationship on a positive note.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Puffery Will Derail Your Brand

Self-Promoting Content Turns Off Your Audience

Much of the promotional content that we see, hear and read is an unproven self-testimonial to the marketer's products and services.  Anyone can say "we're the leader in the field of ..."  This image positioning puffery will disable a branding strategy.  Character expression is a more sustainable approach.

Character Expression enables your target audience to understand what motivates you to do what you do for them while Image Positioning puffs up an exaggerated image. Why jump into the pool of sameness as everyone else who is creating self-testimonials?  No one believes these subjective reviews anyway.

The challenge is not to create puffery, but to create raving fans who put you on stage.

Image Positioning Strains Credibility
Character Expression Builds Trust
Focus on company and its competitors
Focus on customers and employees
Exaggerates minor differences
Reveals significant differences
Fabricated evidence supports claims
Authentic experiences create differences
Goal to preserve image
Raving fans prove reality
Applies faddish style
Integrates long lasting design
Company-sponsored marcom
Media and referral driven marcom
Separates marcom from product and service delivery
Integrates marcom with delivery of products and services
Inconsistent brand messages
Brands express company values