May 14, 2014
Most of us try not to be all things to all people, especially in the B-to-B world. For those of you who are, I feel bad for you.
If part of your criteria for new business is “anyone with money” or “I hope to get paid,” I have to believe you’re not running a growing or profitable business.
We’re in the competitive niche of marketing and have taken the position of not being all things to all people. We have defined our niche as helping manufacturers who want to reach the professional tradesman and promote it appropriately.
Here are some tips that have helped us grow and prosper in our competitive space:
- Hire us to be effective, not efficient.
- We help clients become profit leaders, not market leaders.
- Category knowledge – intellectual capital.
- Don’t be afraid to focus - be afraid of mediocrity.
Make your value proposition clear because relevance and differentiation do matter.
You and your company only have so much time. Why not spend it on clients you choose? Remember, bad clients can drive out good ones! If you stay true to your positioning, new clients will find you.
April 29, 2014
I don’t know about you, but we go to lots of trade shows during the course of a year, and I sometimes scratch my head as I walk by some of the booths and say,“What were they thinking?”
Either they haven’t had a new message in years or they are talking so much about me, me, me that I wonder why anyone would walk into their booth. I’m not talking about small companies either. I’m sure some of them have seven-figure trade show budgets. I always wonder what kind of metric they use (or are forced to report to management to justify ROI)?
So let’s step back for a minute and assume that you have a great product, customer service to die for and a sales staff that understands and can articulate your value proposition. My question is, “Does your trade show booth tell a compelling story of why folks should be doing business with you?” If that value proposition doesn’t stick out and scream at potentials, then you may be wasting valuable time, talent and resources that can be put to use elsewhere.
Your pre-show checklist should include:
- Defining the show objective based on the target audience that is attending the show. Highlight what’s in it for me, the customer.
- Defining the types of leads you want to come out of the show with. (Remember, quality over quantity.)
- Defining how to qualify them as to where they are in the sales funnel.
- Communicating your trade show objectives with the folks that will be working the booth. Let them know what is expected of them.
- Have post-show follow-up all ready to go before you go to the show so it can be implemented as soon as you get back. Thank you note, phone scripts and who’s doing what.
- Review the content you’re sending out after the show so it corresponds with what the prospect is looking for (product info, distributor, local contractor).
- When sending something, make it be something of value – a copy of your latest e-book, a competitive crossover chart. Something that will help them do their job better and make them feel good about you. Sales will follow.
Trade shows are so expensive, and to make the most out of them, you need a plan.
What kinds of things are you doing to maximize your trade shows?
April 22, 2014
I recently read an article in eMarketer.com that dealt with sales stats in 2013, and that almost 40% of the sales forces weren’t making their numbers and it floored me. I sure wouldn’t want to be running a company based on sales of XXX and then the sales force under-delivers by that large of a difference-Yikes!
2013 wasn’t a bad year for the economy (we’ve seen a lot worse), and I can’t help but wonder what their issues were in closing the sale. One of the biggest reasons given was the sale ended in a “no decision.” What does that mean?
Here’s an interesting graphic:
It sounds to me like either the leads weren’t qualified correctly or the salesman didn’t do his homework in determining where the prospect was in the sales funnel. It also sounds like there were multiple decision makers in the process and possibly they all were not included in the sales pitch. A few other things bother me as well:
- What I can’t understand in this report is that 31% were unable to effectively communicate value to a prospect - yes, you heard me right.
- 26% had content that wasn’t aligned with the buyer
- 20% didn’t have the necessary content or resources for selling
This sounds like a great opportunity for marketing to step in and help fill the content voids they are talking about. It also begs the question of whether these results were from a traditional selling model versus that of one using social media as part of the mix.
If you had good content that was searchable on the internet, chances are the right people will find that info long before they identify themselves to you as a prospect and get a lot of their basic homework done first. You’d be able to show your expertise in a market segment so they think of you as an industry expert, which will help set you apart (value of your brand) when they finally decide to contact you. Marketing can help answer those questions ahead of time if we know the different stages of the selling cycle and what’s important to address at each level.
Am I missing the boat here or do you agree?
April 17, 2014
Today we have a blog post from Rosemarie Ascherl, PR Foreman at Sonnhalter, discussing tips for successful media interviews.
Do you ever pick up an industry trade journal and wonder why your company’s perspective hasn’t been included? Editors often rely on “round-up” articles, which entail interviewing several manufacturers’ spokespeople to develop an industry trend story. The trick to getting your company included in these stories is to portray your company as a thought leader.
Proactively developing and leveraging relationships with the media to make sure your company is included in round-up articles is fairly easy to do. Your marketing communications firm has these relationships and can facilitate the media interviews with your company spokesperson.
Once an interview is scheduled, what do you need to do?
- If you don’t know the editor, familiarize yourself with the editor by reviewing past issues of the publication and checking out the editor’s LinkedIn profile.
- Make sure your calendar is blocked for the interview and you are in a quiet office where you will not be interrupted. Most interviews are conducted in a simple 15- to 30-minute phone conversation. Editors are always working against deadlines, so cancelling or postponing an interview could mean you’re not included in the article – or worse, your competitor gets included instead!
- Request questions prior to the interview. Editors sometimes provide you with questions to guide the conversation. Make sure you review the questions before the interview and give them some thought. It doesn’t hurt to talk them through with a colleague that may have additional input.
- Sometimes the conversation will veer from the questions, but know what you want to tell the editor. The editor should be able to walk away with three to four main points regarding the subject.
- Follow up, or have your public relations representative follow up, with appropriate press materials or graphics that you reference in your conversation.
- Do not tell the media anything you don’t want to see in print. Be honest. If the editor asks you a question you aren’t prepared to answer, tell him or her you’ll get back to them with an answer [and then be sure to follow up].
- Do not expect to see the article before it is published. Some editors will provide you with a chance to review your comments; however, this is merely a courtesy and should not be presumed. If given the opportunity to review the article, stick to checking the facts you provided and don’t attempt to alter the editor’s writing style.
- Thank the editor for the coverage. And of course, offer your assistance and time for future articles that the editor might need help with.
Once the editor knows you’re a well-prepared, reliable source, they will be inclined to request your opinions for future articles—resulting in more valuable editorial content for your company!