The Marketing Boutique

SimpliERP Focuses On Customer Growth

The people at SimpliERP contacted The Marketing Boutique because they want to focus on company growth by improving their current marketing and sales initiatives. We are delighted to be part of their business growth journey and currently offering high-value social media training and lead generation solutions that would ramp up their digital marketing capabilities.

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Relationship Marketing or account-based marketing, whatever you want to call it, is where you’ll want to be. Relationship marketing has changed some of our bland marketing tactics. Take email nurturing; thankfully, the days when we set up an email nurturing campaign and then forget about it are gone.

That’s good news!

Consumers are tech-savvy, and we know when we’re getting played by an automated message. Relationship marketing helps you manage your important clients on a one-to-one basis.

We’re faced with more critical decision-making issues while keeping up-to-date with technological advances, content trends and buying behaviours disrupting every industry or personal life – the fact remains is that no large sale happens in a vacuum.

Limitations of Inbound Marketing

Here’s the other thing we need to consider. The online world is a busy place. It is getting harder, rather expensive to get noticed with even the best inbound marketing program. Inbound marketing has its value but relying solely on these tactics to get sales leads to come to your door isn’t a doable strategy.

Outbound Marketing Has Its Place

I do love outbound marketing. It’s where you’ll get the big sales and meet the people who will change the world. But, outbound marketing doesn’t provide the precision data that inbound marketing offers.

Blend both tactics in your marketing plan is best, and yes, which includes account-based marketing. Let’s take a deeper dive into Account-Based Marketing and where it should be placed in your marketing strategy for 2019.

Benefits of Account Based Marketing

Account-based marketing is aimed at sales lead generation. It usually combines inbound, outbound marketing and account-based marketing, creating programs to convert and nurture qualified buyers. Account-based marketing also establishes the main lead in your company who will learn and manage the account.

Align Sales and Marketing Teams

Your lead, sales and marketing teams need to work together to builds relevant communications with target accounts. Another area is the CRM. Ensure that it is set-up in a manner where everyone sees who is managing or nurturing the account. You’ll be able to better identify target accounts, develop a communication strategy and outreach tactics. These teams will also better understand quality sales leads and agree on what success looks like when reviewing the campaign’s progress.

Build Relevant Resources

Because your teams will be aligned, your marketing team will develop relevant and valuable communication tools and resources for your account.

Forget Automation

Make it personal. Call, visit and learn all you can about your account’s industry. Be honest about your company’s capability. It will help cement your relationship. People are tired of the sales pitch. And, like any solid relations, give it time.

Involve Your Marketing Team At Every Step

People know when they’re added to your irritating, dull nurturing funnel.  Marketing needs to be present at every stage of the funnel, providing quality content and understanding where the lead is in the buying process.

Relationship Management

Once we get the right client, we have the power of the relationship that has remained a constant for any business. In the end, we need to stop replacing technology and quantity with quality and real relationships.

Social selling for B2B has lots of potentials. It’s time to bring proper learning practices and knowledge of this method to your sales team. Get them the social selling training because as you’ll read in this post, social selling is effective.

How Effective is Social Selling?

  • 78% of salespeople using social media perform better than their peers (source)
  • Sales reps who viewed the profiles of at least 10 people at each of their accounts were 69% more likely to exceed quota than those who viewed 4 or fewer (source)
  • Social sellers generate 38% more new opportunities than traditional sellers (source)
  • 90% of top salespeople use social selling tools, compared with 71% of overall sales professionals (source)
  • 62% of employees at large companies agreed that social selling enables them to build stronger, more authentic relationships with customers and prospects
  • Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing
  • 63.4% of Social sellers reported an increase in company sales revenue, compared to 41.2% of non-social sellers (source)
  • Sales teams who embrace social experience report 18% more pipeline (volume) and 28% velocity increase (source)
  • The majority of social sellers with long-term training in place (78%) hit their revenue goals in the past 12 months versus those without formalized training (38%) (source)
  • Salespeople leveraging social selling experience a 31% higher ROI than those who stick to traditional tactics (source)
  • Content shared by employees receive 8x more engagement than the same content shared by company/brand channels (source)
  • Brand messages are re-shared 24x more when shared by employees vs. brand/corporate accounts (source)
  • 90% of an employee’s social audience is new to the brand (source)
  • Messages reach 561% further when shared by employees vs. the same messages shared via official corporate social channels (source)
  • Employees have on average 10 times more social connections than a brand does (source)
  • 54% of salespeople who use social media can track their social media usage back to at least one closed deal (source)
  • Sales reps who leverage social selling in their sales process are 79% more likely to attain their quota than those who don’t use it (source)
  • Sales teams that use social selling techniques exceed their quota 31% more than non-users (source)

New Customer in social selling

Today, customers use the internet to help them identify their problems and form their own opinions about solutions. Your future customer has better access to information thanks to social sharing, blogs, content marketing, and the global connectivity of the Internet. We can engage with the company through many digital touchpoints during their research.

What’s changed in B2B selling is our prospective client now jumps between reviewing, asking friends for referrals to choosing a solution, going up and down the sales funnel many times. B2B purchases can now use social media to find, evaluate, and contact your salesperson in their own time, at their own pace.

CEB’s research estimated that about 60% of the purchase process is already completed before a B2B buyer approach a salesman. Potential customers now go to the negotiation table with a much better understanding of their problem and how it can be solved, backed up by statistics for better leverage.

Steps in B2B Social Selling

  1. Set-up the right social media platforms
  2. Listen and find the right prospects
  3. Create content that provides value!
  4. Post a social media update daily
  5. Network and connect with your prospects
  6. Engage and nurture your prospects (According to Linked’s research, prospects feel the most motivation to return a reach out when the sales rep has provided them with some type of value in return for their interaction. Be willing to create content that helps your prospects even though this might not bring in immediate revenue.)
  7. Start a content marketing program and this could mean a daily posting on your Business Page on LinkedIn and three daily tweets on Twitter and Facebook and a weekly blog posting on your site.
  8. Retain your customers and prospects with a newsletter, content and events.

Make Your Brand a Valuable Resource

A good way to build brand trust and connect with your target list online is to develop great content. It’s not just developing interesting content, you then need to promote the content and get your audience to engage with your content.

If you’re thinking that it sounds like a lot of work – you’re right. But, according to a social selling study performed by LinkedIn, buyers that are active in social media are open to hearing from salespeople and welcome input from industry experts. Therefore, try to position yourself as an expert in your industry.

How to help your brand provide value when social selling:

  • Become an industry expert: Share answers or provide insight into how your processes are different
  • Provide quick and easy how-to guides and video tutorials that are practical for your leads
  • Build conversations by becoming an active listener and acknowledging those that engage with your brand

All this content is to help you when you reach out to your targeted audience, your lead list and you’ve got some brand muscle behind you.

use SOCIAL MEDIA as a:

  • Brand Maker
  • Sales Tool
  • Community Builder
  • Customer Service and Support
  • Lead Generator
  • Shared Effort with sales and marketing team
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Conducting a competitive analysis is probably one of the most important reports you should spend time doing for your business. It’s time well spent in knowing your competition.

Why you should know your competition

The main reason is that clients now have quick access to your competitors’ perceived or actual product/service benefits. The second reason is that you may be promoting a specific product feature or an internal human factor like customer service as your key brand differentiation – which, depending on how competitive your industry is, could not be enough to make the sale.

The third reason is that the consumer has changed. We’ve changed. We want choices, and we’ll search online to get them. Even a new advertising or social media campaign can change your customers’ minds, and they move to your competition.

Online tracking makes it easier to know your competition

On the upside of things, as someone in marketing, it has gotten easier to read the competition thanks to the Internet. Granted, you may not know about an upcoming advertising campaign from your competition, but what competitor tracking will do is help you understand the current industry environment. But you’ll need to know what you are looking at to build a marketing plan, and it starts by creating a competitive analysis spreadsheet.

How to analyze and report

What you are looking for is the ability to understand what’s next. You should be asking questions such as, “what will be your competitor’s next move? What type of skill set do they have that I’ll need that will help my company grow?

Take your time to develop these questions as it will in the analysis phase.

The next area to track is how you compare against your direct competitors based on actual product features and clients’ perceptions of your product and your competition. Ideally, create an excel with a list of products and services your competition has and compare with your company’s offering. Look for gaps.

You can discover competitive gaps and opportunities from products, marketing or sales, brand strength, client perceptions and other staff, like finance or operations.

Below are the major factors you should be tracking either weekly, monthly or daily depending on your industry.  These factors include financial stability, type of clients, marketing investment, staffing, product and service offering and brand positioning and messaging.

Competitive analysis includes the following:
  1. Who are your direct and indirect competitors
  2. Understand the threat of substitution
  3. What is the ease of market entry
  4. Supplier Power
  5. Buyer Power
RESEARCH PROCESS

At the start, create an excel template listing the top 5 to 10 factors, benefits and features your customers believe to be important and are factors for your company’s success.

You’ll need to set at least 10 hours a week to stay on top of your competitive reporting; it comes with a lot of reading competitor’s annual reports, press releases, product brochures, patent applications and much, much more!

Also, you’ll need to travel to trade shows, check out how the competition presents their brand, attend all seminars and speak with the trade show organizers – the good ones will have a vibe on the industry’s outlook based on exhibitors and attendees comments, attendance and promotional programs.

LOOK IN / LOOK OUT TO UNDERSTAND YOUR COMPETITOR

I like doing a competitive analysis. It allows me to understand clearly my company’s position in the industry, as well as my company’s strengths and weakness. During a competitive analysis, you need to remove any bias. You need to think analytical because you won’t be doing your company any favours by listing brand strengths that are still not developed. Also, brand strengths need to be relevant since you’ll be using these strengths to create a truly unique brand message that is relevant to your target market.

REAL BENEFITS IN COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS?

Yes! It will help you formulate the marketing strategy, discover opportunities in new markets or product development and create a unique brand message that will help you stand apart from your competitors.

DEALING WITH UNKNOWNS

My biggest frustration is when I read posts that insist that you can know your competitor’s marketing strategy by reading a press release. By the time you’ve read the press release, it’s too late. You are in reactive move.

However, you can find out a lot from a public company from their annual shareholder report, especially in which product saw growth, which markets they are focusing on and why they’ve spent so much money. Here is a list on how to track your competition:

  1. Subscribe to their newsletter
  2. Speak with your salespeople
  3. Speak with your client/customers
  4. Track lost sales and find out why they chose to go with the competition.
  5. Understand your market trends and political environment
  6. Be curious, don’t accept the status quo.
  7. Visit trade shows, speak with the competition.
  8. Follow them on social media.
  9. Visit their website – often.
  10. Write up a monthly report. It will help to see changes before it comes to a full-blown problem.
SALES FORECASTING

The second area is sales forecasting. There are two types of sales forecasting, a) when you’ve just launched a business and need to know your cash flow and b) when you’ve been in business for a few years and need to know how much sales you need to stay profitable.

The idea that you can track your competitive and help you with your sales forecast is naïve. It will only help you understand how much work, like marketing, promotion, sales, and product development you need to do if you plan on entering ‘their territory.’

Or, it will help you determine whether you should enter their landscape, or not and go somewhere else.

NOTE: As much I appreciate the importance of a monthly competitive analysis report, I also know that things can happen quickly. You get a big client win, or overnight a competitor enters your niche market, or there a new product introduction that caught you by surprise and changes the market space. It happens. No matter how much competitive tracking you are doing. It what makes the business so exciting.

Need more? Check out The Business Toolkit.

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