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May 2018

Everything is changing: Why shouldn’t your approach change too?

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As NetProspex found, 37% of B2B marketers complain that they do not have enough data points on their prospects to leverage effective segmentation. Accenture’s report adds credibility to this point, they found that 51% of marketers find it difficult in integrating data across various platforms owing to disparity in data sets.

We’re halfway through 2018 and it has brought with it many answers to our problems and the market is still evolving as to how best leverage all available technologies, insights, analytics, AI & machine learning for its benefit.

Personalisation of approach: With the boom of data and its availability it is easier now than ever to have directed marketing approach in addition to more traditional form of marketing (viz. billboards, videos, advertisements etc). Data sources like IoT, smart devices, fitness trackers, social media applications, activity specific trackers have given us a deluge of data, of which we often know not what to do. Combining this data with previously available metrics such as demography, life events, purchase history etc can produce insights which can define specific action points and effective engagement techniques not yet seen.

Align, align, align!: ABM is personalised approach to a specific audience set with a set message at one given point of time. Complete resonance across all frequencies can create a harmonious message which touches the very basic needs of your customer, be it an individual, group, company or even an industry. Messaging and action teams working in tandem can discover and take advantage of affinities and buying tendencies of accounts. Marketers can provide sales with insights such as interest, proclivity, malleability and sales can reciprocate with references and feedbacks.

Next step ABM: The biggest buzzwords now, of course after #crypto, are Machine learning & Artificial Intelligence. They are all around us, from handwriting recognition in real time, to self driving cars. AI & ML have given the ABM space some very valuable relief. AI can structure cumbersome data to delivery pertinent information, action patterns, buying trends, preferences, social engagements, data consumption patterns. Converting this data into insightful structure can enhance any organisation’s ability to have more effective 1:1 interaction keeping at the fore each prospect’s individuality.

The wheels have turned, we have so much to play-dough to mould and create our unique identity and approach that all this may seem like a tall order. Take assistance from softwares, consultants, agencies and create demand, generate leads – take full advantage of this turning tide.

More articles at http://coledahub.com/blog/

“Everything is changing: Why shouldn’t your approach change too?”

Enable your sales team to perform better

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Companies across the world belonging to almost all sectors outsource totally or at least some part of their sales operations to experts who provide market tested expertise across multiple domains within the sales cycle.

It acts as a risk buffer for your organisation, especially if you’re an SME as it firstly dilutes your risk of operating a full sized sales team and reduces your man hours spent on training them to become market ready.

Expertise comes differently to different people and job roles, a good technical CEO cannot be tasked with developing an outstanding marketing and sales department which immediately delivers tangible results. Focus on what you know, perfect that – let someone else worry about the rest.

There are more than a few advantages of outsourcing your sales & marketing departments, we will elucidate some of the reasons which make this decision an easy one:

  1. A good sales partner can showcase industry standards against which results can be measured. Owing to their time spent in the market developing expertise in this domain, they’re aware of the metrics which are prevalent in the market and what needs to be followed during various times of the selling year.
  2. Strategy development comes naturally to these outsourced marketing teams, thy’ve spent years perfecting launching and subsequent activities often by hit and trial methods, time and resources which you can’t spend each time you want to add something to your outreach. Outsourcing of these tasks enables you to keep your attention on other vital tasks for your business needs.
  3. It takes more than a couple of months to get your pre-sales teams market ready including your marketing outreach etc, a comprehensive sales team is another matter completely. Hiring partners can cut that time short to weeks as there are ready procedures with trained experts to make your life easier and give you results from the word go!

There might be many other reasons which would compel you to think about outsourcing this important aspect to experts in their domains. However, there are many who still like to micromanage all aspects of their business, running a Go To Market strategy with expert vendors can clearly define whether your approach, size, strategy, priority are sound or they need some alteration. If not the entire department, a part of sales & marketing needs to be outsources. When companies like IBM, Dell, Oracle, HPE, Fuze, Adobe need assistance with their ‘more-than-god’ resources, you might need to revise your decisions.

Them bad sales days & how to get over them:

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I’ve had colleagues, seniors and most of the sales people I know go through the throes of what seems like never ending slumps. No prospects seem to appreciate their offerings, most don’t even seem to be able to come on the phone. The best in business are bitten by this bug rather regularly and they’re quite easy to spot — beleaguered expression, downtrodden countenance, in general a gloomy outward appearance.

Rather than fretting about the way out to the sunshine states we can actually devise a systematic exit from this maze. The secret lies in not haphazardly working your A off and ending up a flustered wiry haired mess, but in acceptance, meticulous planning, forecasting, future anticipation and contingency plans.

Acceptance:

Please accept the facts before beginning to chalk out plans. Accepting and acknowledging the problems as a whole and broken into parts is essential. Without diagnosis there is no prognosis and even a hope for a cure. Downward spirals in numbers might appear to be the only symptom of a sales slump. But, there are many more hidden aspects to a problem than what is evident in the first glance.

Analysis:

Whether it be poor product knowledge, market trends, approach, attitude, support, infrastructure or the quality of your product, always indepth analysis of the present situation ensures a smooth sailing in the future.

Solutions:

The part which actually deserves to be in the last stage of any action jumps up because of our anxiety and often ends a good recovery before it can even become. Managing symptoms is what the medical profession terms such an approach. These are steriods to manage a rash rather than curing the underlying condition. Increase the hours/numbers you spend on outreach, take references, study new methods, study the trends of the market, network, speak to veterans for similar experiences and read the experts. There are myriad ways to overcome the ‘Sales Slump’ whether one approach works or a mixture of all/some of them it depends on too many conditions to elucidate here.

Copy-Paste-Innovate: 

Keeping templates ready for mitigating future disasters but keeping yourself flexible for figuring new ways. Evaluate each area that you are responsible for including, training approaches, corporate policies, procedures, philosophy, communication, sales reporting, management style, and product/service quality issues that may contribute to poor sales performance.

All strategies might not end up In results but no one thing ever has.

Most common make or break points in every sales cycle: 

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The topic of sales cycle is barely covered in an entire semester or even after 10s of meetings the sweet spot of your approach is fuzzy at best. The point being – no matter what books we read or how many ‘hit & trials’ we employ, sales is a practice best learned by mistakes and our response to them.

In a larger sense for understanding this very difficult concept, we have broken down the sales cycle to 3 basic sink or swim parts. These are essential considerations whether you’re a new business or an established firm.

1.Value Creation: Clearly defining point(s) of differentiation between your product/service vis-a-vis your competitors’ is as essential as the quality of your offering. Till the recent past only direct comparison was considered the most effective differentiator. Sales people used to hand out a laundry list of ‘rich features’ which set apart their offering from their nearest rival, using attractive statistics and fancy terminology to aid them in this task.

But as we are witnessing the explosion of knowledge and fee transfer of thoughts, customers have become increasingly aware of all competition even for their smallest needs. They don’t pay heed to direct comparisons as they know it is a swindle as the ‘not so good’ features are carefully excluded by sales people. The reluctance to change even in the face of minute troubles is a real aspect of customer behaviour. You need to weave a story, empathising even with the smallest discomfort of your user as to make them him/her understand that it is in their best interest to make the shift. Here a carefully designed content syndication approach works wonders as it is customisable as per the requirements of each target market and buyers relate more to real life scenarios rather than black and white dry comparison.

2. Justifying your claims: After smartly proving the superiority of your product in a language which is easily digested by your customer, now comes the real part. Why the needs and benefits outweigh the cost of your product. For this a deep understanding of your target market, its current direction, paradigms, reluctance, proclivities and opportunity is vital. Empathising with your prospects and reassuring their fears and surpassing their expectations is the only way to make them truly believe your offering is apt for the needs/desires. Conversations have to be held, preferably 1v1 to actually give the whole aspect of selling a human touch.

3. Conversion: After telling your tales and hearing out your prospects, now hopefully you’ve tipped the scales in your favour. Now comes the hardest part of all – actually making the sale. Your customer will waiver on minute points and even after all your efforts, some lingering doubts will remain. Here incentivising their next move can be the actual ‘make or break’ point. A competitive, alluring price is without a doubt the biggest incentive.

Most customers are tech savvy and know that the first price offered is rarely the price they’ll end up paying. They expect freebies, discounts and more for their money. Be prepared in advance and discuss the limits of the discounts you can offer to bring on-board new consumers.