We write this blog to provide simple, straightforward advice on selling that you can apply to your business TODAY.
As we approach the mid-point of the year, you need to objectively review sales execution for the first half of the year. In the event that there is room for improvement, we suggest revisiting your sales strategy along the following parameters:
- Value Proposition
- Target Market
- Awareness Campaigns
- Demand Generation
- Sales Methodology
- Approach to managing the sales team
We will dedicate one blog to each of the topics above in the month of June.
You have refined your Value Proposition and clearly identified your priority Target Market (previous blog this month), you now know who you will wish to engage with your Demand Generation activities (next blog).
Now is the time to think through your Awareness Campaigns. This broad topic includes all the ways that you can project the brand of your company in the market.
This is important because when you initiate your demand generation activities (next blog), you are going to be reaching out to people who have never heard of you or your company. The first thing these individuals will do is to look you up online, so you need to ensure there is some public domain information out there on your company that positions your firm properly and acts as a credibility shield (legitimizes your demand generation activities).
Common elements of an Awareness campaign include:
1. Social Media:
- LinkedIN presence for your business
- LinkedIN presence for you personally
- Company Web-site
- Company Twitter account
- Company Facebook Account
- Whitepapers / Blogs / Articles in Periodicals
- Booths / Speaking engagements
At a minimum, you social media efforts must clearly articulate:
1. Who you are (as a company)
2. What you do (product / services)
3. How you add value to the companies that you work with
- What desired business outcome (DBO) do you provide?
- What proof evidence do you have to support that DBO?
4. Who you are targeting these services to?
If you have followed our suggested chronology of assessing your Go to Market strategy (items 1-6 above) then you already know the content and messaging for your social media channels (you now need to execute).
Many of us are not experts at building web-sites or initiating Twitter discussions. That is OK, you do not need to be. To start, find someone who is and hire them part-time to do it for you.
We have found that business school students (even those only working part time) are industrious, inventive, professional and diligent. In fact the only business credential they lack is experience, which is why they are so keen to work for us. Post a job at a well-regarded business school for someone to build your social media presence and you will be surprised at the calibre of individual at your disposal and how little it will cost to get a meaningful, effective first version of your social media presence up and running (note – this is exactly how we did it at In the Funnel and although our web-site and social media presence is not perfect, it has helped with our brand equity in the market enormously).
Whitepapers / Blogs / Magazine Articles
Once your presence is up and running, you have a forum to share your expertise (whitepapers, blogs, twitter messaging). You can post presentations on LinkedIN, post blogs on your web-site, and Twitter helpful tips or initiate interesting discussions with those who have interest in your industry.
The key here is to use these forums less for marketing and more for adding VALUE to your Prospects. Teach and challenge readers with your content and be prepared to respond when they engage.
Conferences / Networking Events
Our advice here is very simple. Research then pick and few networking events and conferences to attend one condition: You must commit to meeting and introducing yourself to 10 new people at a networking event (say cocktail party for 2 hours) and at least 20 new people at an all-day conference to make them worthwhile. This is often a little more difficult than it sounds, but is really the main way to ensure some form of ROI on your investment.
As with all elements of your go to market strategy, ensure that you have objectives for your investments in awareness campaigns and track progress against them.
Our next blog will be on Demand Generation (every sales person’s favorite topic).