Marketing Moving Away From Selling Into Relationship Building

When Marketing discovered the Internet:
– The company website became their ‘sales channel
– The emails became selling tools
– The Newsletters the proprietary ad channel
Relationships were no longer their focus as used to be previously.

Over time Content Marketing started to change the selling attitude by providing informative and useful content for potential and current customers. The advantage of the Content Marketing is that it is a start of building a possible relationship. Still it is only one way communication, the content consumer is getting engaged with the vendor or supplier.

The main content is still generic but in the future personalized content could be provided. Content that is truly relevant to the potential or current customers by having content messages that are adjusted to the customer’s habits, likes and needs. This will show the Marketers’ awareness.

The goal is to have Marketers building relationships with existing and potential customers by using all possible technologies available on the market. One of them is to know who is visiting the website, why someone is visiting the website and the level of interest.

Is your marketing still into selling ?

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Are You A Disruptor Or An Innovator ?

Disruptors vs Innovators

There is a huge difference between disruption and innovation.
Disruptors are innovators, but not all innovators are disruptors.
In most cases new business models are disruptors, whereas innovation is mostly in technology and products. Hence most companies are into innovation and start-ups can be disruptors.

Established companies

For an established company it would be extremely hard or difficult to become a disruptor in it’s market as this would be a threat for its’ existing business. Moreover the internal discussions and battles would kill both their existing and their disruptive business.

Low-end disruptor

For established companies becoming the low-end disruptor, aiming to serve the least profitable customer who just wants a good-enough product or solution, is hardly possible as the same brand addresses very different parts of the market: the high-end or middle class with outstanding products and the low-end. In such cases most companies opt for defining, launching and marketing a new low end brand in order to avoid all possible conflicts.
Hence low-end disruptors a most likely to be start-ups or new entrants to the market.

Disruption is not equal to success

In many cases disruptors are not all or immediately successful. Many do fail as there is a huge risk involved with a disruption as there is no proof that there is a market and people have a demand. Learn from lessons of disruption.
It can even be another company picks up the concept ans turns it into a profitable business.

Still the disruptors will eventually eliminate 4 out of 10 companies. However disruption will not only destroy but also create.

Innovation is for most companies.
Disruption is solely for a limited number of companies.

Are you a disruptor or an innovator ?

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The Death Of Cold Calling Is Now

Once upon a time the daily work of salesmen and sales reps was to cold call a number of people on a list in order to present them a product or service and aiming to get an appointment.
Those days are gone.

As technology evolved a similar technique with faxes and emails has existed but these methods are also doomed.
The main reason lies in the fact that the cold calls are made without or with little information about the potential customer. Whether the customer really has a need or not the call was being made.

Nowadays there are a number of tools or services available that inform the salesman or sales rep about the interest, need or level of interest of a potential customer before any call or contact has been made:

Search Engines

Search engines are probably the main source for your website traffic. Most of these visitors having used a search engine are looking for a solution. The challenge is to get into contact with the visitor. One of the solutions is to install an online chat on your website which will allow the visitor to contact you without the need of leaving any (apparent) contact detail information which gives a level of freedom. The challenge is to turn the chat from an informative conversation into a conversation where the visitor exposes more information than he was intending to do. This will allow to stay in contact with the potential customer afterwards.

Website Contacts

It is rare but some people actually contact your company through the contact page on your website. Nothing easier than to start a conversation with them by email or telephone call.

Inbound Marketing

As all your Marketing communications and campaigns or Content Marketing should generate interest, these marketign efforts will persuade people contacting your company. Once a contact made then no cold is required anymore.

Social Media

Social media – especially LinkedIn – allows to post content which can trigger interest from potential customers. This can be by replies to the post or even direct contact by themselves.
The same can happen by just replying to posts of other people or companies which again triggers the interest of a potential customer resulting in a public conversation on the social media.
No cold calling involved as the salesman or sales rep is already in a conversation with the potential customer.

Website Visitors

In all your marketing communications your website is referred, which is likely to generate traffic on your website.
Companies that visit your website in search of a solution are likely to be potential customers. So if you have installed a web service that reveal the companies visiting with their interest and level of interest, then contacting these visiting companies is no longer real cold calling.

Cold Calling is death (or hardly existent)

Do you still Cold Call ?

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How To Spy On And Track Your Competitors’ Marketing

Knowing what your competitors are up to or what actions they are planning or executing is good to know and to be aware of.
So here are a few tools to know more about your competitors=

Email campaigns

By subscribing to all possible newsletters it is feasible to inform about what each of your competitors are up to.
EmailInsights
OWLetter
RivalFox

Ad search

In order to know the ad campaigns of each of your competitors you can use:
MOAT Free !
SpyFu Free !
WhatRunsWhere
LotsOfAds Mainly social campaigns
BoxOfAds for PPV campaigns and media buys

Not only you know what they are promoting but also what didn’t work out if they abandon quickly an ad campaign.

Social Media tracking

There are so many tools that the list would be just too long

Combined or complete: ads, email, social media

RivalFox
Yesmail

Your own website

It is also always good to know what your competitors find interesting or how strongly interesting they find certain pages on your website

How do you spy on your competitors ?

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Why The Salesman Needs The Cooperation Of The Prospect

Sales process and sub-goals

The sales process or sales cycle is flow of events and sub-goals which resembles the climbing of a huge mountain. These sub-goals are in-between successes – like reaching the camps on the mountain.
Although the entire sales cycle is one process, it has been chucked up into several stages just for administrative reasons:
– Initial contactSales cycle is like mountain climbing
– Lead stage
– Prospect stage
– First meeting stage
– Qualified prospect stage
– Follow-up meeting stage
– Proposal stage
– Negotiation stage
– The close
– The deal transaction
– The retention stage

Of course the most important stage is when the invoice gets paid !

No single sales cycle will go through these stages perfectly as there always will be deviations or retreats in the process.

Sales process stages characteristics

Although many steps have been defined with sub-goal achievements:
– None of these steps are equal
– The efforts required reaching each of the sub-goals are not equal
– The time required for each step may differ enormously: some can happen immediately others can take weeks, months, …
– It is the buyer who dictates the speed of the sales process
– The required participation or involvement of the potential customer is not equal neither

Synchronizing sales- and buyer process

This last one is most important as the sale needs a customer going through his buying cycle at the same time as the salesman. The salesman cannot move ahead without the buyer.
In real life no two processes will ever synchronize, there will be discrepancies between the efforts on the sales side and the efforts made or lacking efforts on the buyer side. Hence moving through the sales cycle stages can be painstaking slow.

A sales cycle can only move ahead if both the salesman and the potential customer reach the next sub-goal together. Both have to be involved and engaged.

Leader of the sales process

As the sales cycle should be compared to climbing a steep mountain with the salesman as the leader of the climb. In some cases important sales the sales manager takes the lead although he is not entirely involved in the process but involves and manages reaching the sub-goals. Still it is possible that during some stages the lead or prospect actually takes the lead in the climb as he is under pressure of getting a solution in place.

Retrograding sales process

However whenever there is a problem or an unexpected event occurs or new information comes to the deal, the climb can become a descend instead. This can happen it is required to have an assessment or aggregation at a previous stage.
In such case the prospect retrogrades or moves back to a previous stage, more work and effort lies ahead for the salesman or sales team. In most cases such a retrograding is due to one of the competitors.
The amount off effort the salesman then has to generate and put into the sales process can be huge as it will can stop the sales process for the vendor company.

Customer effort indicator

The best indicators of the commitment of the potential customer to buy is the amount of effort, time and interest the potential customer puts into his buying process.
In order to measure the commitment of your leads, prospects, potential customers and customers all companies should implement a website visitor revealing solution as in all cases people will visit your website. These solutions allow to retrieve and measure from your company website the amount of interest generated by the potential customer as they visit your company website for gathering additional information or want to verify your statement made during sales pitches and conversations.

How do you measure the involvement of your potential customers ?

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The 10 Perks Of A Salesman

Although life of a salesman might seems good, well-paid and wonderful there are many perks and issues for getting the sale closed:

1 – Target stress

Each year the target increases. This results in stress as a salesman needs to achieve his target.
Salesmen should be able to handle their stress.

2 – Target management

The target even increases more as the last year was much over target. Hence it is sometimes better not to over-achieve in one year as next year the target will be even higher. Hence a salesman needs to modulate his sales and sometimes keep new purchase orders in his drawers for next year.
A successful salesman is capable of keeping orders behind when needed.

3 – Obesity

In most cases a salesman will wine and dine with his customers quite often. This can be pleasant at first and seen as an additional benefit but on the long run it can / it is likely to result in obesity.
A salesman should be able to chose food and eat without getting fat.

4 – Family

Salesmen do travel which allows them to see the country, the continent or even the world. However everyday out of the home is a day less with the wife, the kids and less time for the parents.
A salesman needs to be capable of being away from his family.

5 – Alone

Alone on the road: in the car, in the plane or in the train
Alone in the hotel room.
Alone in the meeting with the potential client.
A salesman needs to be able to live and handle alone.

6 – Communicative and interrogative

A salesman needs to be communicative and open to talk to new people or people he hardly knows.
However a salesman that just talks and keeps on talking will never be successful as he needs to pose questions and keep his mouth shut while he is listening. The more the customer talks the more information he will expose.
A great salesman needs to be able to talk but also able to listen.

7 – Waiting and patience

Waiting at the airport for the departure.
Waiting before the meeting with a potential client.
Waiting at the telephone for the customer to answer the call.
Waiting for the purchase order to arrive.
Waiting while life goes by.
Without patience you can’t be a successful salesman.

8 – Risks

The more travel the more risks for accidents or diseases.
Staying in the office at a desk is a much safer life.

9 – Depression resistant

Even after a long sales cycle the client can decide to opt for the competitor.
This is major drawback and could make a salesman depressive.
Successful salesmen need to be resistant to depression.

10 – Repeat until boring

When selling the same stuff for many years the same pitch is being hold over and over again, until it becomes boring. The same jokes, the same questions.
A salesman needs to keep up his pitch fresh and lively over the many many years.

How about your perks as a salesman ?

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Being Ready For Success Is Not Enough To Succeed

The Secret Of Success

The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes according to Earl of Beaconsfield .
That’s great to know
However while a salesman is waiting for his opportunity he will not get sufficient commissions to survive.

Alternatives For Success

Before becoming a successful salesman you need to get a series of minor successes in order to obtain the necessary sales to make ends meet and to stay ‘ready’.
Waiting for the big opportunity can take long. Hopefully not forever.
There are three approaches:
– Waiting while remaining at the same company
– Waiting but switching companies in the same industry or business
– Waiting in a different industry

Where To Wait For Success?

Waiting at the same company can take forever if the company is not successful or has products or solutions that aren’t competitive. Also companies with innovative products and solutions might demand years before they become successful.

Waiting at a different company in the same industry can give you a leap forward if the company has better products or solutions that are more competitive. This seems to be the easiest alternative as you can stay in relation with your existing customers.

Waiting in a different industry has several hurdles: changing industry comes with different technology, different competitors and different customers. The change will take at least 6 months before you are up to full speed again.

Hence if you feel you are ready but could be waiting very long for your opportunity to arrive maybe you should consider switching companies in the same business.

How often have you successfully switched companies ?

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Six Ways To Increase Website Interest: Stay Return Convert

Your website traffic will flourish or die with its’ content. The content is required for generating interest which will result in more traffic.

Keep it simple

If you explain your solutions in a complicate way only nerds or experts will understand. You need to tell people in a simple and easy to understand manner your solutions or products even in case they are high tech. If you can’t then the interest will be minimal and there will be no forwarding of your website to peers.

Observations, info or stats

Analysis, key numbers or stats that can be mentioned to other people will help generate interest. People will remember this info or info-graphics. This can be social or generic observations, data or statistics that are worth telling to peers.

Interactive website

A website that looks like or is just a catalog will not engage much people. For a start is visual content a must have: pictures, photo’s, video, charts, graphics – this is because people will take time to look into the visuals instead of the written content. Moreover visuals will be remembered much better. You can drive people to engage by adding a test, polls or downloads. tease them with more free info if they leave their email address.

Surprise

The unexpected helps to create interest and will be remembered. Moreover the surprise will be told to others or forwarded to peers. Emotion works very effectively with consumers but works almost as well in Business-To-Business. Creating the unexpected is very challenging as the visitors (audience) need to understand and feel related. Moreover it has to be renewed over time as the unexpected wears out.

Product and solution information

You can be losing 50% of potential sales due to inadequate online information about your products, solutions or even your company / management information. Hence make sure your product and solutions information is complete and understandable)

Educate

Nobody is too old to learn. And nobody knows everything. Hence your website must seize the opportunity to educate its’ visitors. Once you have learned someone something he is not likely to forget your website or company.

How strong is your website in attracting and converting visitors ?

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How Much To Explain On Your Website

Reveal all or limit?

A website needs to show and explain the products or services you provide in order to sell. The question and challenge is how much can or have you to explain?
If you explain too much and too much in detail:
– Becoming too technical most people will not understand at all
– It might get too complicated and scare off possible customers
– No inquiries or contacts as all is revealed
– Too long and time consuming to understand making people leave the website

In case you only give a short introduction:
– People might not understand the benefit or differentiators
– People might not have the impression of being industry leading
– Too much mystery will not engage visitors

Teasing information

Hence you need to publish just enough information to have your products or services explained in order to trigger the attention and interest. Still keeping in mind that the main goal is:
– To attract visitors to your website that are looking for a solution to their problems or issues.
– To trigger their interest in order to engage
– To tease them in order to stay on their mind

Compare it to a striptease: just show enough but not too much as else the totally is revealed and the interest will decrease.

Competitors advantage taking

By revealing too much about products or services your information will be used by:
– Your competitors for their advantage as they have more insight than you do about their solutions.
– Your potential customers will use it while meeting with your competitors.

Registered downloads

If your solutions require to reveal more information in detail then you should consider to have this additional or more technical information to be available by a download for which visitors need to register. Just make sure they don’t register with a common web email address (gmail, yahoo, hotmail, …) or add a visiting company revealing web service so that you at least know what company is interested.

How much information does your website reveal ?

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Comparing Email vs Social Media vs Content Marketing

Email Marketing

Using Email Marketing is aiming at a herd (selected population) hoping the hit someone interested and having a demand for your solution at that very moment.
Almost shooting in the wild as there are too many coincidences needed to be successful.

Social Media Marketing

Using Social Media Marketing allows you to aim solely at people who know your company or people that are part of an interest group in your business.
Hence limited but focused with higher chances to success than email marketing.

Content Marketing

In Content Marketing you aim to attract interested parties.
Hence you directly address to possible interested parties which should result in a relatively high success rate.

If none of the above work then there is always Cold Calling or you could aim for the synergy between Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing.

What do you prefer or what allows you to score best ?

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