Forget marketing, start collaborating and start winning
We are all bombarded with approximately 3000 marketing impressions every day. It then takes approximately seven to ten marketing impressions or 'touches' before a potential customer feels comfortable with a company or product.
In business terms that means a phone call, email, letter, flyer, website visit etc. And here's the kicker! Only one-in-three impressions actually gets through due to firewalls, gate-keepers, wrong addresses and so on! That means your efforts must be multiplied threefold. You need to prepare approximate thirty marketing impressions to get your marketing ball rolling!
It's not surprising, therefore, that marketing seems to take a back seat with so many companies. Some believe that the salespeople are supposed to perform and produce the results through their own efforts, because that's what they're paid for. And an advert here and there, which never amounts to much, cannot be considered marketing at all. Often marketing activities are inadequate and inconsistent and in some cases, can be non-existent, which makes the sales teams' job that much more difficult.
Whoever thought of joining up sales & marketing?
Keep them separate but make sure they communicate; let marketing provide the leads and let sales people close them - face-to-face or by phone if you're lucky!
Even though there are plenty of websites, books and articles available regarding marketing it can be a daunting prospect to have to create interest through the written word. A huge number of business owners are uncomfortable at the thought of producing engaging literature to promote their business and so reinventing ourselves as an author and then producing ‘eye-catching’ graphic designs is a sobering thought.
Ah! Back in the 80s
In the 80s it seemed altogether easier; we employed some sales people, gave them some leaflets to hand out when they were cold calling and when they were back in the office, we got them on the phones. But now the world has changed.
The CTPS (Corporate Telephone Preference Service) restricts/stops cold calls to companies who have registered with them; direct mail produces diminishing returns and then of course there is the internet, email and any other form of electronic communication to think about.
Finally, there's the simple fact that the person on the receiving end (i.e. the potential customer) simply does not want to speak to you, because you're interrupting them. So now what?
Achieving a Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI)
Some believe that spending £’000s on a website is all that’s needed, pretty much like “build it and they will come”, but it doesn’t work that way. Simply owning and spending money on a website is not sufficient to compete, unless you ensure that the whole digital marketing structure is being worked on. Otherwise it's a waste of time, effort and money.
If you spent £5,000 on a website, with all the latest software to make your business stand out on the screen, unless someone looks at your site by typing in your exact name or clicks on your link from a search page of another site, no one will ever look at your website – ever!
It would be the same as paying for magazine advertising and dumping the magazines before they were delivered.
It almost makes sense to spend £5,000 on magazine advertising, i.e. £1,000 on five adverts over five months and place the adverts in a vertical market publication that you decided to target with your product. The results and response could be significant. Let’s face it, the magazine is read by your desired readership; they see you each month for five months and your product meets their needs – great! But it is costly and risky.
But it’s not all doom and gloom - there are some fundamental, yet simple activities that can help build your brand, put you on the right track to get the most from being on-line, and make your sales team extremely happy.
If you believe that marketing is astronomically expensive then you, along with most other business owners, will shy away from entertaining any marketing sales pitch. However, marketing is supposed to help you make money, not waste it, so it may be time to re-evaluate your approach or view of marketing.
Why you should collaborate in business
The simplest and quickest form of acquiring new customers and prospects is through collaboration and not networking as many people think. Although networking helps identify who to collaborate with, it cannot identify who or how you can sell to them. Only through collaboration can you get access to the decision makers you need to be speaking with.
The amount of work and effort that goes into small business marketing is immense. You pretty much have to do all the work yourself so there's a double-whammy! You have to gather all the names and addresses, store them in a database or CRM, then create a mailing message of some sort and then ensure it gets sent out. Not once, but up to thirty times, because a single marketing communication is a drop in the ocean – I mentioned 'marketing touches' earlier.
Collaboration or Joint Ventures, especially when it is based upon a syndicate approach, provides a very special combination. Whilst you can collaborate with other companies and market to their decision-makers, you also get the added advantage of pooling your data and sharing costs and experiences to deliver exactly what they need or will respond to.
Therefore, one of the main aspects of collaborative ventures is being able to rely on other parties to do their job (which can be minimal). And then there’s the role of a marketing operator like us and that's exactly what we do.
There are many benefits of joint venture strategies, starting with the following:
- Combining complementary R&D technologies
- Efficient commercialisation of a technology or business concept
- Developing or acquiring marketing or distribution expertise
- Sharing of scientists or professionals with unique skills
- Financial support or sharing economic risk
- Acceleration of revenue growth
- Ability to increase profit margins
- Expansion to new domestic markets
- New product development
Source: Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) – A third of fast growing companies are involved in joint ventures (collaboration). The Science of Alliances: Success factors in Joint Ventures and Strategic Alliances.
The benefits are huge when it comes to exposing your business to the right people. Consider this, if your current customers generate your current income, syndicate marketing to the same calibre and type of decision maker can have an even more significant effect on your financial outcome than any other strategy.
Your Next Move…
It's not often that you can rely on a company to get on with the work and act in your interests. Our experience at salesXchange speaks louder than words. We have been there and got the T shirt! We understand what your business needs to fire on all cylinders without getting bogged down in marketing and more importantly, we love doing it, even if you don’t.
salesXchange identifies, match-makes, co-ordinates and manages everything relating to your collaborative/joint venture partners so you can concentrate working on your business rather than working in your business (a phrase taken from the book E-Myth by Michael Gerber). Take a look at the salesXchange Syndicates page or download our Syndicates brochure for more information. Or, if you'd like to speak to us, call on 0800 970 9751.
About the Author
Nigel is the Founder & Managing Director of salesXchange and has been helping businesses for over 25 years to develop their marketing, technologies and infrastructure to generate more profits, more efficiently. His recent book "Integrate! The Essential Business Technology & Marketing Handbook" can be downloaded from Amazon.