As CEO, you direct the course of your business based upon the information given to you by your subordinates. Your objective is to make a sustainalbe profit and not operate as a social service or charity. In the past, your advisors have recommended you invest in marketing automation software and the plethora of integrated and interconnected software applications that make up the mar-tech stack. This has now proven to be poor advice as digital marketing seems to have quashed the genertion of new business.
Your figures may bear this out; new business has become harder to secure. The main reason for the decline in revenue is because of poor marketing as opposed to anything else. But here's the issue; the prolonged investment in people and software and pay-per-click type costs has made most businesses believe that it's the marketer who is at fault and not the strategy.
The trouble is, very few marketing personnel can prove an ROI and probably never did in the past either. As a result, a significant change is happening, if you haven't already noticed. Businesses are starting to increase the salaries for senior marketing people, primarily in an attempt to 'steal' or should I say attract people away from their existing employers in the hope they will find someone who knows how to make all this marTech work and achieve a profit.
The most recent examples I have seen was one business looking to pay a £350k one-off payment followed £250-350k per annum. Others are more frequently tipping £250k per annnum, yet the common desire is for someone who has a couple of decades under their belt who can move the needle for the proposing business. However, there's big problem; it's the two decade experienced professionals who have caused the problem in the first place.
A new business plan for digital selling is required because traditional sales and marketing is broken due to every business focussing on one-to-one selling and not one-to-many. The strategies we’ve inherited don’t work and it’s time for change. Don't just listen to me, Brent Adamson - Distinguished Vice President and B2B Expert at Gartner believes so too, you can read his article here, Traditional B2B Sales & Marketing are Becoming Obsolete.
Your marketers won't tell you this, but you can stop cold calling, ditch marketing automation, and still reach your total addressable market quicker, more frequently and at a fraction of current costs with greater accuracy, engagement and profitability than you could ever do before, but that's not what current day marketers are doing. You don't want marketing qualified leads MQLs or SQLs, you want sales, and by implementing a digital selling business plan is going to be essential in scaling up your business.
Marketing in my opinion has crashed, but intead of trying to come up with a new plan, a wholesale restructuring of sales and marketing is required to help you start generating consistent new business. And once it’s set up, it can run on autopilot for 12-18 months or more and so no more unnecessary on-going costs.
I have provided an explanation of what went wrong and a consultative strategy that is probably the most exciting and revealing content you’ll read or watch about new business this decade!
Introduction to a New Digital Selling Business Plan
- How are Your Results, Really?
- Sales & Marketing Still Complaining
- Businesses Forced to Play Nice
- Why Marketing Automation fails for B2B
- A Biased Recruitment Cycle
- Consistent Business Failure
- Sales & Marketing Transformation
- Your Total Addressable Market
- Digital Selling Business Plan is Not eCommerce
- How Do We Know This?
- How to Get Started
- The Transition from Old to New
- Content Restructure
- Content Promotion
- Financial Factors & Implications
- How Much will It Cost
- Project Execution
- Organisational Restructure
- An Insight to Scalable Digital Selling
Your company’s lifeblood is ‘new’ business. Without it you’ll die! What I’m going to explain is how and why we have changed the approach to getting new business, which we both know is seriously overdue, and the bottom line, it changes everything, profitability, exposure, HR you name it.
This introduction to a new digital selling business plan explains new business development that incorporates digital selling at scale: -
- It’s not a pitch to get you to “click here to buy now”
- It’s not about buying new marketing software
- It’s not about business systems or hadware
This is probably the most important new approach or business plan you will have ever heard. Follow these guidlines to create a digital selling business plan which will change your new business revenue forever.
Every sales trainer or sales guru keeps rehashing the same strategies and attitudes from Dale Carnegie to Zig Ziglar to Tony Robbins.
This article explains my research and analysis based upon thirty years in business that will change your business within the next few months, with or without me and no matter how small or large your company is. As a consultant and director I believe it is essential you know this information to ensure you can get started. I believe this is a once in a business lifetime opportunity for you to create a new business plan for digital selling and get a jump-start on your competitors, so, let’s get into it.
It’s quite likely that your sales teams have no problem doing the appointments and closing deals, but finding interested prospects in the first place is another story. And if, like most businesses, because it’s so tedious, you employ lower paid telesales people to find businesses you could sell to and that’s where the problems start.
Going back seventy odd years salespeople cold-called, made appointments, presented the product, closed the deal and rang the bell. They were paid commission based upon their individual performance.
Today it’s a different matter. You have telesales or BDR’s, SDR’s, pre-sales, sales and customer success directors and a management structure that attempts to monitor and manage each team to achieve the best ongoing value – or should I say revenue! And then you have the odds of about 400-1 with telesales to find someone who might be interested.
Seventy years ago, the ratio was 1:1, one salesperson to one prospect, now it’s more like 4 or 5:1 and THIS is the primary reason for consistent failures within B2B organisations and low turnover figures that plague most businesses.
As a result, the average turnover per person per annum in the UK is £80-150k for business from ten people at the low end to fifty staff and above at the higher end, compared with say Google at $2m pppa.
The business imperative is to change the ratio of ‘people to prospects’ and along with it, the ‘costs to profitability’.
You’ve probably heard sales and marketing complaining about each other, yet you only have to look at the past three, five- or even ten-years turnover figures and divide it by the total number of employees to see that the average is virtually static at £80-£160k per person per annum for business of ten to fifty employees and above. Google is at £1.5m! by the way
You could take the CV's of 50 CMOs, 50 Marketing Strategies and 50 Marketing Consultants and you’ll see that they’re all the same and have been that way for the past fifty years or so. The primary reason for this, is because of their inability to move away from a 1:1 sales process mentality that keeps hampering new business.
Because of the lack of success and growth, you can see why, over the past nearly ten years, the average tenure for CMOs in the UK and USA is only eighteen months? It’s because they promised the earth and failed.
Your CFO is not expected to forecast YOY growth, but marketers do! The trouble is, marketing people promise the earth at the interview stage, they say they can achieve it, and then have no choice but to leave when they don’t.
The most recent CMO employment record I saw on LinkedIn was eighteen jobs and she was CMO at 700-person software business and in her mid to late thirties or perhaps early forties! She had never stayed long enough in one job to ascertain if her plan(s) ever worked.
Now you can see why I said, “How are your results?”
As the Business owner/CEO, you listened to your employees and to big tech. Naturally you accepted the ROI argument from sales and marketing that marketing automation software was a good idea and it would increase the flow of inbound leads. It was also supposed to monitor and provide analytics, and therefore help manage and target the performance of marketing, which, prior to automation was simply an administration role (and still is in my opinion).
As working environments changed, staff began to demand ball-pits, foosball and free beer on-tap. However, when the marketing processes began failing, the only option left was to find someone new who could make it all work, just as you had been promised in the first place. And to attract this new person, the ball-pits and free-beer was a must.
The reason marketing automation doesn’t work and the reason you need a new digital selling business plan is because you’re selling products or services intended to increase profitability. Marketing and big-tech convinced CEO's like you to buy in to it, but the evidence was based upon the success of B2C campaigns selling trainers, jeans and cars, all of which the individual buyer can say, “this looks good on me”, but your typical B2B customer could never say that about SaaS, technology or services or anything else B2B!
Within the B2B sales process, marketing automation simply replaced the physical activity of cold-calling, which was to obtain a compliment slip with the intention of making a telephone cold-call to the prospective customer to gauge any interest.
Marketing automation used by you, the vendor, attempts to force the prospect into a transaction before defining what it is you’re offering. Asking up-front for an email address and telephone number, makes people shy away, hence according to Gartner 83% of prospects research online before engaging with a salesperson. Or, they give their information, get the download, and immediately unsubscribe. More recently I saw on Facebook, an advert stating that 80-90% of businesses confronted with an email form will refuse to fill it in. That calculates to 80-90% of your PPC budget being completely wasted.
To further support the narrative, a Forrester report a few years ago stated that less than 1% of B2B prospects who traversed the so-called purchasing funnel actually became revenue generating customers.
The additional 'damage' automation does, is that it hides the content from all the search engines, so, if it’s a PDF download, prospects are unable to ascertain beforehand if the content is any good and you don't know if it's being read and the same as an restricted web page, no one, not even Google can see it, if an email form needs to be completed before accessing it.
Google are the preeminent measure of engaging content, if your web page was to achieve high ranking on their search engine or even ‘page one’, then it’s the equivalent of getting a gold star as it means the content is well-structured and could very well be engaging to your audience. But it does not guarantee success, because then, you must hope people are actually searching for your content in the first place.
It doesn't stop there; In the process of writing your content, you must have first ensured it got discovered, crawled, idexed and ranked to even appear on a search engine results page. Oh yes! and then there's the issue of Google changing their algorithm or being more stringent in executing their EEAT - Expertise, Experience, Authority and Trust parameters. Unfortunatey, one day you can be indexed and ranked and the next day, you're invisible and will require your team to review and change the content.
To ensure you get noticed, you have the option to employ the potential staggering cost of Google pay-per-click, which is supposed to bypass the organic search process and presents your banner ad on page one, as long as you have bid more than your competitors. But as previously mentioned, you then fll in to the problem of losing 80-90% of your budget because bueyr won't play ball.
And, the final hurdle, is that your whole marketing engagement team need to have first created good enough banner ads (say three, to A/B/C split test the copywriting) to link to a landing page to hopefully encourage someone to give you their email address and then we’re back to square one. I’ll just stop there for a moment. With this process, you’ve now got: -
- friction on the pay-per-click banner advert, does it work or not,
- friction on the landing page and how it’s laid out, was it ABC split, or multi variate tested and
- friction on engagement because you are demanding a transaction, i.e., asking for their details, before they can access the content.
So you can now see why the PPC – B2B – marketing automation process is flawed.
With all this in mind, the recruitment cycle continues year after year. That means you take on someone new, you give them three months to get their feet under the desk, a year to implement the new marketing plan - after promising the earth - and as it unfolds that it’s not working or making a difference, they get a further three months to find a new job before they get fired.
And if this didn’t happen at the same 18-month frequency, it was usually because the CEO was forced to get deeply involved in the marketing that meant the CMO couldn’t be as readily fired because the CEO was calling the marketing-shots (irrespective if he or she was actually qualified or not). Lucky CMO.
This is a well-known problem for CMOs and a godsend for recruitment companies as the average tenure for a CMO over the past ten years or so is eighteen months and it keeps following a pattern - three months to get their feet under the desk, twelve months to implement their new plan and another three months to find a new job before they’re fired. Also, you won’t see the attributes I talk about in this article on typical marketing related CVs because: -
- the recruitment agencies are not business consultants
- they are filtered out because the recruitment companies simply do their job and send you what you’ve asked for – which is simply a better one than the last one!
- the 18-month churn is great for business, so why change or say anything - hence the biased cycle!
It makes me wonder when I see this constant churn what they say during their interviews; they can’t possibly say they wanted a new challenge!
What exists now is an environment where salespeople have been conditioned into waiting for leads. They rarely engage in telesales as that is now the domain of the BDRs and SDRs.
The marketers and salespeople, who have rarely ever run a business are not able to offer entrepreneurial ideas or advice to improve their business units, because the general consensus is that the SMT and CEO are responsible for those ‘types of decisions’.
Naturally, there is an expectation for them to keep their heads down and just get on with what they’re given. Sales and marketing both want things to remain as they are, i.e., they keep getting paid for what they’re doing, or, if the SMT comes up with a new idea, they’re happy to execute it, as long as it's not their necks on the line.
Year after year 500k business start-up and the same amount go bust. The statistics below are pitiful: -
- 30% of businesses fail in the first year - FT
- 50% of businesses fail by the second year - FT
- 70% of businesses fail by the third year - FT
- 91% of businesses fail by the 10th year - FT
- 40% of Invested Business Fail - Harvard
- 80% of Invested Business Fail to achieve their own targets - Harvard
- 95% of Invested business Fail to achieve an ROI for Investors - Harvard
- 50% of all business’s failure reasons, are marketing related - CB Insights
- 79% prefer video to phone - Gartner
- 89% believe in sustainable digital GTM - Gartner
- 41% want more video conferencing - McKinsey
- 23% want more online CHAT - McKinsey
- 83% Research Digitally before engaging with a salesman - Gartner
- .5% Less than 1% traverse the 'funnel' and create revenue - Forrester
- 1 in 400 Cold call success rates - University of Life
- £100k turnover per person per annum is the average - BIS
- Average tenure of CMOs in UK & USA is 18 months - Recruitment Industry + Press + Seth Godin
To date, no one seems to know what to do about this constant dilemma. Well, fortunately we do, and I’ll come on to that in a minute.
Before I do, I just want to touch on Digital Transformation; whist it is all the rage and has been for a while, digital transformation is almost entirely focused on business process, and not sales and marketing.
A business wants all the efficiency a business process management platform can offer, like Pega, Appian, Bizagi or ServiceNow, but then one has to factor in the customer. Whilst not an afterthought, customer experience (CX) is paramount to retaining customers.
However, if the route to becoming a customer is fraught with the nonsense you and I have always had to put up with, i.e., typical sales ploys, typical closing techniques and not forgetting account-based marketing (ABM/ABX) that has to involve everyone, then the expectation a business has, for a customer to stay a customer long-term, is that much more difficult, if there was no respect for the vendor by the customer in the first place. This translates as a lack of loyalty on behalf of the customer who will switch whenever it suits them, irrespective of clever CX strategies or not.
Here's what the CEO of ServiceNow, Bill McDermott said in a recent Feb 2022 article in ERP Today Magazine: -
- Digital Transformation is the practice of radically disrupting an existing problem or challenge through an entirely different lens. When the world turns on a dime, businesses need to be equipped to execute a new plan in record time. We used to talk about ‘just-in-time’ now we talk about just in case!
- You’ve got to go from linear thinking to exponential thinking. It’s reported that 75% of the Fortune 500 that are on the list today will not be on that list in 2027. Therefore, we have to think of new exponential ways to solve old problems.
- Digital Transformation takes the concept of exponential thinking by radically disrupting convention with a completely fresh approach. Better is not good enough to solve the problems of the 21st
- IT architecture is now the business architecture, and the business model will be built upon the IT’s ability to digitally connect with your consumer.
The lack of digital ‘sales & marketing’ transformation is astounding. Everyone wants to be the hero responsible for the widget getting from A to B, but there’s ‘crickets or tumbleweed’ when it comes to sales and marketing.
We’ve now come full circle, back to the ball-pits, free beers, and marketing automation mar-tech stacks, without considering that cameras, mics and lights are digital products too and are necessary components for marketing. However, most marketers have no experience with these types of digital content creation tools and so dismiss them as unnecessary or too expensive and, in my opinion, too complicated and “it’s not my job”.
Your new digital selling business plan will help you break-free from the perpetual low performance that comes about as a result of the 1:1 selling ratios, and enable you to implement a 'one-to-many' mentality and a corresponding strategy.
It starts with understanding how to reach your TOTAL addressable market (TAM) on a regular basis. And this means to stop wasting time and money cold calling, demand generation and pey-per-click.
It’s communicating with a market and knowing the numbers from the outset i.e., knowing that only 1% are looking for your type of product each week and manoeuvring your business to consistently communicate with them at a relaxed and unobtrusive frequency.
Your business needs the ability to connect with, and engage with as many prospects as possible, as cost effectively as possible, whether in one country or many. It needs to be achieved 24/7-365 days a year and every potential prospect needs to be assured they can get everything they want from you, online AND, if they do need to speak to someone, then a highly trained sales professional will be on-hand, on-chat, on-zoom or on-phone, whichever platform the customer is on in order to get an answer.
As a guide, the total numbers of businesses in the UK are as follows:
- 0 - 9 Employees. 5.7m
- 10 - 49 Employees 212k
- 50 - 249 Employees 36k
- 250+ Employees. 8k
This type of approach could never be achieved using the current strategies of telesales, BDRs or any other 1:1 ratio of employed infrastructure. then consider how many 1% would equate to for the type of product your business sells.
Then there’s the process of educating prospective customers with helpful and meaningful content. This is the essence of a new Digital Selling Business Plan. It’s the ability to engage with prospects and for them to self-educate, self-serve; from them having an idea and researching (Re: the Gartner 83%), all the way through to placing an order – with everything being ‘On Demand’, without the need for human-to-human contact.
This approach is not uncommon. You only have to look at the success of B2C. BUT you’re not selling trainers, jeans or high energy drinks. We’re not talking about involving YouTube or Tik-Tok influencers. However, you’re selling high value, complex products, or services, and your prospects expect you to have a high level of information and content available upon which to evaluate you and place you, on a ‘respect’ scale, before they’ll buy from you.
The transition to implementing a digital selling business plan may entail the redeployment of certain staff. However, a shift occurs in the finances of the business as less telesales people are required to find prospects, less people are required to close the sales, less costs are involved by communicating via email and LinkedIn adverts and overall, less commission is payable because more income is derived from self-service.
Furthermore, the digital assets required keep increasing month-on-month because they're not being hidden behind an email form to support the marketing automation platform, thereby you increase visibility via the search engines, with drastically reduced expenditure.
The gearing ratio from selling changes from 1:1 to 1: many, which means there is no limit to the number of businesses who could investigate your products and learn how to implement them.
Reaching your total addressable market and communicating with them every week, could be achieved by one properly trained person, making a whole telesales team redundant!
In the past I started up technology businesses, I personally sold millions of pounds worth of telecoms technology and integrated CRM SaaS, so I know the issues everyone has, from running a business in the first place to telesales to field sales to installation and implementation and training and so on.
To nutshell this:
- The business must be clear who and where their market is
- They must easily and cost effectively tell their market their business exists
- Prospects must have the ability to self-serve all the way to placing an order
- Provide every means available to facilitate contact (phone, video, chat, email and live)
The above might seem obvious, but as soon as telesales is adopted, a 1:1 ratio is established and the above cannot be achieved and you’re back to square-one.
The important thing here is for you to quickly pick-up what we’re recommending and to see how this can be implemented in your businesses with the minimum fuss, for the least cost and maximum benefit.
From a purely financial perspective, you would be asked "does this approach to change make financial sense" and "does it make sense for new business generation?" It’s also a pivotal point too because, as CEO, you're in the unenviable position of making a decision whether to instigate or implement a plan like this in your business.
The process of transitioning to Digital Selling begins with changing perspective on the whole engagement process. It’s not about prospecting, cold calling or closing. It’s about aligning your business to the way in which we all go about acquiring products we like or need.
When it comes to Digital Selling, your business can implement this immediately, however, you’d have to look at what your existing teams have been doing over the past few years to see how closely they are aligned to what I’m saying, and it would probably help with us directing them in some way in the first instance.
But I will point out, our web site is set up for digital selling, so we’ve made everything freely available, and so there’s no access codes or emails or logins. But we can talk about how we can help another time.
To start with the most obvious question, how long will it take? It depends on the existing content your marketing has used and what can be updated and adapted. I would recommend setting up and executing the digital selling business plan in parallel, with your current strategy. Therefore as the new digital seling business plan gathers momentum, the old process will decrease.
As a stab in the dark, I would say, it shouldn’t take longer than between four to six months to get the foundation created and operational. That’s why it’s best to talk about this first with a specialist.
I do not want to dismiss any of the operational matters simply because you are finance orientated, so I have provided a comprehensive illustration and explanation about execution.
Whilst persona and segmentation have been the buzzwords for a few years in marketing, existing content is to be reorganised in to Primary, Secondary, General, Product and How to Buy as this is how people review content and buy products or services. We all do.
Once they’re on your website, they might look at the About Us page (General), then click on a case study (Secondary), then on a ‘How to’ video (Product) and to finish they might want to find out how much you charge and what’s involved in the buying process (How to Buy).
As you can see from the list below, it doesn’t matter who is looking at your business as long as you’re able to satisfy their questions and query process:
- Blogs, New Hires
- CSR, Awards, PR
- Guest Activities
- Social Proof
- Case Studies
- Thought Leadership
- Business Case
- Pro' Publications
- How it works
- How to install it
- Best Practices
How to Buy
There is also a set of references that relate to what’s called the Moment of Truth, which are directly related to the so-called funnel and also the activities or stages I’ve mentioned above.
Multiple types of content are to be provided as no one can second guess or make a decision as to what type of content another person prefers or when they prefer it. The content will include videos, podcasts, live streaming, articles, downloads and infographics.
SEO, Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics are to be reviewed as per our strategies and documentation to ensure constant visibility, ongoing content penetration and management.
It can be difficult to visualise the extent of what is required. Below is an image of the content modelling spreadsheet we use to ensure we keep track of what content has been created, for which stage, and where its corresponding advert is being displayed.
To ensure you have complete visibility on what we’re suggesting, below are links to our web pages that explain and demonstrate our expertise relating to the activities. Naturally you can cross-check with your own team to verify our ‘abilities’. I say this because there are so many so-called experts who are skilful at misleading businesses. To address this, we have explained everything in advance:
We both know selling is a numbers game! However, if you’re not able to manage the numbers, it will always be a struggle to sell anything. 1% of your total addressable market are looking to buy your type of product every week. I know you can do the maths. If sales believe the ideal vertical is 20,000 business in the UK, then 200 people each week are looking!
Here is the approach to address your whole market: -
- If you don’t already have it, buy a database of your ideal vertical market.
- Upload the data to your CRM
- Upload the data to LinkedIn & Facebook
- Set up a banner advertising campaign to inform your market you have a live stream show (limit your CPM against your budget)
- Email your market to tell them what happened on last week’s show and what’s coming up this week
- Repeat every week
No marketing automation platform is required for this! For £100 per month, you can send out 10,000 emails up to 12 times a month.
Another critical aspect of Digital Selling Business Plan is to make a point of promoting and ‘selling’ the content, not the product. Your prospects know you sell the product, but what they need is to be educated as to how to best implement your product or get the most out of it. This is why much of the content created will be educational and promoted on social media.
We have a documented strategy called Social 444, which involves posting 4 adverts, four times a day for four weeks and then repeat. These aere adverts you create in-house and post automatically to promote your content, these are not PPC.
As you’re selling to a business market, they will only see your post if they’re logged in and are scrolling down their newsfeed on LinkedIn. That’s why we recommend you create 120 adverts in advance, that include graphics, motion graphics, memes and videos and rotate them every month. It would be highly unlikely anyone could come across the same advert twice and because it’s a social media post, and not a banner advert and it’s rotated every month, it costs pennies. Preparing in advance also means you can visualise your 'tone-of-voice' before pressing send!
A bit of insight to new business behaviour; It takes 7-10 direct connections before a prospect recognises your brand/company; however, 1-in-3 attempts to contact a prospect fails. Therefore, you need 30+ messages lined up to achieve engagement and sending out no more, than one message per week means you have no choice but to allow six or seven months to start reaping any rewards.
This is another fundamental reason why so many businesses fail – they don’t have the patience and think they can achieve success by employing the most basic tactic in terms of technical execution, management, and cost, i.e., cold calling.
Our content promotion strategy means you can virtually use the term ‘set-and-forget’ as the adverts and content does not need to be changed for upon to 12-18 months. Now can you see why the current business structure for marketing is out of sync with actual requirements of business buyers?
For a New Business: Create all necessary content in advance. Grow the ‘attraction’ strategy before embarking on a fund-raising exercise and gifting a large portion of your business to investors before you have properly tested the market. It may surprise you that you need far less investment than anticipated
For an Existing Business: Implement in parallel and ascertain who in sales can support the content development teams. Implement the process to reach out to the total addressable market and gauge what elements need to be put in place.
For Mergers & Acquisitions: Prior to agreeing to a merger, implement a fact-finding task force to reassess the market potential, based upon the Digital Selling Strategy. If purchasing a new business, re-evaluate your forecasts against their current success rates and recalculate.
If you have a marketing or content team in place, they need to start addressing the existing content and preparing new videos, podcasts and so on.
If you already have a database, great, if not, then begin with identifying your total addressable market, acquire a new database which costs on average, about £350 per 000 names (one off cost). Perhaps a one-off cost would be £3,500 if you have an addressable market of 10k companies
Monthly SaaS costs would be in the region of the following:
Auto Posting on social media £60
Live Stream Software in-house £50
Multi Streaming Platform - https://www.restream.io £50
When it comes to video and live streaming, you want to acquire the most cost effective and useful equipment possible. We can give you a shopping list, but I’m sure you know this would need a conversation. However, budget for between £20k to £60k which would include multiple cameras, switchers, lights, tripods, stands and so on. In very broad terms, say £40k for the first year and £4k for the second and third.
If you needed an advisor (e.g., salesXchange) to get things set up and train existing staff, allow £10-15k
Two people could manage the whole operation and reach out to your total addressable market every week. Now compare this to the current total cost of telesales, SaaS and marketing attributed to generating new business.
There is the other aspect of this too; and that’s about using the equipment to record and create all the other digital content required from how-to videos to video recorded podcasts. This list is endless and there’s no shortage of people willing to binge-watch if it’s about something they’re interested in.
The hardware is a fixed asset, amortised and written off over three years. The monthly costs are tiny, the staff costs to execute this are minimal.
Considering the existing costs and work effort that goes into cold calling by BDRs, coupled with the staggeringly low success rates, nothing can compare to the exposure this digital selling business plan delivers. Even if it cost £100k as a one-off cost, it would be cheaper and more profitable than anything you’re current doing.
The important factor here is to demonstrate we have prepared everything in advance and broken down every cost to its component part to help provide a comprehensive and robust cost illustration with supporting, explanatory information. Below is an illustration of our modelling spreadsheet that helps us calculate every cost associated with digital selling.
I have created two mirrored illustrations to show what the business needs to do, and then how the retention process would affect customers.
Click here to view the The Customer Retention Infographic.
As you can see from the first diagram, I have defined the three main business units relating to new business as Technology, Revenue and Content (formerly IT, Sales and Marketing) and within each business unit, I have moved certain skill sets around. I have placed the Chief Growth Officer with overall responsibility for this section of the business.
I have produced a completed organisational chart to show how digital selling plays out – it’s interesting reading as it also makes sense of the role the Chief Revenue Officer plays in conjunction with the Chief Growth Officer. Download the excel spreadsheet (The New Revenue Org Chart - available here) as it includes a variety of descriptions and explanations to help you visualise this approach.
The Technology Team
It is so important that there is continuity in technical support for the wide variety of software needed these days. When creative people are expected to fully understand how the software works and are able to devise marketing strategies, including the copywriting and so on, if that person leaves the company, more expertise is lost than simply the marketing ability to write copy.
The Technology Team are responsible for the management and implementation of ALL hardware and software. I know there are marketing platforms that say “use our kit without disturbing the IT department” but that does not work as there are not sufficient demarcation points. That said, I also believe that all web development, CMS, ecommerce and marketing automation should also reside there as well as User and Customer Experience teams.
Keeping the technical aspect within the Technology department means there is a constant resource available with ‘crossover’ training available if necessary. This ensures that Technology is the engine for the business.
But before some bright spark in the IT department thinks he or she is going to be controlling the business, think again. The technology department can now be seen as a cost centre as all the rest. If anyone starts getting all high and mighty the CGO will have the autonomy to fire them!
The Revenue Team
Transition is a breeze – rename the existing sales team the “A Team” and create another called the “New Team”. The A Team shall seek and find new business; do all the work necessary to close sales and be paid accordingly, as they are not going to be a drain on the marketing budget or mechanism.
- A Team – Commission Based Targeted Salespeople
- New Team - Revenue Directors - Group Based Bonuses
The Field Insights Management team will help drive new enquiries to the New Revenue Channels’ Pre-engagement representatives. Once the pre-engagement representative has completed the ‘data-fill’ the Field Insights Team, together with the various support teams, will accompany the prospect on their journey through the company process until the prospect is ready to buy.
When the prospect is ready to buy, The New Team A.k.a. New Revenue Director arranges the necessary demonstrations, proposals, analysis and data fill and asks for the order.
Once complete/signed up, the sale is handed over and managed by Installation/Training or whatever implementation process you have, and in turn, handed over to Customer Success.
The Content Team
Our suggestion is to rename ‘Marketing’ to ‘Content’ and drive this element of your business as if you were a publishing house. Work along the lines of having reporters, researchers and presenters, enabling your business to fully embrace written content, i.e. articles, videos and podcasts.
The objective is to start creating an interconnected framework of information, blogs, guides, links to supporting content, and exposure - written, audible and visual; content that accurately positions you and your business where your prospects are actually looking, marrying up with ‘search intent’. You must be viewed as an authority in your space by creating detailed and explanatory content that helps people understand your products and how to use them. This will elevate you above your competition who are still dialling for dollars or phoning for pennies!
The Content Team shall seek and find new business. They will create content that communicates to your desired vertical market(s) and persona(s).
They will create a process that elevates the company, makes it visible in its desired geographic area and they will draw in and attract new business into the ‘funnel’ via a combination of activities with the combined support with the Field Insight Team.
Initially I believed businesses needed to create cinematic type, high quality video as per the content creators on YouTube. So, rather than just spout to business what I thought, I invested close to £50k in cameras, lighting, audio and all the necessary equipment and began learning from the ground up. It included editing, production and learning and watching as much as I could get my hands on.
Over the next few years, including the lockdown, I gradually realised what was actually needed was a total restructure, a new digital selling business plan for B2B organisations, because it simply wasn’t working and because I had joined up the dots where no one else had.
As a result, I developed my vision or version of digital selling. It addresses the whole cold calling issue, through to the failed problem with automation and naturally aligning everything to the behaviour of people, like you and I, and the way in which we like to buy business related products compared to personal consumer products.
To explain how I work, I run everything on a MacBook Pro. I use a Rodecaster Pro for Podcasts, multiple Panasonic DSLR cameras for photos and video and a variety of one-touch buttons and Blackmaghic ATEM switching gear when I'm live streaming. Finally, I have a variety of different LED lights, from Aputure 120D daylight lights to mini LEDs that are using as background effect lights.
For live streaming I initially used software from Ecamm, which is pretty clever by itself, but now I exclusively use an ATEM Mini Extreme streaming direct via Restream to LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook, all at the same time and I can record the show locally and don’t need to do any editing, which is something else worth taking into consideration.
At the end of the day, anyone can have a streaming set up either at a home office or some space allocated at a central office or both. Bearing in mind, with so many people working from home, more space might be available that can be used as a studio.
As you can see from the above, the overall digital selling business plan is straightforward, financially viable, with no chance of over spending. It requires minimum management and lends itself towards maximum exposure to the correct market and keeps every element of new business expenditure in check.
It is monitored via Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics from a visibility and engagement perspective, made even simpler by using Google Data Studio to send everyone statistics on progress from content that is being read to the duration of engagement, even how long they watch the videos for.
Recruitment to increase sales or marketing personnel is only necessary if any given area is increasing performance so as to require more support.
The new organisational structure has a calming effect on attrition and helps reduce ‘technical talent’ walking out the door when as it is intrinsically linked to IT and not marketing.
You’ve already sensed that there’s no hard sell, there can’t be, it’s all digital. You can click away at any time.
But as a final comment, I’d like you to think about this. There is no one else I am aware of who is suggesting anything remotely along the lines I am. You’ve seen this diagram before, the innovators, early adopters, late adopters, and laggards.
The fact you’ve listened or watched this video places you at the ‘innovators’ stage of the game.
Where do you think your competitors are in the above scheme of things and what do you think they’re planning?
What plans do your existing marketing people have for your business over the next few years?
Where do you want to be in the next few years?
If it makes sense, let’s talk…