Monday, January 26, 2009

Selling into Larger Companies

One of my fellow BNI members asked me to help him with his sales plan a couple of weeks ago.

Up until recently he had been working mainly re-actively and with smaller companies achieving reasonable success. Now he has been targeted with opening up some of the larger businesses in the area and was finding it difficult.

With smaller companies the organisational chart is pretty flat and you tend to be talking, straight away, to the owner (director) of the business. His buying decision can be almost as if he is taking the money you are asking him to invest straight out of his pocket. His choice is do this or put the money towards the next holiday/new car.

If he is convinced that your proposal is the way forward, then he will 'instruct' everyone else in the business to fall in line and help you get the job done. It's a relatively easy yes-no process.
If you want to break into larger companies you may not be talking to those at director level initially. Getting this, lower level, person sold on your ideas won't automatically secure the sale.

This person may have to sell your idea up the chain of command. Two problems with that:
1: This person probably isn't as capable of selling your concept as you
2: They may not understand fully the agenda of those above and may not pitch correctly

The New Strategic Selling process from Miller Heiman lays out these problems and ways to overcome them.

Typically you need to find 4 key people within the organisation and understand their drivers and requirements
1: Financial Buyer - Probably just looks at the bottom line of a proposal and values against cost saving
2: Technical Buyer - Will this be fit for their purpose and is it significantly better than what they have in place
3: User Buyer - Is this going to be a pain to implement and run with or will it save time and effort
4: Coach - This person is critical to find. They will be sold on your offer and help you understand, and get to see, the other 3.

With those people identified you need to understand if they are open to change or insistent that the current situation is fine. Then you can start tailoring your offer to tap into their problems and requirements.

Working with larger companies can be rewarding as the deal size tends to be larger - but be prepared for some hard work!

The New Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by the World's Best Companies

Roy Gough and Alloy CRM help businesses to generate revenue and profit through the Website Profit Program and real world sales processes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How can we beat the recession?

We know that the internet is taking an increasing role in purchasing decisions and that we need to maximise our exposure there.
But how do we do it with limited budget? You've probably spent your marketing and advertising budget every year so can't find more to fund internet marketing too.

Well lets have a look at what you are spending your budget on now and the results you get from it. You may well have invested in some or all of these - Yellow Pages, Trade journals, Newspapers, TV/Radio and Direct mail.

Now tell me, honestly, if you can quantify, EXACTLY, the return on your investment for each activity - down to individual adverts.

I suspect that your answer may well be a bit vague. Henry Ford, famously didn't say "Half my
advertising works, I just don't know which half" (someone whose name I can't recall said it).
If that sums up your advertising budget, now is the time to be more prudent and use a medium that allows you to value every penny you spend, test and measure the results on an hourly basis and tap into the internet sales that are increasing as we speak.

Pay Per Click advertising in the search engines, such as Google and MSN, along with Facebook is the smart way to use your marketing budget effectively and get return on your hard earned investment.

More information on cost effective PPC advertising here from Alloy CRM

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What make a website a popular website?

With billions of websites out there all trying to attract your attention, it might be interesting to look at a few really successful sites to understand what might make them so popular.

Now these are just my views on these sites and there are probably a whole load of other factors too, but here goes.
Enormous breadth and depth of information/content
Is this one of the greatest entertaining/time wasting sites ever?
Saving money is on many peoples agenda normally. It's probably on everyones agenda in the current economic crisis
Another great time waster but the interaction factor just makes it so absorbing

'Adult' Sites
Exciting and teasing (so I'm told)

Now lets summarise that -

Money Saving

Do you think it would be worth making your website good enough to be described in one, or a few, of those terms? I bet if you did, it would be far more successful and earn you a lot more money than it is now.

Try it.

Alloy CRM has a Website Profit Program designed for small businesses that will increase profit.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Internet sales preditions for 2009 UP!

A report in eMarketer confidently predicts an increase in internet sales of about 4% in the US. Now that's not much but against high street drops of up to 10% it seems like good news to me.

Additionally a survey by ATG also in the US at the back end of last year, in the midst of the downturn, showed that purchasers would be turning to the internet to both research their requirements and actually buy where appropriate more than ever before. One of the triggers, along with price, for a purchase was no cost delivery.

So what should we take from this?

Well, there is no doubt now that EVERY business should be represented on the internet. But more than that, it needs to show your business in a professional and trustworthy way otherwise those potential customers will just head straight back to the search listings to find someone else. We know they are spending, and making purchasing decisions, via the internet - you need to make sure your are getting your fair share of those sales.

If you need help to make your website work and produce profit, I offer a Website Profit Program designed to help and guide you.

Alloy CRM is a Sales & Marketing Strategy consultancy that helps businesses find new ways of increasing Sales, Revenue and Profit.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year - New Revenue?

New Year - New Revenue? What can you do differently in 2009 that could significantly improve your revenue and profit?

Here's just a few ideas:
  • Look back through your customer list and see who hasn't bought from you in the last 12 months. Contact them, find out why and rebuild the relationship if they are still potential customers.
  • Check back to see who you pitched for business but lost out. Try re-packaging your offer in a different way and contact them.
  • Build a follow up program for everyone who buys from you. Use that to maintain contact, make your customer realise you care and probably gain some referrals and testimonials into the bargain.
  • Don't just carry on with the same old advertising. Be bold and look for something different. Try different publications, divert some of your spend to internet marketing and review your website to make sure it isn't losing you potential customers.
  • Be more targeted about looking for new customers. Look at your customer base and see which industry sector and size profile produces the best results for you, find out where those sort of businesses hang out and join in with them.
  • Try networking. There are plenty of events around each with it's own style and visitor profile. It might feel scary the first time but it's worth the effort. Networkers love to help each other and you could well create some useful contacts.

All the best to you for 2009 - may it be your most profitable yet.