Building Marketing Infrastructure for your Small Business

If you have already set up your website and company’s domain email address, now it’s the time to build a Marketing Infrastructure for your small business. The first mistake most of the startup or small businesses make once they are in the market is, they focus more on branding their business instead of sales. They put so much effort into marketing, putting the name out in the market, spends a lot in advertising, and expect that result will flow in soon. It’s like you spray a beautiful essence of perfume and you expect people to walk into your business by that aroma.

Let us understand first What is Marketing Infrastructure? and Why it is necessary to start building Marketing Infrastructure for your small business?

As I mentioned earlier most of the startup & small businesses do random acts of marketing to attract customers. The reason is they are not building a Marketing Infrastructure – a system where a cold lead enters one end and turns into a raving fan customer on the other end.

You need to have that marketing infrastructure built so that which will constantly bring in new leads, follow them up, nurture, and convert them into a raving fan customer. For a small business or startup if you lay the foundation of Marketing Infrastructure, I am sure you reap a lot of benefits in the long run.

To build the system, you need to think through from start to end. You will need to understand how it works and what resources will need to run it. Below are some of the assets you can start building for your Marketing Infrastructure.

  • Inquires or Lead Capture Websites.
  • Blog
  • Newsletter
  • Case Studies
  • Social Media
  • Email Sequence
  • Auto-Responders Email
  • Auto-Responders SMS
  • Whitepaper of your product/services that you offer

All of these have a place and a purpose, the ads that you run can be design to plug cold leads into the system and convert them into a raving fan customer. Just like it takes time to build networks or roads, it does take time to build a Marketing Infrastructure, and after that its just the maintenance.

Let me know in the comment section below if you are also building one of these, I would love to hear that and happy to help to cover any of the topics above.

Digitizing your not too Small Business

As a small business owner or a start-up, if you are still avoiding digitization then its time to put the gear and start driving. If you still think you are not ready then you should also consider those facts that if anyone has an interest in your business, the first thing they do is research it online and see what they can find about you. If they can’t find anything about your business online, they may consider it is not legitimate and may not take it seriously. It is also a high probability that they will choose someone else who has a web & social media presence online.

Giving your business an online presence will also open up a lot of other opportunities as well for example branding your business not only locally but also in the whole globe. The other benefits of digitization for your small business are:

  • The ability to engage with your customers or potential customers and learn exactly what they are looking for.
  • As I mentioned, you can promote your business to a global market place.
  • Your digital marketing efforts can be easily tracked.
  • Get to know your audience and allow then to know you personally which can help you to create brand loyalty.

Setting up a Website:

Probably the first step is to register your domain business name and set up your website. With lots of CMS (Content Management System) available in the market these days, setting up your website is not much of a big challenge. You can start with from likes of WordPress, Drupal, Wix, etc. These platforms will provide you with various templates to choose for setting up your website and you do not need to know to code.

Having a website for your business indicates that you are a legitimate and serious business in the market.

Branding your business online:

Now that you have completed setting up your website, now its time to set up your business on various social media pages like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc and start promoting.

Branding your business through social media allows you to talk directly to your customers & followers. You can build the relationship over time, rather than asking for a sale upfront.

Your customers are online these days and they use social networks to research new brands or products.

Let Customers find you:

With the digitization of your business, you allow customers to find you in the web world and more accessible to the people you are trying to reach to offer your product & services.

At their convenience, customers and prospects can send you emails with questions, make purchases, and browse your inventory. Potential customers who have no way to physically come to you can still do business with you, whether they are limited by disability, transportation or simply living too far away.

Knowing your Target Audience:

The efforts of digital marketing allow you to engage with your customers or potential customers. You can gradually get to know them and what they are hoping to find.

By interacting digitally, you can start to get to know what they are looking for in your business. Where is their pain area? What solution you can offer to them? Instead of trying to guess, digital marketing allows you tools and methods for finding out who your customers really are.

You can start building your relationship with your potential customers, gradually you become more of a trusted partner than a business. With digital marketing, your small business will have a better chance of success.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below or reach out to me for any help regarding digitizing your small business.

Happy to Help! Cheers

How to adapt change in your Sales career and achieve better results!

Over the years we see a lot of changes in our customer buying journey right from purchasing a Soap to an Aircraft. The customers are in control as they know how any information can be found as they seek before they show interest in listening to your sales pitches and going through your product/services brochure. The AI and Automation taking over most of the jobs, as a Salesperson we should adapt the changes and achieve better results in pursuit of our career.

According to recent studies by the end of 2020, the interaction of a customer and business will not be by an actual human. 40-50% of the time spent on sales activities could be automated by technologies currently available—which, of course, get smarter every day. For salespeople who follow traditional methods of prospecting, qualifying and moving closer to sale will not be good news.

Companies enabling digitization with AI, machine learning & automation are meant to simplify and streamline the processes, saving companies time & money while bringing extra value to the customers. These are clear signs that technologies can do a lot in the world of sales. Only the Smart Sales Pros will embrace change at every turn, accordingly, they will adapt and change their sales strategies.

How to adapt change in your Sales Career and achieve better results!

The first thing we should always remember that “people buy from people” the importance of human touch isn’t decreased with the advancement of technologies. In the world powered by technologies, for a salesperson having a solid reputation as a credible subject matter expert, strong network-especially with those high-level decision-makers are the most valuable currencies of all.

Instead of focusing to push the product/services that you sell and meet your sales quotas (which is also important) make time every day to build a personal brand and expand a personal network.

Think like a customer and understand the challenges that they face, start building your expertise and knowledge on how you can solve those challenges.

Write about your expertise and knowledge in a blog, talk about in a video or any social channel, present those topics which you are expert in Industry Events & Forums – make a name for yourself in the industry you’re immersed in. It’s not all that difficult, you’ve just got to want to do it. 

Lastly, it’s important to distinguish between technology replacing the role of a salesperson versus technology enhancing the ability of salesperson to skyrocket their performance. If Salespeople can learn how to leverage AI, automation & machine learning to help them delivering on all fronts without loosing the sight of the importance of human touch, they will not only succeed but also thrive in this Digital Age.

Targeting the Right Prospects for your B2B Sales

Targeting the right prospect for your B2B sales can be very challenging. You should know everything about your target prospects from their demographics and interest to their buying behaviors.

The better you understand your prospects and their pain points and motivations, the easier it will be for you to target and convert your leads into sales.

Below are some of the elements to target the right prospects:

  • The Account Development Framework: Account Development is a phone-based team focused exclusively on identifying, connecting with, and qualifying leads to generate an early-stage pipeline for the sales organization.
  • Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): A Sales executive should primarily focus that fits the ideal customer profile. The Ideal Customer Profile defines the type of accounts that the organization believes are most likely to close.
  • Buyer Persona: The target Buyer Persona describes the attributes of the individual prospects within an account that are ideal contacts in a sales process. Personas help you articulate the prospect’s pain point in their language.
  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): The MQL definition combines the ICP and Buyer Personas to determine which leads are a higher priority for the Sales Executive to follow up. The MQL definition combines the ICP and Buyer Personas to determine which leads are a higher priority for the Sales Executive follow up. The MQL definition tells you who to reach out to next.
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is a lead that meets the organization’s definition of qualification and is ready for a conversation with sales. The SQL definition is the minimum threshold a prospect must meet to be accepted as sales qualified. You must have an answer to each of these requirements for SQL to be ready to convert to sales.

Popular Online Game PUBG teaching to be a Team Player

Online game Player Unknown Battle Ground (PUBG) designed by Brendan Greene, has gained a lot of popularity. It can seem that people in several age group has been playing and also working professional during their free time. The player can choose to enter the match either solo, duo or, squad. The learning part comes when you have a squad to play i.e four people and commit to playing as a team to win the game.

Team Work Makes the Dream Work

PUBG is a very simple game where the last team survivor wins however some of your players may not survive till the end. Similarly, as we all deal in our professional life either we are working with a team or leading one. Working towards our goal & targets has been our daily routine however achieving great heights has always been possible when you have a dream team.

PUBG can be the most frustrating game and for one simple reason: it takes time to form a perfect squad and your squad to play as a team. You must understand your team weakness & strength, guide them on how to utilize their ability when it is needed. It may happen a lot of times in the game that because of one player all the squad loses at the beginning of the game.

Likewise in our professional life, a perfect PUBG team requires an Armour, Navigation, Sniper expert, and most importantly a leader who can make his team work together to win the game.

When you have a team whom you can rely on, no matter what the situation comes they make the dream work come true. It does take time in every field to find the perfect fit in your team and its only possible when you understand everyone’s strengths, weaknesses and guide them accordingly.

Finding the Right Prospects for your Business

Finding the right prospects for your business and then nurturing them into leads are the building blocks of a sales cycle. First of all, we need to understand.

What is a prospect?

Prospect is someone who has an interest in your business and your products. Prospect is someone who has a need, interest in what you have to offer.

We need to first understand who are our target audience before even start prospecting. What is that our solutions provide that add values to the prospect. We should be very convinced of our solutions or products that will benefit the prospect.

There are various ways of finding the right prospects for your business.

  • Referrals from your existing customer: Salespeople use this tactic to get the maximum sale. Existing customers will most likely refer you to others who are also in need of your product or services.
  • Social Media Platforms: Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter offer a great way to connect and network with your prospect. It is also a great platform to start creating and nurturing relationships through engaging in conversations, sharing relevant content, and generally getting to know the people who are keen followers of your brand.
  • Networking Events and trade Shows: When participating in trade shows & networking events, Mingle! Engage with people face-to-face, tell them about yourself, your business, and your product and ask about them. Exchange contact details, add them to your database, and keep in touch.
  • Cold Calling & Email: This is one of the old school and the most effective way to find new prospects for your business. Be consistent on these two approaches, you may get a lot of rejection with these methods however I can promise that it will give you the best result if you are consistent.

Prospecting is the art of opening new relationships.

Connecting with Prospects without harassing them

It’s not necessary that every prospect we met was ready to buy. Most of the sales cycle takes a longer time than we would like. This requires salespeople to have patience, be persistent, however most importantly to stay in the mind of potential buyers. If you are wondering how to stay in touch with your prospect without harassing them, here is what I recommend.

Ways to keep in touch without harassing your prospect:

Clients are like plants, you have to keep watering if you want them to grow. This means you need to have a good relationship based on strong communications. Getting a bit personal with your client is no harm, you can throw in a little ‘intelligence’ about each client, i.e. listing what they like and something about their personal life.

Send them regular newsletters, informing about your work, press releases, a blog post which they may find interesting, latest updates on the industry there are into. It’s also a great way to keep communication.

Make use of Social Media such as LinkedInTwitter to stay connected with your prospect. Once you have made the initial connection with your prospect, search them whether they are active on these Social Media channels. Invite or follow them to connect with you and you will a fair idea on what kind of articles, blogs & content they consume which is also useful to build strong communications.

Nothing beats having voice communication with your prospect, make it a practice to call your prospect on their special occasions like to wish them or on Christmas & New Years Holidays.

Believe your instincts or gut feeling, for example, If you haven’t spoken to a client for some time and you get that gut feeling they might be thinking about you, pick up the phone and call them.

Importance of building your Personal Brand

You probably hear the word “Brand” several times. It’s the most common subject you will hear from Marketers, Entrepreneur, Business Person and for good reason. We already know building a well recognized Business Brand adds tremendous value and can create a significant competitive advantage.

Why is it Important to build your Personal Brand?

Personal Brand refers to the process of establishing your public persona for your target audience. Creating a personal brand is a vivid indication of the best you have to offer – the performance, contributions, and value your next employer can expect from you.

A Personal Brand can be much more than just self promoting. It can be a exercise in establishing confidence, credibility and courage as well as help you define priorities and focus on those aspects of your life you enjoy most.

Building your own Personal Brand, regardless of your profession, can add tremendous value to your life. It is also important to understand everyone has a personal brand whether you have one or not. It is defined by everything you do, from what you wear to how you compose emails to how you conduct yourself on the phone.

How do you build your Personal Brand? Firstly, you will have to have a deep understanding about yourself. You need to be authentic and honest, as you will ultimately need to live up to it.

Begin with answering a simple progression of questions, both personally and professionally.

  • What are your core values?
  • What are your interest and passions?
  • What motivates you?
  • What makes you happy?

Once you have identified the answers for these questions, it is time to write a personal vision statement. This statement should be bold and true to you. Remember that it will most likely only ever be seen by you and will evolve over time, so don’t worry too much about what it looks or sounds like.

Understanding Customer Buying Behaviors

To understand customer buying behaviors it is important to comprehend how an individual makes a purchase and the dynamics that surround & influences to take the decision. It is not only important for businesses to make a sale of their product/services, it will also enable how to align their sales & marketing strategies to target the right audience and create more-enticing products and service offers.

If we go back few years down the lane, in India a face cream was advertise or marketed to make the people’s skin fair and having a brown/dusky skin was a taboo. Today’s generation has realized that you must be comfortable in your skin and it doesn’t really matter whether you are fair, brown/dusky or black. Businesses should adapt these changes in the customer buying behavior patterns and strategies while promoting products & service offers.

If we look at clothing, we have always seen that a brand promoting their products by a well-known celebrity or an artist eating at an expensive restaurant, traveling to an exotic location, driving an expensive car or attending a lavish wedding venue. As a brand owner it also needs to be realized that people also like to know how do they look wearing a brand clothing while taking a public transport in a bus or train. Businesses should understand these types of customer buying behaviors as well and India has a majority population of middle class.

You don’t have to be big to sell to Big Businesses

If you running a start-up or a small business, the first thing you focus on is to increase your sales & revenue. It’s not necessary to wait for your organization to grow in order to tap big companies to sell your product/services. Selling to large enterprises will increase revenue & profile in a much faster way.

The faster way to get your foot in the door is to figure out of your own product/services addresses your prospect’s urgent and compelling needs.

You will have a lot of competition however you will have to figure out how your company is truly unique. Every small or start-up business will want to grow big and you need to illustrate what makes your company different.

As we normally do not ask to marry someone on the first date unless you are sure about it, you cannot ask a prospect to give you an order on your first connection. Develop solid relationships with your prospect. Every single time you communicate with your prospect, you make an impression.

When the prospect comes up with a question about your product, services, proposals, service terms, or anything else, you need to have the best answer. Do your research about your prospect before you make an approach.

Selling to big companies isn’t as difficult as it might seems, if you know how to approach the right connect. Understand their decision making process.

Lastly, I have been following Jill Konrathshe is a sales expert, also a frequent speaker at sales conferences and author of some of the best selling books on Sales Strategy.

Her book: Selling to Big Companies will help you discover how to

  • Target the right accounts.
  • Create Sales messaging that works.
  • Develop an effective, multi-faceted account-entry campaign.
  • Have powerful initial sales meetings that build unstoppable momentum.