Impacting Business Development and Sales with Marketing

12 Best Practices for Conducting Effective One-On-One's

Posted by Gabrielle Guidero on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 @ 09:03 AM

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The main responsibility of a team leader is to help his or her team members continuously improve their results. Sounds pretty simple--but just spend a day with a team leader, and you will observe that the job requires a lot of skill and planning to handle the day to day fires, while at the same time doing the things that keep team members focused.

Below are twelve simple best practices that have been outlined and defined in order to help you plan, conduct, and follow-up on your one-on-ones.

 

  1. It is important that the meetings be carefully documented.  Simple use of the sample PDM form makes follow-up easy and clear.  In addition, it makes recapping the previous meeting and goals easy.
  2. Prepare for the meetings. Put the meetings in your calendar so other meetings do not crowd these out. It is also important to have a game plan before beginning a meeting.
  3. Treat the meeting as a goal-setting session.  Both team members and team leaders should look forward to these meetings each month. 
  4. Be prepared to adapt your style and be ready to “push” or “pull” based on your team members level of skill, will and experience.
  5. All goals must meet the SMART criteria; including the “expected help from the team leader”. Before you end your meeting, test the goals with your team member to make sure they are SMART!
  6. Show that you care about your team member. Take time to know what some of their personal goals are and why they are important to them. Listen more than you speak.
  7. Give compliments and praise for the development of good habits and for the achievement of the previous month’s goals.
  8. One action step is enough if it is the correct action step. Success will generate more and bigger action steps.
  9. Spend the majority of the time during the meetings focused on the future in a positive, solution-oriented way, and less time on why a something didn’t happen – fewer excuses and more action.
  10. Some team members may require being on a shorter “leash” – meet and follow up with them more often.
  11. Ask your team member what their performance goal for the month is and then back into how many interactions they need to reach it.  This helps the team member set realistic goals and take ownership for their action plan for the month.
  12. Always commit to at least one action step in “expected help from the team leader” to demonstrate that you are committed to helping them grow and succeed. This is also important with top performers to show your commitment to them.

Tags: Alignment, Performance

10 Must's for Conducting a Productive Meeting/Huddle

Posted by Gabrielle Guidero on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 @ 09:03 AM

Team huddles/meetings are a great way to get your team focused on world-class results.  They are also a great way to share best prac­­tices among team members. Team members can share success stories, how they are overcoming difficult situations, and share knowledge.

How do you construct and hold productive and motivating huddles/meetings? Here are some criteria to consider:

  1. Do very little administration – two minutes tops.
  2. Don’t do boring things; like going over new forms, company policy, personal disputes, and what went wrong.  Figure out a better, faster way to communicate these things. Try this: Have an instruction sheet for a new form and pass it or email it out.
  3. Don’t present problems unless you have thought of some solution to go with it.  This rule applies to everyone. It creates a team that is solution oriented!Free Field Guide - Improve Team Communication
  4. Do fun things that help your team feel good about themselves.  (i.e., give awards, share success stories, celebrate reaching team goals, etc.)
  5. Do things that help your team members learn more about their profession.  Practice skills that would help them deliver even better customer service and improve performance. Have a contest and have the team vote for a winner.
  6. Do things that help the team stay motivated. Remove obstacles and create brainstorming sessions. Practice diffusing an angry caller.
  7. Stress the positive. Start and end every meeting with a positive inspiration. Be generous in your appreciative feedback.  If you have anything negative to share about an individual, do so privately.
  8. Use a scoreboard and post your results for Key Performance Indicators.  
  9. Drive ownership of the meetings to your team; assign roles and responsibilities of agenda items to various team members.
  10. Create friendly competition by sharing and reporting goals and results publicly on your Key Performance Indicators.

Tags: Performance

5 Steps to Impact Your Sales Team with Effective One-on-Ones

Posted by Gabrielle Guidero on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 @ 16:03 PM

One of the most important ways to get the most out of each of your people is by conducting consistent, monthly Performance Development Meetings, also known as one-on-ones. These meetings allow the two of you to develop a game plan that is customized for them and their roles and responsibilities, and that will help them focus their activities in the areas that matter most. Many team leaders speak to their staff daily, but they realize that those interactions don’t replace these monthly uninterrupted one-on-one meetings.

 What the development process leads to

Outlined below is the 5-step process to conduct an effective one-on-one. This will help you and your team members hone-in on what’s important quickly, eliminating wasted time while helping and improving your team member’s skills and engagement:

Step One--
Rapport

Begin dialogue with an agenda statement

 

  • Purpose of meeting
  • Current situation
  • Desired situation
  • Build a game plan
  • Gain input on agenda from your team member

Step Two–Discovery

Ask questions concerning

 

  • Current situation vs. desired situation
  • What’s working and what’s not working
  • See situation through your team members perspective
  • Discovery / Summary

Step Three-Solution/Game Plan

Build a game plan to the desired situation

 

  • The solution/game plan ideally comes from your team member with accountability; or, you can recommend a solution/game plan that your team member agrees to execute
  • Get clear action steps

Step Four – Commitment

Summary of action plan

 

  • Review action steps for both the team member and yourself
  • Review expectations for both the team member and yourself
  • Agree on how, and when to review results

Step Five - Encouragement

Affirm your confidence in your team member

 

  • Express your optimism
  • Be sincere

Conducting one-on-ones are important, not only to help gauge where your team members need help in developing their skills, but also in maintaining their ‘health’ as an employee. It also provides you with the opportunity to transfer skills based on where your team members need help in developing their talents.

This process will help you nurture your team, and help find any topics they may be unhappy or uneasy with – this could range from needing to discuss a bad call they had to needing a little extra time for a break to having a dispute with another team member.

Your team members need to feel like they’re being heard and understood, and that you as their leader genuinely want help them improve their situations. This process will help you get to the root cause of their situations and – ultimately – help increase their confidence, effectiveness, and willingness to work.

Tags: Performance

The Art of an Effective Skills Transfer

Posted by Gabrielle Guidero on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 @ 13:03 PM

To understand the art of an effective skills transfer, you first need to understand what a skill transfer really is and understand the purpose behind one. A skills transfer is the method in which we teach an employee how to perform a new task or skill. The key to an effective skills transfer is that the individual transferring the skill needs to understand and be able to translate this particular skill to their peer.

  1. Understanding the Skill: Performing an effective skill transfer requires a good amount of preparation beforehand. It’s important to first identify the skills gap that is impacting an employee’s performance. If there are several gaps (i.e. the representative is having difficulty lowering the customer’s resistance and has above average handle time) target the skill that will be more impactful for the representative and your team. You need to be prepared to demonstrate the skill at an exemplary level. It is always recommended that you practice the skill until you can comfortably demonstrate the skill and the desired outcome.
  2. Explain: No matter what your job role is, everyone will perform at least one skills tra
    nsfer, so it’s important to understand and be able to explain the skill to your employee. Communication plays a vital role throughout the entire process. In most cases, a skills transfer session should be conducted off the floor. This gives the representative a comfortable learning environment where he/she can practice and improve without being inhibited by fear of making mistakes. Begin each session by explaining what you are training, why it is important, and how you will be training it. Communicate why the skill is important and tie it back to the business need. Effective leaders get buy-in by explaining how the skill will help make the representative successful, and in most cases, more opportunity and money.
  3. Demonstration: It’s your job to demonstrate what the skill looks like when performed correctly. Remember, the level at which you demonstrate the skill process is the level at which your representative will apply it. Without a demonstration, the person learning the new skill won’t visual see how it’s done.
  4. Practice with Coaching: Once the demonstration is done, it’s essential to have the person practice the skill until he/she is successful in applying it. An easy way to assess how the practice is going is to use your own demonstration as a guideline. You can never practice enough times. One of the best things I’ve heard is that practice doesn’t make perfect – perfect practice makes perfect. So use this time here to tweak and adjust so that your peer is perfect in their practice. The important thing to remember here is to be active in providing positive and constructive feedback each and every time the representative practices.
  5. Observe: Once you feel the other person has gotten used to the new skill, let them run through a demonstration of the skill on their own. If they hit a snag, come back to it at the end – let them know what they were doing and demonstrate the correct way to put the skill to use. Again, don’t just focus on the errors – be sure to highlight all the things they did well. If not, they’ll just feel like they’re only doing things incorrectly, and will make them lose their motivation.
  6. Feedback/Accountability: I know I’ve stated it before, but you cannot give enough feedback – motivational, appreciative, constructive, etc. It’s important to let the other person know the good things they’re doing, the things they need to improve on, and to pass along encouragement to make sure they understand the skill completely. At each step, it’s also critical to hold them accountable for perfection. You gave them the steps and set your expectations, and they must maintain them.
ProcessofanEffectiveSkillsTransferINFOGRAPHICDRAFT030915-1

All this takes time, and it won’t happen overnight. Have patience, and if you follow these proven tips, you and your team can and will achieve and exceed any desired objective. 

To help remember the steps, click on the image to the right to view our infographic.

Tags: Performance

What Top Performing Call Centers Do Differently:

Posted by Gabrielle Guidero on Thu, Mar 19, 2015 @ 19:03 PM

Each company operates and executes on different strategies and values. Most companies, however, don’t see the results they’re looking for. We went out and compiled some tips on which top performing call centers operate. Are you implementing these tips/tricks already in your execution strategies?

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  1. Clear and compelling sales and service excellence expectations are set and over-communicated from top to bottom
  2. Sales and customer service managers and coaches know exactly what is expected of them from senior management and what changes need to happen to increase quality and productivity
  3. The sales and customer service teams know exactly what needs to be done on an hourly basis to deliver consistently fantastic customer service. Top performer behaviors and habits are known and understood at all levels of the organization and every call center employee understands they must adopt these practices.
  4. The company has a simple and effective way of tracking their sales and customer service effectiveness that is driven by valid customer feedback. This information is reported in a simple, timely and highly visible way up and down the organization.
  5. The call center executives know how to build a strong and committed sales and customer service culture that penetrates all levels of the organization.  Employees in companies like these work at a faster pace with a deeper commitment to quality and overall excellence.
  6. There is a strong “inspect what you expect” work ethic built into the best sales and customer service call centers. Managers know how to inspect what they expect and hold team members accountable to the highest performance expectations.
  7. Executives and call center managers/coaches know how to apply effective performance coaching methods that continuously improve the performance of the team. See Process of Skill Transfer Delivery.
  8. The call center managers work together to identify and document the most effective ways to interact with their customers/clients. These sales and customer service processes are taught to and coached into every member of the customer service team. A no excuses expectation is set and enforced around these top performer processes.
  9. Efficiency metrics are typically tied closely to effective processes and call center teams are not constrained with unrealistic efficiency goals that undermine quality goals.
  10. Call center executives are highly focused on retaining top performing employees and turnover with these special people is well below industry averages.  In fact, turnover throughout the organization is typically lower than average, although there are some exceptions to this.

 

 If you’re interested in executing strategies in call centers, download our new

Download Free White Paper - Building Shared Purpose  

Building Blocks for Healthcare Website and Content Marketing

Posted by Katya Girgus on Thu, Jan 30, 2014 @ 08:01 AM

Doctors take action!The challenge healthcare sales and marketing professionals often face, and must overcome, is balancing the needs of both medical and business leaders working within an organization. Organizations that leverage their channel marketing to increase magnification of their existing base, improve internal communication, and ensure solid tactical execution begin to see that balance take hold.  Defining and positioning your company’s strengths in response to the market enables targeted messaging calibrated for unique segments, and puts focus on gaining the best financial opportunities first. Utilizing a scientific approach to understanding market opportunities and perceptions empowers healthcare organizations to increase ROI while improving employee engagement and channel effectiveness.

 

With the right channel positioning and internal buy-in, healthcare channel communications will:

  • Expand your sphere of influence with non-affiliated physician referrals
  • Increase patient awareness, engagement and education
  • Raise employee satisfaction and customer retention

 

Increase Magnification of your Existing Base, and You’ll Gain Insights to New Opportunities

Successful healthcare organizations which apply a targeted approach using predictive analytics engage patients and physicians with more personalized messaging.  This more relevant and responsive approach ties information and community to business decisions and healthcare management.

Start by defining who you are as an organization in the market place and within your community. Understand the perceptions and needs of your internal and external audience so you can validate that your brand message is on target.

By clarifying each channel and its purpose to reach customers in support of your organization’s overall goals and initiatives, you enable your customers to complete desired transactions wherever they are most comfortable making a purchase decision.  The tools healthcare organizations utilize for efficient channel communications keeps growing, and now includes:

  • Predictive Analytics
  • Customer Segments & Personas
  • Buying Motivators
  • Video Integration
  • Internal Education
  • External Interaction
  • Qualified Workflows
  • Relevant Offers

With all of these channels at your fingertips, and with potential marketing channels growing further, taking advantage of multi-channel campaigns is crucial for increasing patients-per-day and physicians outside your current sphere of influence.  Alignment in your messaging provides a seamless execution across various marketing channels which guides potential customers towards engagement, and moves them down your sales funnel.  Cohesive communication internally translates to consistent communication with customers, no matter which channel you reach them through. 

 

Solid Tactical Execution Starts Here: Define Cohesive Communication with a Channel Position Document

  • Channel position document summarizes
  • Your customers’ needs
  • The market approach
  • The factors that differentiate how your solution
  • Your key message

 

The channel position document (CPD) serves as the foundation for ensuring alignment in communications – both externally through marketing and direct sales efforts, and internally for consistent employee messaging. Healthcare organizations and their channels that leverage their CPD as a foundation for all communications will experience an increase in speed-to-ROI with more effective rollouts, and a more personalized customer experience for physicians and patients.

A strong CPD will answer:

  • How does your defined channel will support aligned incentives across your organization and its departments?
  • What is your competitive positioning, values, and tone?
  • What do you say to communicate clearly to each different customer segment, and through a variety of outreach channels?
  • Which target messages – including features and benefits – will be highlighted for each segment of your audience?
  • How will communication effectiveness be measured for each outreach channel such as qualified lead generation or conversion rates?

 

Check List for Comprehensive Positioning

  • Outline the market challenges including competitor positions
    • Identify the customer needs which are the most pervasive and urgent. 
    • Validate customer willingness to pay to resolve the challenges they are facing.
    • Understand competitor’s approach to resolving customer pain points.
       
  • Customer personas for each of your key demographics.
    • Define your target customer and know what is at the top of your buyer’s mind: anticipate their challenges, and identify their buying habits & attitudes.
    • Develop a separate CPD for each target market segment or persona.
       
  • Consistent brand value and tone usage across channels.
    • Ensure that brand value and tone are reflected consistently across communications, both internally and externally.
       
  • Umbrella Brand Message (in 25 words or less).
    • Speak your customers’ language by addressing their challenges and needs directly with your solution.
       
  • Service/Product description (50 words or less).
    • Explain how the service/product addresses your customers’ needs. Specifically relate to your customers’ need to solve a problem, and their willingness to pay to do so.
       
  • Service’s/Product’s problem-solving features.
    • List three to five features, with one sentence describing how the customer’s problem will be solved for each feature.

 

Thus, with a CPD in hand, you have the strategic guidelines needed to tactically execute.  The key tactic to creating strong brand awareness is repeated exposure of your brand to your target audience through the right channels.

 

Where to start?

Your website is the most accessible channel to customers, prospects and competitors. It serves as a constant connection and many times first exposure to your brand for new customers.

Maximize the effectiveness of your website as a channel. Download our Free EBook 36 Brilliant Healthcare Company Homepage Website Designs. Click here.

Tags: Marcom

How to Increase the Effectiveness of your Next Laboratory Outreach Tradeshow

Posted by Gabrielle Guidero on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 @ 08:01 AM

OncoMDx Tradeshow Booth ExampleWhether you are a hospital-based program, commercial, or private organization, keep in mind that there are no open markets: Every one already has a provider for diagnostic testing and reporting. You are there to engage and persuade physicians, medical group directors or hospital administrators to change.

So, why should they change?

By understanding the process physicians take to change, you can outline a different approach to position more targeted messaging that resonates faster with the internal conversation already going on in their minds.

 

4 Ways to Improve Trade Show Sales Conversations

You’ve taken your current collateral and marketing tools to a couple of tradeshows recently, and you’re just not getting the reaction you’ve gotten in the past… You’re not alone: many marketers are facing similar difficulties. Here are 4 ways to improve your collateral without the need to start over from the beginning:

Situation: You feel that the existing branding and messaging on your large format graphic does not resonate as quickly with your physician segment and draw them in. A few tips you can use to amplify your current collateral are:

 

1.   Add a standing banner with keywords to catch physician’s attention
    • A single key point and image which address and align physicians’ business/patient care decisions will add more value by inspiring targeted conversations faster.
    2.   Update the graphics on hardware you already have in order to hone targeting while minimizing costs
      • Almost all tradeshow booths and podiums are made with replaceable graphics and murals. New images, copy, and a potentially new arrangement of hardware on your rental space can make your tradeshow budget go farther in a short amount of time.
      3.   Evaluate your collateral’s effectiveness as sales tools that will help close the deal
        • Does your sales team feel your collateral is relevant to conversations, and use it as visual reinforcement of buying motivators for physicians? Re-write copy to include key messaging, and incorporate new visual aids that your sales team knows will work and highlights benefits that customers are looking for. Be sure to include any URLs for follow-up tools, resources, and engagement as a takeaway.

         

        Situation: You feel that you can be getting more marketing qualified leads (MQLs) in your pipeline, but lose momentum two months after attending. Keep in mind that 60% of a customer’s buying decision is made prior to contacting a sales representative. In order to boost your MQLs and keep them engaged after your tradeshow, you can:

         

        4.   Put together a three-part communication campaign using all channels to reach the physicians you are targeting:
          • Direct email or postcards for customers and prospects announcing your attendance and value to them, industry and region.

            • Invite them to sign up to a webinar prior to the conference, invite them to an invitation only dinner prior to and/or view a blog post regarding industry and professional trends with benefits your organization brings.
               
          • A single web page within your company site promoting the event and your participation. Use this as an opportunity to engage and convert visitors through targeted keywords. If done with long term goals in mind this section of your website can have a continuous impact on traffic, conversion and SEO of your website.

            • Include relevant and valuable information benefiting your segments business objectives, professional development, patient safety and quality, technology, healthcare reform implementation, reimbursements.
               
            • Include calls to action and links to offers you have published such as white papers, guides, videos, studies, reports and medical journals.
               
          • Write and publish blog posts reporting on the event itself, turnout, keynote speakers, industry takeaways. Add these blog links to the email communications that are sent as follow-up.

           

          Minimize costs - There’s no need to start from scratch. Update messaging and visual aids first to focus on your target persona. Their wants and needs change over time, so you must adapt your tools to meet their needs. This will facilitate your conversations, and help them make the decision to change to or add your company to their list of providers. 

          Tags: Alignment

          How to Build Effective Sales Tools for your Outreach Laboratory

          Posted by Gabrielle Guidero on Tue, Jan 28, 2014 @ 18:01 PM

          Doctor patient handshake  sales tool blog Low participation in marketing campaigns with minimal utilization of web assets by the sales team are enough to create havoc in any marketer’s plan.  Combined with an augmented responsibility to produce an increased ROI and validate marketing spend, these challenges are beginning to shift the way laboratories build and deploy their marketing and sales tools.


          With more aggressive competition from commercial laboratories, along with independent and hospital outreach programs, sales and service professionals need to establish relevancy quickly. Along with accommodating the changes occurring in the healthcare environment, (including re-imbursements) laboratories need to arm sales people with harder working tools and tactics to achieve successful outcomes faster.

           

          Keep the Sales Perspective Top-of-Mind

          Through a defined process, sales people are on a quest daily to qualify or de-qualify prospects as a potential customer. They have the unique position to get up every day and purposely go out, talk with strangers, and be willing to hear “no” or “not interested” more than “yes”. By combining the sales perspective with marketing knowledge and customer data, marketers create and build more relevant sales tools that increase flexibility, real-time responsiveness, and engagement.

          You have to give your presentation and get to the point fast! Six tips your sales people might want you to know in order to accomplish this are:

          • Most of the time, I talk with the front desk or office manager first. I need to know the material and be well versed in order to address how our solution benefits the physicians’ specialty or practice management challenges better than the perceptions they already have of our competitors.
          • Many times I have to wait in the hall between offices and exam rooms to talk with a physician. I should not be surprised to hear “What do you have for me?” between the physician walking from one exam room to the other.
          • Concisely focus on highlights the doctor and his office care about, and be direct with how our services help improve operations, financial performance, or patient management.
          • I might only get 1-5 minutes to discover what needs are not being fulfilled and then present a better solution.
          • Be responsive: if there is interest, follow-up quickly and educate.
          • If I’ve been there before, what do I have to validate another return?

           

          Enhance the conversation already going on

          • Know what value proposition your sales people use in the field, and understand why it works.
          • What are the common obstacles they hear, and how do they overcome them?
          • What perception do prospects have of your organization and your competition?

          Marketers can gain invaluable insights in field sales and service perspectives by keeping an ear to the ground. What is and isn’t working in your current portfolio, and why this may (or may not) be so? Tap into your marketing expertise and understand your sales team as a customer, their motivators, pain points, and metrics for success. Your sales team will have the direct answers you need to evolve and build more effective sales tools.

          Beyond creating tools and collateral, you need to engage the sales team. Establish a channel to ensure a better process in order to improve the utilization of your marketing programs and assets. The key is to define a consistent process of: asking, listening, integrating and calibrating. This will build your most responsive program that leverages the strengths of both the sales and the marketing perspectives.

           

          Think of your Website as a Supplement for Sales Success

          Maximize money you may already be spending by leveraging printed sales tools with a lead nurturing web strategy. By integrating your approach towards physicians and their patients on your website, you will elevate the impact of human engagement happening through your service and sales team with an automated approach, keeping your pipeline filled and leads nurtured. Here are a few ways to transition physicians and leverage your website as a sales tool:

           

          • Professionally designed and printed business cards with contact information that might include a website URL along with supporting information or relevant offers to download.
          • Concise brochures including field language to mimic the flow of conversations with buying triggers. This will lead physician to take the next steps, with links to web pages that provide more clinical information, directions for specimen submission, and reporting.
          • Website workflows that provide physician tools, best practices, disease management, and calls-to-action will transition your website to become a more effective sales tool.
          • Follow-up tools – such as newsletters, white papers, or chapter videos of your pathologists –increase interaction opportunities at the office, and bridge your website as a resource for physician education on the newest technological and practice management advances.

          Keep the sales perspective in mind when you’re developing your sales tools and marketing campaigns. This will help you organize and unify your messaging to enhance the conversations that are already percolating in the physicians’ offices, and help you establish a connection quickly with your audience. Make sure the messaging transfers over from your printed collateral to your website: with more physicians going digital, it’s important to not undervalue or underestimate the importance of your website. It’s also important to make sure your sales teams are aware of all the collateral they have at their disposal: every physician will have a preference or process of how to digest information, so having different methods of presenting your company/service will enable your team to speak to a wider audience. 

          Tags: Alignment

          3 Steps to Evolve your Website into a Sales Tool

          Posted by Gabrielle Guidero on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 @ 18:01 PM

          Evolve your website                 The Right Perspective will Take You Far

          Change your approach, change the game. If you want different results, you’re going to have to do things differently. Refresh your thinking and take a step forward in your usage of targeted channels to create momentum. The key is to anticipate and incorporate your customers’ internal conversations with the answers they need to hit the ground running. Keep all channels open and engaged with these easy and quick to implement tactics.

           

          Step 1: Internal Review - Validation and Communication

          Start by validating that your website lays the foundation to really engage and align your sales and marketing processes. To highlight the importance of customized messaging and branding, the information architecture and content should provide a blueprint for customers, your sales team, and internal resources to easily find, share and engage with. This information should support the purchasing decision embedding your unique value propositions and offerings.

          This approach will enable you to create more relevant and powerful messages that speak directly to your audience and specific customer segments.  Your website provides an automated communication channel that increases in value as an asset for your company, sales team, and customers. Spend wisely. With the right approach, your website will be one of the most powerful sales tools you have at your disposal and you should consistently evolve to keep your cutting edge.

           

          Getting Started

          Implement an on-going feedback process to engage with your sales team.  This communication process will validate the effectiveness of the site with the sales team to ensure that the content published is on target, and utilized as a true asset to sales and your customers. Overall, sales should have a complete understanding of how and when published content addresses their customers’ challenges and needs, where to find the content, and how to easily access it.

           

          Evolve

          Continuously educate your sales team by sharing your content calendar, and be sure to publish responses to their commonly heard objections and concerns from the field. Regular training and education are critical to ensure internal understanding of the website as a consistent and automated communication channel tool. Doing so  will also provide social proof with customers and prospects. The results of this are increased acquisition, retention and growth.

           

          Step #2:  Get Social - Generate Content and Delivery Strategies around Defined Workflows

          We all know that the potential of social media to help increase brand exposure is virtually unlimited.  The wide variety of mediums available provides multiple options for reaching your target markets.  By using social media as a tool to broaden exposure to your brand, you will reach and engage with many more people than you would otherwise.  In fact, according to the “2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report” put together by Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner, social media marketing yielded significant gains in brand exposure, traffic and sales.  Remember, it does not stop there: it’s only the first step in a journey.

           

          Getting Started

          Take one commonly heard objection that your sales team faces and define a workflow that proactively addresses and resolves to draw in the audience. Take them through the various stages of a purchasing decision with calls-to-action that will engage and direct them through the next phase of the buying cycle. Define the objective and goal of the workflow, along with the metrics that will be measured and qualified as a successful conversion. Include how it supports the overall mission of the company and objectives to acquire or retain a customer. A call to action can be any number of things including: sharing information, downloading content, subscribing to a newsletter, registering for an event, requesting more information, making a purchase, or asking to be contacted by a sales rep. Once you have this defined, take a look at your website and select where your target audience would enter (it’s not always the home page), interact with, and navigate this information naturally.

           

          Evolve

          Your increased success with your social media strategy lies in providing more opportunities for interaction and conversion with your brand and content through calls-to-action from your customers’ perspective. Utilize your channel positioning documents and persona profiles to anticipate the internal conversations and decisions your target audience is having, and provide those answers as if you are dropping breadcrumbs along a path. Keep in mind that although the web is a never ending resource of information, you have the opportunity to keep your audience engaged through quality content structured with relevant information to guide them through a satisfying experience on your website.

          Companies who see the best return from their website investment define their information architecture and information delivery with a solid foundation of workflows in mind.

          Conduct a website audit and evaluate how well your website supports customer experience, navigation, flow and conversions.

           

          Step #3:  Revere Content as King with a Focus on Blogging

          Blogging is your chance to be unique and is one of the most powerful inbound marketing tools available to increase traffic to your website and raise brand awareness.  It can be your most readily accessed channel strategy for keeping your website relevant, fresh and active. Publishing responsive and proactive content that addresses industry opportunities and challenges in real-time,, using internal and external links, and keywords is a must for search engine rankings as well.  It provides a platform to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in facing industry challenges.

           

          Get Started

          After completing Steps 1 and 2, define and write two blog topics. The first will include and respond to a commonly heard market concern you’ve collected from your sales team. The second will address the initial follow-up or internal conversation your customers are having, and will include a call-to-action (an invitation to take the first step into your defined workflow).

           

          Evolve

          By sharing useful information that initiates engagement from both your customers and your sales teams, you are creating another path for establishing trust in the marketplace. The stronger your content, the stronger confidence you will see in your services and products through increased traffic and conversions.  By further validating your content with social proof, you will increase the value of your blog as an asset to your business and sales process.

           

          Engage Your Customers in the Right Place at the Right Time

          Using this new approach will build familiarity and encourage customers’ willingness to buy from you. Backed with social proof of outstanding customer service, your website strategy will become a well-respected (and highly appreciated) part of the sales and service process.  As you go along keep this one thought in mind: Information is the currency of business. How do you manage yours?

          Tags: Alignment

          Making Marketing Revenue Real

          Posted by Katya Girgus on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 @ 15:11 PM

          Marketing Strategy Related Words by David Castillo

          “Growing trends in customer buying behavior and the technology used to make purchases are driving major changes for the role of marketing. As marketers, this gives us a fantastic opportunity.” Mary Hatter, Vice President, Marketing Global Marketing Planning and Programs at Cisco Systems, shared some key insights in her recent blog post, Marketing: Trading in Fluff for Buff, for marketing professionals on turning ‘fluff’ to ‘Buff’ by transforming your marketing tactics. This article is in response to her post.

          Image Courtesy of David Castillo/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

          In today’s business environment, marketing must generate a measurable revenue stream.  This means that when you invest in marketing strategies, tactics and tools, you must be able to capture and measure the return.  Building up that Buff, or muscle, will allow marketing to become a stronger sales partner and take on more and more of the heavy lifting in the sales process. But what tactics can you use to Buff Up and make revenue marketing a reality in your business?   

                     

          Keep track of the data you already have and magnify segments.

          Marketing tactics and channels have evolved rapidly over the past ten years, and technology now allows unprecedented analysis and targeting for better understanding and engagement with prospective customers. In some ways, it is easier than ever to know where and how your customers make buying decisions and provide the offer in the right place and time from the customer’s perspective, addressing their needs.

          You start by understanding your customers’ demographics and buying behaviors by developing descriptions and personas that represent your target market.  You should have clear descriptions for each key customer audience and then take an even closer look to magnify: understand buying drivers, pain points and financial opportunity for program development and prioritization.

          With personas in place, you can market smart by targeting your audience, integrating key buying drivers to anticipate needs, and respond where they spend time in support of their buying decisions (i.e. online, social media, conferences, etc.). Align this new perspective with your unique selling process, messaging and marketing execution for more relevant engagement, and reduce wasted dollars in campaigns that will lead you nowhere.

           

          Know what drives your growth.

          It is relatively easy to measure outcomes such as sales, profits, market share and stock prices. Real growth, however, comes from digging deeper and understanding what drives the numbers.  Critical factors which directly impact revenue generation are:

          • Communications Effectiveness
            • Customers know your brand promise, image and reputation.
            • Customers engage with sales campaigns and the other tactics in the marketing mix.
          • Brand Differentiation
            • Customers relate to your company’s personality.
            • Customers depend on your product/service performance, availability and support.
          • Loyalty Generation
            • Customers recommend you.
            • Customers come back to you.

           

          Turn data into action.

          Data, simply put, are outcomes. Whether it’s predictive, assumptive or prescriptive – it still quantifies an outcome. Turning data into action that delivers desired outcomes is where you will see the most value.  Leveraging data can be broken into four steps:

          1. Identify the metric you want to drive
          2. Isolate and validate the data that specifically relates to that metric
          3. Determine the desired behavior change that will positively impact that metric
          4. Communicate (effectively) what, why and how the behavior should be done correctly

          The key to leveraging data lies with how well you isolate key facts, and then communicate internally (train) the current and desired states as it relates to the metrics.

           

          Execute an internal marketing campaign for faster ROI and revenue increase.

          Involve your team to create your campaign – ask them for three key messages to outline it. Frame your brand (your goals and initiatives) around these messages. Launch the campaign with enthusiasm, emphasizing the point that the whole team is involved with the creation of the campaign. The strongest motivation is internalization, and helping your team internalize the messaging helps push them towards the goals/metrics you set for them.  

          Pinpoint revenue goals for marketing initiatives, and create the underlying metrics to measure performance.  Setting a concrete goal, for yourself or your team, solidifies your objective, and pushes your team to strive for that number. Doing so makes you and/or your team accountable for the push in revenue, and makes you strive to make your actions/campaigns more effective and impactful.

          From this perspective, metrics provide performance results and insights into how customers are responding to your actions and the products/campaigns you’re promoting. Armed with this information, changes in approach and strategy should be made as necessary to ensure the customers’ are satisfied with their experience.

          To jump-start your marketing efforts, making your campaigns increase your revenue, it’s best to keep these things in mind:

          • Set achievable goals. It’s great to aim high, but make sure it’s something you’re comfortable reaching. If you go beyond your goals for one month, or a particular quarter, for the next checkpoint, raise your goal. Keep raising it as you reach your goal, pushing you to exceed your own standards.
          • Make sure to keep your target persona(s) in mind when planning and executing on your campaigns. This will tighten your efforts, and make your resources/budget work better for you.
          • Use all the resources you have at hand: this isn’t limited to your data. You have your network at your disposal – internal channels, sales associates, vendor partners, alliance companies, outsourced resources. They have valuable insights and perspectives as professionals in their fields, and as consumers themselves.
          • Measure and calibrate. Continuously strive to communicate and improve performance:
            • Measure against organization goals/shared metrics
            • Evaluate across platforms: Financials, customer, learning and growth, and web performance/conversions
            • Establish continuous feedback loop to realign initiatives as needed
            • Enable leadership assessment and development
            • Identify “words that work”, improve quality of offers and support to overcome objections

          Tags: Performance