Author Archives: Lizzie Hopkinson

We are all in the same boat

We are all in the same boat

One of the things that we hear when we discuss marketing with different people, from different industries is this: “but you don’t know anything about my industry.” This may very well be true, though we have worked across an impressive range of industries over the year. But the real answer to this is it doesn’t matter.

Frost and Sullivan, the well-known and respected research agency, produced a global report in 2015 which found that no matter what your business was like, large or small, local, national or international, profit or charitable, every business had basically the same 5 challenges with their marketing. Our problems, which we tend to be quite possessive of, it turns out are universal.

This actually works in our favour. Because we know that all businesses face the same challenges, we know where to start with their marketing problems. We understand what is required to meet the challenges head on, and how to implement changes that will ensure that these challenges are being met. If the challenges were unique to each business, we would not be able to tackle problems using our tried and tested marketing methods, which we know to be successful on a range of diverse businesses. We can use the knowledge we have gained from different industries and apply it to your industry, all because of the universal nature of our marketing challenges.

If you are struggling with your marketing, take a look a our marketing manager service. This provides you with outsourced marketing delivered by knowledgeable professionals, so that you can be confident that your marketing is being carried out regularly and consistently. We measure and monitor your marketing, so that we can hone your marketing to suit you.

If you would like to learn more about marketing manager, why not contact us today to arrange your meeting? Call us now on 0121 222 5743

Or to learn more about the universal challenges facing us, watch the video below.

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How good is your marketing?

How good is your marketing?

Good marketing should be delivering a steady flow of good quality leads into your sales pipeline. This process does not happen overnight, there is no silver bullet. Good marketing is built of good quality content, consistently implemented and regularly monitored and reviewed. It takes time to work out what is delivering good results and what is not, and honing your marketing to make sure that you are getting a good return on investment.

When you have good marketing delivering good quality leads to your sales pipeline, it enables your sales team, or individual to sell. It is useful to break down the process into its component parts so that you don’t muddle up your sales and your marketing. Once you have separated them it is easier to work out which area is working and which is not. So you may find that you have a fantastic sales team with a really high conversion rate, who simply aren’t getting enough leads. Conversely, you may discover that your marketing is actually producing some really good quality leads, but your sales process isn’t converting them into customers as effectively as it could.

Breaking down processes enables one to look at them clearly, and make changes to the areas that aren’t working as well as they could. This makes the change process an achievable task rather than a daunting one. It enables you to concentrate your resources on the areas that need them, rather than ending up changing things that were actually working.

If you are struggling with your marketing and sales pipelines, and would like some support, take a look at our marketing manager program. This will give you consistent, on-going marketing support, delivered, monitored and reviewed. To arrange your meeting, call us today on 0121 222 5743

To learn more about marketing and sales pipelines, please watch the video below.

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Are you following a hope strategy?

Are you following a hope strategy?

Do you know where your leads and sales are coming from? Can you predict sales for the following month or quarter? Or are you simply following a hope strategy? This is where you hope that leads will come in, based on your loose assortment of marketing activities.

Lots of people feel unsatisfied by marketing. They believe it doesn’t work, or it is expensive, or they can’t tell if it is working. Some marketing professionals are guilty of exacerbating this view by their tendency to oversell. How many times have you heard: “you just need to do this one thing and your sales will fly!”

Marketing does work, but not overnight, and there is no silver bullet, no magic formula. Good marketing is consistently delivered and regularly monitored so that you can see what works and what doesn’t. Unless you analyse the results of what you have done, you cannot work out what is working and what is not.

Once you are measuring where your leads and sales are coming from, you then can stop the marketing activities that aren’t producing you any results. Obviously this process takes time, you need time to see what is happening and track the results, but then you will be able to concentrate your activities in the areas where you are having the best results. This will make your marketing become an investment rather than a waste.

But you cannot refine your marketing program unless you are measuring and monitoring the results. Only then can you begin to build a strong marketing campaign based on the unique needs of your business.

If you are struggling to design, implement and monitor your marketing campaign, why not outsource your marketing? With our Marketing Manager program, you will have an experienced marketing professional working with you to ensure that your marketing relies on more than just hope.

To book your meeting, call us today on 0121 222 5743

Or to learn more about measuring your marketing click below to watch the video.

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How does outsourcing help?

How does outsourcing help?

You probably already outsource, many people do. Maybe you use a bookkeeper, who you simply pay for the hours of work that they do. You don’t need to worry about their tax, or their holidays, or whether you need to upgrade their computer system. You can just hand over the work and not worry. They can deal with the complexities of their tax system, and sort out the problem with their computer crashing. You just pay them either by the hour, or by the job, whatever deal you have agreed upon. Outsourcing is excellent.

Bookkeeping is the obvious example of outsourcing, but marketing works very well as an outsourced service. Outsourcing your marketing ensures that your marketing program is delivered consistently and coherently and is not affected by any internal issues. If you have your marketing done in-house, you are more at risk of the feast and famine cycle.

As you become busy, you need to spend more time fulfilling orders, so you stop marketing, because you need that time to be spent on fulfillment. Gradually your sales pipeline dries up and then, panicking, you launch back into marketing, and the sales build up again, and so it goes on. This cycle is unproductive, and stressful for all involved.

If you have outsourced your marketing, your program will continue to be delivered consistently, giving you a steady flow through your sales pipeline. This will help to prevent the feast and famine cycle and will leave you able to concentrate on delivering a great service to your customers, in a more measured and less fraught manner.

If you would like to discuss outsourcing your marketing, contact us today on 0121 222 5743 to arrange your meeting.

To learn more about the feast and famine cycle, please click to watch the video below.

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Genuine seasonality

Genuine seasonality

There is a difference between a business that experiences genuine seasonality and one that is stuck in a feast and famine cycle. Though the problems caused by the cyclical pattern are the same, one is unavoidable and the other can be altered.

Genuine seasonality applies to businesses such as an ice cream seller. In this business you know that you will sell more ice creams in the summer than the winter, and therefore you organise your cash flow accordingly. There is little you can do about this, other than finding something else to sell during the winter – hot chocolate?

However the feast famine cycle can be broken, and evened out. The feast famine cycle occurs as follows. You want to increase your sales, so you increase your marketing which in turn increases your sales. Suddenly you are too busy, so you stop marketing, and concentrate on fulfilling the orders that you have generated. Suddenly you realise that your order book for the months ahead is empty, so you quickly do some marketing to boost your sales…and so the whole cycle begins again.

This is a surprisingly common trap for people to fall into. It can be prevented by setting up an on-going consistent marketing program which will deliver a steady flow of good prospects into your sales funnel. Often outsourcing your marketing can be beneficial as this ensures that the marketing is done on time, and on budget, regardless of what is going on in-house. A marketing program can be turned up or down according to your requirements, increasing or decreasing the quantity of leads it provides.

If you would like to outsource your marketing, why not arrange a meeting to discuss our marketing manager program? Call us to book your meeting today on 0121 222 5743

If you would like to learn more about feast and famine cycles please watch the video below.

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Does your marketing strategy look like this?

Does your marketing strategy look like this?

Many B2B companies fall into the same problems as regards their marketing. Their marketing has often developed as the company has grown, and has not been planned out rationally, but has been added onto at various stages by different individuals. That is not say that each idea was not a good one in its own right, just that they have been collated with little or no strategy. Effective marketing will help to drive your company forward, so it is worth spending the time creating a good sound strategic plan, and then breaking that down into component parts which can then be given to different team members, so you could simply outsource.

The problems arise as follows:

Often they will have a loose assortment of activities – pick and mix marketing, not based on any coherent structure, but rather selected at random. This results in a lack of strategy and direction in your marketing.

Repeating the previous year’s activities. Though this is not necessarily a bad idea, it is if you are doing it simply because you don’t know what else to do.

Copying competitors, again this is not automatically bad. You and your competitors may have similar marketing strategies targeting the same areas of the market. If however you are just blindly copying your competitors it is unlikely to give you excellent results.

Spend increasing faster than return, if you are in this situation you need to stop and review what you are doing.

Little or no measurement, means that you have no way of understanding what is happening. If you simply try different things but never track them, you won’t be able to build up a picture of what works and what doesn’t. Not everything will work, but over time, with good measurement you will be able to work out what works well for you.

Hoping for leads and enquiries is all well and good, but if your only strategy is a hope strategy, then you are reliant upon people who stumble upon your company.

Creating a good marketing strategy will help you understand what works for your business. If you are struggling with your marketing call Aardvark Marketing Consultants on 0121 222 5743

To learn more, watch the video below:

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Clear communication prevents confusion…

Clear communication prevents confusion…

Communication is so important. In life as well as in business. It is vital to make sure that you, the seller, and the buyer, both understand what you are providing, and what the buyer wants. It is not too late to ask for clarification. It is better to be absolutely sure that what you are selling is what your buyer wants, than to end up in a confused situation where the buyer feels that they have been mis-sold something.

Avoid jargon – make sure you have accurately described what you are selling. It is all too easy to get carried away in the actual selling process and promising more than you can deliver. In general, people don’t mind if you, or your product or service can’t do something, as long as they know. What people dislike, and what will cause them to inundate the internet with bad reviews is feeling that they were mis-sold something.

Make sure your buyer understands what they are getting. Often you will have explained your product or service honestly and clearly, but the buyer may have misunderstood, or misinterpreted. It is worth taking a little more time to thoroughly check that the buyer understands rather than face the later backlash if the buyer was confused.

Many arguments or confrontations are simply caused by lack of understanding or lack of clarity. Make sure your communication is clear. Where possible have a phone call or face-to-face meeting and then follow up with an email confirming the points that you have discussed.

If you are struggling with providing your sales teams with good quality leads, why not invest in some first class marketing? Contact Aardvark Marketing Consultants today on 0121 222 5743 to review your marketing.

To learn more about successful selling, take a look at the video below.

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White knights and who is telling the truth?

White knights and who is telling the truth?

Often when you are selling to larger businesses, you can end up having to sell to committees. Committees can be problematical as one person may love your product or service, and then may be in the position of having to sell you to the other committee members. The best that you can do in this situation is to support your “white knight” in their efforts to sell you to the committee. This can be ensuring that they have answers to questions that may be raised, or just increasing their understanding of your product or service.

Another problem that we come across in the selling process is our perception of salesmen. We tend to think that a salesman is trying to get one over on us, or to trick us in some way. This is, by and large, not true. Salesmen are simply well-informed about their product and are trying to show it you in the best possible light. Unfortunately, because often buyers believe that salesmen are being untruthful, they then feel it is okay to also be untruthful.

If nobody is telling the truth it can be very hard to determine what anybody wants. As a salesman you need to know what somebody wants before you can help them. The sales assistant in the shop who asks, “can I help you?” is trying to do just that. If you have come into the shop to buy an item, saying “I’m just looking” is, in one sense, lying. Now the sales assistant can’t help, and you can’t be helped. Truthfulness is important to understand what people want.

If you are struggling with your sales process, and would like to review it, why not arrange a meeting with us? At Aardvark Marketing Consultants we have worked with hundreds of business across a range of industries and can help you to improve your sales processes. Call us today on 0121 222 5743

Or to learn more about successful selling watch the video below

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Are your sales team selling?

Are your sales team selling?

Hopefully your sales team are selling your products or services, otherwise they are not doing their job! However are they spending all their time selling, or are they having to use their time ineffectively?

Sales teams are expensive to run, they need wages, National Insurance, pensions, cars and hotels. The costs of selling soon mount up, often in hidden extras that you may not be fully taking into account. The rising costs of running a sales team mean that it is vitally important to the financial well-being of your company that you maximise the time your sales team spend selling.

Ensuring that you have a good marketing program in place will provide your sales team with good quality warm leads who can then be engaged in the sales process. If you have no marketing or poor quality marketing your sales team will spend much of their time trying to convert cold leads into warm leads before they even begin to sell to them.

Given the costs related to running a sales team, it is more effective to spend on good marketing to improve the quality of the leads going into the sales funnel, thereby allowing your sales team the chance to spend more time selling and less time chasing.

If you are struggling with your sales funnel, consider improving the marketing that is delivering your suspects. Good quality marketing will result in a better quality lead, which in turn will improve the conversion rate of prospects to customers in your sales funnel. Let your sales team do what they do best – sell, and let us do your marketing. Call us at Aardvark Marketing Consultants today for a meeting, on 0121 222 5743

If you would like to learn more about successful selling and how to improve your sales funnel, please watch the video below.

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One step at a time…

One step at a time…

All industries have different problems facing them, and understanding this is key to successful marketing. How you market your engineering company will be different to how you market your creative business. However the tools and techniques that we use will all have a common basis.

In the Midlands there are many engineering firms, and often you will find SME supplying big businesses such as Jaguar LandRover. As the items required by the big firm are often very technical it can be necessary to spend quite some time working with the big business to show them what you are offering, For example you may have to start with a technical drawing followed by a prototype. Sometimes the company will then want to test the item for a prolonged period of time. All of which is fine if you are going to get the contract, but is not so good for your cash flow.

Small businesses often struggle with cash flow, especially in their infancy. Viable, good, profitable businesses are bought down more often by cash flow problems than anything else. Ensuring that your cash flow is resilient enough to withstand such an extended negotiating period is vital to the health and well-being of your company.

You may find that you have to work your way up to be able to put yourself in this position. Taking smaller steps over a few years towards your final goal may be more sensible than trying to launch yourself straight up to your desired end point. Steadily working up through the industry, and ensuring that you have good cash reserves before marketing yourself to the larger companies can be prudent.

Your marketing will need to adapt through the different steps that you take. Marketing yourself to the customers that you need to acquire now, as supposed to the customers you would like to have in three years time is important. With our marketing services we can develop a plan to help you to progress through your industry. Making sure that your marketing is targeting the correct people, in the right way.

If you would like to learn more about successful selling watch the video below.

If you are struggling to create an effective marketing message, why not contact us at Aardvark Marketing Consultants today? We have experience across a wide range of different businesses and industries. Call us now to arrange your face to face meeting on 0121 222 5743

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