Marketing a Start Up to Prospects & Customers

For a start up to have any success in generating sales, you have to know four things:

1 Who can buy your product or service?

2 Who are the decision makers?

3 Where are these decision makers going to make buying decisions?

4 How do these people make buying decisions?

I covered the first two questions in a previous post. Let’s focus on questions three and four. To find out where the decision makers go to make buying decisions you need to do following:

Ask them, how did you decide on buying product XYZ? This will be easier to with your existing customers but prospects will respect you for asking questions that other people don’t. Another place to see where decision makers go to buy your products is trade shows. You could attend as either an exhibitor or an attendee. Try to get a booth at the show. Exhibitors are provided with demographics of who attends the show and have a chance to interact with buyers directly. Does your customer base have a specific incentive to make purchases at a certain time period? For example, when I was a sales rep in the Dental industry, the IRS allowed dentists to write off capital equipment purchases they made up to a certain amount. If you cannot afford to go as an exhibitor then go as an attendee. This way you can see what goes on first hand.

Now on how these people make buying decisions. This information could be obtained by asking them or it could be obtained by looking for published research. If none exists, conduct a survey and offer a free gift to fill it out. You could even include questions on how they came to a decision to make a purchase. SurveyMonkey is a good way to do this.

Social Media Marketing

Marketing your business using social media is a great way to build your business and reach potential buyers. Before I discuss more about this, I want to ask you some questions?

Do you have a website? If not, why not? Websites are easy to put together. I put mine together rather quickly. Having a site helps your business come up in searches. When I Google you and your business what comes up? Go ahead and try it now. If nothing comes up, that’s not good!

Now you’re asking what do I put on my website? I would put basic information that sells who you are and what you do. I would also upload information on your products and services. You should include a resume, testimonials and a blog. A website is like fashion, it is never finished. You can look at my site as an example. I also write a blog and publish online newspapers. I use my blog to give my followers a value massage. This blog is published on WordPress and Tumblr. I share the content throughout my social networks. I will cover how to build a website and a blog in future posts.

The Social Networks that I would have a presence on are the following: LinkedIn,Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. I also have social sharing buttons on my site and blog. Pinterest is also a good network; however I have focused on the first four.

I would try to build a following on each these networks. Your best bet on how to do this is to share good content with people. When I started, I shared other people’s articles, and then I wrote my own. However, I still share others content that I find interesting. You can market your business with these updates. Search for people who are have an interest to what you have to offer. I have provided links to articles I have written on how to do this on these networks.

These are the basics on how to market a start up to prospects and customers.

Additional Resources

http://www.slideshare.net/Dgalantenyc/small-business-marketing-101-56503388

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. HubSpot Certified in Inbound Marketing, Dan has worked on various marketing assignments including Start Ups, a Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Rep in NYC. In this role, he taught & trained Dentists on the company’s products & services using a consultative selling approach combined with direct marketing. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows.

He writes & publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today; which has grown to over 17,000 followers on LinkedIn & over 13,000 on WordPress.

Dan is seeking a full-time marketing role in Direct, Inbound, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. He is willing to be a CMO to create and build out the Marketing function of your organization if it does not exist. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

How to be a CMO & Create the Marketing Function of an Organization

EY-the-average-cmo.JPG

image via http://www.ey.com/gl/en/services/advisory/ey-dna-of-sales-and-marketing-leaders-reinvention-of-the-cmo#.WCsll-YrLIU

The role of CMO needs to focus on more than just marketing to increase sales as seen in this chart.

Image via http://blog.marketo.com/2007/04/are_you_a_cmo_o.html

To have success in the CMO role, you need to: get executive buy in on authority and the ability to make changes, otherwise you are doomed to fail.

Brand Message and Content Marketing

From a brand stand point, the brand messaging need to be in alignment. It should not take a genius to understand what your product does and how it will help the customer. To achieve this goal, you need to do the following: Audit, understand and improve Brand message, voice, sales, marketing collateral, print and digital properties.

Do the above before starting a content marketing program if the organization sells products because you will need to build and create a content tilt to be found by customers in search.

Developing Sales Processes and Shortening the Sales Cycle

Sales Managers hired; should train sales staff properly and hold Reps accountable to hit Revenue Goals. If you are tasked with creating/building out the marketing function of the organization, make sure that support staff are trained by the Sales Manager to handle inbound leads. Sales staff should be trained on objection handling, prospecting, product knowledge, making Sales, post Sales follow up and obtaining repeat business.

SMarketing

Have marketing partner with Sales. Go on Sales calls to understand customer objections /pain points to improve messaging and product. The goal of any Sales and Marketing program is to shorten sales cycles and increase Revenue.

Defining Your Target Market and Sales Channels

Audit, understand, and improve the sales structure of the organization, sales operations and sales processes. Define Sales Rep territories, compensations and commission structure using analysis that includes data from customer acquisition costs and ROI.

Decide if you will sell your product directly to customers or through re-sellers. Some companies do both.

Sales Management/Sales Reps

Hopefully if there is Sales Leadership at the company when you arrive, this will be handled. If no Sales people are present, start this process yourself and hire a seasoned rep or Manager from a larger competitor. If Sales leadership is there but has not done the above, give them a Sales Leadership improvement plan, look for a seasoned replacement and fire them. This applies to Sales Reps as well.

Market Research

Understand customers and buyer behaviors.

Share buyer personas and research with the sales staff.

image via smartdraw.com

Have sales staff complete a competitive analysis on how your company stacks up against your competition in the marketplace.

Product Development

Use Market Research to collaborate with product to come up with ideas for new products, features, promotions and pricing strategy.

Crossing the Chasm and Selling into New Markets

image via http://4.bp.blogspot.com/

Identify new markets to sell into. If Sales are stagnant, find a way to get in front of your customers before they become customers by using pricing in a crossing the chasm style analysis.

Proving you’re a CMO

Position marketing a source of revenue rather than a cost by putting marketing at the center of the organization. Showing how marketing can make an impact on the income statement beyond increasing sales. Show how marketing makes the organization run better.

Talent Branding

Improve the talent brand by creating a job site with employee stories. This job site will increase the amount of applicants and reduce recruitment advertising costs. Write more appealing job descriptions.

Attempt to make the organization the company of tomorrow by making it cross functional.

Company Revenue and Financials

Ask about the financial health of the company i.e. Churn rate, burn rate, Profitably, funding etc…

image via pinterest.com/explore/churn-rate

Ask the CEO about cash flow and if they can commit large amounts of cash to developing/executing marketing programs.

image via http://www.accountingcoach.com/financial-ratios/explanation/4

Data Driven Decisions

Above all, CMO’s need to use Data from Financials, Sales, Revenue and Analytics to make marketing decisions. The Data needs to be used continuously to justify marketing decisions and to pivot when marketing programs are not working.

The duties of the CMO will vary by industry and company size but these are the basics that a CMO must do to be successful.

What do you think makes a successful CMO? Comment and Share.

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. HubSpot Certified in Inbound Marketing, Dan has worked on various marketing assignments including Start Ups, a Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Rep in NYC. In this role, he taught & trained Dentists on the company’s products & services using a consultative selling approach combined with direct marketing. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows.

He writes & publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today; which has grown to over 16,000 followers on LinkedIn & over 11,000 on WordPress.

Dan is seeking a full-time marketing role in Direct, Inbound, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. He is willing to be a CMO to create and build out the Marketing function of your organization if it does not exist. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

Will EdTech/E-Learning CEO’s/CMO’s Improve Learning for Teachers & Students?

p1000303-1.jpgEdTech & E-Learning companies are doing great work. However, I have identified a gap in their marketing strategy that could leave them company vulnerable to competitors. None and in some cases very few of the people in the Marketing function of the organization were former Teachers. You can do a search on LinkedIn to verify this.

I acknowledge that EdTech & E-Learning has former Teachers in the Sales and PD functions.

Why it is not Good enough to just place Teachers in Sales

Sales teams have to use consistent company messaging when presenting products to prospects and customers. Also, PD teams are not skilled at Sales and objection handling.

Market Research /SWOT

One Company, a major competitor of all of the others in the space, has Teachers working in every Marketing function which is an edge they can use against the company in a “we were Teachers once” Marketing campaign.

Teachers need to be in the Marketing function of the organization because they are the practitioners who can make the product messaging more credible and compelling. This new improved messaging will help build connection with the buyer because the buyer sees a Teacher-to-Teacher connection.

Our Teacher’s, Students & School administrators deserve better resources that are constructed by former Teachers at every level.

Why Hire Teacher practice experts in Marketing?

  • They are the customers and understand the pain points better than any market research -should be in leadership roles
  • Healthcare does this with Doctors, Dentists
  • Tech does this with programmers and engineers.

Why not EdTech!

Additional Teacher Skill sets that will be useful in Marketing

  • Can increase Sales because they are the customer and understand the pain points because they have experienced them in the job
  • understands how people learn
  • skilled at tailoring content for understanding based on learning needs
  • Today’s marketing is about educating customer and earning the right to market to them as teachers can educate customers
  • This is the best market research/ buyer persona there is!

My Qualifications

I would be an excellent fit for a Marketing role due to the following:

  • Teacher Practice expert with 6+ years of experience (SPED & GEN ED, part time, Adult ED and full-time experience)
  • Former Outside Sales Rep which allows me to create messaging to preemptively stop most sales objections
  • Can help with Sales Enablement/coaching/go on selected sales calls to improve the sales process
  • Experienced EdTech Marketer
  • Can build a better talent brand by building out your career site with employee stories
  • Create and establish new markets along with helping to create new product offerings that complement existing ones
  • Experienced online audience builder
  • I have built up a large audience with 11, 000+ followers on WordPress
  • Over 16,000+ followers on LinkedIn along with a following of 1,900+ on an EdTech Twitter handle @NYEDTechTeacher
  • Understand the customer behavior and pain points of Teachers and Principals

Support I need from EdTech & E-Learning Companies

I am asking EdTech and E-Learning companies for the opportunity to come on-site to speak about my qualifications. This will help me demonstrate how I can help them improve the learning experience of our students.

Support I need from Teachers, Principals, and Superintendents

Teachers, Principals, and Superintendents, comment below about the improvements you would like to see from EdTech & E-Learning companies. Please share this article and ask for change. I can’t do it alone. If I can join the Marketing function, I will help to improve EdTech and E-Learning to help the learner of tomorrow.

It is all about making our students lives better.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Here are the slides.

How Businesses will Increase Sales by Improving How they Hire Marketing Staff

the-power-of-smarketing-1-638

image via http://www.slideshare.net/NashvilleTechCouncil/the-power-of-smarketing-40266445

Sales reps can only be as good as the product and message they represent. Before companies can hire Sales reps, they need a great product with messaging that conveys the benefits to customers. Sales Reps need support from marketing in the cross functional organization of tomorrow. The messaging should be able to prevent customer objections. Unfortunately, this is where many Marketing departments fall short.

image via Salesforce.com

Many people that get hired in marketing, lack a sales background and have no idea on how to handle customer objections.

In addition, many people in Marketing lack the background and understanding of how people learn. Teachers and psychologists have this training. Understanding how people learn can make product messaging more effective because it can be presented in multiple formats. Many people in marketing lack practitioner experience and as a result marketing is not as effective as it could be. Practitioners are especially underrepresented in the Marketing function of many EdTech companies and this needs to change. Now I will make a case for hiring Sales Reps, Teachers and Industry practitioners in the marketing.

Case for hiring ex Sales Reps

  • Knows how to handle objections which can be applied to message
  • Experience dealing with customers, knows customer pain points
  • Sees how end-user uses the product
  • Can increase sales using Sales expertise to make messaging customer centric
  • Can assist with Sales and Marketing Alignment as companies need to work cross functionally
  • Understands the issues Sales Reps face and has the credibility of being a Rep when collaborating with Sales Teams

Experienced obtaining , qualifying and converting leads to Sales ie Lead Gen/Demand Gen

Hiring Industry practice experts

  • They are the customers and understand the pain points better than any market research should be in leadership roles
  • Healthcare does this with Doctors, Dentists
  • Tech does this with programmers and engineers.

Why not EdTech!

  • Can increase Sales because they are the customer and understand the pain points because they have experienced them in the job

This is the best market research/ buyer persona there is!

Case For hiring ex Teachers

  • understands how people learned
  • skilled at tailoring content for understanding based on learning needs
  • Today’s marketing is about educating customer and earning the right to market to them they educate their customers

Why it is not Good enough to just place them in Sales

People in Sales are not involved in the creative process and cannot change their cards and company messaging.

They cannot address weaknesses in messaging and product.

The Marketer of Tomorrow

Has all of the above in their background or at least a Sales background at a minimum.

My background

I have Marketing experience along with all of the above in my background.

In the EdTech Industry, I hit all of the above and I am qualified for a job in marketing especially being the industry practice expert. In healthcare I have two out of three. For all other verticals, I have two out of three because I was in Sales, I taught and understand how people learn.

Are you ready to increase Sales by improving Marketing? Your sales teams deserve better!

Change today!

How have you increase Sales by improving messaging? Comment and share below.

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. HubSpot Certified in Inbound Marketing, Dan has worked on various marketing assignments including Start Ups, a Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Rep in NYC. In this role, he taught & trained Dentists on the company’s products & services using a consultative selling approach combined with direct marketing. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows.

He writes & publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today; which has grown to over 16,000 followers on LinkedIn & over 11,000 on WordPress.

Dan is seeking a full-time marketing role in Direct, Inbound, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. He is willing to create and build out the Marketing function of your organization if it does not exist. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

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How Brands Can use Cultural Diffusion to Sell & Market Products Abroad

things-to-know-before-entering-international-markets

image via marketing 91.com

The United States is an established country with a built up infrastructure. Depending on the product and industry, brands may see product sales hit a plateau based on a high market saturation rate.

Go to Market Strategy

One go to market strategy that brands may use to increase product sales is to sell into new markets. Chances are that brands have exhausted all markets and customers based in the United States. Upon reaching this conclusion, brands need to decide if they want to sell and market their products abroad based on the principle of cultural diffusion.

Cultural Diffusion

Cultural diffusion is the spread of one civilizations ideas, customs and beliefs from:

1. one nation to another

2. from another area or region to another.

To see if international marketing makes sense for brands, they must list the positives and negatives of this go to market strategy. Positive benefits include the chance to increase sales and gain revenue from a new source. A negative of this go to market strategy is that it will require a large outlay of operating cash to implement and execute. This may drain resources from other programs in the organization.

Contacting Local Authorities

Before brands can start selling products abroad, they need to check with the commerce division of the Foreign country’s government. The Commerce division of the government can guide brands on the proper procedures needed to sell and market products abroad.

Market Research

image via smartdraw.com

New Market research needs to be conducted for the international markets brands intend to sell into. This research includes, new buyer personas, competitive analysis, cost of customer acquisition, pricing, promotions, understanding local laws and customs.

Product Development

Product specifications need to be aligned with the customs and laws of the country. These products may need to be re-branded with a different name. Outside of the US, product measurements need to be converted to the metric system; triggering a change in the product packaging.

Examples of International Brands

A few examples of Global brands are Starbucks, McDonalds, Auto makers and Oil companies.

Starbucks

image via http://chinaexpat.com/wp-content/uploads/u659/starbucks.jpg

Starbucks operates stores abroad and follows local customs.

McDonald’s

A McDonald’s in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Businesses as well as people can exemplify cultural diffusion.

Image via http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/socst/grade3/geoimages/Image16.gif

McDonald’s uses local ingredients to make its food. For example, in Greece they fry french fries with olive oil. McDonald offers alternative sandwiches in countries where citizens are not allowed to eat beef and pork.

Exxon Mobil

https://goodlogo.com/images/logos/esso_logo_2709.gif6

Exxon Mobil, operates under the brand name ESSO in Europe and uses the metric system to measure gasoline.

Auto Makers

Image via Dan Galante

Global Automakers , use the metric system when making cars and trucks. Also, these cars and trucks are made to the specification of local laws. Vehicle models made for foreign markets have different brand names. In England and other UK countries, the steering wheel is on the opposite side of vehicles made for the US market.

Deciding What an International Go to Market Strategy will look like

Once brands have an understanding of customer needs and competitive analysis, they need to decide what channels to use to sell their products. Brands can set up stores and offices that sell direct to the end-user. They may decide to partner with distributors who sell to the end-user directly or through licensing and/or use an e-commerce model. Brands may decide to use a combination of the above channels. They also need to decide how many people will need to be hired to execute the go to market strategy.

Using Data to Make a decision about whether or not to Implement an International Marketing Strategy

All the numbers and projections need to be calculated to see if International marketing is right for Brands. Each brand need to examine its financial health, and come up with an investment amount needed to execute an international go to market strategy. This amount needs to be measured against: financial health , potential sales, revenue, profits, cost per customer acquisition, market research, procedure to enter the market and opportunity costs. Based on these numbers, brands may decide to enter the market or use their operating cash for other programs.

CMO’s are you selling your products abroad? Why or Why not?

Comment and share below.

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. HubSpot Certified in Inbound Marketing, Dan has worked on various marketing assignments including Start Ups, a Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.
Prior to teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Rep in NYC. In this role, he taught & trained Dentists on the company’s products & services using a consultative selling approach combined with direct marketing. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows.

He writes & publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today; which has grown to over 16,000 followers on LinkedIn & over 10,000 on WordPress.

Dan is seeking a full-time marketing role in Direct, Inbound, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. He is willing to create and build out the Marketing function of your organization if it does not exist. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

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Why Inbound Marketing Should Not Take a Back Seat to Current Customers

Inbound Marketing is a valuable strategy businesses can use to obtain new customers. Inbound Marketing is defined as Marketing based on getting found by customers. It’s customer-centric. With Inbound Marketing, businesses create customer-centric content based on customers needs. Content could take the form of blogs, videos & SEO.

In a prior article, I outline the 4 Steps which are Attract, Concert, Close and Delight. 

image via hubspot.com/inbound-marketing

Why Inbound Marketing should not take a back seat to Current Customers

Recently, I read an article that advocated that Inbound Marketing should take a backseat to your current customers. While it is less expensive to keep, nurture and up-sell/cross-sell current customers, businesses need to always be on the hunt for new customers. Despite the fact that it costs 5 times the amount to acquire a new customer verses keeping an existing one, it is an expense that businesses need to take on.

This is because businesses will always lose a portion of their customer base for a variety of reasons as seen in this graph.

image via http://www.superoffice.de/blog-de/kundenpflege/

According to Marketing at Work, the average business loses about 10 to 25 percent of its customer base every year. 

What happens if businesses start Ignoring customer acquisition?

  •  If a business loses 25 percent of its customer base it will have no customers after 4 years
  • At a 10 percent loss rate it will have no customers after 10 years

Through great service, word of mouth, & customer referrals; businesses may be able to extend their life. This then becomes an issue of how fast they can replace the lost customers. Relying on these methods alone puts undo pressure on customers and they may get turned off by being constantly asked to refer people. This may result in more customer turnover.

The Solution

As we have seen, focusing only on customer acquisition and customer retention is a losing game.

Done right, Inbound Marketing should be combined with Content Marketing because current customers still need to be nurtured after the sale. Businesses can only expect referrals and repeat business if customers:

  • Feel valued & receive great service

Businesses can apply the principles of Inbound Marketing for customer retention in the following ways:

1. Create Blog content Specifically for customers

  • Supply customers with exclusive access to blog content with useful tips and tricks for customers to get the most out their purchase.
  • Offer customers discounts
  •  Make reordering easy
  • Make customers feel like insiders.

2. Get customers to opt into user specific content via email

  • Ask customers for this commitment right when they sign up and commit
  • Make sure to create valuable content as customer attention is a gift
  • Remember that the customer defines value

3. Create Communities such as exclusive user groups 

  • Groups can be created on Social Networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and specialized forums on a company site.
  • Use these groups to share content and invitations to customer only events.

4. Create free industry trends sites that don’t sell anything

  • This is a great way businesses can position themselves as a resource
  • These sites can be shared with both current customers and prospects.
  • Adobe does a great job with their CMO.com site which provides content and insights to CMO’s and marketing professions.

How have you used Inbound Marketing for customer retention? Share and comment.

Related articles

Inbound 101

Customer Marketing: What We Can Learn from Actors

Ways to Create & Execute an Organic Digital Marketing Strategy for Lead Gen

How to Integrate a Blog into an Inbound Marketing Strategy

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. He has worked on various marketing assignments that include a Start Up, Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to Teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Representative in the Dental industry. In this role, he taught and trained Dentists on the  company’s products and services using a consultative selling approach. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows & in the field through lead generation of Digital Technology along with large Dental Equipment.

He writes and publish a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today.

Dan is seeking a full time marketing role in New York City. He is interested in roles in Direct, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

 

 

 

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