The Top 8 B2B Customer Marketing Trends in 2017 (Infographic)

In a survey of 202 respondents, primarily composing of B2B and hybrid B2B companies, Influtive and Konye Marketing discovered that customer marketing has become an integral marketing strategy and that it is on the rise. Businesses are no longer solely focused on bringing new customers – they are trying to retain existing consumers of their business.

Their research report “The State of Customer Marketing 2017” states that 93% of these organizations expect that their customer marketing efforts will take on greater importance, and 62% will increase their staff or budgets in the area for 2017. With only 61% of them satisfied with the results of their current customer marketing efforts, there is a great chance of growth in the customer marketing arena.

Here are 8 customer marketing trends that are likely to transpire in 2017, and in the coming years.

Download this infographic.

Original Post

Why You Need To Create A Business Plan ASAP

Not every business needs a business plan. Many successful businesses have started and thrived without one. However, if you can take the time to create one, you can enjoy many benefits. Here’s why you need to create a business plan ASAP:

Stay Focused On Your Goals
A business plan will help you to stay more focused on your goals, as you outline everything here to do with your business, including plans for the future. Things will be chaotic in the beginning, which is why having something like this can be really helpful.

Agree On A Vision With Your Business Partner
You’re going to need to make sure you and your business partner agree on a vision for the company. After all, having different visions for your company is only going to cause problems in the long run. Having things like things written down can help you to avoid conflict later on.

Have All Of Your Important Information In One Place
Having all of your business information in one place will be really helpful, not only to you but to investors. You should have everything in here, from how you plan to secure funding, to paying that funding back and even exit strategies.

europeana_business_plan_2017_workshop___europeana_business_p___flickr

Find It Easier To Secure Funding
Whether you need lots of money or a small business loan, having a business plan can help with this. It won’t only be helpful to you, but to investors. When investors see that you have your head wrapped around your business and know exactly what you’re doing, they’ll have far more confidence in you.

Sell Your Business Later On If You Want To
There may come a time later on where you want to sell your business. You might not think it now, but it does happen. Having a detailed business plan can help you to do this.

Balance Out Your Emotions
As things are going to be pretty chaotic and stressful, especially at the beginning, your business plan can help you to take a step back and regroup. You’ll be able to see that everything you’re doing really does make sense. Of course you can also have a great network of family and friends around you, but a business plan will have all of the facts to keep you going.

Avoid Big Mistakes
Avoiding big mistakes is crucial. How would you feel if you started your business, only to realize you were pretty much doomed from the start? This does happen sometimes! A business plan allows you to iron things out and get a better handle on things, so big mistakes can be avoided. Of course you can’t expect your entire entrepreneurial life to be mistake free. As long as they’re not too serious, just learn from them and move on!

Now you should see why it’s crucial you make a business plan ASAP. It really will help you to stay focused, keep moving forward, and secure the things for your business that you really need. If you have any thoughts and comments you’d like to add, make sure you leave them below. See you again soon!

Social Sellers VS. Non-Social Sellers [Infographic] – New Research

Original Post – Sales For Life 

We asked over 500 sales, marketing and sales enablement professionals: who gets the better ROI when it comes to volume of new customers and hitting revenue goals—social sellers or non-social sellers?

The results from our State of Digital Sales Survey 2017 gave some unique insight into some of the priorities and challenges of sales leaders today, as well as some of the benefits of implementing a long-term social strategy.

Here are what sales executives in small and large companies are saying:

  • The majority of sales leaders (71%) said their top priority in the next 12 months was converting contacts/leads into customers.
  • The top challenge for sales leaders today was a close tie between lead generation (55%), and conversion rates/speed (54%).
  • Companies that consistently do social selling see 65% faster volume of leads, compared to 47% of those companies that do random, or inconsistent, acts of social.

How to make #SocialSelling work for your organisation

I recently had the opportunity to work with Network Sunday and spent some time talking with Tim Bond, the companies CEO, resulting in a white paper that will guide organisations to the benefits of social selling.

Here are some highlights, followed by the white paper in full, hosted on slideshare.

In 2015 the questions being raised were:

What is social selling? Why aren’t more sales people selling this way? How do we implement it?

Today (October 2016) there is a general consensus that the buyer / seller dynamic has changed and sales people who practice social selling outperform their peers. Clearly organisations now face a new hurdle: ADOPTION

Social selling for Organisations from Ben Martin Social_Ben

 

Ultimate Guidelines For Super Successful Online Business Copywriting

Anyone can write, right? Well, a quick look around the web and you will soon find that this just isn’t the case. Every day I see examples of terrible copywriting on the websites of both small business and global corporations.

The trouble is that the words you use make a big difference to your chances of success. There are no excuses for poor copy that is grammatically incorrect, or that doesn’t compel the reader into taking action. And the truth is that you will lose sales, scare off customers, and fail to get your core message across.

So, do you think it is time to take the words you use for your business more seriously? If so, read on. I’ve put together these ultimate guidelines to creating fantastic copy that will make a huge difference to your sales.

We’re going to go through everything from why you should focus on the benefits of your product to understanding your audience. Let’s get started right away.

Who you are talking to?

First of all, who is your audience? If you don’t know, how can you possibly communicate with them? Establish an ideal consumer – the average person who visits your website, for example.

Who are they, where do they live, and what do they do for a living? How old are they? What are their interests, and what excites them? What other products and services do they buy? The more details you can draw from your customers, the better.

It will help you begin writing for that ideal customer every time you put pen to paper. You can target every word to appealing to them, and make every last sentence relevant.

How do you give them value?

Another critical fact to establish is understanding the value you offer your customer. If you don’t know why people buy from you, it won’t be long before you start struggling in the sales department.

So, have a good think about your value proposition. What differentiates you from the competition? Do you do things faster, cheaper, or better? If so, how? Understanding the value you give will hand you the opportunity to create convincing copywriting.

It also gives you an upper hand against your competitors. If you know you can deliver a pizza within fifteen minutes, for example, then you need to be shouting about it from the rooftops. You will automatically become the pizza delivery company of choice for anyone that needs feeding, fast!

What is the purpose of your writing?

Another big issue I see in copywriting online and off is irrelevance. It might be a blog post that is stuffed with unnecessary words just to make up a word count. It could be an email in my inbox that doesn’t explain what I need to do next. Or, it could be a business homepage that doesn’t explain exactly what they are about within the first 5-6 seconds after arrival.

Every word your business displayed needs to have a purpose. And, of course, you need to understand what that purpose is before using it.

Make sure the reader knows what they are looking at straight away. If you don’t establish that message and make it clear to yourself, it certainly won’t be clear to the reader.

What are the benefits of your product or service?

When I shop for something online, I want to know what a product will do for me. How will it improve my life? Which of my problems will it solve? Why is it better than a similar product I can buy for half the price?

The trouble is, so many online businesses get this wrong. Instead, these sites will just explain the features, rather than the benefits. So, they might say that a jumper is ‘made of wool.’ But does that really give me an irresistible urge to buy it? Far from it.

However, if that jumper was ‘woven to keep you warm in winter’ or ‘perfect for cosying up on a chilly evening’ it puts different pictures in my head. Take a look at the words you use on your site and see if you can make any improvements.

Why are you focusing on ‘me’ not ‘you’?

Countless business websites drone on for an eternity about their company history. And by the time a reader has got a third of the way through, they will just leave and go elsewhere. I hate to say this, but the vast majority of people don’t care about your business. All they want to do is find what they are looking for and buy it.

So, stop talking about yourself, save for a brief bit of info on your About page. It’s a complete waste of prime real estate that you can use far better by putting the focus on your customers. Avoid using the first person (I, me, mine, etc.) and use the second person instead. Words like ‘you,’ ‘your,’ and ‘yours’ talk directly to the person reading them. And it has a much greater impact, too. Let’s revisit the pizza delivery service again, as an example.

Which is the most impactful sentence out of these two? “Our first class pizza delivery service can deliver our pizzas in fifteen minutes”? Or, “You could be eating your delicious pizza within fifteen minutes”? The second creates an image in the reader’s head that is far more compelling, as it is more personal.

What do your customers say about you?

Testimonials and recommendations from past clients are a great way to give your service or products validity. A convincing quote from a verified customer can add a lot of credibility to your offering. However, the reader has to know that the person’s quote comes from a real individual. Photos, links to a website, and even their location can help paint a picture of that person.

While you are looking for suitable quotes, make sure you are taking notes. Let’s say you get a thank-you letter from a happy client. In it, you will find out exactly why they loved your service – and you can then use these words to create a compelling offer to everyone else. Customers are often the source of these types of reveal to companies – you might even find some benefits you had never considered before.

Are you up the task?

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, not everyone is a writer. And, not every writer is a great copywriter.

The truth is that copywriting is a skill that many people take years to master. And unless you have the time to put into educating yourself, you should think about aiming to find a copywriter or agency to help. I know how hard it is to run a business, and there is often little time to do everything. But, you have to bear in mind that the words you use represent your company, and it is critical to get them right.

Outsourcing copywriting can help you create compelling and convincing words that will improve sales. You are buying expertise and knowledge, and the job will be finished far quicker – and better -than you could do by yourself.

Are you keeping things simple?

Great copywriting is clean, crisp, and concise. The fewer words it takes to deliver your key messages, the better. Far too many websites fail to understand this, and will fill webpage after webpage with needless words and sentences. So, when you do the first draft, make sure you take a long, hard look at it when you are finished.

Could you edit it down a little, and trim off some of the fat? Could you separate some paragraphs to make it easier to read? Perhaps you could highlight specific sentences to attract a little more focus from the reader? Doing this will not only underline an important point, but it will also cover you if someone is skim reading your copy.

Are you direct?

Great copy is also forceful and direct. It doesn’t use words such as ‘may,’ ‘might,’ or ‘perhaps.’ Instead, copywriters use more direct language such as ‘will,’ and ‘can.’ These direct commands are a lot more forceful and have far more impact on the reader.

Let’s return to our pizza delivery company once again for another example. ‘Your pizza will arrive within fifteen minutes’ is far more compelling than ‘your pizza might arrive in fifteen minutes’!

Do you include a direct call to action?

Finally, it is possible to have the greatest piece of sales copy the world has ever seen but still not make any sales.

How? Well, the aim of all marketing is to create a response from the reader. It could be to sign up to an email list or buy a product, for example. But not every customer knows what they should do, even if they are impressed with what they have read.

It is essential that you make it clear what you want the reader to do next. And the best way to do this is to include what we call a Call To Action (CTA).

CTAs provide clear direction for the reader as to what they should do next. A CTA should also create a sense of urgency, to compel the reader further. Let’s head back to the pizza place one last time. A good call to action might be “Phone before 7 pm and get 10% off!”

I hope this guide to online business copywriting has helped. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

The Importance Of Having A Well Designed & Professional Office

As a small business, you’re already at a disadvantage. This is because the majority of the time, people prefer to work with bigger and better-known brands. The main reason for this is because larger companies tend to be seen as being more professional. There’s nothing to say that a company that’s been running for 30 years will be more professional than a startup that launched six months ago. However, it’s a common misconception that many people make.

With that in mind, as a small business owner you need to ensure that your company is always as professional as possible. A big part of doing that is providing a good first impression. You see, in business, first impressions are everything. With that in mind, it’s crucial that you make every effort to always keep your office up to date and relevant. As that way, anyone who comes to your office will see that your startup is just as professional as your larger competitors.

Ensure the decor is smart and stylish

Your business premises should reflect your personality and sense of style. However, the most important thing is that the decor is smart and stylish. The vital thing to remember is that your office is a professional space. That means it’s crucial that it is designed and decorate to look and feel professional. If you’re unsure how to update your decor to be more professional, hire an interior designer to help you.

Opt for minimalism

There is nothing more unprofessional than an office space that is stuffed full of this, that and the other. To ensure that your office looks and feels professional, it’s important to adopt a minimalist approach. This means keeping the entire space free from clutter. The key to doing this and having everything that you need to run your business effectively is good storage solutions. There are plenty of options to choose from; it’s just a case of taking the time to think them through.

Make health and safety a priority

Regardless of the size of your office space, health and safety should always be a priority. There is nothing more unprofessional than a company that doesn’t take things like health and safety seriously. Because it shows their lack of regard for their employees (if they have any), customers, and the business industry in general. To ensure that your business premises is safe, perform regular checks on it. Any areas that you’re not trained in hire a professional to come in and check over. Take your electrics, for instance. Say, for instance, your power keeps turning on and off. It’s a good idea to use a electrical service to find the problem and repair it. Or say, for example, you’re having a problem with your safety lighting. It’s important to call in an expert to deal with it. It’s totally unprofessional to leave a problem, especially if it could potentially be dangerous.

Incorporate branding

If there’s one thing that instantly gives a space a more professional feel, it’s branding. Regardless of how big or small your business is, having branding used in your office can have a big impact on how professional you seem. There are various ways that you can incorporate branding into your office space. It’s just a case of getting creative. Think signposts, wall art, flooring.

So there you have it, how to ensure that your office is well designed, relevant, and professional.

 

The tunnel vision of Marketing is destroying Social Selling via @AmarSheth

I must admit that I really do like Amar’s posts of late. In this one, I really resonated with some of his statements. For instance:

Social isn’t the miracle medium. It doesn’t reward sloppy sales behavior.”

LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which is a powerful beast when used correctly. But when it isn’t, it can become an enemy”

Take the time to read and please add your comments below. Take care.

SALES & MARKETING TUNNEL VISION IS DESTROYING SOCIAL SELLING by Amar Sheth

Social selling is a term that is still entering the sales vernacular, but the definition of what defines a social seller is hasn’t been fully yet determined.

From our perspective, which may seem selfish to our non-sales friends, social selling is the ability to use social networking strategies to build relationships that drive pipeline and revenue. All other activities in the organization that roll up and drive to these fundamental principles are supportive functions.

However, this is not how many in organizations are looking at social selling. Their view is largely shaped by their departmental function. Let’s review some examples below.

THE MARKETING VIEWPOINT

When the marketing team leads the charge on social selling, it’s interesting to see how brand pervasiveness and amplification seem to the central focus. Updating LinkedIn Profiles, deploying employee advocacy platforms, focusing on content creation, etc. are heavily focused on this.

Additionally, when marketing is involved, an organization’s social media marketing team very well may be as well.

These are, programmatically, all necessary steps but very limited to the view that salespeople are simply distribution points of the company’s brand, image, messaging, campaigns and products.

But is that all salespeople are good for? The answer is obvious.

THE SALES VIEWPOINT

What’s more frightening is when sales executes own social selling with limited understanding. Yes, social selling is about building pipeline and revenue, but not at the cost of amplifying dated ideas on a new medium.

What am I referring to?

I’m talking about using the same old way of prospecting on social media. I’ve seen many sales professionals become frustrated after sending dozens of InMails on LinkedIn never to get a response. When analyzing further, it’s evident that their InMails read like cold, cookie-cutter prospecting emails.

Social isn’t the miracle medium. It doesn’t reward sloppy sales behavior.

This happens often when companies invest into products without proper training in changing mindset. I see this often when companies only invest in products like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which is a powerful beast when used correctly. But when it isn’t, it can become an enemy.

The investment into tools must be harmonized with sales training on social. The two can’t live without each other. Without this, there is a significant risk of low product usage. When sales professionals don’t know how to effectively drive results, it can be challenging to show a proper ROI on investing in tools.

Sales departments should not expect deep levels of social selling knowhow from tool providers.  It’s just not possible. Their focus is on building world-class products, not how to use the tools to positively impact sales.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The challenge with viewing social selling from these two separate and distinct perspectives is how social is ultimately being affected. Without a unified and programmatic approach to social, impact can be very limited.

Aberdeen Research found that best-in-class companies that aligned sales and marketing experienced an average of 20% growth in annual revenue, compared to a 4% decline in laggard ones.

Secondly, ask yourself this question: can we really wait to battle the inadequacies of existing corporate culture? Can we wait for people to “get comfortable” on social? Or, acknowledge that research should be done online (where else can it be done, the library?)?

Operating something that is so critical as social selling from two silos will limit progress, at best, or destroy the initiative altogether.

If you’ve read this far and are still wondering why social selling is so critically important, ask yourself if customer acquisition and nurturing matter to your business. The buck stops there.

You can reach Amar on Twitter  @AmarSheth or connect on LinkedIn

Original Post

Connecting with the new buyer #socialselling

Salesforce create some great videos and having watched it I was truly disappointed that I could not flip the content to my flipboard on social selling. “This page does not allow”.

“Bah” I thought, you can’t stop me from sharing this more widely. Why would you in the first place?

 

So I took to embedding the video on my blog and then adding it to socialselling flipboard

enjoy folks! #WESOE We Sell Or Else

Stop Your Business Spending Money it Doesn’t Need To

When you run your own business, you need to think about how to make savings. It’s not easy to run a cost-effective business, but it is doable. You just need to consider the areas that prove the most expensive. If you can come up with ways of cutting costs you’re going to save the business money, and help it to grow.

Don’t Waste Money on Stock

So many businesses tie up money in stock, and this can be such a waste. Having warehouses or offices full of stock is just haemorrhaging cash for the business. So, you need to try to make sure you don’t fall into this trap. When you order stock, you need to be efficient and only order what you need. Excessive ordering is wasteful and will cost you a lot of money. If you have any excess stock try to come up with ways of shifting it so you can make a bit more money. Don’t buy anymore stock or goods if you don’t need to. This is probably the simplest way to save money for your business.

Outsource Important Areas

Outsourcing is the magic word among business owners and has completely changed the way we do business. The internet has made it possible to outsource almost anything these days. So, it’s important to think about what parts of the company need to be outsourced. Try to make use of outsourced procurement services, online accountancy services, and freelancers. The idea is to try to outsource as many areas of the company as you possibly can. This will save you plenty of money in the long run as well as making the business more efficient. If you haven’t fully embraced outsourcing yet, then you’re in danger of being left behind by your rivals. Make sure you try to outsource as much as you can as often as you can.

Use Virtual Offices

One of your biggest expenses as a business owner is likely to be office space. And that’s why you need to come up with ways of cutting the costs of renting, stocking and maintaining your business premises. Now, an unusual but effective way of doing this would be to make use of virtual offices. You have probably heard of these before, but you may not be familiar with exactly what they are. Virtual offices are offices you can use solely when you need them. You basically rent them when you need to use them for things like meetings, and giving out your business address. It saves you money on having to pay for a lease on a commercial premises for the whole year.

Saving money is one of the secrets to success in the business world, and one of the things many people struggle with. It’s so expensive to launch and run startups these days, but as your company grows there are more and more ways to save cash. You just have to think about what your biggest business expenses are and come up with ways of cutting these costs.

Pixabay.com

 

UK surpasses 20 million users on LinkedIn

This is a great infographic from one of my closest friends and a fountain of knowledge on all things LinkedIn.

Two thirds of the UK have a presence on LinkedIn, if you want to succeed in business, in this social era, you MUST utilise and effectively network on LinkedIn

Are you “using” it? Or are you just there?

LinkedIn UK Stats

Original Source: http://thelinkedinman.com/
https://uk.linkedin.com/in/thelinkedinman

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