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The Competitive Advantage

tag: strategy

January 15, 2019

I’ve Got an Accountability Partner… and You Should, Too

One of the primary responsibilities of a business owner is ‘accountability’… to make sure our employees are doing their jobs and making progress toward company goals. We hold our project teams accountable by getting feedback from clients. We hold salespeople accountable by monitoring selling activity and – of course – tracking revenue. We hold our financial team accountable by requiring timely completion of P&Ls, balance sheets and AP/AR reports.

But who holds us – the owners – accountable?

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December 11, 2018

Marketing & Sales for ‘Old’ Business Owners, Part 2

“Do I really need to be on social media?”

Spoiler alert… “Yes!” Yes, you do need to be on social media.

When I talk to oldsters (I can say that… I’m 60), their feelings about social media are generally like this: LinkedIn is just for job-hunting… Facebook is for looking at pictures of friends & family… and they don’t have any idea what Twitter is about.

Allow me to simplify and make the case for all three of them. Social media platforms are marketing channels through which you can communicate to clients and prospective clients. By doing so on a regular basis, social media allows you to build and maintain a level of awareness in the markets you serve, develop connections and engage with those buyers, and position yourself as a Subject Matter Expert or Thought Leader.

Let’s do a quick review of each of the platforms…

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December 4, 2018

Marketing & Sales for ‘Old’ Business Owners, Part 1

The first in a 5-part series on marketing & sales for ‘seasoned’ professionals.

I’m really lucky. I get to work with small business owners and managers all across the country. And many – if not most – are my contemporaries… same age range (50s-60s), same stage of life, same stage of business, etc.

And one of the obstacles I face is that these ‘old’ people (I’m 60 – so I’m allowed to say that!) have a blind spot when it comes to marketing & sales. They often don’t want to do it, don’t like to do it or don’t know how to do it. Yet, oddly, they do know that some kind of marketing & sales effort is important to their business.

It’s for this group that I’ve decided to write this blog series addressing the most common questions I hear from this ‘veteran’ group…

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November 27, 2018

Look left and right for revenue growth!

When you think about the growth of your company, 99% of the time, you think about how to increase revenue for your core business. That is, how do you sell more of the kinds of products & services you’re already selling to more of the kinds of clients you’re already selling to? And you should think like it… that is your business, after all.

But before you set in stone your growth plans for next year, you need to consider two other ways to grow your business.

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July 17, 2018

5 Times When You Should Turn Down a Project.

While we all have some level of responsibility to help grow our businesses – and for business leaders, there’s the added responsibility of keeping our employees employed – sometimes, as painful as it might be, there are projects that you just need to walk away from. Why? Because taking on those projects can do more harm than good.

Based on conversations with clients and my own experience, there are 5 times when you should turn down a project:

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May 27, 2018

Think. Plan. Do. A Smarter Way to Grow Your Firm

Those who are regular readers of my content have heard me say (on more than one occasion), that “Market Research is an industry that does not embrace marketing and sales”… particularly among agencies and consultants. And when these firms do decide to execute some business development efforts, they often just execute. There isn’t a lot of thinking or planning that goes into it… in reality, they’re just “winging it.”

Why does this happen? Why do the smart people at these firms not invest the time upfront to help ensure better results on the back end?

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May 7, 2018

Has marketing changed over the years? ‘Yes’… and an even bigger ‘No!’

We hear it all the time… “Marketing is so different compared to the way it used to be.” Or, “Marketing is changing so fast that I can’t keep up.” And you know what? Both statements are true.

Think of all the technology-driven tools, developed in just the past few years, that have impacted the way we work: marketing & email automation, social media, CRM and SFA, data & analytics, SEO and – more recently – chatbots, AI and blockchain. In fact, there are more than 5,000 (!) software platforms and apps purpose-built to support marketing and sales. (Want to see them? Click here: https://cdn.chiefmartec.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/marketing_technology_landscape_2018_slide.jpg)

It’s mind-numbing!

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April 10, 2018

8 ‘Excuses’ for Not Embracing Sales and Marketing… and What to Do About It

During the time I’ve been in this industry, I have often said that, “Market Research is an industry that does not embrace sales and marketing.” And in 12+ years, no one has ever disagreed with me about that.

To be fair, certain segments – tech providers and panel companies, for example – have done a better job of making sales and marketing an integral part of their organizations. But one of the core segments of the industry – market research agencies and consultants – uhhh… not so much!

And when I chat with the leaders of these agencies about their lack of sales and marketing activity, they always respond with some sort of reason. Make that, some sort of “excuse.” So, for each of these excuses, I want share a new way to think about it.

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