- Your Sales Forecast Doesn’t Have to be a Guessing Game!
- Lead generation is a 3-step process.
- Measuring Sales… it’s Not just about Revenue
- 7 Selling Behaviors Seller-Doers Must Employ to be Successful.
- Can you really be “all things to all people?”
- 12 Marketing & Sales Activities you Gotta STOP this Year!
- How to maximize the impact of your marketing investment.
- Revenue Growth? Try the ‘5% Challenge’… it’s Brilliant!
- Should you ever walk away from revenue?
- Get Ready for 2017 with these 6 Marketing & Sales Activities
- 20 Marketing and Sales Concepts Business Leaders Need to Know, Part 2
- 20 Marketing and Sales Concepts Business Leaders Need to Know, Part 1
- 10 Guidelines for How to Be Successful at Sales
- Strategy Before Tactics!
- 6 Marketing & Sales Lessons Learned in our First 4 Years in Business
- The Sales Presentation: Stop Reading the PowerPoint Slides and Tell Your Story
- Content Marketing not working? Eh, don’t worry about it!
- Marketing Measurement: 3 New Methods You Have to Try in 2016
- The One Thing You Must Include in Your 2016 Marketing & Sales Plan
- Not using LinkedIn? Are you kidding me?!
- Is it OK to fire a client?
- Take Charge of Your Own Success… Stop Relying on Others!
- Getting first-time clients to take a chance on you.
- 9 Ways to Build your Business During the Summer Slowdown
- The Top 10 Ways to Build Awareness
- The 13 Most Common Website Mistakes
- The Most Important Part of Exhibiting
- Content marketing isn’t a one-time thing… it’s an all-the-time thing.
- THINKING! A framework for creating better business plans in 2015.
- Not happy with your marketing & sales? Then make just one change in 2015!
- For Beginners: Should I Tweet Daily? Yes… and here’s how.
- Got your Marketing Plan for 2015? No?! Now’s a good time to start…
- How to Connect with Booth Visitors – An Exhibitor’s Worksheet
- Not getting the email results you want? Make sure you’re following these 7 email marketing guidelines.
- 10 Ways to Get Clients to Sell FOR You (and they won’t cost a dime!)
- Do you know where you’re going? Why Strategy should drive your marketing & sales.
- 11 execution tips to help you exceed client expectations
- How to Turn First-time Clients into Repeat Clients
- 15 easy, low-cost marketing and sales tactics for 2014 – Part 2
- 15 easy, low-cost marketing and sales tactics for 2014 – Part 1
- 13 Lessons for Researchers Who Don’t Want (or Like) to Sell
- Social media marketing success in 30 minutes a day
- Get it right! You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
- It’s not that complicated! A common sense approach to the marketing & sales process.
- How MR firms are blowing it with new customers: Lessons learned while secret shopping
- Management or sales… you can’t serve two masters.
- Prove it! Nine ways to convince prospects to work with you for the first time.
- Five everyday ways to grow your business
- How that ‘one great client’ could doom your firm
- Six marketing and sales mistakes MR firms make every day
- Eight proven ways to build awareness – and why you should!
- Suspects, Prospects and Clients: Is your firm focused on the right target?
- A Checklist for Conducting Your Own Marketing & Sales Audit
- Learning to play the game: What football can teach us about marketing
- Differentiating your firm in a crowded marketplace
- 25 low- or no-cost ways to grow your business
- 15 Reasons E-mail Still Matters in Sales and Marketing
- Come prepared, dress the part and follow up: 10 dos for exhibiting at MR trade shows
- No rookies, no gum and no Frisbees: 10 don’ts for exhibiting at MR trade shows
- How to see yourself as clients see you
- Marketing 101: It takes Work to make it Work
- Use the 8 Ps of Marketing when Setting Strategy
- Integrate the 4 As of Marketing into Your Planning
- Size Does Matter: 4 Approaches to Growing Your Business
- The 12 Guiding Principles of Marketing (part 2)
- The 12 Guiding Principles of Marketing (part 1)
Five everyday ways to grow your business
One of the biggest challenges that the leaders of every small and medium-sized research firm face is finding the time to get everything done. We wear many hats and are pulled in many different directions. As a result, marketing and sales often suffer – pushed to the bottom of our priority list.
So what happens? After realizing that we’re behind on business development, we decide to try something, like writing a blog. We get all excited about the benefits of blogging and commit to writing once a week, telling ourselves “That’ll be easy – it’ll only take half an hour every Friday afternoon.”
And for the first few weeks, it works great. Then work and life start to get in the way. You take a long weekend and miss a Friday. You’ve got an employee who needs disciplining and handle that on a Friday afternoon instead. Then a big project comes in from a major client and it’s all hands on deck. Another blog post missed. That once-a-week blog is now once-a-month and before you know it, it’s completely forgotten.
One way to get back in the swing is not to commit to something big but to commit to something small. Something that you could literally do in 10 minutes a day. Here are five suggestions to help you get started:
1. Add connections on LinkedIn.
According to LinkedIn, there are over 200 million LinkedIn users worldwide, with 74 million of them in the U.S. We all know the value of being connected and engaging in conversations on LinkedIn and the more connections the better. Here are two tried-and-true ways not just to connect but to connect with high-quality, targeted professionals.
- From your profile, click on People You May Know. It will take you to a page showing everyone with whom you share connections (even if it’s just one). Target those with the most shared contacts (50 or more) and connect with a note that reads “John, LinkedIn says that we have over XX shared connections. Maybe we should connect directly.” Or something to that effect!
- Scan through the members of the LinkedIn Groups that you belong to and view the profiles of those you’d liked to connect with. Look for those that are in three or more groups with you and send a note that reads “John, it looks like you and I are in several of the same LinkedIn Groups together. Maybe we should connect directly.”
Both of these strategies work well simply because they aren’t coming out of left field; there’s a legitimate reason why you would want to be connected to these people.
2. Engage in LinkedIn conversations.
In addition to building the number of LinkedIn connections you have, expand your reach in LinkedIn Groups too. The key is joining and participating in the groups where your clients are also members. Note: I said “where your clients are also members.”
Once a member, observe for a while to see what kind of conversations take place. When you’re comfortable, start participating – but never sell! Contribute only as someone who has something valuable to say that will advance the discussion. This can build awareness for you and your firm, as well as help position you as a subject-matter expert.
Later, consider starting conversations – real conversations. No sales pitches. No help-wanted conversations. When you stray from good, beneficial comments, your credibility will dwindle.
3. Industry and competitive intelligence.
What’s going on in the marketing research industry? How about in the vertical industries you serve? What are your top competitors up to? One of the things I do to stay on top of those issues is to subscribe to Google Alerts. Every day (or less often, if you choose), Google scours the Internet to find the latest posts that match my requests. Some of my current search queries include “marketing and sales,” “social media,” “marketing plans” and the names of a few key competitors and clients.
Then, every morning, when I get to the office and sit down with a cup coffee, I scroll through my Google Alert e-mails. It’s how I keep up with the latest news in our industry, find new ideas to write and blog about and come across interesting tidbits to share with clients and prospects.
4. Talk to your clients (and ex-clients).
We’re in business to serve our clients but sometimes we get so wrapped up in delivering services that we lose touch with what’s really important to them or why they came to us in the first place. The best way to get inside the heads of your clients (and even your ex-clients) is to pick up the phone and simply talk to them. Note: I prefer phone calls but you also accomplish some of this via surveys.
During these calls, don’t try to sell them anything. In fact, tell them the reason for your call is to understand their perspective on how your firm is doing so that you can continue to improve. Ask questions like:
- What do we do right? What do we do wrong?
- Where can we improve?
- What are your biggest business challenges?
- What keeps you up at night?
- What do we do that’s unique?
- Why do you buy from us? Why do you buy from others (and who)?
- And my favorite wrap-up question: “If we could do just one thing differently that would improve your experience with us, what would that be?”
Commit to talking to just one client each week and see what a difference it makes.
5. Run Google Analytics on your Website and blog.
I’m writing this article from my favorite coffee shop on a Saturday morning. Every week I come here to work on my business and take care of some things not directly involved in serving clients. One of those things is running Google Analytics on my Web site.
Every week, these metrics help me understand how many people visited my Web site and blog, how long they stayed, what interested them the most, where they came from and so on. I record the key metrics on a simple spreadsheet so I can track and trend them over time. By paying attention, I can make changes to my Web site structure, keywords, content and marketing efforts that will further increase Web site traffic and stickiness.
For example, I know which of the marketing articles I’ve written are most popular. In fact, there is one from last year that still gets the most visits to this day. That tells me I need to write more articles similar to that one as a way to increase traffic. Note: Keep an eye on how many visitors come to your Web site from a handheld device – it might be time for you to create a mobile-optimized Web site.
One bite at a time
So there you have it: five ideas for doing a little something every day. Remember the old adage: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Pick one thing from the above list and go do it! Keep it up every day for 10 minutes. It’s amazing how fast you’ll make progress. You’ll also find that 10 minutes might increase to 15 or 20 and pretty soon you’ll begin another of the tasks.
Good luck and good marketing.
This article was originally published in Quirk’s: http://www.quirks.com/articles/2013/20130527-1.aspx