- How to Sell to Market Research Buyers, Part 3
- How to Sell to Market Research Buyers, Part 2
- How to Sell to Market Research Buyers, Part 1
- 5½ [behind-the-scenes] Marketing & Sales Activities You Need To Do in December
- Got something to say?
- Running a small firm? Who holds you accountable?
- Marketing & Sales Success Begins with a Simple Step… Thinking!
- 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)
Do you know where you’re going? Why Strategy should drive your marketing & sales.
Remember the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland? During the encounter at the fork in the road, the Cat says to Alice (and I’m paraphrasing), “If you don’t know where you’re going… then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
That same thinking also applies to marketing your business. Without any purpose or direction – i.e. without “strategy” – you’re just spinning your wheels… you’re just “doin’ stuff!”
Let’s start with the basics… what is Strategy?
In its simplest terms, a Strategy is a broad, directional statement that expresses WHAT you will do to achieve your goals. By contrast, tactics are the HOW.
A strategy can be supported by multiple tactics… and one tactic can support more than one strategy.
For example, Advertising is not a strategy… it is a tactic, one that can used to support the strategy of Building Awareness. Building Awareness can also be supported by such tactics as social media marketing or calls from a sales team.
Another example of a Strategy could be to “Position our Founder as an Ethnographies Expert.” Like our first example, it is a broad, directional statement of WHAT you will do to achieve your goals.
Then question becomes, “HOW” will you do it? For that, you might consider tactics like:
- Have the Founder write a weekly blog about Ethnographies
- Write an article for Quirk’s
- Present a webinar on Ethnographies
- Participate in LinkedIn group conversations
The Strategy-Tactics relationship is a fundamental precept to the marketing & sales process.
2 Kinds of Strategies
Strategies can be talked about as being in two groups – Buying-Selling Process strategies and Go-to-Market strategies. And while in two groups, they are all interrelated and work together.
The Buying-Selling Process strategies apply to all B2B services firms, regardless of the services they offer. No exception. These process steps – each one its own strategy – include: Build Awareness, Generate Leads, Nurture Leads, Acquire 1st-time clients and Keep Repeat Clients. For more details about this, Click Here to read about the Marketing & Sales Pyramid™.
The Go-To-Market strategies will be more specific and customized to your firm. For example, a focus group facility operator might decide to ‘Differentiate ourselves from the competition in our city’ (and then go on to build out a focus group suite that looks more like a comfortable coffee shop).
There are three primary methodologies to use when thinking through and coming up with the strategies for your firm.
- Follow the 8 P’s of Marketing (Click Here to read the article).
- Use the 4 Ways to Grow a Business (Click Here to read the article).
- Uncover Opportunities & Problems (see below).
Setting strategy with the Opportunities & Problems method starts with taking a critical look at all phases of your business:
- An internal look at your own firm… think SWOT Analysis, marketing & sales audit, financial review, etc.
- Your clients’ (and ex-clients’) perception of your firm – what you do right, what you do wrong, what changes you need to make.
- Your top competitors – their capabilities, advantages & disadvantages vs. your firm; perhaps a little ‘secret shopping’ is in order.
- The Market Research industry – what’s happening in the MR industry that could have an impact (positive or negative) on your business? Think about new trends, new methodologies, technology, etc.
- The industries you serve – what’s going on in the key industry verticals you serve that could impact you? Think about trends, technology, government legislation, global changes, etc.
Now, gather all of that data together, pore over it, distill it down. You’re looking for certain recurring ideas/concepts/issues that bubble to the surface. From those findings, answer these questions:
1. What Opportunities exist that we can take advantage of? These opportunities could be within your own company, in the MR industry or in the industries you serve.
For example, as a focus group moderator, you might decide to embrace some of the new technologies and position yourself as an expert in online qual. Or maybe you run a Panel company and decide to build a Hispanic Panel to reflect that fast-growing segment of the population.
2. On the flip side, looking at Problems presents a potentially more valuable direction. Noodle on this… “What problems exist – at our company / that our clients have to deal with / in the Market Research industry / in the industries we serve – that, if we solve them, puts our firm in a competitively advantageous position?”
Here’s a real-world example of problem-solving. Years ago, I was consulting with a firm that was one of the first to come to market with a Bulletin Board Focus Group (BBFG) platform… but it didn’t take off like they thought it would.
We did our homework and discovered it wasn’t a technology or sales issue at all. We learned that researchers/moderators did not understand how BBFGs worked, which applications worked best for them and how BBFGs compared to traditional research methodologies. It was an education problem. From that came one of our go-to-market strategies… “Educate our target market.”
The tactics we used to support that strategy were:
- Presenting webinars (Topics? Based on their pain points… How BBFGs worked / Best applications / Comparisons to traditional research)
- Publishing white papers and eBooks
- Exhibiting at conferences (for 1-on-1 demos and discussions)
… all of which were about helping to educate prospective clients about BBFGs so they could make an informed buying decision.
Setting strategies is THE most important part of the marketing & sales planning process. Why? Simple… go off in the right direction (solid strategy) – and even if your tactical execution is a little off – you’ll still have some success. But go off on the wrong direction (no strategy or bad strategy) and – even if you execute beautifully – you’ll have little chance of being successful.
So don’t just DO marketing… set aside some time to make sure you talk through and think through the strategies that will drive the direction you want to go.
Good luck and good marketing.