Marketing for Business Growth
Marketing can be a huge overwhelming challenge, especially to small business owners or very busy businesses. So we’ve put together a guide, which we hope is helpful to anyone and everyone trying to set up marketing for business growth with a specific goal to increase sales and revenue. The entire point of this guide is to give you ideas for business growth to then help you develop a strategy on how to get more sales leads – actually converting them is another problem altogether that we’ll try to deal with in another article.
How to Plan Business Growth:
So you need to grow your business. Planning is a fundamental so here are a few initial steps on how to plan business growth / how to get more sales leads. it starts with being brutally honest with yourself and your business:
- Look at sales and marketing, are they bringing in any sales leads and are any of those leads converting? Is your budget being poured into Adwords and Lead Gen services that are costing ten times more than they’re bringing in?
- Look at delivery. Are your customers happy? Do they trust you enough to buy other products or does a renewal invoice get processed by your customers, just in case they need it? Do you need to expand operations to be able to deliver a better service to more customers?
- Look at your competitors. What are they doing that’s so much better than you? Why do they have more customers?
- Are you flogging a dead horse? A market you’ve been in for 20 years selling the same things, to the same people probably won’t increase sales and revenue.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll need to pick a target to build your strategy around; then we’ll look at some excellent ideas for business growth.
Who are my Target Customers?
Exactly who are your target customers? You’d be surprised how many times we hear ‘everyone,’ or ‘every company needs our products/services’ or worse still, ‘the entire population,’ which tells us that they don’t really know. If you want results, you need to think a little harder and define them further because you’re setting yourself up for failure. Sure enough if your ideal customer is in the oil and gas sector, you may end up with a couple of public sector customers too, some finance companies too, merely as a consequence. It doesn’t mean you’re restricted to only ever dealing with that demographic.
It can be as straightforward as the target customer profile example below:
From there you can further explore customer segmentation and targeting by any number of factors, including geographical location, habits, age groups etc. At Sweet Leads we prefer to use this as a starting point and build a strategy around one demographic per campaign. Unless you have the marketing resources in-house, you may struggle to focus on so many different segments at one time. The lack of focus can end up being the biggest hindrance to your campaigns.
Business Capacity: How High is the Ceiling?
This is another one that companies often overlook or incorrectly assume, their maximum business capacity. How many customers can you successfully deliver a great service for? How much does operations need to expand in order to effectively fulfil more services for more customers? Are there any partners you can lean on for support to limit the burden? This is all part of business continuity which is the skeleton on which your growth campaign will stand that can determine success or failure.
When you’re analysing your business capacity, it’s a good idea to take an honest look at where you’ve fallen over and lost customers in the past. This can involve looking through support tickets, cancellation requests and any obvious signs of a strained customer-supplier relationship. Before you look to grow, it’s a good idea to look at where you’ve shrunk and to make sure any of these issues are ironed out. Long term it will reduce the risk of it happening again as you start to on-board more customers.
Another key factor in business growth is the size of the target market. If you’re aiming at retail companies that turnover £1,000,000,000 and above, then your target market has huge limitations and if you’re a newly established business, you’re going to struggle to fight off older, successful businesses that probably already have contracts in place with your targets. Unless you have a product or service that completely disrupts the market and differentiates you from your competition, you should probably aim a little lower, keeping those big businesses in your sights for the long term.
Below are a variety of growth strategies, depending on which target customer you’ve identified and what your successes have been as a company, you’ll need to pick the appropriate option for your goals. When we work with large companies, the most straightforward strategies are in existing markets or using existing product sets in closely related markets.
Market Penetration as a Growth Strategy
It’s a remarkably simple approach. Market penetration as a growth strategy is the lowest risk of sales and marketing strategies. This is where you sell your current products within your current market; you’re looking to increase market share. You could be a distributor looking to attract more reseller partners or an information security consultancy looking to advise more public sector businesses on securing their networks. So how do you increase market share? The obvious is to cut prices but unless you have a substantial margin on your services, we’d advise against that. The two tricks we’d use are simplicity and insight. Adopt a direct sales strategy that cuts to the chase, no nonsense, no spiel, no sales pitch, no half hour history of your company. E-mail or call the prospect telling them about a competitor you’ve been working with and invite them to a meeting to find out more. Give them an insight – how many public sector networks are open to hacks? How much money is wasted through buying from multiple wholesalers? – collect a ton of information on that industry and put it in an info-graphic or presentation.
Expansion into New Markets
This one is golden. So your current products are a big hit in the finance sector with 60% of all banks in the UK buying from you, but your revenue is static. To look at expansion into new markets you need to look at where you can replicate the success you’ve had in the one you’re currently in. Take a look at companies in insurance, stock markets, mortgage advisers, and any other companies with a similar set of needs in a related industry. At Sweet Leads, we’ve blown the doors off of new markets to get our customers entrenched in space they’ve never explored before or even thought of looking at. Our most recent campaign resulted in £3,000,000 worth of public sector contracts, which has meant a company now has the best turnover in it’s 32 year history.
New Product Development Strategy
Look at your existing customers and pay them a lot of attention, ask them questions and note down the answers. What have they been asking of your business and the solutions you offer? What could you do to address that or help them further? We view new product development strategy as a continuous process that requires feedback and communication from customer, to account manager, to technical, sales and marketing directors. If you’re a software company you might have had feature requests for some time, that you could develop into an interesting, useful and separate tool. This tool could be an additional extra that you could bundle in to make an additional 10-15%.
A great example of new product development strategy is a company we used to work with. They picked up on a plan to change the law on spam emails in Canada. A simple addition to one of their software products gave them the opportunity to up-sell a solution that addressed the legislation, long before it came into play.
What is Product Diversification Strategy?
Exactly, what is product diversification strategy? It’s where you take a new product into a new market. It’s often executed through acquisition, like when conglomerates purchase smaller companies but it can be done on a shoestring too. Product diversification strategy could be achieved on a budget, through partnering with new vendors that deliver niche specific solutions or simply as an addition to a new product development strategy. If you work with a vendor who sells a software extension specifically for accountants, that’s your route in to the new demographic.
Of all the key strategies, this one comes with the highest stakes of all but as risk goes up, the potential to increase sales and revenue does too.
Choosing Effective Marketing Channels:
The best and most efficient way to decide on the most effective marketing channels for your new business strategy is looking at your available resources and profiling your customers effectively. These resources can include personnel, budget and skill sets. If you’re looking to explore digital marketing channels then you might need to hire in help in order to fulfil it effectively but it could be more cost effective to hire someone for 6 months than on project by project basis. Omni-Channel strategies are such a buzzword and please don’t fall into the trap that it’s the only way to go. It’s a enveloping strategy that’s involves being everywhere at all times but that’s not realistic for every business. Take a look at the channels below to decide which could be your ‘effective marketing channels:’
It’s often worth considering which sales and marketing strategies come with a quick return and which are longer term strategies that get results over time and it may be beneficial to look at what products offer quick wins and longer cycles too. SEO and Content Strategy can take many months to get results whereas great direct marketing is a quick hitter by nature but if you don’t have those resources in-house then they’re likely to be expensive too. If you’re on a budget, we’d recommend playing to your strengths. It’s possible to achieve unbelievable results without spending too much money and if you have a business development team within your company structure, then there’s a great chance you have everything you need to implement an amazing strategy and grow your business.
Business Contact Lists:
So now you’ve narrowed down your market, the appropriate strategy and the channels that you’re choosing to attract customers, it’s time to build some business contact lists. When looking looking to build your email marketing list it can be tempting to buy pre-built business contact lists from companies for a ridiculous price. We build them for each campaign to ensure quality. It’s not worth the headache of buying in an email marketing list to find the contacts are 75% inaccurate. The only purpose we’d purchase these kinds of business contact lists is to capture email formats so then we can have a good guess at what a new contact’s email address will be. Save yourself the pennies and take a look at Hunter instead – there are probably a lot of other solutions out there too.
How to Build your Email Marketing List:
You’ve chosen to avoid the mistake of buying in existing databases and need to think about how to build your email marketing list. You’re going to need to use a combination of social media and your finest phone voice to track down the correct contacts at your target companies. If you plough through Linked In, searching sensibly as they restrict the amount of search you can do, you should be able to find a lot of names, job titles and details to start marketing to them. Take a look at their websites, enter their domain into Hunter to find a possible email format and move onto the next target.
You might find it helpful to use the contact list database template below:
How to Increase Sales and Revenue?
Now you’ve reached the exciting point where you understand where you are, who you’re targeting and how to build your email marketing list/business contact lists; a basic blueprint of how to increase sales and revenue but what now? Now you step up to the plate and deliver the best marketing campaign you’ve ever run. Each and every step needs to be taken with precision and care, you’ve put in so much hard work that it would be a tragedy to blow it now. It’s time to build a marketing campaign schedule to make sure you’re on track at all times.
Your Marketing Campaign Schedule:
This is a plan where you further define marketing activities to fulfil your marketing campaign. It can be an easy way to delegate tasks to your teams so everyone is on the same page and working like clockwork. At Sweet Leads, we go to town with the detail but if you’re short for time(not that we approve of shortcuts in business) you can keep it as vague as a monthly schedule and allow activity owners to take responsibility for their own tasks or you can be granular and cover the detail each day. Our preference is a daily schedule, not to micromanage but to take control of the situation and our activities. To get an idea, take a look at the sample activity marketing plan below:
In addition to your marketing campaign schedule it’s a great idea to audit each activity as time goes on. This will give you visibility of what worked, what failed miserably and potential alternative activities to replace the failures. The best approach is to expect failure and to learn how to deal with it because it ultimately leads you a step closer to success, an inspiring thought is that Coca Cola sold just 25 bottles of their soft drink in the first year but look at them now.
From this point, all that’s left to do is put the plan into action and grow your business. If there’s one tip we’d give to growing businesses it’s that you need to pay attention to detail and adapt accordingly to your market, constantly seeking the next possible avenue to explore. Always expect to adapt to new environments, businesses that stand firm are much like rocks that get worn away over time. If you find your niche, that’s fantastic but what other areas are there to explore? What new markets could you approach, where could you replicate the success you’ve had or how do you maximise your share of the market?
In all of our experience at Sweet Leads, we’ve successfully executed hundreds of strategies packed with ideas for business growth to increase sales and revenue and implemented new, fresh sales strategies for our customers to work with. Marketing for business growth is a big task, that requires all hands on deck and a lot of objective, open analysis. If it sounds a little daunting, we can guarantee that the rewards are well worth the blood, sweat and tears it takes to get there.
We hope this article gives you an idea of how to get more sales leads. Take a look at our business development services and contact us if you want to optimise your business for growth and reap the benefits of delivering the best targeted campaigns you’ve ever run!