This week, I contacted an SME to ask about prices that I wanted to include in a review of potential tools for my client. I was told that the “team” didn’t know and the MD would call me back. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been amazed at the over-reliance on the “marketing & sales” role for finding new customers. In smaller businesses this tends to be the CEO/MD and in larger organisations, it is the Sales/Marketing Department. As the availability of information floods everyone, there is an emerging push-back from the market who are starting to rely more heavily on word-of-mouth, referrals and relationship building. It was always thus of course, however, key decision-makers are becoming more wary of the overwhelming abundance of information and cold marketing activities. This means that marketing is harder and takes longer. Every business now needs everyone on in their organisation and their alliance network to be talking about and acting as unofficial marketeers. So who is in your business, your “value-chain” and your networks who could market your business?
1. Employees. Does everyone know what the marketing messages are? Do they see their role as including positive messages about the business and finding potential customers? Are they engaged with the business such that they are motivated to add marketing to their role? Word of caution though, this should not lead them to feel pressured such that they become over-assertive sales people.
2. Associates. Are your associates also tasked with talking to potential customers? Do you have a referral reward system for them? Do you look for opportunities to collaborate on lead generation?
3. Suppliers. Are they equipped with your marketing material and questioned about who they might know who may be interested in your services? This includes your bankers, accountants and others.
4. Customers. Do you regularly seek feedback and then follow with the question – whom could you introduce us to who might appreciate our services? Assuming here that their feedback is positive!
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The Leadership Forum, 16th October, Ipswich – How to keep your customers
Highflyingdivas, 23rd October, London – hosted by Penna
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Some time ago, I wrote about my boundary dispute – with husband James. Well, the garden fence is up and it roams up and down our garden slopes, twisting forth and back across our border-ditch, forming an interesting shape for our lawn. Imagine a multi-edged jigsaw piece. And does it keep the dog in? Well on Day One I found him on the other side of the “fence” with a dead rabbit in his mouth. He had obviously hurdled the fence and was unable to leap back retaining a hold on his fat dead bunny. I had to climb through the fence and shepherd him around the perimeter to the gate, trying, and failing, to persuade him to release his prize. Success all round then!