New Year’s resolutions for business development

A New Year dawns and our minds turn to how we’re going to drive lead generation for 2012. How are we going to generate new business? Where are our sales leads going to come from? What’s the new business development strategy?

It is in everyone’s interest to focus on new business development in 2012. The economy doesn’t look like it  is going to improve anytime soon. So it’s about focus and focusing on what you’re good at. But also about providing services that customers value and that they will want to purchase.

Here are my tips for things to consider in 2012. They are far from exhaustive and not necessarily all relevant to your business. But perhaps give them some thought and see what works for you.

Business Development Strategy
Do you have a plan? Who are your likely main customers? Where do they go for information on and offline? What marketing methods or channels are likely to work best for you? Where do you put your hard earned dollars or pounds?

If you haven’t got a strategy, then maybe take advantage of some government funding available in the UK until end Feb for one of our business development strategy workshops.

However, you play it, you need a plan. As they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

Business development tools
So what things would I recommend that you at least consider? Remember, these are far from your only options

Have a referral strategy
Have a strategy for asking for referrals. If you do good work, clients may well refer you anyhow. But if they don’t, ask ‘do you know anyone else that might benefit from what we’ve done for you?’ Remember, it’s probably going to be your highest conversion rate and the lowest cost of acquisition!

Get testimonials
Don’t be shy. Ask for them if you feel you’ve done a good job. Add them to proposals, your website, directory sites and anywhere else that is relevant. It also serves as useful content to refresh your site.  Testimonials can be either written or video ones.

Develop partnership marketing
I once went to a presentation where the speaker asked the audience ‘who gets to your customers before you do? If you know who they are, make friends with them’

Think about it. Solicitors, estate agents, plumbers, electricians and builders have lots of alliance opportunities as part of a sale of a house. Who are your potential partners and alliances? We did a successful campaign for a firm of IFA’s targeting accountants. Who can provide you work and vice versa? Partnership and affiliate marketing could prove worthwhile in your area of business.

You need to be out there. In it to win it as they say. But choose wisely as networking can seriously suck your time. Once again. Work out the strategy and focus on areas likely to be most productive. And don’t forget that it isn’t only formal groups like BNI, BRX or 4N. There are industry forums, events and so on that may well provide ample opportunity. And don’t forget the online world such as LinkedIn that is growing in importance. If you’d like to talk about how best to utilise online networking, contact us here.

Get Social
Social media is here to stay. The numbers are staggering. Once again, beware time drains. SME’s and even large corporates cannot spend every minute tweeting and posting. Focus is again the word of the day. Understand where your customers go and be there to meet them. Whether that’s a Facebook page running special events, competitions and so on or Twitter to reach key audiences. Or LinkedIn to engage with a b2b audience. Do some research on your customers and on what’s going on currently in the social media world. Then decide on what you want to achieve and either get started yourself or get someone to help you. If you’d like to talk to us about social media strategy or a campaign, contact us hereFollow us!

Get Mobile
The last quarter saw over 70% of all mobiles shipped into the UK being a Smartphone. Usage is growing at an incredible rate. SME’s as well as large companies cannot afford to wait for one simple reason. It is a customer led revolution. Customers are browsing your site on their mobile. They are looking locally for your type of business. That’s a FACT. Tons of research tells us that if they can’t browse your site properly on mobile, they will click away, buy from a competitor and not come back. Apps are everywhere. Mobile websites are crucial too. Text marketing is on the rise. Mobile and social go hand in hand as over 70% of Facebook updates and 50% of tweets are via mobile. So, having a strategy for mobile is absolutely essential. If you want to talk about how mobile can work for you, contact us here.

Content is king
2012 is the year of content. If you can’t provide regular new content, there are lots of providers that can deliver content for companies wishing to upweight their websites, blogs or tweets with useful content. Your credibility is enhanced with your customers and prospects if they find useful content on your site and not just about your services alone. Search engines love fresh quality content. Distributing that content online to targeted publications and domains that can drive more visitors to you is also crucial. Shallow sales oriented websites aren’t the answer in 2012. So what’s your content strategy in your area of expertise? You can definitely support your social media strategy by delivering excellent content to your chosen market. If you’d like to talk to us about how you can increase your content, contact us here.

OK. Telemarketing is a core part of what we offer very successfully for clients. So I’d be insane not to plug it. However, its demise has been exaggerated and it is alive and well. Yes it is hard to break through. But we have made meetings in 2011 with the Prime Ministers Press Office, Hiscox plc, Interflora, Jaguar Cars Ltd, John Lewis Partnership, RBS, Saracens Ltd, Sony Europe Ltd, The Body Shop, Toyota GB Plc, Glaxo Smithkline and many more. So telemarketing is still a viable way to generate new business. So, pick up the phone. If you can’t do that yourself and would like to talk to us about our telemarketing workshops, telemarketing training or telemarketing appointment setting, contact us here.

If you want a relatively low cost and high volume approach, email is your baby. There is always the risk of spam and junk mail and the resultant impact on your brand if you get it wrong. But, I believe you need to consider email marketing if you want a volume approach and need to reach a large number of potential customers for relatively low value of sale. It is a numbers game. But, especially if you’re in the b2c world, make sure you are compliant based on a valid opt-in and ensure you have a strong call to action. And don’t forget that email can be used for tightly tailored emails to researched b2b decision makers too. It just takes more time and research. There are lots of providers of email marketing out there so find a good one and see whether it can work for you.

Direct Mail
Outdated? Maybe. But standing out from the crowd has never been more important. I’m not talking about bulk / junk mail here. In b2b world, I’m talking about targeted messages to defined decision-makers with a call to action and a mailer or device to create impact. If your value of sale warrants investment in a direct marketing piece that can stimulate a call, then maybe this year is the time to work hard to define your audience and provide them something that genuinely makes them feel you’ve taken the time and effort to think about them. If you’d like to discuss this more, contact us here.

The rest
As I mentioned at the outset, the above is not intended to provide direction for your particular business or suggest these are all that’s on offer. I haven’t talked about PR, Advertising, events, exhibitions, posters, flyers and much more. The key is that you have a business development strategy. If you’d like to discuss how to plan yours, give us a call and you can possibly take advantage of government funding before end Feb 2012.

Visit our articles page and blog for hot tips and our business development white papers or ask us about our telemarketing mentor programme.

Find out how GSA Business Development can help Generate Growth for your Business, by contacting us now on 0845 658 8192 or by sending us an email.

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