It’s all in the connections we create.

Connects Marketing Group has launched a new service for prospective clients – the Customer Creation Consultation.

If you are interested in building your B2B business through a robust system of research, qualified lead generation, customer creation and retention, please take a moment to read through how Connects Marketing Group can help. We are now providing free consultations to companies that feel they might benefit from our services. Recipients are under no obligation to Connects for this free service; It is simply our way to demonstrate to you how we can help you reach and exceed your sales goals.

The three-phase consultation process is high-level, designed to provide you with a clear understanding of your current situation, challenges and goals, along with specific recommendations for overcoming those challenges to reach those goals. Our consultation will help you accelerate your sales by identifying strategies to attract new customers and expand the ones you already have.

Assessment

In this phase, we will conduct an in-depth discovery interview with you to identify your ideal customers and markets, along with your present-day close rates.  We will also explore your current sales and marketing initiatives, pinpoint the results you are looking to achieve and determine the gaps in between.

During this process, we will create for you a Total Customer Profile—a graphic that captures in a single page your key goals, values, challenges and opportunities.

Recommendations

In the second phase, our goal is to help you chart your course and actually begin your journey to greater sales. To do so, we  review your Total Customer Profile, ask clarifying questions and confirm we understand your needs.
Next,  we will provide you with specific recommendations that we believe will help you realize your sales goals and accelerate your sales cycle. Your Recommendations Report  will contain those recommended actions and next steps.

These recommendations may or may not  include utilizing Connects Marketing Group programs. Connects programs are not for everyone. We only invite clients to participate IF we are confident we can have a big impact. If we are not confident that we are a good fit for you, we will suggest alternative programs we know well in the industry.

Mutual Commitment

In the third phase, if we mutually agree that there is a strong basis for us to build a long-term relationship, we will schedule a meeting, called the Mutual Commitment Meeting. This meeting will take place only after you’ve had time to study the written recommendations we offer and review the details of the programs we suggest. It is important for you to collect your questions or concerns about the fit and take time to reflect before the meeting.

 

We are excited to offer this free consultation and look forward to meeting with you! Please contact us today to get started!

Connects Marketing Group
PO Box 1027
Langley, WA 98260
360.222.2043
www.connectsgroup.com

Click here to read what our clients have to say!

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Is Big Data a Big Flop or a Big Win? You Decide.

by Wendy Sack on April 7, 2014

“Big Data is the biggest game-changing opportunity for marketing and sales since the Internet went mainstream almost 20 years ago.” cloud-hoskins(Forbes)

Big Data this. Big Data that. The term has been bouncing around the marketing universe for a few years now, even more so in the last year. But, what IS Big Data? Well, not to be obtuse, but Big Data is just that: big data. It’s data analytics- the collection and examination of information- on steroids. It’s the ginormous sets of data that are created in today’s world of digital and social media. For my own sanity, we’ll just say data for the rest of this post.

This data is coming at B2B marketers harder and faster than ever before. It’s comes from things like:

  • Your company’s website
  •  Number of visits per month
  • Number of visits per page
  • Names, titles, employers of those who visit your site (if you’re smart enough to have a website member area)
  • Number of minutes someone spends on your site
  • What’s being downloaded
  • Search Engines (Google, etc.)
  • The words that are driving people to your site
  • The most popular search terms in your industry
  • Social Media
  • Number of fans, followers, etc.
  • Analysis of these fans, followers (Who are they? Where are they from? What companies? What industries?)
  • Who’s commenting?
  • What’s being shared?

I could go on and on, but I’m preaching to the choir. If you’re reading this, you know that there are almost unlimited ways that you can gather data on prospects and customers. The question then becomes…what are you doing with all of this information?

Now What?

“Those that use Big Data and analytics effectively show productivity rates and profitability that are 5 – 6 percent higher than those of their peers. McKinsey analysis of more than 250 engagements over five years has revealed that companies that put data at the center of the marketing and sales decisions improve their marketing return on investment (MROI) by 15 – 20 percent. That adds up to $150 – $200 billion of additional value based on global annual marketing spend of an estimated $1 trillion.” (Forbes)

What you do with your data depends largely on two factors: the size of your data pool and the size of your marketing team, but here are some things that companies of all sizes should consider.

1.      Map your top prospects’ behaviors: Map your prospects by tracking their digital interactions with you. What do they open, click on, link? What pages do they visit? What do they download?

2.      Identify your purchasers, and then branch out: Identify prospective purchasers, and use this as a starting point to map out his or her sphere of influence.

3.      Don’t wait!: If a prospect is nibbling, contact them sooner rather than later. And don’t, under any circumstances, send a generic email. Pick up the phone!

4.      Know the B2B Customer Decision Journey: Contact, nurture and delivery sales-ready prospects to your sales team.

Here’s a real-life example.

Platform: Website

Tool: Online Member Area

Specifics: In order to access e-tools, users are required to register their names, emails, locations and company names. They also have the option to give specific application or industry information.

Result: Company has database of more than 20,000 members, broken down by sign-up date, location and whether or not theses members are current or prospective customers.

For this particular real-world example, the company is a part of a multinational corporation and offers complex e-tools and services targeted at engineers.

Now ask yourself: if this situation existed in your company, how would you go about converting these leads?  Sure, you could set up some sort of automated system where anyone who signed up would receive an email and a kind of ‘we are aware of your interest’ letter.

But what if these leads require immediate action? Do your sales engineers have the resources and time to make that happen? More honestly, do they even care about these leads? Let’s be blunt. A lot of sales engineers are territory-driven, so they don’t want to spend their already stretched-thin time focusing on leads that won’t affect them.

Here’s how Connects can help:

Your new members are downloaded and contacted via phone within 24 hours of registration. Through a well-thought-out conversation based on a pre-determined set of questions, your inbound web leads are qualified (either in OR out) and turned into hot, actionable sales leads ready to be handed off to a sales engineer.

The bottom line: Big Data can almost be overwhelming, but to not have a system in place to take advantage of it is almost a criminal waste of marketing dollars.

 

 

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A Mentor Trumps a Boss. Always.

by Wendy Sack on March 10, 2014

mentor-corkboard-300x200I usually blog about topics relevant to growing your business; this week is no different, but we’re going to take a look at how the boss/employee relationship can make your productivity soar.

A wise woman once told me that you should only hire someone whom you could see eventually being your replacement. At the time I thought she was crazy. I was still in college, working as a co-op and as green as they come to the corporate world.

“Why would you do that?” I thought to myself. “Wouldn’t you always be worried that this person would, in fact, eventually replace you?!”

What a poor attitude, right? More like, what an inner admission of poor self esteem.

I was fortunate enough to be hired by and continue working for this woman for several years, she as a direct supervisor and then a member of senior management. To this day, I will tell you that I learned more from her than I did in all my years of college. Sure, my professors taught me how to write effectively, but she taught me how to engage effectively with others and how to be a part of a team- a team of people from different countries and cultures, and how to do so with confidence. At times I would become discouraged that I didn’t have the business acumen that comes with years of experience, but she would always say to me, “You have to forgive yourself your learning curve. You’ll get there.”

She was my mentor.

I was reading a great blog on mentoring from the Harvard Business Review titled “How GE Gives Leaders Time to Mentor and Reflect.”

 

Here’s an excerpt:

Launched in 2010, the Leader in Residence program is emblematic of a broader shift from prescriptive to collaborative learning taking place at Crotonville and elsewhere. In a complex environment, learning comes from a combination of discovery, dialogue, experience, reflection, and application. At Crotonville, we bring people from all over the world and from different businesses and contexts. We have to create the opportunity for each person to teach and learn, simultaneously, enhancing everyone’s perspective. David, like other leaders, uses this as a listening post — a venue to capture what’s happening around the company and the world in an encapsulated way…with Crotonville providing the opportunity to listen, test, validate, and absorb on the one hand, and to share, push, elaborate, and support the students on the other.

In all, the program has enabled some 75 of our top leaders and thousands of participants to connect on a human level and to reflect on work, self, and career in a way that would never be possible in either a traditional classroom or office setting. By giving leaders access to deeper levels across the organization, and, in turn, providing participants access to senior leadership, we have created greater cohesiveness throughout the company. We have never had a problem filling out classes even during the most trying of times. Based on the success of the program, as measured through participant surveys and feedback, we recently launched a global version (74% of Crotonville experiences are delivered outside the United States currently).

 

I sincerely believe that mentors are a must-have for every employee, especially those new to the workforce. Just think how much more effective your organization could be if each and every person felt lifted-up, valued and essential? Is this true for your organization today?

 

If you don’t want to take my word for it, here’s Sir Richard Branson’s take on my mentoring is needed:

Mentoring was very important for me personally. For example, Sir Freddie Laker gave me invaluable advice and guidance as we set up Virgin Atlantic, while my mum has been a mentor throughout my life. Nowadays, I find mentors inside and outside of Virgin every day. If you ask any successful businessperson, they will always have had a great mentor at some point along the road. If you want success then it takes hard work, hard work and more hard work. But it also takes a little help along the way. If you are determined and enthusiastic then people will support you.

 

At let’s not forget that you’re never too old to learn. That’s right, more and more companies are beginning the process of what is called reverse mentoring.

Picture it, Sicily 1930. (If that made you giggle, then I know you’re a part of my generation.) But seriously, picture it: the older men and women who’ve been with your company for decades. They are revered. They are respected. They are terrified of social media. That’s where reverse mentoring comes in!

 

From “Reverse mentoring: students teach executives about social media, tech and more” via the Miami Herald:

The wave of 20-somethings heading into the working world know how to amass Twitter followers. They know how to text-message with their eyes closed. And they know how to digitally connect with influencers who can send business their way. Now, older workers must look to them to teach us how to be innovative.

In a trend called reverse mentoring, companies are pairing grizzled veterans with young up-and-comers. The arrangement works to retain eager millennials and keep older executives technologically and socially relevant. It’s going on at big companies including Cisco, Johnson & Johnson and Mars Inc., where formal programs are in place. It also has taken off at small companies, where informal reverse mentor relationships are born from mutual respect and candor.

Reverse mentoring is gaining traction for all the right reasons, says Terri Scandura, a professor of management at the University of Miami School of Business Administration. Even baby boomers who might bristle at the idea of being mentored realize the value in learning what motivates Gen Y and how to market to them, she says.

Last week, Citibank became one of those one of those businesses to tap into the digital wisdom of the younger generation. It launched a program that will pair 15 senior executives from the bank’s Latin America regional office with 15 graduate and undergraduate University of Miami business students. The duos will meet at least once a week for six months to work on specific projects that will take a fresh look at mobile payments, communicating with millennial generation customers, social media, the digital retail business and creating compelling job pitches for young talent.

“Our senior executives need to clearly understand trends and what motivates the new set of young professionals,” says Jorge Ruiz, who is based in Miami and is the head of digital banking for Citibank’s Latin America office. “They are not just our future clients but also our next leaders.”

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The bottom line: No matter what your age, a mentor can be just the thing you need to push you in the right direction. These relationships only stand to improve your organization’s workforce and productivity.

 

Image Credit: careergirlnetwork.com

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