Cust Engagement

Post Covid, 6 Ways TechCEOs Can Jumpstart Customer Engagement

COVID-19 has been one of the biggest global challenges of our generation. Customer behaviour is changing at a staggering pace, and digital adoption has become necessary for survival. When the pandemic eventually recedes, your customers will have to continue to adapt and accommodate new business models, attitudes and behaviours in engaging markets. Leaders must take immediate action to meet customer expectations in the post-crisis era.

 

As a TechCEO, You have a unique opportunity in engaging differently with your customers and help them navigate this crisis.

 

Last month we covered how TechCEOs can respond to the Covid-19 event and take control of your business in H2 2020. Now, let’s explore how TechCEOs can engage their customers differently and deepen their relationship.

 

Let’s be clear. By now customers have accepted the fact they are bang in the center of a prolonged recession, at the same time they are seeking a level of certainty which allows them to move forward with caution and renewed hope.

 

Most important thing they want from any vendor is to assist them in establishing a sense of clarity. As a TechCEO, if your selling team has reach across a broad swath of customers, industry verticals, and geographies you can help your customers by providing evidence-based perspectives. There is a clear opportunity for vendors to make sense of rapidly shifting conditions and bring clarity to their customers.

 

As a TechCEO, you can offer your customers some of these information:

  • Assess impact on customer businesses and potential areas to offer support.
  • Create near-term commercial messages that help customers more effectively manage their business through the pandemic and aftermath.
  • In lieu of data-backed perspective, engage customers with a hypothesis-led approach. 
  • Position and arm sellers as “Sense Makers,” helping customers understand rapidly shifting dynamics.

 

Let’s elaborate.

 

Customer Engagement Strategies

1. Help re-visit the long-term plan or strategy. 

“How is your long-term strategy changing or evolving given current conditions?

Have you had discussions with your customers to understand the impact of this recession on their business strategy? As frightening as the current crisis may appear, if you can help your customers respond better to it will decide how well their organisations will thrive once the economy starts recovering. You will deepen your relationship with clients if If you can give them ideas whereby they can utilise the slowdown to step back and take some strategic measures that will pay off in the long term.

 

2. Explore hypothesis on coming changes to customer or market behaviour. 

“Here’s what we’re seeing and what we think it means. What do you think? Would you agree?”

To some extent if you can put yourself in your customer’s shoes and help them analyse their current situation, outlook, the forces shaping the next normal, and the new organisational structures that can help them keep pace with the changes – it will be really welcome. Instead of pushing your products and solutions, if your selling team can spend some time in engaging and visualising the changes in your customer business and test some hypothesis, it will go a long way in developing an empathetic relationship with client stake holders.

 

You could launch a survey, consolidate reports and gather vital data points and assemble it meaningful ways to make an impact to your customer assessment journey. 

 

3. Explore likely impact to business processes (e.g. workflow, supply chain). 

“Which processes will likely change as a result of COVID-19, and which won’t? Here’s what we’re seeing.”

One silver lining with Covid situation is that it has shown businesses how to manage better and achieve greater speed, quality, and cost control. Gone are the days of waiting around for best practices to emerge. CEOs recognise the need to shift from adrenaline-based speed during COVID-19 to speed by design for the long run. The winners are experimenting now, and boldly. 

 

You could explore with your customers as to which key processes are in for a major revamp. For example, redeploying talent, improving productivity in specific areas, developing new products quickly, shifting and adjusting operations can be explored in detail to adapt to current situational needs. You could be of help to your customers in some way.

 

4. Address previously agreed-upon strategic initiatives. 

“Which strategic initiatives will you likely have to revisit or re-prioritise as a result of these changes?”

 

Post pandemic, most organisations are being forced to address these 3 important questions: Who are we? How do we operate? How will we grow? Most customers are focussed on helping stabilise the company in the near term, creating the right conditions for growth as we emerge from the crisis, and building the resilience the company will need to get through the next several cycles. 

 

You could engage in conversations to discuss how strategic priorities are shifting with this sudden change in fortunes and how companies are responding to the situation. 

 

 

5. Help customers develop and prioritise actions for a range of upcoming scenarios. 

“Let’s lay out the range of actions you might take for each step of the following three phases, depending on how conditions develop: near term protection, mid-term recovery, long-term new normal”

 

For one of our clients we immediately engaged in a conversation that went like this:

Look after employees first, followed by customers and suppliers. It will pay off in the long run, as each group will certainly remember how you treated them during this difficult time. The profits and dividends will come later if you make the right decisions and moves now.

We helped them establish clarity in communicating short term execution of long term plans and not short term guidance. 

We discussed with their leadership team as to how as a company they can withstand the crisis, and how strong will it be in the long term, considering its competitive position, growth potential, and returns on capital? It help them a lot.

 

6. Create near-term commercial messages that help customers respond smarter. 

Your selling team should help develop points of view based on your customer/ prospect company’s perspective in markets served and relay this to customers. Helping your customer assess patterns in how they are inadvertently mismanaging their responses to the crisis and not pro-actively engaging their markets is a big help. Your team should let buyers know that commercial opportunities will exist where assumptions and rapid decision making are driving customers’ business responses.

If you can encourage your customers to respond as a relevant thought leader with a sharpened focus linking their value proposition with the most critical and timely concerns of their customers.

 

 

P.S.Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business:
 
1.   Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.
  • 10 Steps TechCEOs Can Take Now to Bounce Back Click here.
  • Should Tech firms consider Re-Branding to Drive New DemandClick here
  • Do TechCEOs Get ROI from Marketing Click here
  • 3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.
 
2.   Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.
 
We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.
 
3.    Join our TechCelerate Implementation Program and be a Case Study
 
I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at TechCelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.
 
Life is short. Take action now and grow. Best Wishes.
Mechanics

Is Your Sales Mechanics aligned to Post Covid Message?

If COVID-19 has impacted the effectiveness of your outbound sales campaigns, you’re not alone.

 

A lot of TechCEOs are in similar situation. Most have gone into a shell ‘protection’ mode and are being conservative. Very few are taking chances and doubling down on marketing, revamping messaging and staying connected to clients and market in general.

 

A 2020 HubSpot analysis of 70,000 software customers found that response rates to sales emails (and campaigns) declined by 27% from February to March this year, so the decline is affecting all of us!

 

But there is hope. The same HubSpot study found that marketing open rates actually increased by 21% overall over the two months.

 

These numbers paint a compelling story. Clients are willing to engage with your company but in certain contexts above others, and the study suggests that people are more interested in educational or informative resources, like your blog or educational assets.

 

What does that mean for TechCEOs and sales leaders? As business are recovering and tweaking their H2 plays, you can continue to position yourself as a trusted advisor to prospects and look to create a long-term relationship when the buyer–and budget–are more ready.

 

Even if you don’t have a relationship with a prospect yet, you can build credibility and trust by incorporating inbound learnings into your outbound approach. Here’s how:

  • Work with Marketing to learn what your prospects care about right now
  • Add value, not asks in your sales messaging
  • Revisit your prospect tiering/scoring accordingly

 

Read More
GTM

10 Reasons why you should not rely on OEM partner channel?

“Mag’ let’s leech on and use our OEM sales channel to scale our business from $20M to $50M.”

Many TechCEOs have this wish of building their business on top of their OEM channel and relationship. It could be on top of AWS, Microsoft, Oracle, VMware or Google channel. Nothing wrong with that idea. Just that you have not built a solid revenue acceleration capability within your organisation.

 

Here are top 10 reasons why you should consider building demand generation capability within your organisation?

  1. OEM channel relationship built with people working there is not permanent. People (sellers) change jobs and you will have to start all over again.
  2. Your alliance/channel manager can also change jobs.
  3. OEM sellers target big deals (usually long sales cycle) in named accounts. Onus is on the partner to work hard and make it happen. If the deal does not convert you are at a loss.
  4. Relying on OEM channel works well in growth markets. When more partners hop in it becomes that much difficult to rely on OEMs for leads. You have to perform.
  5. In a crowded market, customers usually want to work with a partner who has a differentiated offering and has a compelling value proposition. You can create this only when you initiate conversations and engage differently from day one.
  6. Selling ‘beach head‘ quick win offering can help you execute ‘Land & Expand’ strategy to enter named accounts. Your OEM sellers might not be interested in that.
  7. If you comply to OEM sales behaviour you might have to compromise on your service margins. You might end up re-selling licenses with 7%-8% margins and not grow your service business and margins.
  8. Having your own selling engine will help you control your (revenue) destiny. You control client engagement, positioning your solution, pricing and customer success follow through.
  9. You can smartly structure a hybrid strategy that includes inbound leads from OEM channel and integrate it with your own selling engine. This way you qualify deals better, control your revenue forecast and have slack to fill holes in your revenue budget.
  10. Finally, having a solid selling engine will increase your valuation multiples. It can get you 30% more when you exit the business. Don’t you want that?

 

We work with TechCEOs to structure a GTM that helps them hit targets and increase their valuation too. In 2020, let’s work smart to accelerate revenues and build selling capability within our organisation.

 

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business:

1.   Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.

  • 4 Ways to Position Your Tech Business to Attract More Clients Click here.
  • 3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.
  • Do TechCEOs Get ROI from Marketing Click here.
  • Should Tech firms consider Re-Branding to Drive New Demand – Click here.

2.   Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.

We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.

3.    Join our TechCelerate Implementation Program and be a Case Study

I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at TechCelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

Life is short. Take action now and grow. Best Wishes.

 

 

 

Events

How Can TechCEOs Capitalise On Events To Drive Leads?

B2B Events should be part of any TechCEOs demand generation strategy. We recommend atleast 2 events any growing firm should participate to connect and engage with B2B buyers. Key reason why you should do this is that events are a place where a large number of B2B decision makers show to check what’s out there, learn and update their knowledge.

 

What’s more important, no other form of marketing activities gives such a large opportunity to present the brand, its values and establish a real face to face relationship with potential buyers. World-class marketers confirm this thesis. In 2019, most of the respondents (68%) indicated in-person events as a most successful tactic for generating qualified leads for the top of the funnel.

 

While most TechCEOs do participate in events, not many know how to make them work in their favor.

 

If you do not know why you are at an event and have a well defined process to drive value then you are wasting both your time and money. True value is generated days before and beyond the day of the event.

 

Case study of A Leading GTM Software Company

GTKonnect, a leading provider of Global Trade Management solutions based out of the USA wanted to improve their presence and create brand awareness in the GTM community. Though the company was present in GTM events year after year, they never made and impact with powerful marketing initiatives.

We worked with the GTKonnect management to re-position the company, develop a new brand message and target a launch at few select events.

Read More
Driving Demand in the US Market

Driving Demand in The US Market Doesn’t Have To Be A Pain

Well, here are some quotes from TechCEOs who sell into the US market.

 

“Our sales qualified leads from the US market are abysmally low”

 

“We used to get deals from our joint venture partner in the US. Now it has stopped”

 

“I hired direct sales team in the US. Burnt almost 300K for a year. Nothing came out of it.”

 

“Well How do I replicate the success I’ve had in South East Asia in the US market?”

 

Here is another.

“I have both marketing and inside sales team back here in Bangalore. Spending close to $10K a month on salaries. Yet no sign of revenue from the US market”.

 

Does this resonate with you?

 

We are working with a number of TechCEOs who have built stable businesses in the domestic market but are struggling to open up or grow in the US market. Some of them have invested in teams but are stuck for a long time.

 

Yes, it’s really true. The US IT & service market is projected to grow to 1.4 trillion by 2020 and growing at a clip of 6%.

 

The US enterprise and mid market businesses have invested tons of money into infrastructure, applications and platforms, business leaders are exploring multiple ways to leverage advances in cloud computing, analytics, AI/ML, edge, 5G and other technologies to build competitive advantage. Another big buyer of tech is Digital natives, Software houses and Startup sector that are in the fast innovation cycle. Overall, there are plenty of opportunities for TechCEOs to cherry pick segment and grow their business in the US.

 

At the same time, the US is one of the markets where buying cycle and journeys vary from segment to segment. The way FSI sector buys in tri-state area is way different from how ISV and tech shops buy in the Bay Area.

 

Nevertheless, there is enough space for TechCEOs based in India or Asia to come in and participate in the new era of digital growth. But there are a few challenges. I have come across TechCEOs who are struggling without a clear plan.

 

1. They might have ambitious goals in place. But I do not see a clear execution plan.

 

2. Sometimes they think they have a plan but are grossly misinformed by wrong talent.

 

3. Most importantly, there is no sales & marketing framework or system in place. Usually TechCEOs hire sales, marketing and business development talent available in the market and let them loose to hit targets. Often times, this results in failure leading to resentment and more cynicism.

 

4. Moreover, I have seen very shallow marketing and sales attempts where sellers write flimsy emails that have no context, understanding or selling arguments. It simply does not work folks.

 

5. Finally, when both time and money are lost, the TechCEOs jump in and try to do everything themselves. This is the last straw that breaks the cartwheel.

 

So how can TechCEOs overcome these challenges and still penetrate the US market?. You can do it in four ways.

 

1. Clarity and Focus – You should know your market segment, initial list of prospects, your go to market strategy and how you intend to sell and get your business upto $3M to $4M mark. Without this plan in place, you are as good as dead even before you start.

 

2. Revenue enablement – You have to shift your mindset from primitive and brutal ‘I will call and send email to death’ selling mindset to revenue planning and execution. This comprises of understanding your customer buying journey, personas, aligning go to market, leading with authority marketing, influencing CXOs and focussing on customer success.

 

3. Selling framework – It is also prudent to have a selling framework that comprises of lead generation, opportunity management or account management to break into customers with whom you already have a relationship elsewhere.

 

4. The How – Finally, the devil is in execution. Do have a quarterly plan that is backed by resources with clear roles & responsibilities and goals. We all know what cannot be measured cannot be managed.

 

Now, all of these weaknesses can be turned into strengths when you organise your thoughts, establish clarity, focus and engage the right people who know how to do it.

 

That’s exactly what we have done in putting together TechCelerate, a Revenue Acceleration program that helps TechCEOs to penetrate and grow their domestic business.

 

You see, the only way to grow your tech business in the US market, be it product or service oriented, is by following proven revenue growth frameworks. Without a proven framework, you are operating from guess work and guesslogy. You will be transactional and engage clients as if you are still in 2010.

 

Being clear about your strategy, key goals and deploying sales and marketing framework that are in alignment with what you want to achieve is very critical to achieve results. That’s the only way to scale your tech business from 3M to 5M in 18-24 months.

 

Over the past 2 years, we have used TechCelerate Revenue Acceleration framework with many mid sized tech companies who want to penetrate the US market and drive demand.

 

In TechCelerate, we understand your business, goals, develop a strategy, execution plan and install our proven AICP framework to align go to market, drive demand, accelerate sales and propagate your business. In doing this, we stay with you for a period of time, provide value added services and help bridge the revenue gap.

 

Using our frameworks, know-how and coaching, we work with your team to attract prospects, get them interested in your products and services, convert them into accounts and also make your customers sell for you. We work with you to elevate your brand, tweak go to market plan, overlay our framework to your customer buying journey, install selling capabilities to drive demand and conversions.

 

Have you stitched your strategy to a well thought execution plan that is backed by a proven sales and marketing framework?

 

 

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business :

1.   Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.

4 Ways to Position Your Tech Business to Attract More Clients Click here.

3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.

2.   Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.

We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.

3.    Join our Techcelerate Implementation Program and be a Case Study

I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at Techcelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

Life is short. Take action now and grow. Best Wishes.

Communicate a message

Sales, Scale And Your Company Valuation

Sales and scale are important factors in determining a tech firm’s valuation. 

 

Though it’s difficult to get this right, it should definitely be on top of your agenda to increase valuation. Organic revenue growth can act as an indication of a well-conceived value proposition and effective go-to-market strategy. Scale, on the other hand, provides the tech firm with an increased ability to achieve a higher profit to revenue ratio.

 

The combination of sales and scale will equate to a higher EBITDA as a percentage of net revenue.

 

From a buyer’s perspective, a successful organic sales track-record creates a level of confidence that organic revenue growth will continue to increase. Scale provides the buyer with a platform which will allow them to realise synergies and efficiency. Combined, sales and scale play an integral part in driving the multiples a buyer is willing to pay. Moreover, sales and scale will help increase the base EBITDA to which the multiples are to be applied.

 

Sales

When forming a strategy on the most effective way to increase sales, buyers usually start reviewing the Tech firm’s value proposition. Aside from the value proposition, there are four key components to increasing sales within a Tech firm model; sales talent, go-to-market strategy, compensation and ongoing service.

 

1. Sales Talent

The first to check is right business development talent. The second step is continued development of sales talent. Business is in a constant state of flux. As such, the sales arm of a Tech firm should remain abreast to new developments that could impact the Tech firm and the industries in which they serve. Development of the sales team shouldn’t solely be the responsibility of the Tech firm.

 

You should get them trained and coached on a regular basis by experts who can inculcate both capabilities and skills. Sales enablement should be part of your development agenda.

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100 Ideas in 10 Mins

100 Growth Ideas In 10 Minutes

Last week, I with a bunch of technoprenuers from Malaysia, India, Singapore and Philipines. They were all hungry and eager to grow their business.

 

I moderated a 45 minutes session on various growth strategies, tactics and ideas that are relevant in current times. So I decided to do something different and not just talk to “at them” the entire time.

 

What I did was warm them up with some ‘possibility thinking’ then I showed them the business model to scale their tech business while working less than half the time. They liked that a lot.

 

I shared some of the things we implemented at few of our clients and they all liked it a lot. The next bit blew me away.

 

They were already on round tables, so I made time to do an exercise. At most sessions the participant note taking is not great and a lot is forgotten soon after the speech is over. Well, I wanted to do something about that.

 

With 10 minutes to go, I got each table (15 in total) to nominate a note taker and then I gave them 10 minutes to brainstorm ideas to get their firms to brain storm ideas to accelerate revenue and improve margins within next 12 months.

 

The energy in the room was amazing. Once the time was up, I had all the note takers take a snap and load the pic into the conference WhatsApp group.

 

What you’re about to read is the culled and consolidated list of everyone’s efforts. 100 strategies (or tactics) generated in 10 minutes flat.

 

I am sure you have implemented some of them and I am sure there are many more you could implement. We are mid way through the year. Some of these might be the ideas list you need to take your firm to the next level.

 

Below is the consolidated list from your peers. I particularly like no. 94. Enjoy!

1. Add higher number of type A clients
2. Productise services and sell IP
3. Increase billable hours somehow

4. Eliminate the BS in your business!
5. Price high – value based pricing
6. Elevate conversations with clients
7. System / Procedures documented
8. Document client goals
9. Product development system
10. Own (and know) the numbers
11. Make the hard decisions
12. Take risks
13. Health, not hygiene
14. Minimum client # more revenue per client
15. Business clients only
16. Don’t apply discounts
17. Headcount mix needed – hard look at resourcing
18. Put all clients on customer success survey routine
19. Higher billing rate & higher utilisation
20. Purchase a firm (easy to grow inorganic)
21. Services – Amplify value proposition
22. Add additional products to clients service packages
23. Get rid of poor performing (unreasonable) clients
24. Increase pricing by 25% plus
26. Niche market & specialise
27. Create an association
28. Write a book – become a thought leader
29. Maximise Technology for efficiencies
30. Everything in cloud
31. Delegate everything partner does
32. Distributed Team (Don’t pay rent)
33. Client events / webinars
34. Accept that people are going to say no
35. Right people in the team
36. Learn how to value our IP
37. Don’t be shy
38. Separate the sales role and the process role
39. The right sales and marketing tools
40. Don’t assume you cannot get more revenue from clients
41. Review overhead costs
42. Branding
43. Right Incentives = KPIs
44. Elevate and Delegate
45. Compulsory Minimum Service Offers for clients
46. KPI number of client meetings
47. CEOs don’t do the actual work
48. $2-$3 m per founder in clients
49. Systemise + delegate
50. Free management time (Less client work)
51. Review product offering
52. Deal with people you like
53. Deliver on service offerings
54. Downgrade office & reduce costs
55. Hire slow + fire quick
56. More efficient processes
57. More staff generate new business
58. Levels of engagement
59. Service Leverage
60. Focus on goals
61. Measurable Outcomes
62. Back yourself more
63. Less distraction
64. All Founder/Directors aligned
65. Improve social networking/markets
66. Leads – Lead Generation Marketing + Appointment setting
67. Free up time for more sales and client engagement
68. Tweak Organisational structure
69. Leverage wages/time with people
70. Social media presence
71. Team Buy In
72. A Team Players only – get rid of the rest
73. Industry Specific – get a niche
74. Increase billing rate dramatically (add more value)
75. Responsive website to drive demand
76. Fixed Fees for everything
77. Strategic Partnerships
78. Professional Development program – all team
79. Expand our market region
80. Sack bottom 10%
81. Visit clients, every quarter
92. Reviewing Systems
93. Develop Marketing Strategy & Measure it
94. Hire Mag Rajasekaran
95. Relevant people doing relevant tasks
96. Believe it’s achievable
97. Embrace change/price
98. Encourage Innovative Culture
99. Fixed Contracts for all clients/pricing upfront
100. Cut expenses everywhere

P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 3 ways I can help you grow your tech business :

1.   Grab a free copy of useful stuff that can help you grow your tech business. More in our blog.

4 Ways to Position Your Tech Business to Attract More Clients Click here.

3 Mistakes to Avoid In Your Tech Business To Grow Revenue Click here.

2.   Schedule a 15 Minute assessment call with us – Click here.

We have worked with a bunch of tech companies and have offered them systems, strategies and coaching to attract and convert clients. We help you install sales and marketing systems that automate stuff and help flood leads and drive higher revenues and margins. Talk to us.

3.    Join our Techcelerate Implementation Program and be a Case Study

I’m putting together a new coaching case study group at Techcelerate this month… stay tuned for details. If you’d like to work with us on your client-getting and scale plans… just reply to this message and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

Life is short. Take action now and grow.

Read More