Marketing Automation

Why You Need Marketing Automation To Grow Your Tech Business?

It makes perfect sense to use “human” or “manual” marketing with – your top 20-30 accounts. In theory, this frees you up from the time vampires who are sucking your time away with marketing that probably won’t have a good return on investment.

But, what about the rest of your clients and prospects from various other sources? How do you nurture your relationships with them? This is where we turn to the other method of marketing. We’ll use automation to market to the rest of our list.

We start by thinking about the people on our list as our “flock”. We need to move beyond seeing clients simply as contacts and start seeing them as relationships that need nurturing. These are relationships that we are responsible for.

Why? Because these are the relationships that will bring us the most business. These people will help us, by us helping them.

When some technopreneurs market to their contacts, they can “burn the list”. This is basically sending out a bunch of useless garbage to your contacts, causing them to not want to hear from you. To leave the list.

We want to get away from this model by creating a consistently valuable experience for your flock so that they can be guided by you when they face a problem that you can help them with.

Think: when you send your flock some marketing, are you helping educate them? Are you building relationships by sharing in personal things about you? If neither of those are true, then reassess the marketing campaign.

You’re helping to shepherd them to a good solution whenever a solution that you offer is there. If you’re not the right solution, that means helping them find the right solution.

Twenty years ago you could get by without automated marketing simply because nobody had it. Today, with all of the things people can give their attention to (let’s call those distractions), it’s impossible to be effective at marketing without using both people and automation.

Why do you need both manual and automated marketing? Let’s take a look at what each one looks like if used on its own.

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8 Tech Firm Marketing Activities To Do Every Day

Technology firms marketing is now an umbrella term that encompasses a whole bunch of actions. It’s important to note that the “run-of-the-mill” marketing activities that work for any old business aren’t necessarily going to be the best fit for technology firms, however. What’s more, some technology firm marketing activities are going to be more worthwhile than others depending on your immediate goals.

Before You Get Started: Assess Your Tech Firm’s Objectives

Technology firm marketing should be executed based on what you’re trying to get the prospective client to do next.

Do they need to know simply that your business exists, or why you’re the best tech business in your domain area for them? You could even be at the point where you need the client to officially agree to working together. Here are quick summaries of common tech firm marketing objectives that technopreneurs face all the time:

  • Building Authority: Make sure prospects know you are different from other tech firms next door by presenting your point of view on both your domain area and common client issues.
  • Establishing Trust: Allow prospective clients to get to know your personal tech brand by making an introduction and revealing your personality and values.
  • Demonstrating Capabilities: Help clients realize your specialty tech areas and reassure them that you truly solve problems for your clients, in their business.
  • Asking for Referrals: Keep the business coming by asking your established, ideal clients to introduce you to other people just like them.

Depending on the maturity of your tech firm marketing strategy, you may be in a position where you need to work on all of these things at once, or just focus on a couple of areas in particular. For each of these objectives, there are some ideal marketing activities (that you can do every day, of course) that will strengthen your overall chances of success.

 

Tech Firm Marketing Activities for Meeting Your Business Objectives

Building Authority

authority-law-firm-marketing.jpg

Publish Regularly

If you want to prospective clients to identify you as the tech “expert of choice,” you’ll need to show off a little. Write down your point of view on hot technology and domain issues of the day and transfer that to a digital medium. It’s a great idea to get a blog started on your tech firm’s website, but even if you don’t have one, using LinkedIn Publishing tools is a great way to broadcast your tech business knowledge.

If writing for tech firm marketing isn’t your strong suit, try finding your voice by reading tech journals and blogs. You will get an idea.

Give prospective clients that have agreed to communications links that go directly to your resources. That way, you have more control over whether you’re reaching the right people instead of hoping that they’ll stumble across you. Just be sure to keep your contacts organized by the practice areas and topics that are most applicable to their needs.

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How I Teach Technoprenuers to Act Like Fortune 500 Tech Shop?

Teaching Technopreneurs running a $3M tech shop to act like Fortune 500 Silicon Valley enterprise is less of a business switch and more of a mental adjustment.

 

It’s the same story almost every time I talk to a Technopreneur who runs a small/ mid-tier Cloud, a Big Data or CyberSecurity company.

 

They are struggling to grow, they are taking every meeting with any potential client they can get, they end up with awful clients, and although they have confidence in their abilities and service, they don’t have a clear direction of where to go next.

 

The first thing I tell them to do is to stop chasing business. The second thing I tell them to do is to treat their firm like what it is: a business selling a service to another B2B business or a consumer who buys a thousand things a year.

“You’re not as different as you think you are.”

Technopreneurs I talk to almost universally treat their firms as some entity that is separate from the world of business. I get it, I have been in this industry for ages, and the amount of tradition, rules, education path, and history behind the tech industry makes it seem like it’s less of an industry and more of a collection of like-minded professionals.

 

But the truth is, tech firms operate in the exact same environment as every other business. Just ask the clients.

 

One of the first hard conversations I have to have with a Technopreneur who wants to improve their business metrics, is that their clients are used to interacting with services and businesses in a very specific manner.

 

People are being bombarded with the latest marketing mix from massive corporations, to local businesses in all aspects of their personal and professional lives. Although the methods may change with the ebb and flow of technology and research, people have become accustomed to personalized and immediate access to brands and information.

 

The hard-hitting revelation to Technopreneurs is that although their services are specialized, pricy, and important… they are just that: services for other businesses who buy a thousand things a year. The same methods of growing a tech firm in 1998 just aren’t going to cut it for today’s short attention span consumers.

Blissful ignorance isn’t the norm.

I’m not saying people are less likely to pay attention to information than they were 30-40 years ago when handshakes sold tech services, in fact I’m saying quite the opposite. The short attention spans, and the marketing that caters to those spans, exist because buyers are ravenous about information.

 

Services are no longer assumed useful just because there’s another tech firm with a few extra years of experience standing behind brand. In fact, we’ve moved far beyond the ‘trust but verify’ stage of marketing into the realm of distrust until proven otherwise. People do their own research today for everything they consume, and the firms that still don’t have a modern online presence boggle my mind.

 

I was talking to a tech firm just the other week that had a potentially multi-million dollar revenue client referred to them by another firm and they lost that client because their website looked like a mouse rolled across a keyboard when their developer stepped away from their laptop.

 

A poor website broke the holy grail of new clients – a referral. If evidence of a poor web presence breaking the cornerstone of tech everywhere isn’t enough evidence to show that firms need to catch up with modern marketing, then it looks like the firms that do get it are going to have their pick of the litter.

 

How firms can borrow from the Fortune 500

We’ve established that the business who need tech products or services are the same consumers who buy from hundreds of other companies and that they will have the same general process for acquiring services and products. Naturally, Technopreneur who want to appeal to today’s buyers need to borrow some of the strategies from successful multi-billion dollar tech enterprises.

 

Here’s what I tell tech firms who need to grow:

  1. Know exactly who you want to walk through your door. A mid-size firm should know the demographics and the case types of their best clients. One of the first things I tell a firm to do is to stop chasing potential clients they don’t actually want and focus on discovering potential clients that will set the firm up for success. Creating fictional buyer personas, or ideal client personas, is a great way to know who to look for.
  2. Don’t sink your time into marketing. Technopreneurs think that they have to split their time between attracting new clients and working with current clients. I say that they didn’t spend years in the tech industry to become marketers, and marketing is changing at light speed (way faster than the tech you MUST stay on top of). Find a way to have an expert run a successful marketing strategy for you, and then focus on representing your clients and providing quality service.
  3. Interact personally with your potential clients and don’t wait until they are in your office. Consumers are used to getting the service they need from the comfort of their favorite chair at home. This only raises the barrier to getting a potential client into your office. Interact with your ideal client groups before they ever set foot in your office. Run webinars, post frequently on social media, and give your potential clients a library of videos so that they can feel like they are getting to know you. After all, you can find a video on just about any company outside of the tech industry.
  4. Set goals and measure everything. Running a tech firm is a business, and it wouldn’t make sense for a business to be throwing money at initiatives without any idea if they will work. Tech firms should measure every marketing activity and Technopreneurs should have a solid grasp of what their marketing strategy is doing, what their KPIs are, and how their marketing mix is currently performing. On any given day, Technopreneurs should be able to look up their current return on their marketing spend and at the same time, understand the trend of the strategy as a whole.

 

That’s they way Technopreneurs should shift their thinking and start acting like Fortune 500 Tech shop.

 

Are you ready?

 

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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 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 and grow. Best Wishes.

Top 4 Sales Challenges in Mid Size Technology Firms

Reading time 4 mins. If you are a CEO or entrepreneur of a mid-sized technology firm, this article is for you.

Well, here are some interesting facts from the field.

I met a tech entrepreneur with USD 20 million in revenue loose USD 4 million in a bad channel selection decision! This mistake hit him deep and will take a long time before it leaves his psyche!!

Met another CEO of a mid-sized cloud technology firm not have any faith in his sales team. Sales team comprised of freshers and seniors who were demonstrating deep insecurities on one side and lack of capability on the other.

So how do we define sales challenges of a mid-sized technology company?

Should we categorize it as people, competency and process issue? Or as something else?

To begin with, Mid-sized technology firms come in many shapes and sizes. Some are old players (survived for 10+ years), some are family businesses, and some are relatively new entrants in their field (eg: born in the cloud service providers).

Based on what I have observed in the field let me classify the challenges into 5 types:

 

1. People Challenges

In most of the small to mid-sized tech firms, business is usually driven by one of two lone wolf superstars.

Sometimes, it’s the owner himself or herself drives sales. He or she generates business through sheer determination and drive. He is the key account manager, mainly aware of all major deals. This star is not just great at selling he is great at ensuring customer orders are serviced and is also probably the best in sales operations. The sales success of the business is synonymous with the great sales person the sales superstar is.

In other cases, the entrepreneur is the domain expert and relies on lone wolves to run sales. This is far more dangerous as the entrepreneur has less control over customers and will have to be always on his toes to watch what is happening in the field.

Mid-sized tech businesses usually have a problem in retaining great sales talent. Due to lack of a clear plan to attract and build great sales people, they are mostly training ground for many salespeople before they move to greener pastures.

Over time, the company becomes gets into a vicious cycle of hiring and losing salespeople.

Both these situations are not scalable and unfortunately any small to mid-sized business has to go through this phase. Well, here are a few ways in which this situation can be de-risked and managed.

  1. Find a way to systematize sales process. Without a process that can be monitored and managed, it is difficult to have a handle on the sales cycle.
  2. The entrepreneur should definitely understand selling and should be comfortable about selling cycles though he or she may not be responsible for sales function. It is highly recommended that the leader sit in key sales meetings and understand to interpret sales KPIs such as leading and lagging indicators.
  3. The leader should plan to put together a people plan where there is enough control in on-boarding new sellers and get them to be productive as soon as possible. This is so important as in selling time to revenue is the key.
  4. If there are still struggles, hire a company like Agility Nexus that specializes in installing a sales system in your company. Paying for this services so worth it.

 

2. Go to Market Issues

Selling a $20/user/month SaaS product is lot different from selling a $50,000 Salesforce Automation services.

It’s foolish to travel across the country for an in-person demonstration to sell a $20/user SaaS product! Likewise, it’s foolish to expect an Enterprise client to commit to a $50,000 platform by simply visiting your website and entering their credit card details.

Clearly, each of these has a different Go To Market approach for which for which the ‘Customer Acquisition Cost‘ (CAC) has to fall in line with the revenue it generates.

Depending on CAC, sales models can range from freemium, web sales, online sales, inbound selling, channel selling, outbound centric selling to direct field sales force sales.

Getting this mix is so important to reach the market. If the leader makes a mistake in GTM then the business burns cash and is set back by few quarters.

Let’s see how this can be mitigated?

  1. Come out with a well defined GTM strategy for your product and market.
  2. Structure your selling team in line with your GTM strategy.
  3. Structure your selling approach and selling cost in line with your revenue strategy.
  4. Structure sales compensation in line with your GTM strategy.
  5. Choose and apply the right prospecting process that is line with your GTM approach.
  6. Tweak your product prices in line with your GTM approach.
  7. If you need help in any of these areas, do seek help from a company, say Agility Nexus, that is focussed on helping you accelerate sales and shorten time to revenue.

3. Sales Process Challenges

I asked on of the mid-sized tech CEOs as to if he has a sales methodology or process to guide a sale?

Pat came the answer. “We have installed Salesforce CRM”.

Many mid-sized companies have implemented a CRM system like Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce or Hubspot and think that they have a sales process! This is absolutely a wrong assumption.

Even in mature mid-sized firms, there is a lack of awareness as to how their ideal customers buy stuff! A lot is left to chance. While a good 40% are focussed the rest of them still follow ‘spray and pray’ approach when it comes to a selling process.

Any selling process should begin with an understanding of how your customers buy. You have to know what’s most important to them, how they evaluate new products and services, how and when they allocate budget, who needs to be involved, how decision are made, how terms and deals are negotiated, etc.

Knowing how the customer buys gives you the ability to map your sales process with the buying process of the prospects.

Let’s see how your sales process can be aligned to speed up ‘time to revenue’?

  1. Understand who your ideal customer and buyer persona is?
  2. Understand how they buy? What steps do they take before they are willing to spend money?
  3. This includes how they evaluate new products and services, how and when they allocate budget, who needs to be involved, how decision are made, how terms and deals are negotiated, etc.
  4. Now design a sales process in any CRM system in line with your customer buying process with right gates to check deal progress.
  5. If you have doubts about establishing this, do give us a call. We might be able to help you.

 

4. Sales Competency Challenges

Finally, mid-sized technology companies should realize that the way customers want to be engaged by sellers (or selling cycle) has changed a lot in 2018.

With customers having more control over the sales process than ever before, salespeople must be able to engage them at every point in the buying cycle.

This reality is reflected in survey responses that identified several stages where first interactions with customers can take place: the prospecting stage, when identifying customer needs, when forming product or service solutions, when delivering the pitch, when closing the sale, and even during the follow-up stage.

The results suggest that salespeople must be skilled at both identifying a customer’s stage in the sales cycle and effectively engaging customers at every stage. They need to possess the sales competencies to establish rapport, initiate a dialogue, understand customer needs, position the solution, negotiate and close, and maintain the relationship.

Only by leveraging these competencies can salespeople move the customer from one stage to the next.

This is where training and coaching your salespeople to be precise and productive becomes very important.

If you don’t train, you don’t gain.

 

Let’s see how you can make your sales team effective and get results:

  1. Tailor the right training program for them to lift their game. It should be a targetted intervention led by a trainer from the industry who understands the skills needed to get the job done. Generic training won’t cut the bill.
  2. Further sellers should be coached over a period of time, say a quarter, to correct their mistakes and sharpen their skills to engage clients and win deals.
  3. If you don’t have the in-house capability and need someone from the technology industry with experience in training hundreds of technology sellers, click on the banner below.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions in each of these topics, do give us a shout. We are a full cycle sales company that helps mid-sized technology companies simplify selling and win more deals.

Happy selling.

 

Build Your Own Sales Process and Trust It!

If you want to sell better, start creating your own, repeatable processes that will get you to your goal.

Just like losing weight, each one of us have to figure a way that works for us. Getting lost in umpteen weight loss plans, apps, gadgets, and recommendation is often the case with many of us. Picking one plan, one process and staying disciplined to set of activities will definitely get you off to a good start and deliver results.

Improving from that place of progress is much easier than frequently flipping over to multiple approaches, processes and activities.

Too many salespeople (including organizations) just get lost in a bunch of activities without a plan. They make calls. The write emails. They read books. They follow up on tasks, etc. But what is missing with most sales people is consistent, reliable, processes that increase the probability of making their numbers.

If you want to sell better, step back and analyze how you do what you do. Start learning to ask WHY?

  • Why do you call when you call?
  • Are they the right times?
  • Why do you write the emails you write?
  • Are they the correct emails?
  • When do you prospect vs. follow up on existing pipeline opportunities?
  • How do you manage open tasks?
  • What tools have you/do you incorporate into your daily routine.
  • Why do you use the tools you use today?
  • Why are you using the current cadence that you use?
  • What are the outcomes you expect from each process?
  • What happens if it’s not delivering?
  • How are you identifying new companies to call, or connect with?
  • How do you know when to change things up, etc.?

The best sales people build repeatable sales processes that increase their probability of being successful.

Take inventory of your day and evaluate how you execute. Where is there room for improvement? How can you maximize your chance of success? What things can you do, repeatedly, that will get you more opportunities, accelerate the sales cycle, increase the average deal size and more.

The times I’m most successful is when I put a solid process in place. It’s when I become an expert in “how” something can be done.  When we become experts in how to do something we increase the probability of getting it done and done well.

Start analyzing your work flows, your work processes and how you execute. Look to build effective, repeatable methods to do your job and then trust the process. Too often we underestimate the power of execution. It’s not enough to just do. We have to do it well also.

In our case, we have used a consistent prospecting process, set of KPIs and a solid CRM (Hubspot) to drive our sales pipeline.

 

We know how we will qualify and move our Subscribers to become leads and further to become sales qualified leads. We have honed our process over a period of 5 months and now we know how to go after our Ideal Customers and Prospects.

This has resulted in a consistent increase in our pipeline and movement towards our sales goal.

If you want to get better at selling, build your own processes and trust them.

 

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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.