Demand Generation

Do TechCEOs Get ROI From Marketing?

Propelling a company forward is lonely, and TechCEOs/ founders have to make difficult decisions every day with limited time, resources and imperfect information. In our experience, we see hundreds of TechCEOs struggle with demand generation. They invest monies into marketing and struggle to get any ROI.

 

When I ask TechCEOs, “Is your marketing working?”, this is what they say.

 

“I don’t have time for marketing”

 

“Tried it. Spent 48K on a person. He left after 8 months to a bigger firm leaving us high and dry.”

 

“I am spending a lot of money in both inbound and outbound but struggling to get meaningful ROI.”

 

“My Software partner is pushing us to market and do demand generation. We try to ride on their marketing engine.”

 

Does this resonate with you?

 

Most of the TechCEOs with an annual run rate of $2M-4M end up paying anywhere from $3500 to $4000 for a marketing executive. After investing $48,000 it is sad to see these marketing folks leave the company and jump ship. Even worse, there has been no tangible ROI that they have gotten for that spend.

 

So the TechCEOs hire direct sales people and believe less in marketing. Not that they don’t want to but they don’t see value in it, don’t know how to make it work or have not tasted success before.

 

Well here is a little secret.

 

The golden goose of growing your business is ‘getting the right leads and driving demand‘.

 

This is usually work of a well oiled marketing engine. Also here is is some good news. If you deploy a marketing system that is well structured and inject automation into play – you can be less reliant on marketing talent and be more in control of demand generation.

 

Meanwhile marketing landscape in selling Technology and IT services is always changing. If you haven’t brushed up on it recently, you may be in for a lot of surprises. If you’re looking to start taking your marketing seriously, here are 5 surprising marketing statistics and what they mean for your business.

  • Over 80% of prospective clients research tech firms online prior to engagement.
  • Over 45% of tech buyers source buyers using social media, third party analysts and OEM partner channel.
  • Mid sized tech firms get stuck in demand generation after some time as they run out of leads!
  • 67% of tech firms don’t position themselves as though leaders in their own industry and get price shopped!
  • According to a recent Gartner study, 47% of TechCEOs reported that hiring/investment in marketing staff was one of the top decisions that resulted in developing new business.

 

Good marketing is all about finding new buyers unaware of your solution and then motivating them to learn more about you — your company, your solution, your people. When TechCEOs fail to achieve the desired results they blame it on their team or just choose to ignore it. If only they can accept that it was a “poor idea, poorly executed” in the first place.

 

Whether you are selling a Software product, IT services or reselling a OEM product like Qlik, Tableau or AWS bundled with your services, you have to enable your marketing process to attract potential prospects and tell them how you can solve their problems.

 

Based on our work with TechCEOs in the region, the flaw is almost always NOT in the intent; instead it is in making poor choices in strategy and in execution. Namely, the inability of the organization (TechCEO) to deploy a marketing framework like TechCelerate, install a demand generation process, align it with sales and drive the necessary behaviour change within the team.

 

Moreover, stitching together a marketing plan and integrating it into your sales process and execute methodically needs a team of experts.

 

 

 

 

If you want to snapback and get your demand generation initiatives back on track, here is a brief primer on what to start doing tomorrow:

  • Hold 1 person accountable for results. This is not a responsibility to be spread like fruit jam over the organization. Indeed, there are many hands helping; but only one head in the noose. This could be your marketing director or an agency like us. In fact, work with TechCEOs to establish a marketing infrastructure and run it for them.

 

  • Pay them well for success. Nailing a marketing plan and driving demand should be a career achievement. A pat on the beck is not enough. When your leader (and team) is successful, pay them well. And extra. Set your incentive system well.

 

  • Make it their full job, not their second job. This is the biggest temptation our TechCEO clients face…just take an ‘A’ player in the company and load them up wit a second set of full time duties on top of their current ones. And then expect both to be carried out well. This is asking for the impossible. So don’t ask for it. Make the change initiative their full time job, for atleast a 12 month period.

 

  • Hire some expertise in installing best practices and driving change. Installing world class marketing systems and approach is key. When you back this with teh right talent, success is inevitable. Also change management and organisational behaviour is a specific field that requires expertise not in great supply. Hire out for it. The risk is worth the reward.

 

  • Implement for Leading and Behaviour Metrics.  Having measurable KPI is key. There will be problems and the need for mid-course corrections. To get ahead of the curve you need to look down the road. That is why leading and behavioural metrics are crucial. They give TechCEOs the necessary over-the-horizon radar so that obstacles can be avoided and chokepoints resolved early on.

 

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.

Rebranding

Should Tech Firms Consider Re-Branding to Drive New Demand?

When we work with TechCEO of established mid-sized businesses on demand generation issues, we have come across another key area that has often been neglected – rebranding your business to sound relevant to your customers.

For example, we are working with a large payroll outsourcing company that has been stuck in a transactional position far too long. In a crowded and competitive payroll outsourcing space, which is a tired category, clarifying your message and value proposition to customers become stale.

 

The HCM category itself is morphing itself to other areas such as smart automation, payroll intelligence, workplace culture, integration and collaboration and the rise of AI and data oriented decision making.

Now how can a TechCEO reposition his business in fast changing tech business, shift narrative, sound relevant, focus your message and drive new demand?

These days we are working a bunch of TechCEOs who have built stable businesses in a particular category, say payroll outsourcing, industrial automation or application development.

 

Most of these firms were founded by practitioners, so they usually follow a familiar formula of offering similar services to similar audiences. Buyers have a hard time telling them apart. Meanwhile, conventional demand drive initiatives don’t yield much result.

Do you know why? Let’s dig a little deep.

 

When the company is preparing for expanded growth, particularly international markets, it might struggle to position itself against competition and sound impactful to new audiences. Same old messaging that worked in home turf won’t work.

 

Second, TechCEOs soon realize that competitors are looking and sounding just like them. In such cases, it is possible that the company is losing relevance in consumer’s minds. TechCEOs can feel this trend. Your brand no longer reflects who you are. It’s time to re-position your firm (against competition) to grab mindshare from your customer.

 

If implemented properly, a change to the position and brand of a company has major consequences for the organization. Everything is adapted in line with the organization’s new strategy and promise, its products or services, HR policy, customer contact, corporate identity, and so on. Rebranding makes this change visible for all stakeholders.

 

Third, when a company enters into a new line of business, want to compete at a higher level or enter a new market – existing brand identity might not resonate with new buyers. A rebranding might be in order.

Finally, when a company wants to appeal to a new audience representing new category of solutions, say ML/AI led problem solving to a particular market segment, a rebranding might be necessary.

Now, all of these weaknesses can be turned into strength when you launch a re-branding activity to position your business for new wave of demand. It’s time to 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, Revenue Acceleration program for TechCEOs to re-position, re-brand and drive demand generation for your business.

 

 

You see, the only way to grow your tech business in fast changing technology market, be it product oriented, an IT services business, 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, getting your messaging right, aligning go to market and deploying sales and marketing framework are very critical to achieve results. That’s the only way to expand your tech business 5X in the next 12-24 months.

 

So here is a crucial question for you?

 

In 2019, does your brand identity clearly:

  • Clarify your brand’s message and ethos?
  • Identify your audience and clientele?
  • Make the services you offer clear?
  • Reach and engage your audience?

 

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.

 

Market of One

Selling To Market of One

In any tech market these days, there’s really first place, second place, maybe third and then the rest.​

Who wants to be rest?

When you think about markets such as fast food, consumer, tech or business, what are the first names that come to your mind? McDonald, Uber, Apple, Microsoft? 

The seconds, thirds and the rest simply don’t exist.​​


​If you are the rest, it is so darn difficult to get attention, attract prospects and get them interested in what you do.​​​​​

Ideally, you want to create your own kingdom and own it. Don’t you?

The point is there are only one or two names that will leap to mind in any category.
They own the category.​​​

They are the category.

And that’s where you want to be with your business. But how can you get to be first?

The answer to being first is not to simply “become visible”. You want to be visible in a way that is trusted, sought after, highly paid, in demand and authoritative.

Your aim is to be visible with authority. So visibility isn’t enough.

But you have another, even bigger problem. The bitter truth is that most markets are really crowded. The leader in any category has often been established for years, if not decades and will be difficult to replace.

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Having Clarity

Why Having Clarity Helps Drive Revenue Growth?

Anthony’s (not the real name) Company is a provider of Consulting, Advisory and Managed Cloud (AWS and Azure) Services to large enterprises.

 

Windsor Tech (not real name) serves as a consultant, an implementor and service provider for enterprises client and how those customers migrate work load from on-prem infrastructure to AWS and Azure cloud. Anthony is uniquely qualified to demonstrate how to clients can transform their IT by creating clarity throughout the entire company by getting everyone laser focused on the real drivers of revenue growth.

 

Yet, Anthony is struggling to grow his tech business revenue beyond $3.7M. Though Anthony is early in the cloud life cycle he has to compete with big boys such as IBM, DXC, Accenture and many other mid tier players to win business.

 

Anthony is selling into South East Asia and is also dabbling into Middle East and US markets.

 

When we met Anthony, the first question we asked him was the following.

What is your revenue growth strategy? Is it market expansion, market exposure or gain marketshare?

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Customer Journey

Customer Buying Journey beats MarTech Anyday!

Between a customer first visiting your website or connecting with you in Linkedin and being closed is a journey filled with opportunities to differentiate a company from the competition.

 

Too often technoprenuers focus their initiatives, including digital marketing, on one thing: lead generation.

 

What they usually forget is that lead generation is usually the effect. An outcome. Whereas the cause is a unique (tailored) process that leads your prospects through a unique buying journey for which they are willing to listen, spend more time and even pay for your services as a customer!

 

“In a crowded and noisy market, if you treat your prospects well, lead them on a journey and give away your wisdom, and at the end you get paid for your commodity.”

One thing technoprenuers should understand and learn is about the value of a process as a means to avoid commoditisation. A unique process that is tailored to be in line with your customer buying journey is also a way to get paid sooner–you can demonstrate value from the very beginning.

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Revenue Strategy

How can technoprenuers connect revenue strategy to execution plan?

With a new year starting the timing is right to shift the focus to executing your revenue strategy with precision and achieving the planned outcomes. We have clearly see that technoprenuers who spend quality time in putting together a focussed revenue strategy and execution plan are far more successful that those that simply wing it.

It does not matter if you are a 20 person or 200 person tech shop. Having a plan and focussing your activities in the right direction will yield results.

Here is a sample revenue strategy and execution we put together for one of the mid sized tech firms that wanted to 2X revenue within next 12 months. We simply chopped off a geography and 2 products from the basket!

 

The tolerance for under performance is diminishing each year as technoprenuers understand that revenue growth (and sales) is a science not an art form and good planning and implementation methodologies do deliver results.

If you cannot plan and see how to make the money at the start of the year
the results are most unlikely to be there at the end of the year.

Technoprenuers spend considerable amount of time and effort in running their business but spend very little time in planning and translating that plan to quarterly action plans.

Often they find it cumbersome and tedious. Sometimes they simply do not know how to put this together and translate it into an execution plan.

For those who are struggling to put together a plan, here are some outline that can help you along the way.

In Agility Nexus revenue planning process, we focus on 4 areas – core strategy (where to focus to achieve our numbers), product/ solution portfolio, sales and marketing.

1) Core Strategy – In developing our core strategy we look at our desired revenue numbers, share holder expectations, how fast we want to achieve it and what resources we have to get there. We also look at markets, competition, product/solution lifecycles, our position and a future paced outlook to achieve our results.

 

2) Revenue Planning – We then move onto a detail plan that goes one step down into mix of segments, product/ solution portfolio, existing customers, new customer acquisition, products, territories and revenue opportunities.

 

3) Breaking down the revenue plan – this leads us to objectives of the revenue plan (includes both marketing and sales) and what are the requirements (and needs) to get them delivered. We use a 4 quarter, 90D sprint planning process to plan and execute the micro detail of what is required to be completed each day, week, month and quarter. The activities with the customers which steers the direction from where the sales revenue will be derived.

 

4) Sales Funnel and Process – We then develop (tweak) the sales process and funnel, by applying AICP framework (Attract, Interest, Convert and Propagate) that incorporates customer buying journey, acquisition channels, attraction and conversion tools that brings in paying customers. This also boils down to detailed weekly execution plan.

 

5) Weekly/Daily Progress Tracking – when you understand the activity requirement for the business, you can then monitor to ensure the activity, and the right activity is occurring. This is the engine behind any revenue results being achieved. We monitor the following key areas with well defined KPIs.

  • Demand Generation activities
  • Sales funnel activities,
  • Client conversations and conversions.

 

6) Monthly Review & Meetings – Technoprenuers should also review progress, on a monthly basis, with individual team members to the plan, realign them where necessary and remove barriers that will stop them achieving. You should keep the team focused on the right activities and allow them to demonstrate how they are managing prospects and customer base.

 

7) Quarterly Business Review – keeping the revenue plan active with a runway of one or two full quarters ahead, at any time of the year is a must. Ensuring the activities are feeding the short and medium term objectives of the company.

 

With the focus on performance, effectiveness and results maintained through quality dashboards, the team will understand how to manage and deliver the planned results. The most important contribution of all is frontline coaching and reinforcement of the activities that deliver success.

If you don’t have one, get started with your strategy and execution plans. It will clearly differentiate you from your competitors and focusses your efforts to achieve maximum results.

 

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.

6 Steps Mid Size Tech Companies Can Take to 2X Revenues Within 12 Months

Over past 3 months, we studied 78 small and mid sized tech companies in South East Asia and and this is what we found out.

 

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.

Branding your tech

Why You Should Brand Your Tech Business?

Most technopreneurs generally start out by focusing on what they’re good at and what they can sell. This is good and a must. Without an MVP you are not going anywhere.

But once your business gets to a $500K or even better $1M per annum mark, you will need a good brand strategy.

If you don’t have a brand, then you just have a service or product without a real vision or identity. It is often commoditised in a noisy marketplace. Unless you are an AirBnB or an Uber!

You’re pretty much just selling stuff. (And you feel like your services are more than just stuff, right?) Without creating a brand strategy, your business has nothing to guide it on a path towards long-term impact and success.

So what exactly is a brand strategy?

A brand strategy encompasses the characteristics, attributes, personality, and core essence of a business. It’s what helps your business make an impact and build a culture and following beyond your services.

You might be asking, do I need a brand for a $1M business?

Not everyone thinks of starting with a brand strategy when they first launch into business, but having the right strategy in place will make building your business, attracting clients, and positioning your services so much easier.

A brand strategy consists of a number of elements such as your voice, style, promise, message, story, values, vision, identity, and target audience.

Most technopreneurs tend to skip over everything and jump straight to their identity and target audience. However, the other, sometimes-less-tangible elements of your brand play a large part in shaping how your target audience perceives you, connects with you, and feels about becoming your potential client. As all of these emotions are crucial when it comes to building a brand, don’t overlook these other important branding elements.

An effective brand strategy is essentially your guide to influencing your target audience’s opinion of who you are, what you’re about, why they should care, and how you can help them.

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Authority

Why Build Authority Positioning in Your Niche?

Ok, you have built a kickass cloud management, optimization platform. Or you have just built an AI widget with APIs that can connect with gazillion apps.

Now, who knows you in the cloud or AI industry?

Have you established your presence at least in your target market?

If you are not systematically and methodically establishing yourself as an authority, at least in your target market, you are ignoring the true power behind the marketplace. This is the axiom behind authority marketing.

As a technopreneur, if your firm is not able to sharply differentiate itself from others around you, you are just another company in the mix.

But if you do, then you are on your way to becoming an authority in your niche or chosen field.

An authority has all the knowledge stored away. An authority who disperses his or her knowledge in a way that people rely on and seek is a celebrity.

Authority positioning affords your business to leverage its experience to gain an elevated expert status within the specialized confines of their industry. You become an educator and advocate for the success of those who rely on you;

then, your audience can find (and trust) you.

 

Fast-Tracking Your Authority

Strategies used to optimize your position as an expert celebrity include highlighting local (or regional) press, writing books and other authoritative and informative materials, and distributing your writing so that it becomes widely available.

You must provide your target audience with so much content and proof, showing that you understand and empathize with their needs, so that you are the only choice in their minds. This could be done by being interviewed on podcasts your target audience listens to, or even starting your own podcast so you can open huge doors of opportunity for your business by interviewing influencers in your industry.

For example, one of my clients, for whom I’ve helped position a youtube strategy, has told me that their youtube is now syndicated on different platforms, increasing its exposure. My client also uses the platform to approach prospects with the ask to interview them, opening the door for future conversations about my client’s expert services.

 

Think about this: If you were looking for a Digital firm to help your business get closer to cosmetics users who are predominantly teenage girls, how would you make your decision?

With the first Digital company, you meet them at your local tech group and think they pretty friendly, at least from what you can see in early morning networking meetings!

With the second Digital firm, you notice they were recently featured in your local chamber of commerce retail summit, wrote a popular ebook on how to structure user experience (UX) for omnichannel retail consumers and has a weekly podcast you listen to about recent developments in retail technology.

Who would you choose?

Both may do a fabulous job, but we are all so busy that we tend to make decisions based on who seems to be the most qualified, and this is tied to visibility. In fact, the accountant who has established himself as an authority has vastly improved his “perceived value” in the marketplace.

 

Placement And Positioning

In the real world of business, I have found that respect comes not from media savviness but from the ability to make your knowledge into something useful for others. The primary way business owners can generate widespread respect for their authority is through understanding the technology and methods they work with and generating solutions from them.

Being able to generate and distribute applications for what you know will garner substantial unassailable value.

Authoritative entrepreneurs must display not only a tolerance but a thirst for change. When others are unsure of their response to change, the authoritative business owner must maintain a consistent viewpoint that portrays a protocol in place to allow change to be integrated into the business.

Look for ways to document your knowledge. It may be recording your thoughts with your phone about a specific problem you recently solved for a client. Guess what you can do with that?

Transcribe the recording and repurpose it into a blog post, your next email update to your clients, a social media post — the list goes on! See how easy this can be? But the first step is getting started and deciding to keep it up, even if it’s only once a month!

Remember: Building your authority should be your No. 1 priority.

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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