Different Content

What’s The Difference Between Sales & Marketing Content?

As we continue to help Tech firms drive demand and accelerate revenue growth, we’ve have come across many TechCEOs with different levels of Go to Market readiness. 

 

When these TechCEOs kick off a campaign for a product or service with immediate sales focus, I encourage them to take a breath and look at their revenue strategy and goals. One such key element in putting together a plan for driving top of the funnel, content marketing become very important.

 

The reality is there’s no silver bullet in content marketing. Content marketing is all about playing both long and short game accordingly. It’s about creating content that starts a conversation, which will transition into sales down the road. It’s not selling out of the gate.

 

If you’re marketing through content, you can’t achieve authority position with your content and tell your sales stories at the same time. Why? Because you run the risk of diluting your message.

 

You have to choose one or the other: You either market your stories or you sell your products.

 

So, What Is Marketing Content?

One word: Compelling story telling. Marketing content is about telling a compelling story or narratiev about your product or services alongside its benefits to the client. In fact, good marketing content will charm people to the point where convincing them to buy is easy.

 

Marketing content is about attracting people to whatever you’re selling and the kind of company you’re building. The content people love to share (and that journalists love to write about) is not the content that says how great you are. Rather, it’s the content that speaks to your customer’s pain point and speaks to your “why” or your values.

 

People want to work with people that they know, like and trust. But it’s hard to establish trust or affinity with someone when you’re also trying to sell them something. That’s why your marketing content needs to make the best impression – not be an immediate turnoff.

 

OK, Then What Is Sales Content?

One word: persuade. Sales content is about persuading buyers that you understand their problem and your products and services solve that problem, how will you do it and why your people are a good fit for what they’re keen to solve or build.

 

This is your chance to highlight your customer case studies, testimonials, such as your customer list, awards, credentials, etc. That’s the sales content that will sway people enough to want to work with you.

 

Now How Do You Balance The Two?

As a brand, if your marketing content is strong and does a good job of telling a compelling story to prospects, your sales content doesn’t need to be forceful or pompous. It should always bring quantitative facts, align to customer context, relevant and to the point.

 

In short, marketing content is about selling people on you, your brand, your vision, your perspective, your story. It should show who you are and showcase your uniqueness without your having to come out and say it. Sales content is about selling buyers your products or services. It should include an articulation of why people should ultimately give you, not your competitors, their business. It should help people make their purchasing decisions more easily.

 

Use marketing content when people are still in the marketing stages of the journey. This is when your audience is looking for answers to their questions or needs advice about problems they’re looking to solve but aren’t sure who to turn to. Marketing content helps you nurture your relationship with them at this point.

 

Use sales content when your audience is in the sales stages of the journey and is close to making a purchase. Sales content here is meant to paraphrase problem, articulate contextual value, your promise and convert audience members into customers.

 

What happens if you use sales content within your marketing content? In some cases, it’ll turn customers away, which will hurt your sales. The most important thing to remember is that the relationship between marketing and sales content hinges on getting the sequencing right. Market when they’re in the marketing stages of their journey, and sell when they’re ready to be sold to.

 

Build A Solid Buyer’s Journey

The goal is always to create a delightful buying experience, not one where people are being force-sold products and services. Content is a great tool to help you do this.

 

You can use your marketing to showcase who you are, what you stand for, and to attract potential customers who have an interest in working with you. Then, sales can become a natural, organic progression of that interest.

 

Capture them with marketing content, convert with sales. (Know, though, that this won’t work if you aren’t taking the time to truly connect with your audience in the early marketing stages. You have to convince them to support you.)

 

Can sales content ever be used in marketing content? Maybe. But I wouldn’t recommend using this approach too often unless you’re willing to chalk your efforts up to experimenting with some new approaches.

 

Before people are customers, market to them. Once they become customers, you have more freedom to send sales and marketing content in tandem their way. With that said, I do think there are opportunities to use sales content in your marketing efforts to existing customers.

 

I say that because if they’re already customers, you’ve already gone through the effort of charming and convincing them, so you’re not starting at square one. With existing customers, you can cut to the chase a bit, but I would caution against constantly hitting them up to buy more.

 

Instead, focus on creating marketing content that reminds them why they were drawn to you in the first place.

 

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.

 

 

 

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. I only believe in sales.”

 

“Tried it. Spent 100K on a team. They 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. I don’t know if it really works.”

 

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

 

Does this resonate with you?

 

Most of the TechCEOs with an annual run rate of $2M-10M end up paying anywhere from $2500 to $15,000 per month in marketing (events, sponsorships and team salaries). After investing $15,000/month it is sad to see marketing initiatives bomb or the team leaves the company and jumps 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.

 

If you don’t understand marketing and do not have a clear plan to create awareness, drive demand and generate leads – you are stumped from day one!

 

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 have a solid marketing plan, 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.
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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.

Read More
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?

Read More
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.