Starting a new business is exciting and frustrating at the same time. It’s exciting because of the possibilities but you often don’t know how or whether you will succeed in building a viable business. Fortunately, there are several digital marketing tips that can support your marketing efforts.
Digital Marketing Tips: Lead Generation
You can make assumptions about who will buy from you but you never really know. One way to convert new sales is to build a website and install Google Analytics (GA) on it. GA provides information about website visits such as pages that visitors read and how they arrive there.
For instance, you might find that most of your traffic comes from Twitter or from organic searches. You might also find that your website visitors spend more time on one type of content compared to another and fill out as contact form asking for more information thereafter. This means you have converted a website visitor into your sales funnel using content on your site.
Digital Marketing Tips: Strategies
The strategy that you employ depends on what you want to achieve. Start by creating an awareness of the problem that you want to solve for your customers. Often, your target customers know that there is a problem but they are unable to define it.
Another strategy could be to retain and deepen the relationship that you have with existing customers. Your marketing activities will differ in this instance. For example, you could provide more long-term customer support, incentivize repeat business or start regular webinars that arm your customers with tips and tricks for optimising their purchase.
Digital Marketing Tips: Competitor Knowledge
Many start-ups ignore the competition or they believe that they don’t have any competition. Online access presents a vast world of information about your competition, similar products and trends. Learn from your competitors.
Find out which social media platforms that they are most engaged with and see who their followers are. What is working for them and where could they improve? Always thrive to create a distinct competitive advantage rather than just copying your competitors.
Digital Marketing Tips: Creating a Budget
Planning a budget is difficult when you are starting a business. This is because you are not sure what is going to work to grow your sales pipeline. One of the best ways to create a focused budget is by choosing a strategy and executing it.
Experiment with different ways of generating brand awareness. Pick one or two social media platforms then manage them well, and ensure that you are measuring performance against your goals. Look at the sources of your web traffic and where your qualified leads originate from. Spend more in those areas.
Digital Marketing Tips: Planning for Growth
You need to be able to calculate what it costs you to acquire a customer. This is how you can forecast sales and grow. This cost is commonly called Cost of Customer Acquisition or COCA.
Here is an example of COCA using Facebook Ads. If your goal is 100 subscribers for your online course, you must first find out how many people need to click on your Facebook Ad in order to get 100 sign ups. Say your conversion rate is 1% on average. That means you need 10,000 people to click on your ad. If your cost per click on Facebook is roughly £0.20 (this varies from industry to industry and from ad to ad), it means you will spend £2,000 to acquire 100 subscribers. Therefore, your COCA is £20.
There is also the case of customer lifetime value or LTV. And that better be larger than your COCA otherwise you will not sustain your business long term. More on that in my next post.
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For a recent Forrester report on the B2B digital transformation, the team interviewed senior execs from global corporation giants GE, IBM and Cisco Systems. The report highlights key themes arising from the move to align sales teams with the new reality of the digital world.
Why B2B Digital Transformation?
B2B digital transformation is driven from the buyer’s side as companies seek to attract digital buyers. Previous articles suggest that the root cause of sales and marketing misalignment is a lack of understanding of the buyer. Some practitioners explain that closer alignment between sales and marketing could even shorten sales cycles.
Therefore, global leaders like GE, Cisco and IBM have taken steps to reevaluate sales and marketing strategies and to enable new ways of empowering direct sales teams. Part of the reevaluation is a digital transformation. According to the Forrester report, key areas of best practices are experimentation, collaboration and innovation. Similar practices apply to any change management programme including social media and technology adoption.
In this blog post, I will summarise the three case studies: GE, Cisco and IBM to draw out key insights.
Cisco: B2B Digital Transformation through Collaborative Innovation
Cisco aims to tie innovation to business outcomes and to de-fragment pockets of innovation throughout the business. The goals are:
- Meet customers where they are
- Reach new markets more efficiently
- Give sales teams more time for actual selling activities
Focusing on innovation and collaboration, Cisco executed its B2B digital transformation as follows:
- They built and piloted new tools, managing the innovation from incubation to scale. The new tools were based on increased efficiency and higher quality interactions with potential and existing buyers.
- They established collaboration and shared goals between sales and marketing. For instance, they paired marketing’s sentiment data with sales data. These create insights that tie to opportunities for the organisation.
GE: B2B Digital Transformation through Centralised Innovation
GE is a complex, matrix organisation with several products being sold across different divisions. Therefore, the emphasis for the industrial giant are:
- Centralise new technologies
- Form new collaboration partnerships across the divisions
- Reduce sales cycles by 50%
Some of the positive benefits of executing the initiative were that:
- Centralising enables scaling of technology. For instance, it allows the reuse and recycling of successful tools and processes. It also provides a 360 degree view of interactions at all levels across the organisation, hence increasing collaboration on opportunities.
- Collaboration enables sales to respond to customers 50% faster. For instance, GE built an app to reduce time that sales teams spend addressing forecast questions. Salespeople can input information on the fly through voice text solutions. Overall, GE’s sales teams are spending more time on customer-facing selling activities.
IBM: B2B Digital Transformation through Data-Driven Sales Innovation
IBM saw significant incremental sales revenue from putting data scientists in sales teams rather than at corporate level. The success from leveraging data science can be attributed to:
- Making data scientists part of the sales team. The organisation developed deeper understanding of buyers due to a more scientific approach. For instance, salespeople could differentiate between a motivated buyer and a latent buyer. Also, the teams could more accurately assign sales cycles and measure the impact of new tools and tactics.
- Identify pockets of innovation in the sales team then empower salespeople who already have digital affinity to test new approaches. This drives a culture of innovation starting with early adopters.
- Seek out tools that increase efficiency in the sales team, enable more personalised engagement and provide rich buyer/seller/relationship analytics.
- Have at least one data scientist that aligns with sales.
To read the full report, contact Mary Shea, PhD or visit Forrester.com
Feature Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash