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New Business Strategies & Tactics
By Justine Lovett - Business Development Manager Read time 5 Minutes 10th October 2018
Regardless of the type of business you have, getting new customers can be fundamental to the overall success or failure of your company.
The first step is to look inward and clearly identify your own USP’s (Unique Selling Points). A SWOT analysis can help you to identify your top strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and it should have strong bearing on your business development plan. Knowing where opportunities sit and clearly focusing on them can help you to quickly accelerate towards achieving new business wins. Once you have this information to hand you’re in far better position to write your business development plan.
Start with the goals that you want to achieve over the next 12 months. They might include revenue goals, for example, you may set a goal to generate £10 million in revenue in the upcoming year. Customer retention and growth from existing accounts is particularly important for B2B and professional services, but the logic is the same for any business model as revenue growth is easier if you have a solid foundation upon which to build, so spend time nurturing existing clients and focus on providing exceptional service to keep them on board.
Diversification is also a big consideration, technology is changing our world rapidly so don’t rest on your laurels, keep looking for new opportunities. Build on your success, focus on the things that you do really well and put your efforts into selling more of that particular product, service or specialism.
Expand your networking presence and gain more visibility -but don’t be a busy fool, focus on where your prospects will hang out, whether that’s at an industry event or on a social platform.
Above all, remember that your plan is not set in stone, it is a working document and changing circumstances often dictate the need to change your target markets, so review regularly and update or adapt it if you need to. Whatever you do, don’t go to all the effort of writing it and then simply file it in the bottom draw to gather dust.
Focus Your Approach
Get to know and understand your existing customers. Not just their business but the characteristics of the individual decision makers, what makes them tick, what’s their motivation to get out of bed each day, what made them choose to work with you or buy the products or services you sell.
Building a deep understanding of your existing clients can reveal hidden insights that will help you communicate more effectively with new prospects and talk to them in a way that will engage them.
Take some time to clearly define your target markets and buyer profiles because if you nail this, you can start to create content that is far more powerful, and influential.
And remember, a tightly focused marketing approach will allow you to concentrate on the things that have the highest probability of success.
Different Ways to Generate Leads
Once you’ve got a clear picture of your target markets and buyer profiles you need to consider how you can reach them. There are lots of different marketing channels available but here are a few you may wish to consider:
Referrals – Customers that have a good experience with your brand and value your products or services can be great advocates for your business - don’t be afraid ask them to give you a referral. Most of them will be happy to do so, particularly if you’re also prepared to offer incentives.
Inbound Leads – your website is your shop window so make sure it has plenty of relevant content. Don’t just focus on the things you want to tell prospective customers, instead look to provide answers and information on the subject matter that they are actively searching for. Not only will this approach improve your visibility in search engines, it will also allow you to educate and build trust with prospective buyers. Latest statistics show that 88% of buyers research online before they buy. Make sure contact information is easy to find on your website and ensure you have set up Google Analytics so that you can regularly monitor and improve performance by adapting to your customer’s behaviour.
Create Partnerships with Other Business - Looking beyond the direct sale and thinking about the development of partnerships with other complimentary service providers, even if they may seem to be a competitor, is often hugely advantageous. Your strengths may be their weakness and vice versa so explore a collaborative approach or set up a way to make reciprocal referrals to each other. Openness and honesty is key to developing long standing mutually beneficial, long-term business relationships.
Digital Marketing – Consider all aspects of digital marketing to attract potential customers. Paid Search can generate leads from search engines like Google AdWords or Paid Social on channels such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Content Marketing can really help increase your visibility too, publishing posts on a variety of relevant topics and sharing advice or insights can position you as a thought leader and increase your brand recognition.
Go Where Your Customers Are - Networking is a great way to meet new customers and there are lots of ways to do it. Not only can you go to trade events, get involved in local business associations or attend industry events but you can also engage with potential customers online. LinkedIn is a great B2B networking tool, whilst Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are perfect for promoting your brand and increasing your exposure to potential customers.
Outbound Lead Generation – These are leads generated by outbound prospecting, usually in the form of direct mail or email. Do your research – it is time consuming but it’s better to invest time in finding out about your prospect and their business so that you can make your initial introduction more relevant. Try to do something in your initial communication that will get their attention so that when you follow up they instantly remember you.
So, in summary; is business development really about the ‘sale’ or is it more about the ‘marketing strategy’ that gets you to the point of a sales transaction?
It’s both, but you’re going to find it much easier to get to the ‘sale’ if you have a structured approach in the first place.
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