Success

5 Business Development Techniques to Help You Achieve Success

Being successful at sales isn’t a hit-and- miss endeavor; rather, sales is an activity that takes careful planning, diligence, and persistence. If you’re finding that you aren’t hitting your sales numbers or are unable to meet business development goals, it might be that you don’t have an effective sales strategy.

What does having a strategy mean? Does it mean making calls? Yes, but it may be that you are making calls, but haphazardly. Does it mean reaching out to prospective clients? Sure, but you may not be following up with leads, or tracking data on which clients are more likely to close, and when. If you execute your sales and outreach initiatives in this way, your efforts may become diluted, and you lose not only momentum but customer recognition of your brand or product, not to mention all of the time and efforts that you spent bringing in the customer and educating him or her in the first place.

Developing your brand, educating customers, and creating a profitable sales channel is not an easy task. However, once you’ve given yourself a starting push, it is your sales strategy that will keep your momentum going as your business grows and you end up expending energy elsewhere, for example, in team development, or on product improvement. The strategy you have should be robust, responsive to client needs, and it should take care of itself once it has been set up.

Wondering what the best way to have a successful sales strategy is? Read on to find out!

1. KYC. Know Your Customer.

This just isn’t a fancy term for business people. In fact, it is mandated legislation for many financial institutions. You need to know who you are selling to. Define your customer segments. As the saying goes, the quickest path to failure is trying to please everyone at the same time. For businesses, the corollary is trying to serve everyone at the same time. You need one narrowly defined area on which to focus, and you can take it from there and expand to other areas, niches, or even countries once you are successful.

Know your customers

2. Pick your channels.

Will you call customers on the phone, engage them on your social media page, and send out fliers or an email newsletter, or all of the above? This report says that almost 75% of all buyers use social media and some form of comparison chart before making purchases. Further, almost three-fifths of all buyers are spending more and more time online researching products, reading reviews, and learning about different options before they reach for their wallets. So what do you need to do? Reach out to people in your network, tap into your contact lists, develop your business circle, and identify which platforms most of your customers are active on. You then have to build your own presence on those specific platforms. Doing this will put you in the right place at the right time to not only sell to high-conversion customers directly but for them to stumble across you themselves.

Know your customers

3. Under-promise and over-deliver.

Always deliver what you said you were going to deliver, do so on time, and ‘wow’ your customer. Then follow up and make sure you build on the relationship so that that client, knowingly or unknowingly, becomes an enthusiastic spokesperson for your brand. Remember that no sale ends with the sale itself, rather it should extend beyond that to become a lasting relationship between you and the customer you just closed. Your mantra should be that customers are for life, not just one-off trades.

Over Delivery Expectations

4. Be analytical.

This is an often overlooked aspect of sales strategies. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t, and improve, pivot, tweak, and experiment with things until you have a winning strategy. In fact, this report states that companies who keep detailed records and track data generated by everything from their website and social media engagement figures to ROI are 12 times more likely to generate profits year-over- year. Marketing teams too often go for whatever is new, but for how long can you do things by trial and error? Such an approach is not only expensive and time consuming, but is an unprofessional way of doing things if looked at from the data science perspective of marketing. What you should be doing is asking yourself how things went, what worked, what didn’t, did you achieve your targets, why or why not, and figure out how you can improve each step of the process incrementally. After repeating this several times over weeks and months, you’ll have a system that has been tried and tested in the market and is actually built on factual data and first-hand market research.

Analyse

5. Think big.

Most small businesses and startup entrepreneurs start small with one web page, one product or service, and one goal in mind. But if you do a good job of executing on the four things outlined above, you will hopefully find yourself in the enviable position of having too much work to do but not enough time or resources. What can you do in such a situation?

Here are a few ideas.

  • Open another location. However, only do so after maintaining consistent profits and steady growth from your original business, site, or location.
  • Franchise your idea. For sales folks, this might mean giving commission-based works to new market entrants, or having freelancers or other outsourcing companies do some of the heavy lifting for you while you main proprietary control, as well as a share of profits.
  • Licensing and alliances. These can be effective, low-cost options once you have an established brand. Look into companies providing products or services similar to yours, and align yourself with those who have similar values as you. Trying to keep all the money to yourself is actually a losing strategy; the market is big enough for everyone, so if you can give a little to get a lot, it will be worth it at the end of the day, and the sales numbers will speak for themselves.
Thank Big

In summary: 

When it comes to sales, your bottom line is defined by how well you hit the sales process on the head. It isn’t rocket science and just takes a bit of persistence and market smarts, but with a little work, intense focus on (and application of) these five points, and tweaking of your process in repeated iterations, your sales will in good shape before you know it, and all you’ll have to do is to continue drumming away.

How To Become A Thought Leader In Your Industry

What is Thought Leadership?

The concept of thought leadership has become increasingly popular with the explosion of social media, big data, and the ability of consumers to obtain information on anything almost instantaneously. But what exactly is thought leadership?

Well, thought leadership basically means being able to answer the questions of your customers, your target market, or your audience in general. To put it simply, if you are a thought leader, you are seen as a pioneer or a trend-setter in your field, and you are the go-to person whenever anyone gets stuck. And by being in such a position of authority, you can even swing opinions, impact industry best practices, and determine what matters and what works from what does not.

If you are a thought leader, your opinion counts, and your footprint lasts.

Why is it important?

If you are a thought leader, you must offer some sort of benefit to your readers or listeners. Either you are able to help them with decision-making, or in identifying problems, or in coming up with the next big thing. Everyone has some level of knowledge and experience, but the movers and shakers in the industry are the ones who are ultimately able to seal the deal and get buyers and customers to reach for their wallets. Because of this, thought leaders can build or break a brand, and they drive customer engagement and also help create the next generation of consumers.

Thought leaders also help drive innovation and progress, because it is by carefully crafted and managed thought leadership columns and other social media interaction points that thought leaders talk about new products, features, services, technological advancements, or ways of doing business. By doing so, they are able to inject customer feedback, comments, and experiences back into production processes or the general realm of doing business and are thereby able to initiate improvements and advancements in the industry as a whole, benefitting all current and future generations of consumers.

In a study conducted by the Association of Management Consulting Firms (AMCF), over 90% of respondents said that seeing low-quality online content being published by a company or an individual lowered their opinion of the content-creator, while an almost identical percentage said that high-quality content improved their opinion of the content creator. In short, quantity matters, but not more than quality.

And when it comes to thought leaders in the market, respondents to the AMCF paid upwards of $4million per year on marketing their thought leadership columns and articles. Further, the companies who were at the higher end of the curve spent almost twice the average. And with changing trends in journalism and publishing (both online as well as offline), this article shows that there are trade-offs between quality, quantity, having a vast number of contributors writing for you, and including different types of media (photos, graphs, and so on). However, even here, the bottom line is that your readership and followers will rise or dwindle depending on the content you are producing, and the dollar figure for what this is worth on the balance sheet start off in the low thousands of dollars (depending on company size) and can go into the millions.

How can one become a thought leader?

Here are five straightforward, actionable steps to becoming a thought leader and developing your very own niche in your area of interest or expertise.

1. Thought leadership is about providing useful information to your customers. A goldmine of information is contained in consumer feedback and statistics, so the first place to start is by conducting research of your own, slicing and dicing data sets to identify and derive insights, and sharing your results.

2. People are constantly on the lookout for entertainment, and they are especially partial to the human element in business. A clever way to kill two birds with one stone is to provide a fresh source of humor or wit in your content, whilst including personal anecdotes or stories of how or why something happened to you or someone you know in a way that relates to everyday customers, and how a certain approach, product, or insight helped you or them overcome the problem at hand. Doing things this way will imprint your comments and suggestions in memory, and casual customers will be more likely to remember you. Whenever they are ready to take the plunge and are ready to buy or purchase something, your suggestions will drive their actions.

3. Being internationally known takes time, but anyone can start small, say, with a blog. Refine your online presence. Use your blog or Facebook page or LinkedIn account to showcase your knowledge, and including relevant, beneficial content is key.

4. As you work to build your online presence, you must also promote your content in the right places, in the right way. Tweeting an update the right way, using the right images, crafting the perfect title, and even knowing what the ideal length of a post is all take time to perfect, but with time, and by using the right platforms with the right crowd, you’ll slowly gain traction and your search rank will slowly rise.

5. Stay ahead of the curve. To be a successful thought leader ie. one who is influential, respected, and followed, you need to understand your industry through and through. See what’s happening in online circles related to yours, keep track of industry developments, devour everything on the likes of Quora, Reddit, and LinkedIn groups, and also be sure to read books, articles, and online content created by other influencers.

Although a lot of different things go into becoming a thought leader and developing your own personal brand and presence, the five points above are enough to get you started. Once the ball starts to roll, things will snowball and you can then address different areas as the need arises.

Have a few tips of your own to share? Join the conversation and tell us your story by leaving a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

 
Pjay Shrestha

Pjay Shrestha

Pjay is passionate about entrepreneurship and helping businesses grow. He is the recent winner of MR. Nepal Oceania and loves writing articles about Business Development, Marketing, and Productivity Hacks. 

 
 
 
 

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