Qualifying Target Customers and Pinpointing Their Core Needs

Posted by Victoria Brown on Dec 4, 2017 10:08:08 AM

 

THE most important conversation a salesperson has with their target persona is the discovery call. It is in this moment you are determining whether to dedicate time and effort to take the next step, or making the decision to part ways. The decision, however, is not always an obvious one. This is where sales qualification peeks its head out at you. Today’s buyers can be difficult. Decision makers are constantly on the go and usually pressed for time. With their inboxes and voicemail boxes being flooded by sales pitches, naturally they can be uncertain about sharing information. So when you finally score a chance to have a conversation with a decision maker you should be able to bring value to the conversation with open-ended, quality sales questions. This article will show you:

  • How to 'Dissect a Qualified Prospect', with critical questions at multiple levels
  • When to hit 'Eject' and Disqualify a Prospect
  • Different 'Qualification Frameworks'
  • And, key elements of the 'Qualification Process'

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

Is LinkedIn Sales Navigator Worth It For Lead Generation?

Posted by Victoria Brown on Oct 15, 2017 3:18:13 PM

As a business development manager, I’m tasked with helping my firm grow relationships with previous clients as well as identify and develop new clients. Essentially, prospecting clients has become my breakfast, lunch and dinner. With that said, whenever a recruiter, colleague or sales rep starts to discuss lead generation with me it seems to always begin with a LinkedIn discussion promptly followed by, “Well, have you tried their Sales Navigator Membership Program?” Many wave it off and say that it’s not in their budget to provide this resource for their team. Or a rep will say it’s not worth it if their company won’t cover the cost. 9 out of 10 times I typically find out that most people have no idea what LinkedIn Sales Navigator is and, further, that they simply shut down the idea upon hearing the cost of upgrading their current subscription. The scenario played out again this morning while grabbing coffee.

So, the question remains: Is Sales Navigator worth it?

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Topics: Marketing Strategy, Inbound Marketing

Generating Business Name Ideas Can Be Like Making Rocks Fly

Posted by Frank Todaro on Aug 10, 2017 10:59:02 AM

 

I came to marketing from a non-traditional direction. Most of my colleagues and competitors became marketers after spending time in some creative aspect of marketing. Many were designers or writers or even salespeople. I came to it from engineering. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but it seemed a good idea at the time. My degree is in mechanical engineering and, believe it or not, I learned some things about marketing and branding in engineering school.

One elective I took was in Aeronautical Engineering Principles. I hardly paid attention because either the teacher or the subject just wasn’t interesting to me at the time. I got out of the class successfully and didn’t think about it much until I got involved in a naming project for a client a few years ago.

One of the basics of aeronautics is the balance of lift, drag and propulsive force necessary to make something fly. You need enough force to move the object forward fast enough to overcome drag and take advantage of the lift that comes from the shape of the object. I remember the instructor saying, "With enough force you could make a rock fly".

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Topics: Branding | Visual Identity

Why Hiring an Agency on a Marketing Retainer Agreement Makes Sense

Posted by Russ Waddill on Jul 10, 2017 4:08:05 PM

 

When we launched our firm a dozen years ago, we focused on project work - meaning we sold our services on a project-by-project basis - for several reasons. We wanted to prove the value of our expertise and earn each new piece of work with our performance on the last. We had also gotten feedback from prospects and colleagues frustrated by conventional public relations or professional monthly retainers where fees were paid but no measurable work was done for months at a time. In addition, the work we focused on lent itself to defining a specific scope of work, setting a schedule, pricing it out and finishing it on budget and on time.

Fast forward to 2017 and the nature of marketing consulting has dramatically shifted. Nearly every element of the modern marketing mix is integrated and interdependent, like one efficiently running inbound marketing engine. With this in mind, here are the key reasons it makes sense for your consulting or professional services firm to hire an agency on a marketing retainer agreement.

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Topics: Website Design, Inbound Marketing, Consulting Firm Marketing

How To Integrate Sales and Marketing for Consulting Firms

Posted by Frank Todaro on May 17, 2017 11:10:37 AM

 

Consulting firms are struggling to adapt to changes in the sales and marketing playing field. They have hired a marketing person, they’re writing a blog and they are on social media, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. They still are struggling to find leads and the leads they get are not of the quality they want. What is missing? What should they do next?

The first thing - the VERY first thing - is to reorganize the new client acquisition efforts into one organization. Despite changes in the digital marketing arena, consulting firms have largely left their organization in place. The primary sales people are “professionals” who manage the delivery of services while they look for new relationships, whereas the marketing people are “administrative” staff. In other words, the marketing people are second class citizens in the consulting world. While this is changing in many organizations, the underlying attitudes have not.

The people charged with marketing for consulting firms today need to be on an equal footing with the sales people. Not for equity reasons, but for effectiveness reasons. Neither marketing nor sales can be optimally effective unless they are cooperating as equals.

So, if you manage a consulting firm, what should you do if you really want to transform your marketing and sales effort and make it more effective? There are several tactics you should consider. Some you can implement immediately, but others will take some time depending on who you currently have in your organization.

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Topics: Marketing Strategy

10 PowerPoint Best Practices for Creating Better Presentations

Posted by Robert Cook on May 9, 2017 10:31:43 AM

Microsoft PowerPoint is the most relied upon software for making presentations. There are other applications, but PowerPoint is by far the most commonly used. Microsoft estimates that there are 500 million users worldwide, with an estimated 35 million presentations given each day. That means, there are 400 presentations being made every second of every day.

PowerPoint is a great tool in the right hands. Unfortunately, many users depend on the software as a crutch for giving presentations. If you rely too heavily on the template options, you risk appearing amateurish and may cause more harm than good for all the hard work. And presenting is hard work. When your efforts are well planned and professionally executed, you are more likely to accomplish the goal of your presentation.

Follow these 10 PowerPoint best practices and give great presentations:

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Topics: Branding | Visual Identity

3 Mistakes Consulting Firms Make in New Client Acquisition

Posted by Frank Todaro on Apr 26, 2017 4:16:02 PM

Consulting firms often suffer from their history. They are reluctant to admit that things have changed and that they must adapt. In their defense, unless they are in the IT field, the evolution of their actual consulting services has not transformed at the same speed as has the process by which prospects decide to buy those services. Strategic planning, for example, is still conducted much as it was years ago. It seems only rational to believe that marketing and sales activities have continued to evolve at a similar pace—but the fact is that they haven’t.

The smart phone and the internet have disrupted how prospects communicate and how they get information about consulting firms. This has made the traditional approach to marketing for consulting firms significantly less effective. When a salesperson must already have a relationship in place with someone before they will take their phone call, a radical and different approach is required. Further, when a salesperson finally gets to speak with a prospect, they discover that the prospect already knows their own needs, the desired approach to the engagement, and the likely costs - they are more than half way through with the buying decision! At this point, the consulting salesperson realizes that they are too late to the party and have a slim chance of winning the business.

The following are the 3 most common mistakes we see consulting firms make in new client acquisition as they attempt to adapt to a radically changed marketing environment.

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Topics: Consulting Firm Marketing

How the Consulting Sales Process Can Become Profitable

Posted by Frank Todaro on Apr 7, 2017 10:19:02 AM

Consulting firms have historically struggled with understanding the consulting sales process and constructing it in a way that maximizes results for them. There is the myth that the sales process for all consulting firms is the same, and that management just needs to find the right people (whether internally or externally) and hire them — and then everything will be OK.

Perhaps at one time this myth was closer to truth. Today, however, it couldn’t be more misguided to assume that everyone can sell. Sales is not necessarily a ‘gift’ that some people are born with, but rather a process - like any other consulting process - that needs to be designed, implemented and fully understood by those responsible for executing it.

By studying the consulting sales process, what has and hasn't changed, and how to adapt, consulting firms can develop and implement their own formula for success and profitability.

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Topics: B2B Marketing Strategy

3 Common Sales Models for Consulting Firms

Posted by Russ Waddill on Feb 22, 2017 11:16:00 AM

As outsourcing and technology have become rapidly integrated into virtually every industry over the last decade, the opportunity for consulting firms in a variety of different niches has increased. Now more than ever, small and mid-size companies hire consultants to help them keep up with swiftly evolving regulations, environments, competition and technology. This continues to be a great opportunity for your consulting firm. The question is, however, are you organized to take advantage of it?

For specialized consulting firms to reach prospects, get opportunities to present their solutions, and deliver their services, firms must employ sales and marketing strategies that match current persona buying behaviors and their own human and financial resources.

While every consulting firm can be unique, here are the three most common sales models for consulting firms to consider:

  1. Partner Sales model
  2. Outsourced Sales model
  3. Specialist Sales model
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Topics: B2B Marketing Strategy

How the Adoption of HubSpot has Changed Neos Marketing

Posted by Russ Waddill on Nov 18, 2016 11:29:53 AM

In January of 2016, our small marketing agency made a big decision. We adopted HubSpot as a strategic partner.

For 11 years, Neos Marketing has been providing B2B marketing strategy, branding, and creative consulting and execution to companies in Houston. We've had a steady flow of clients and have endured a couple of economic downturns (one global financial and one Houston oil & gas) because of our flexible, scalable business model. Since our founding in 2005, Twitter was launched a year later. The first iPhone sold in 2007. In 2008, the first WordPress theme directory was launched and today 4.5% of the internet is powered by WordPress. Apple launched the first iPad in 2010. By 2015, search activity on mobile platforms surpassed desktop.

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