Reflections on global business: Diversity, leadership and experience

Following his six week internship with Alchemise Consulting in Melbourne earlier this year, Philip Karlsson shared his thoughts on the global business world including the influence of diversity, global leadership and international experience:

global-business

White paper published September 2018

To get a global view of your business, register below for a complimentary Business Growth Assessment.

Exit strategy and wealth protection checklist for business owners

In any business, aside from business owners only focussing on increasing the business sales and profits, a key part of any conscious awareness is with risk management in terms of exit strategy and protection. With all this hard work you put into running your business and not having a personal financial plan for where to direct this wealth what is the real objective of running your business?

I see time and time again business owners not understanding their plan, where to creating wealth outside of the business or getting advice from friends at a BBQ.

Most employees have a superannuation fund, so their retirement is somewhat being looked after. How about your retirement and who is taking care of this?

We partner with the best in the industry and I recommend meeting with one of our associate partners in wealth advisory from Macquarie Private Wealth that looks at businesses like yours and their personal objectives in ensuring you are maximising the hard work you put into your business. With your interests in mind, they look at areas such as investments, structures such as SMSF, and ways to minimise tax. I understand making time is challenging if it’s not prioritised but often it’s when you don’t expect an unforseen event or life event to happen or someone close in your professional or personal circles that force you to take stock about your business and personal risk position. Have you thought about some of the possible real what if scenarios to consider the impact for yourself but also those who you care about in your life?


Is your business partnership agreement watertight in the event of unforseen events or circumstances?

Some key questions to ask yourself if you haven’t already as part of your business risk planning and exit strategy:

1) How profits are to be shared?

2) What would happen if your business partner was to pass away unexpectedly, what debt did he/she carry and what impact would this have on servicing your existing customer base. Who would take on this share of the business? Could it be the wife that you may not get along with?

3) What exit strategies are there if you want to sell the business? What exit strategies are there if your business partner wants to sell?

4) What if someone is not pulling their weight in the business, what do you have currently have in place to control this?

We are fortunate to partner independently with Macquarie Private Wealth that looks at many aspects of a business and one such thing is business contingencies. Have the right foundations in place is paramount so each partner knows the agreement and what contingencies are in place should anything unexpected happen. Everything might be ok now, but like with any of the questions I had for you above it can all change pretty quickly. These things when not applied keep any business owner up at night when an agreement is not in place.

The outcome: by having an agreement allows you to focus on the task at hand, the operations of the business.

If you haven’t reviewed your business arrangements recently or made time yet to look at it, I do encourage you to allow our associate business advisors to connect with you to see if they can help you with this part of your business. Alchemise Consulting is unique as we want to look at every aspect of your business.

Summary 

We usually talk about helping business grow through sales and marketing strategies, however of equal importance from experiencing life defining or moments of unexpected change, I wanted to highlight from a practical view why you need to ensure that all bases are covered for your business end goal and personal financial situation in case. There are many traditional businesses both small and larger businesses are finding it increasingly challenging to generate or prepare for an exit strategy and need some independent awareness of the impact from your business arrangements to your personal finances.

A holistic consulting approach to thinking about the business commitment to people, process and systems in supporting new business growth and exit strategies for business owners is key. The right partnership or buy/sell agreements needs to cover many risk protection scenarios. I would highly recommend for your peace of mind to  speak with a qualified advisor and review your current situation.

The key is to acknowledge that the right investment of time will deliver the right personal ROI required. If you take “it won’t happen to me”,  a “do nothing” or “do the same thing over and over approach”, then it may be took late when something happens.  A positive shift and change in your mindset can reap significant results both for your business and your personal needs.

We are a boutique business growth consultancy based in Melbourne, focused on delivering high value business and sales consulting in APAC with an outcome based focus and shared risk approach.

For further details on any of these points above with a confidential discussion on how we can assist you for business partnership or growth/exit strategies, please contact us on info@alchemiseconsulting.com or register for a free initial consultation.

Sales and marketing strategy: Case study – Australian HR advisory firm

HR Client Overview

A leading Melbourne based boutique HR advisory firm has a small team of six staff and growing with offering HR assessment and full range of HR advisory and resourcing services to corporate and SME businesses. They pride themselves on personalised service and long term retained clients. They have growth aspirations and also much of their business was from referrals with a very high conversion rate as well as forming alliance partners in their business network.


Vision & Goals

Here were our HR client initial vision and goals for the next 12 months.

  • To explore an effective marketing communications and sales pathway for business growth;
  • To uncovers insights for the value proposition, audience personas and competitive landscape;
  • To identify internal alignment opportunities to strategically position the HR Advisory for success;
  • Recommends an actionable 12 month plan to reach desired 25% growth projections;
  • Identify key sales processes and budget requirements; and
  • Position the HR Advisory with the capacity to grow with velocity and plan for succession.


    Client Needs

To date a conversion rate of 82% from a complimentary HR Health Check has been good and effective however more inbound leads were needed. 

The HR advisory wanted to develop core business service sales around selected retainer services and to explore growth of recruitment services and retainer based business which can scale and provide steady cash-flow from both existing clients and new business.

  • Current resourcing has about 10% capacity to grow in workload.
  • An additional priority to review sales and marketing process and systems (CRM and marketing automation tools) and consideration for investment to support clients, operational processes and internal requirements for future scalability and growth.

In forward planning for the financial year 17/18 they needed some sales and marketing strategy assistance to help with business growth.

They recognized the current depth of their sales and marketing strategy plans weren’t sufficient to help them scale and reach their financial year growth targets.

They wanted a combined integrated approach to address and plan out their alignment of sales and marketing in order to scale.

From there they needed some coaching and guidance on how to best invest a limited budget to take their business forward whilst hiring a new HR consultant and evolving their brand marketing.

A strategy of new leads from their HR Growth Assessment was their main form of new leads, followed by referrals with a high close rate.

The logos and colours used on throughout their digital online presence appeared dated.

After combining the sales and marketing strategy as an integrated approach, the deliverables were a comprehensive plan and roadmap with staged investment estimates to budget for.

How we were engaged

Business Growth Assessment

The HR Advisory found us using an inbound marketing approach and registered opportunity for downloading and completing a Business Growth Assessment as well as downloading our 7 Profit Multipliers E-book resource.

The initial engagement followed an inbound process.

Strategy Planning Workshop
Following this we engaged in partnership with our marketing strategist for a 2 hour paid workshop for an integrated sales and marketing strategy engagement using our proven methodology. 

The client came well prepared with their data and financials as well as marketing materials to help strategise and develop recommendations.

Outcomes and value achieved
A detailed business growth assessment overview to independently help set the direction and achieve their goals. This assessment also included a digital website customer experience review for online engagement which improves lead generation projects. A blend of creative marketing design and commercial sales consideration elements were provided in formal feedback and recommendations of next steps and also an appropriate budget to consider a staged approach.

After the workshop and a series of consultations, we formulated the integrated sales and marketing strategy plan to help provide a roadmap for their objectives using a strategy, people, process and systems approach broken down into stages.

Given it was a small business, budget was a challenge in hiring a resource first, servicing their current client base and then a focus on system tools.

Key Recommendations 

Our staged recommendations and roadmap of an integrated sales and marketing strategy given the short term budget constraint and plan to hire a senior consultant were:

Stage 1– Strategy Plan and Roadmap/Recommendations with Marketing Benchmark.

Stage 2– Implementing HubSpot to replace Salesforce and a transition plan based on ease of use and requirements from the design and CRM marketing data capture process.

Stage 3 – Enhancing marketing strategy to deliver a website and social media plan for CTA with their HR assessment offer and capture more customer and prospect data for FY17/18.

Stage 4 – Generate more leads and shift from a product focus to a higher margin and upsell/cross sell offering to help the account management process.

With some assistance and consideration, the HR advisory have now updated their website and digital presence with more HR assessment offers, social media engagement and customer centric content.

They have also implemented a basic HubSpot Marketing Hub and Sales Hub platform to track and collect digital and social engagement analytics with reporting for better visibility.

Moving forward they now have a defined strategic plan to implement the roadmap, as budget allows, in a practical and controlled way which allows them to be innovative and provide growth using a strategic people, process and systems approach.

Strategy Development Outcomes

As a result of our integrated sales and marketing strategy consulting assistance, the HR advisory gained better clarity and a plan of action across people, process and systems with:

  • Help in defining business goals, objectives and marketing benchmarking measures.
  • Aligned Sales and Marketing strategy plan and processes from the workshop.
  • A plan to provide growth capacity and tools foundation for a 5 year growth plan.
  • Providing an informed sales management and commercial decision making process with a detailed implementation planning and investment budget needed for the next stages of the project over the next 12 months.

For further information around our strategy services or how we helped this HR advisory client, feel free to contact us on info@alchemiseconsulting.com or call +61 3 9225 5022.

Alchemise Business Growth Newsletter #6 – Q4 – 2017/18

June 2018

Business Growth Newsletter Edition #6 – Q4 2017/18

Our focus in this update includes a topic around a recent customer experience I had. An example is provided below of a recent personal Australian national retail shopping experience who didn’t deliver a seamless omni channel customer experience that can greatly impact business performance and customer retention.

Another very relevant topic for business owners but perhaps not commonly explored are the potential issues with awareness on why and how to future proofing your business. In this environment simply being complacent isn’t recommended when it comes to business risk and forward planning.

When involved in a business partnership have you thought about planning your exit strategy or growth strategy and how to mitigate business risk? Your hard work and wealth needs to be protected with having the right buy/sell agreements or succession plans in place.

business-strategy

The ‘what if’ scenarios should always be considered just in case and involved in making time to work ON your business not just IN your business.

This month we want also want to raise some points for the impact on Go to Market strategies. There are some specific considerations for start up/scale up businesses when working with investor provided funding.

There may be some pitfalls to consider first such as:

  • Business and Revenue model
  • Cash burn rate and payback period of investment
  • Business valuation considerations
  • Go to Market strategy
  • Brand awareness and marketing investment

We will be publishing an article around some insights during the next quarter.

Our Alchemise Your Sales and Boost Your Business workshop held in Melbourne earlier this month featured guest speakers from Macquarie Group and Maxsum Consulting. Many great insights were shared around the table of business owners who work in high value, high touch relationship based services. 

A trend we have been trying to appreciate more is why so many services business websites are product and brand centric. The current market is making it harder to differentiate and highlight how you can add value and help solve your customers’ challenges.

Over the last 6 weeks, we have hosted Philip Karlsson from Sweden on a short intern placement with Alchemise, hear about his Australian experience below.

Lastly the recent global State of Inbound 2018 report with current sales and marketing trends have been published by Hubspot. Read our analysis of the key highlights and takeaways for this report! Click here.

 


Why your business needs to be more Customer Centric?

Are you customer centric in your marketing messages and conversations as well as online digital presence? To connect with your customers, you also want to focus on thinking about your digital strategy to really prioritise being customer centric.

Hear Marketing and Sales Insights Consultant, Andrew McFayden, in his two short videos around why you need to and how you can shift to being more customer centric.

INSIGHTS VIDEO #1:
Is your website brand or customer focussed?

INSIGHTS VIDEO #2:
How to turn your website into a customer centric approach.

Andrew has also shared his insights and trends noticed in the last quarter from conversations professionals throughout a number of industries, have a read of ‘Andrew’s Corner’ below:

BLOG: Andrew’s Corner June 2018 – Inbound strategy and trends


Customer Data Protection and Security

European GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation
What does this mean for you?

Data Management - Internet Concept. Green Arrow with "Webinar" slogan on a grey background. 3D Render.
We covered this in our last newsletter about GDPR which has now taken effect as of 25th May last month. If you are engaging globally and in within the EU, you need to be aware of the guidelines of around data privacy regulation.

If you are an Australian business, you might need to consider if and how this GDPR requirement impacts you. In general I would suggest updating your Privacy Policy and also send an email notifying your subscribers to opt in again or provide them a choice to opt out for any newsletters or communications, and of course ensure you are meeting the more stringent guidelines if you are dealing with customers or contacts in the EU to manage their data in a GDPR compliant way.


Our recent highlights and activities

  • Alchemise Your Sales and Boost Your Business Workshop

We had 12 attendees as well as our guest speakers in Melbourne on 5th June. There was lively discussion throughout the three sessions with insights and experiences shared from business owners as well as sales and marketing managers. The three sessions were around:

– Current business growth landscape and market insights 

– Boost your business – practical strategies and real examples 

– Future proof your business – how to expect the unexpected

Alchemise Consulting Boost Your Business Workshop Chak Ng June 2018
Alchemise Consulting’s Chak Ng and Andrew McFayden (obscured) 

Alchemise Consulting Maxsum Consulting Rebecca Ciancio Jun 18

Maxsum Consulting’s Rebecca Ciancio

Alchemise Consulting Macquarie Group Rob Crossing Sebastian Jimenez Workshop June 2018

Macquarie Group’s Rob Crossing and Sebastian Jimenez 

If you were unable to attend the workshop but keen to learn more about the topics covered please don’t hesitate to contact us for a one on one conversation.


Some of our recent blogs… 

  • 9 steps to working out your Sales and Marketing ROI 

Aligning your sales and marketing process steps is outlined from our approach covered by our latest blog and the start of the first step is to set your sales revenue target and work backwards to understand what marketing budget is needed to support this goal.

BLOG: 9 steps to calculate your sales and marketing ROI 

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT  SALES AND MARKETING ALIGNMENT PLANNING
Use our ROI calculator to prove to sales that the marketing budget to achieve sufficient leads is not enough or from sales to marketing that the sales targets are not realistic. It can help owners determine once the number of leads required, where and which channels to use in campaigns to deliver the desired outcome – whether it’s inbound or outbound marketing initiatives depends on the marketing strategy.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE ROI CALCULATOR


  • My customer experience – A retailer experience

Do you want to differentiate your services, or ways to increase profitability? How do you address customer churn whilst increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty?

customer-experience-retail

Read our blog about our customer experience this month at David Jones which indicated how online and offline experience failed at delivering.
 

Digital transformation and shift involves taking an integrated approach to ensure the end to end experience and communications is a seamless one for the customer. 

BLOG: My customer experience: 5 ways a major Australian department store failed to deliver 

 



Coming soon…

  • Organic SEO and the real costs of digital marketing

Is SEO an art or a scientific approach? How much do you need to spend on SEO ranking and understanding the algorithms which Google use?  What is the ROI for investing in SEO when you have so many other competing costs attached to your digital marketing plan.

Look out for our upcoming blog on this topic including our own experience! 


Philip Karlsson joins as an Associate Intern from Sweden

Philip KarlssonIn partnership with the Intern Group, we have been fortunate to have Philip Karlsson from Stockholm, Sweden for 6 weeks. His first trip to Melbourne and Australia had an objective to understand how to a consulting process works and sales and marketing elements needed for a professional services, and he has shared some reflections below:

As an Associate Intern I have now spent almost six weeks in Australia at Alchemise Consulting. During that time I have been introduced to a number of different business encounters and situations, which has opened my eyes to certain things about Australians and the dynamics of conducting business here. One of the things I have come to realise is that what foreigners say about Australians is true; they are extremely friendly. Whether it is my cab driver, colleague or a business encounter, I have yet to meet someone who does not treat me with respect and kindness. To me this friendliness, or “mateship”, represents a culture of equality, which shines through in the workplace where hierarchies are not as common or obvious as in some other countries. A sense of equality is a great advantage in the world of business and firms should strive for such a setting since it nurtures an environment where all employees can speak up and contribute with ideas, visions and problem solving – regardless of their position, title or experience. This culture is something that Australians should be proud of and cherish, and has certainly opened my eyes to a potential future career in the land down under!


Finally don’t forget our Alchemise Marketing Survey 2018 – Why marketing campaigns fail.

Online Survey on Green Puzzle on White Background.Please feel free to continue to respond or share with people you know and find out Why Marketing Campaigns Fail – our online survey continues from our blog series (available here, if you missed it) to invite approximately 200 Business Owners or Sales and Marketing Managers to share how they have felt and what their experience has been in their marketing campaigns success, failure or ROI expectations and why.

Once we complete this survey we will share with you the findings and insights.

CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE OUR MARKETING CAMPAIGN INSIGHTS QUESTIONNAIRE
 


3D guy leaning on a calendar - isolated over a white background-1
 

Good luck with closing off your sales and the end of financial year!
Don’t forget to start to work on the business not just in the business with forward planning for FY18/19 and your next 90 day focus.

If you are looking for more information or to arrange an obligation free initial consultation with us, please contact us to book in a time.

Email: info@alchemiseconsulting.com or Twitter: @alchemise_cons, or feel free to phone our Melbourne office on +61(3) 9225 5022.

State of Inbound 2018 Report: Key Alchemise Consulting Insights

The State of Inbound 2018 Highlights

The State of Inbound 2018 has just been released in June from HubSpot based on the latest global survey data around the current state of sales and marketing.

Here are some interesting statistics from the global survey report which may resonate with you and your current business, sales, and marketing challenges:

Hubspot State of Inbound 2018

Reference: Hubspot State of Inbound 2018 Global Report

Marketers prioritise converting leads into customers:

Bottom of the Funnel content is CRUCIAL across all global surveyed regions.

  • 69% of survey respondents highlighted converting leads to customers
  • 54% of survey respondents highlighted growth of traffic to the website
  • 44% of survey respondents highlighted increasing the revenue from existing customers
  • 42% of survey respondents highlighted the need to prove ROI from marketing activities.

Our comments:

From these statistics here the need for more initial digital contact engagement for top of funnel lead generation activities typically requires much time, cost and effort to work on producing leads. However the findings highlights a more pressing urgency and challenge for more effort working the middle to bottom of the funnel with sales conversion. What this means is that consistency working through the full funnel is required not just considering the top, middle or bottom focus.

Are you delivering enough “decision stage” content in the buyers journey to help close the sale?

If you start to focus on the sales outcomes first and reverse engineer your sales enablement to marketing lead activities needed to support to the goal, this will help qualified sales engagements with investment in aligning sales and marketing goals as a first step.  When you can consider the flow, efficiency and impact of the full funnel approach will deliver more consistent results and higher conversion rates from top to bottom of the funnel.

Without following the sales and marketing alignment process first, the measurement of tangible ROI can be difficult. We have just released an ROI calculator to help with the first step of that process.


Sales always wants to close deals which requires making the funnel more efficient:

  • 75% of survey respondents highlighted closing more deals
  • 48% of survey respondents highlighted improving the efficiency of the sales funnel
  • 32% of survey respondents highlighted reducing the length of sales cycles.

Our comments:

Sales targets are getting more difficult to meet, so the emphasis on driving a more efficiency sales funnel and more stronger and consistent qualified leads. Business owners and sales managers are telling us this is their priority right now. This Marketing to Sales engagement can be aided with delivering effective sales enablement to help support the sales team.


Prospecting has gotten harder in the last 2 to 3 years:

  • 40% of survey respondents highlighted getting a prospect to respond
  • 31% of survey respondents highlighted engaging multiple decision makers at a company in the buying process
  • 30% of survey respondents highlighted closing deals
  • 29% of survey respondents highlighted connecting via phone
  • 28% of survey respondents highlighted identifying and prospecting good leads

Our comments:

Our clients discussions definitely reflect the increasingly more difficult prospecting efforts year on year.

There are answers to these challenges on a whole which requires a stronger and more focussed strategic approach. If you can integrate your sales and marketing methods using Account Based Marketing with Target Account Selling in planning and segmentation process then the execution of the inbound methodology for engaging the full funnel will deliver higher conversion success.


Customers are advocates – word of mouth helps people make buying decisions:

  • 55% of survey respondents highlighted word of mouth referrals
  • 46% of survey respondents highlighted customer references
  • 38% of survey respondents highlighted media articles
  • 38% of survey respondents highlighted vendor authored materials & content

Our comments:

We have spoken to many business owners who still say referrals are their main way of generating leads. This is great to hear and obviously reflects the quality of customer services and client relationships built up. However is relying on consistent referrals enough to generate a strongly qualified pipeline which is large enough to meet sales targets? There needs to be multiple channels in driving lead generation for maintaining a healthy pipeline.

Content development with taking client references and authoring valuable content will still help drive inbound leads to you if it resonates and is relevant toward being customer centric.

If you want to understand from our perspective why marketing campaigns can fail, feel free to get your white paper below.


Preferred business communication channels:

  • 83% of survey respondents highlighted email channel
  • 59% of survey respondents highlighted face to face meetings
  • 55% of survey respondents highlighted phone calls
  • 41% of survey respondents highlighted video conference calls

Our comments:

Email is NOT dead as a business tool. Some pundits some years ago predictted that collaboration and social tools would take over email as a business tool. However this is proof that email is preferred with more options from Microsoft, Google and Amazon in the cloud now. Our suggestion is to ensure you do assess your customer preferences and make available an omni channel communication approach. Of the three preferred communication channels, technology has made it more difficult to engage face to face from phone calls and emails.


Respondents’ typical size and revenue:

  • 42% were SMBs (less than 10 staff)
  • 23% were SMEs (between 26 to 200 staff)

In Australia, there is a significant representation of small to medium business who are at different stages of the business lifecycle right now which is posing challenges whether you are in start up, mature stage or exit stages due to disruptive technologies impacting many industries to change. Every dollar invested must generate a solid ROI and business owners don’t have excess budget to spend without a solid strategy and plan in place.

Average company revenue:

  • 32% of survey respondents worked for companies less than $250K USD average revenue
  • 14% of survey respondents worked for companies between $250K to $1M USD average revenue
  • 16% of survey respondents worked for companies between $1M to $10M USD average revenue

Our comments:

It seems that typically organisations are still not investing enough budget in effective marketing. However the ROI of investment for many SMB’s and SME’s need to be more targeted and strategically planned to start with. What we have found is that many business owners who aren’t marketers have expended a significant budget with ad hoc marketing activities that hasn’t generated a solid and tangible Return on Investment. Why is this the case? Typically we have found that a lack of integrated strategy for sales and marketing can be a cause or not understanding the relationship and interdependencies between both functions.


Our key insights:

What does this summary of highlights and trends mean for your business planning in 2018?

Firstly many of these survey statistics align to what we have been seeing in the A/NZ market and feedback from business owners who have been speaking to us about their challenges.

It is evident that strategic thinking and planning needs to incorporate the process of aligning marketing and sales goals. We are also seeing however the reality is that many people simply don’t have time or aren’t willing to make the time to work ON the business than just in the business also.

Short term thinking and behaviour is also proving a hinderance to achieving consistent sales targets and marketing ROI. The strong demand for Business Development Management and Account Management resources highlight in certain sectors the strong demand for new business to keep driving revenue.

This requires the capability to drive sales qualified leads as well as experienced client facing sales skills to generate new business revenue. The role of Account Management is also important to retain existing customers as the increased market competition or transactional nature causes more churn if a supplier can’t add value in the client relationship.

Our visit to the 2017 HubSpot Inbound Event in Boston last year provided validation of the rapidly shifting nature and importance of digital marketing automation. The advancement of using Account Based Marketing and marketing analytics vendors like Terminus. Voice Call Analytics such as CallRail can help generate and report on providing deeper insights and visibility to help drive outcomes.

Every marketing plan requires consideration of using the inbound methodology to respond to the ways in which buyers make purchasing decisions today compared with a more traditional approach. This has been proven between traditional business and newer progressive business who realise they need to shift their mindset and change their business approach to survive and stay competitive.

The reality of the rapid digital transformation shift and web presence truly allows even small businesses to flourish with global clients via online and ecommerce marketing approaches. Even without large sales teams the power of globalisation is clear and represents a significant opportunity for small businesses to leverage this period in time.

If you would like to understand better how you can close more deals and also generate more consistently qualified leads, then feel free to contact us.

Find out how you can be more sales effective using an effective digital content and and inbound sales strategy approach by contacting us. If you would like an independent review or diagnostic of the gaps in your sales and marketing activities and areas to improve your sales ROI, we would suggest you consider registering for our complimentary Business Growth Assessment.

EMDG Scheme: Do you qualify for a marketing funding boost?

According to Austrade, the popularity of EMDG continues to grow.

The extended application period for Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) applications closed at the end of February and the increasing number of applications continues to demonstrate the scheme’s popularity.

The number of claims received this year increased 6.6 per cent above the previous year. Of the 3,771 applications, 1,444 were submitted by first-year applicants, an increase of 13.6 per cent from the number of first-year applicants last year, and approaching double the number recorded in 2013.

This popularity of the scheme among new applicants shows healthy levels of export activity among new exporters.

If you would like to hear how Alchemise Consulting qualified last year under the EMDG scheme, we would be glad to share the process involved and guidelines.

  • Are you a business owner wanting to increase your marketing budget or already have invested some costs to explore growth opportunities in new export markets?
  • Are you limited by cashflow to develop an export marketing strategy, implement more regional or global marketing initiatives or already have budget committed to other areas within your business?
  • Are you a marketing manager with bigger plans than your allocated budget permits and feel like there must be another way to generate better ROI?Consider thinking outside the square to boost your marketing budget by potentially qualifying for federal government funded grants and assistance. The EMDG is an initiative available to small-to-medium businesses that meet certain criteria, which could provide a funding boost for your marketing spend and strategic initiatives.

The EMDG offers reimbursement across defined categories for up to 50% of promotional expenses for companies who are exporting their goods or services and seeking to increase their international sales. Reimbursements are available for promotional spends between $15,000 and $150,000 throughout a one year period, although first-time applicants can combine two years of expenses to qualify for 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 financials.

Some companies may also be eligible to apply for a Research and Development Tax Incentive, or a Business Growth Grant, depending on the nature of your business activities and separate qualification criteria.

Each of these incentives may provide your company with the necessary budget boost you are searching for in order to fund required marketing strategies and activities for this or next financial year.

Don’t miss out! Register below for a free funding EMDG eligibility assessment – find out if you might qualify to access this valuable funding boost!

 

9 steps to calculate your sales and marketing ROI

You may be wondering how to calculate your sales and marketing ROI. If you are not a sales manager or unfamiliar in setting sales targets this might be of value to you, especially if you are used to marketing metrics and ROI only.

For a fully aligned sales and marketing approach, you need to ensure that the ROI and metrics you are using make sense. The accountability of marketing to sales AND sales to marketing needs to be agreed upon as a vital component of the overall strategy.

We believe the only real way to ensure the sales and marketing ROI is tangible is to measure common metrics. To start the process, reverse engineer your sales objectives and flip your full funnel upside down from your desired sales (bottom of funnel) first right through to marketing (top of funnel) to determine the required marketing budget and lead activity required to help achieve your sales target.


1. What is your sales target?

What is your annual revenue target for the financial year? This can be broken down into annual, quarterly or monthly measurement for tracking.

2. What is your required sales pipeline?

Depending on the product and services you are selling, from historic performance and average trends, how many qualified deals do you need in your pipeline at any one time to reach your sales goals?

A typical rule of thumb is 3x to 5x times pipeline value in order to reach your sales quota.

3. What is your average sales cycle?

How long does an average sale take to close?

4. What is your average deal size?

What is the average dollar value of your typical sale for your product or services?

5. How many proposals and quotes do you need to deliver?

Simply divide your sales revenue by the average deal size to get an estimate of how many quotes/proposals you need to send out.

6. How many Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) do you need?sales-marketing-alignment

The definition of a SQL is based on what your sales team will accept as a qualified lead

Typically we work off a 3x times ratio for SQLs to quotes/proposals issued after sales engagement.

7. How many Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) do you need?

The definition of a MQL is based on what marketing generates from a cold lead prospect.

Typically we work off a 3x times ratio for MQLs needed to generate enough SQLs – i.e. one in every three MQLs will progress to be accepted as a SQL.

8. How many lead prospects do you need?

In order to generate sufficient MQLs, we work off an average of 3x times leads and prospects to create and qualify MQLs through the nurturing and generation process during initial qualification.

This is normally generated from digital marketing metrics or event attendance metrics like web visitors, CPC, Google Adwords or forms submitted.

9. What is the cost of your marketing campaign needed?

By working through the sales and marketing alignment process, this will highlight how much marketing budget and investment is required to support your sales team and targets, and ultimately company revenue goals.

Summary

What period of time do you need to generate a return from marketing to sales?

We typically measure and report on a quarterly or monthly basis from a starting position of your annual target or financial year target.

Working through this process will either identify an alignment or misalignment between sales and marketing, in either, or both directions. sales-and-marketing-ROI

As an example, we worked with an IT industry client through this process, where we found there was at least a 50% gap in marketing investment to support their annual sales target of $1M – the BDM didn’t have the marketing support or budget needed to hit their sales target for the year.

This alignment process is helpful to demonstrate to executive management when planning out your sales and marketing strategies with goal setting. Working with, and to, the sales and marketing ROI required for writing the business case internally will help identify and justify whether to allocate towards either sales headcount or marketing activities.

 ROI = Sales Revenue/Profit Generated MINUS Cost of Marketing Investment DIVIDED by Cost of Marketing Investment X 100%

            An example:

Sales calculator ROI example

 

My customer experience: 5 ways a major Australian department store failed to deliver

In a tough retail ‘bricks and mortar’ trading environment in Australia, I was very surprised that one of the leading department stores in Australia, David Jones, had failed to deliver a positive customer experience in my first online shopping experience with them and in store last weekend. 

When my old vacuum cleaner decided to fail over the weekend, I started my buying journey online for a new one. After an online comparison between David Jones, Myer, JB HiFi, Harvey Norman and Good Guys, the best offer was listed on the David Jones website after a less known online retail brand stated they had availability and a competitive price. David Jones had advertised $674 from $899 plus a $60 Gift Voucher for all orders over $250 on full price purchases.

During the online search and research based on post code had listed Bourke St, Malvern Central and Southland stores all having and displaying stock availability for in store pickup, click & collect or delivery.

Here is how my customer experience unfolded over the afternoon which took over an hour to get this resolved and complete a purchase engaging multiple channels to attempt to purchase one product.

Perhaps on this occasion I was just an unlucky consumer, however it raised a number questions in my mind about how important a well integrated customer experience strategy is to acquire new customer business revenue growth and ensure a solid customer retention strategy around customer lifetime value can meet business objectives.


CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FAIL #1 – PHYSICAL IN STORE CHANNEL

Based on this information and convenience, I decided to drive to the Malvern Central store to pick a unit.Retail Customer Experience

In store, I went to the vacuum cleaner section looking for any signage of the special offer or a demonstration unit to look at. Customer service said they were having issues with stock representation and none of the special offer was in store.

Also the gift voucher of $60 was based on FULL purchase price and not off the special price, however a previous customer had managed to order it via the special offer and also received the $60 gift voucher in addition.

The customer service staff advised the best way was to order this online to take advantage of the special offer and also gift voucher deal. 

CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FAIL #2 – DIGITAL SUPPLY CHAIN CHANNEL

 

Digital-ChannelsIn store, the customer service advised to register an online account and put the order through the online store and complete the payment online.

The distribution centre had stock listed in the warehouse for dispatch but not click and collect and wasn’t an option for this product. The online store highlighted at least three nearby David Jones stores with stock on hand and available.

According to the customer service in house, other David Jones stores who were out of stock were directing customers to their store as highlighted in their supply system seen in store with their POS inventory system.


CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FAIL #3 – DIGITAL WEB & MOBILE CHANNEL (CX USABILITY)

 

Digital Retail Customer ExperienceUpon attempting to setup my account on davidjones.com.au (in store) on my Samsung Android mobile – the mobile user experience wasn’t great as upon inputting my details, the Confirm my account button wasn’t working.

When I tried to checkout as a guest purchase, the full RRP was still listed without any mention of the discounted price and checkout in the online cart with any adjusted special offer price listed to pay online.

A staff member tried her Apple iPhone 8 login and it was working fine for her to access the discounted price in the shopping cart first time. This showed $674 in the shopping cart.

I tried again to setup the account on the mobile phone and finally after 10 attempts after trying to confirm the account button which wasn’t working, it finally went through to complete the online activation process before going onto the selection in the shopping cart.

The price of $899 was still showing for the item plus the promotion of $60 Gift Card (which doesn’t apply for special offers)

So what next I asked?


CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FAIL #4 – ONLINE CUSTOMER SERVICE & SYSTEMS

The store customer service who rang up online customer service on my behalf passed me onto the inbound customer agent who proceeded to explain the process. So this became a two step process to even find out how to proceed with this purchase.

Customer Service

I was advised the following steps below given it was Sunday and no IT online support was available. The customer agent had no authority to override or edit the online store or check the shopping cart checkout process.

  • Login to David Jones online account/sign in.
  • Complete the purchase at full price of $899
  • Given it was the weekend, no IT support was available to correct the listing and price issue stated from Customer Support
  • Pay by credit card online for full RRP of $899 and then send an email to a provided customer service email address and request to be credited the difference based on the advertised price of $674 .
  • Only a postal delivery option was offered with no in store pickup for convenience.

By the time I completed this process with the Customer Service assistance this had taken more than one hour of my time on Sunday afternoon in the store. 

I was wondering surely it shouldn’t be that difficult to buy one product that is in high demand and popular.


CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FAIL #5 – DISTRIBUTION & LOGISTICS

Retail-Supply-Chain-Process
Two days after the order was placed, I was curious if the order would be delivered on time within 5 to 7 days. Coincidentally, I received a phone call this morning from dispatch requesting to confirm what product I ordered and also what price I paid and the reference number of the order invoice. I
t seems like there was a systems or process issue here.


MY CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE: SOME THOUGHTS & REFLECTIONS.

If David Jones still prides themselves on tradition and 180 years history as they advertise in store and in their online brand messaging, then this customer experience certainly doesn’t capture a successful both traditional or digital channels experience to met or even exceed meeting the customer needs, buying journey and experience.

I can only assume the possible challenges in the rollout of digital transformation platform and strategy, implementing customer support process, ensuring a tighter integration of store to warehouse with ERP and POS supply chain processes.

From a digital marketing perspective, online store web design elements for customer usability does form the initial perception and whether a customer wants to complete the conversion process or bounce off altogether to complete the purchase with another retailer who provides a seamless experience and process through the buyer’s journey.

The importance in retail is to provide ease of customer engagement and purchase across all channels. The online digital front end as well as having a customer support backend systems environment needs to be able to keep attracting, engaging, delivering and delighting the customer.

As a consumer on the customer buying journey,  I feel more businesses can improve their inbound sales and marketing approach with the right data analytics and active customer feedback. 

The positive from this experience, I found that having a retail store assistant to have a human to human interaction with customer service skills to facilitate assistance by phone in reaching internal online store customer support to provide a suggested process which seemed like it was a workaround for their systems and process limitations to help deliver the order.

My takeaway from this basic consumer customer experience example is that when a business is planning and delivering an omni-channel strategy or a digital transformation exercise, an aligned team collaboration and horizontally integrated customer centric approach should always be front of mind with the right processes and systems data to ensure a consistent customer experience and a continuous feedback loop is available. 

In this disruptive retail environment, perhaps suppliers may choose alternative or direct distribution strategies and consider only the best stockists who can consistently deliver more volume but also raise the profile of their brand (other than cheaper price) with a high level of customer experience whether it be through an online retailer or “bricks and mortar” retailer channel.

The future of Australian retail on a global scale is tough as we keep hearing and will become tougher for survival. Both retail shareholders and the end customer need to be shown value through high standards of customer experience as well as ongoing innovation and customer service.

How can the leadership team address some of their current strategy, people, process and systems challenges to improve their customer experience and engagement?

For the time being, I wonder what the real business impact is and how many other consumers nationally both online and in store have similar customer experiences which I did.  I would be keen to hear some industry leaders thoughts and opinions as to how some of these retail customer experience challenges can be addressed if anyone would like to share.

In the meantime, I will look forward to receiving delivery of the Dyson vacuum cleaner ordered in the next 5 to 7 days with a rebate of the special price advertised. The positive upside of my experience last weekend was that my cleaning chores at home has been postponed for at least another week until the new vacuum cleaner arrives!

Case study: Digital readiness strategy & web user experience review

Alchemise Consulting was engaged by a leading Australian independent cyber security consulting business to run a specific marketing campaign. Our objective was to generate new leads within the Enterprise and Government market and position the client’s IT security consulting services for more sales opportunities.

Business challenge

In preparation for the marketing campaign, the messaging and collateral required review and updating to ensure there was follow-up capability, and a quality digital strategy and content. The client’s static website hadn’t been updated for some time and wasn’t presenting their brand and offerings clearly to prospective customers.

The client had limited sales and marketing resources and expertise to grow the business with a structured go to market approach. Typically, existing business had stemmed from referrals and the vendor, however little new business development had been undertaken or invested in beyond this.

A strong part of this digital world and presence is a strongly presented website that resonates to the targeted audience of a professional and credible level. Brand awareness and user experience is key with establishing new contacts and first impressions counted – both existing and prospective customers needed to have their needs met as far as the website content goes in addressing their problems and challenges.

In order to run a successful marketing campaign and “go live”, we needed to ensure that the preparation material was complete.

Our solution

Alchemise understood what was missing from the marketing campaign preparation. The brand awareness and customer focus starts with online presence and messaging, and the best practices of the current digital design for website and content design and inbound marketing.

Our recommendations

Our digital customer experience consultant spent time reviewing the web presence around the formatting and editing of the current online content to reflect the desired purpose of the business services on offer and awareness to attract the right audience. The online web resources needed to be updated with current material and relevance to the market and vendor partnerships in place, in order to best demonstrate to customers how the client could address their challenges and provide solutions to their problems.

Although this comprehensive review pushed the lead generation campaign back, it was essential to demonstrate from a customer or user audience perspective how the client’s website content, presentation and formatting and branding drove customers to engage, or to not engage, with the website and ultimately the company itself.

For further reading of relevance and if you are ready for digital and what to consider for a digital assessment includes please read our previous blog article:  3 key elements of a digital readiness assessment

Outcome

After the comprehensive website and user experience review, we made a number of recommendations in order to ensure the website and digital resources were fit for purpose prior to campaign kickoff.

The primary focus, on the user experience front, was on text content and style in order to optimize readability for website visitors. We submitted revised text copy utilizing a more consistent use of language and style and an increased focus on the customers’ challenges to better project the client’s capabilities to prospects.

Navigation and page layouts were restructured for a clearer presentation of the client’s capabilities and expertise, and images and visuals were used strategically, not just for the sake of adding graphics to the page.

To further improve user experience we ensured that hyperlinks and click-through features were created and used purposefully for a more seamless site exploration by users. We also ensured that all of the client’s downloadable resources had their correct contact details, after the review highlighted that nearly three-quarters of resources listed outdated information.

Each aspect of this review and recommendation process was essential to create a web and digital presence that accurately reflected the client’s brand, offerings and value-adds to clients, and their positioning in the market.

Digital presence and marketing is becoming increasingly important and in a crowded marketplace where there is little allowance made for a poor and/or misguiding first impression when a prospect visits a website. The recommendations and changes that Alchemise Consulting offered were key to improving the impact and success of our client’s direct marketing campaign, and were the gateway to our client becoming fully digitally optimised.

For further information on how you can increase your client engagement from your digital presence and website, we can review this for you and share our recommendations as part of our complementary digital readiness assessment.

Contact us at Twitter@alchemise_cons,  email info@alchemiseconsulting.com or phone us +61(3) 9225 5022