Alchemise Business Growth Newsletter #8 – Q2 – 2018/19

Business Growth Newsletter Edition #8 

Q2 2018-19 – December 2018

Alchemise Sales & Marketing Market Wrap 2018

Welcome to our final quarterly newsletter for the year and hope you are looking forward to a well earned Christmas holiday break!

To close off this year, we wanted to highlight our top sales & marketing insights during the year for your reflection and awareness over the break…

Measuring the right ROI is more important than ever before

Marketing-ROI

This year we have still seen many businesses not be able to measure the effectiveness of marketing spend. The typical average benchmark that seems to still be a measure is 5% spend of revenue, however this is still not enough for many digital marketing initiatives for lead generation and brand awareness.

The maturity of the local market seems to still require much awareness and reason to shift into a growth mindset. Unless you are willing to try and seek the right help, the same patterns will be repeated over and over again. Is doing nothing or not changing an option for the viability of your business model to scale?

If you can adopt a scientific approach with the right data, your insights and results will be tangible.

Here is an example of what is possible to measure ROI as a starting point by aligning your sales and marketing goals.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE ROI CALCULATOR

Smarter demand generation for technology marketing campaigns

It is possible to achieve better than industry marketing standard conversion rates for lead nurturing and lead generation campaigns for complex technology services/solutions.

With the challenges of reaching out to your contacts, social and content based engagement needs more personalisation of the right type of content and also context. To do this you need to understand what type of challenges they might have,  how you can provide value or help them to solve these challenges and when is an appropriate time to be front of mind to them.

If you would like to find out how you can also take a different customer centric process and approach to achieve 20%+ success rate then call us to discuss how we achieved this for our client.

Here is a snapshot of the results in just one month!
customers by lifecycle stage

Are you willing to do something different to get a different result if you feel you aren’t getting the results you need? We can share some insights around how…

Also don’t miss our latest Case Study: Digital Realty drives APAC Hyper-Scale, Multi Cloud Data Centre Campaign with Alchemise Consulting.

Inbound 2018 – HubSpot Customer Flywheel

A fundamental shift was announced to the HubSpot business model at this year’s conference. The complete customer lifecycle isn’t just a funnel but positions the customer in the centre of all sales, marketing and service/customer focused interactions.

Introducing the customer flywheel – The shift from funnel to a sales, marketing and service/customer centric focus:

Funnel-to-flywheel-hubspot

For more information about the shift published in Harvard Business Review by the CEO of HubSpot, Brian Halligan please click here.

The philosophy of shifting the traditional full funnel to a flywheel concept makes sense in putting the customer at the centre of your business.

Business partner succession and risk planning 


Our first Business Growth Workshop earlier this year featured our guest speakers from Maxsum Consulting and Macquarie Group. A real situation arising from many business owners is the lack of succession planning or risk management within the business or between partners. AlchemiseWorkshop_MaxSum Jun 18

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 by having the right buy/sell agreements or succession plans in place. 

More information can be obtained from us about the first steps with an initial discussion – reach out to us to start the conversation.

Why did your marketing campaign fail?

If you are not achieving your ROI or wondering why your marketing efforts aren’t reaping the rewards of sales results, then let us share some insights as to why you may need to take a different approach. Alchemise Consulting-Feedback

We are seeking to hear from 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.

Our Alchemise Survey for ‘Why my marketing campaign failed’ is still open for your input. We will share our insights once we complete the survey during 1H 2019.

CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE OUR MARKETING CAMPAIGN INSIGHTS QUESTIONNAIRE

Strategic go-to-market and new market entry considerations

We have spoken to many start-ups and more established businesses looking to enter Australia or grow into other markets on limited capital and funding to scale, including those working with investor funding.

BLOG – Start-up businesses: Capital raising and ROI

I understand margins are tight and the drive to scale to grow in exploring other markets or new segments can be a good strategic move. However, I wanted to highlight that it’s best to get some independent help to test the go-to-market and market entry position with research and feasibility studies (across financial, sales and marketing aspects) before launching your product or services.

CASE STUDY – Go-to-market strategy – Australian telco solutions provider

There may be some pitfalls to consider and analyse first with a strategic go-to-market plan such as:

  • Testing the revenue and profit model
  • Understanding your cash burn rate and payback period of investment.
  • What is your go-to-market strategy for the local market/segment?
  • How do you develop initial brand awareness?
  • What is your sales and marketing go-to-market plan including resources, process and systems to support your growth?

We are offering a Digital Readiness Assessment as part of an initial self discovery (including digital identity risk check) if you are interested.

digital-readiness-assessment

Our Top 10 most Popular Blogs in 2018

Our top ten headline blogs and case studies this year… Alchemise-Consulting-Top-10-Blogs-2018

  1. Case Study – IBM business partner drives up lead conversion rate by 25% 
  2. Blog – My customer experience: 5 ways a major Australian department store failed to deliver
  3. Insights Video – How to turn your website into a customer centric approach 
  4. Blog – How business owners can maintain focus and discipline for success
  5. Blog – Reflections on global business: Diversity, leadership and experience
  6. Blog – Software start-up businesses: What is your sales and marketing plan? 
  7. Blog – How do you protect your business identity and digital risk? 
  8. Case Study – Sales and marketing strategy: Australian HR advisory firm
  9. Blog – 9 steps to calculate your sales and marketing ROI
  10. Case Study – What sales commission do I pay my new sales BDM hire?

Looking forward into 2019…

Alchemise-2019-calendar Don’t forget to take the opportunity to reflect on the past year, but also to kickstart and set aside time to work ON your business in 2019, not just on blue sky ideas but getting help to become clear on your business purpose and goals.

If you are looking for more information or to arrange an initial consultation with us, please contact us. Email us at info@alchemiseconsulting.com or start the conversation on Twitter @alchemise_cons, otherwise feel free to phone our Melbourne office on +61 (3) 9225 5022.

We wish our valued clients, partners and friends a
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Alchemise Business Growth Newsletter #7 – Q1 – 2018/19


September 2018

Business Growth Newsletter Edition #7 – Q1 2018/19 

Current Market Trends and Observations

It’s increasingly concerning that busy professionals are not making the time or effort to plan in the business. It seems many sales managers and business owners are busy chasing immediate deals and sales revenue without thinking how to scale or systemise their business beyond the next month or quarter.

At the heart of this sales behaviour consideration for customer success and experience needs to be thought about. Can you integrate the sales process and enablement into customer success and with your marketing awareness to service clients holistically to ensure that retention rates and reduction for the cost of acquisition can be achieved? 

We can all relate that New Year’s Eve resolutions can only be kept if there is commitment and intention first, once it is written down commitment turns into an actionable item if you put a date by which the goal or action needs to be achieved.

If I look at the recruitment sites, we have also seen a higher turnover of sales staff between vendors and suppliers. I think an average of 12 months to 18 months in the ICT sector can be experienced for some companies.

Perhaps a glue to all this comes back to leadership teams deciding to align sales and marketing objectives first then seeking some strong management business cases presented to obtain the investment that is needed to grow a business consistently.


Business Owner Challenges

Our recently released information video outlines some key challenges faced by business owners which we consistently hear. 

Well there is a way forward!

  • Mindset – Willing and wanting to make time
  • Having a good idea doesn’t mean commercial success
  • Have no plan isn’t a wise move if you want to scale and attract the right customers without investing in a strategy.

Business Owners – Does this sound like you?
How to address your sales & marketing challenges with growing your business
… Watch the video here:

Business owner video_play


Inbound 2018

Inbound2018-1

In recently coming back from Boston US with 22,000 people attending the Inbound 2018 conference with end users, marketing agencies and digital agencies attending, this is front of mind with this newsletter.

At Inbound 2018, the concept of the flywheel was explained as a shift away from the traditional marketing and sales funnel:

Funnel to full flywheel

Source: HubSpot 

Customer, Marketing and Sales flywheel to shift away the full marketing and sales funnel. The customer is at the core of everything an organisation does but you need to remove the friction to deliver a smooth customer experience including sales engagement and also connected to your marketing activities.

The emphasis is all about customer first at your core with delight, then being able to continue to engaging and attracting customers within the sales and marketing functions.

Reducing customer or buyer friction will help build growth momentum that builds up energy and if you think of it in terms of a three ingredient growth engine that is what help drive forward this growth approach.

To me this makes sense as a continuous feedback integrated approach between customer service first connected to marketing and then sales engagement with building synchronous energy and focus on the customer from a 360 degree view.


Inbound 2018-2
Inbound 2018 – Key Topics of Focus

Content Marketing – why this is a key to effective customer engagement:
When I look at investment in digital marketing, more emphasis needs to be made for quality and relevant content that is going to engage the prospective buyer. 

The use of video content and investment in analytics is even becoming more important for effective prospect engagement.

Without personalised and relevant content, other secondary digital marketing spent isn’t effective to deliver a tangible ROI.

Account Based Marketing (ABM) for small and larger B2B business now applies:
Account Based Marketing and Personalisation is even more important as part of any inbound or outreach approach for B2B clients.  It’s not just limited to Enterprise clients but a “lighter” implementation of the ABM process can be used.

Sales Enablement and development to drive more sales qualified leads:
If you don’t have a content plan or asset list of where all your content is to make available to your sales teams, then you aren’t able to engage effectively.

Having real time response with the right information to send is vital to connect these days. A generic email follow up isn’t good enough. However using a level of sales automation and process can greatly increase the effectiveness and productivity of sales reps.

The increasing challenge of sales is getting customers still getting new contacts to connect and understanding where they are at in the buying journey or cycle.

ROI in 2012 isn’t the same ROI in 2018 as Account Based Revenue is required to deepen the success of Sales Development team

Some useful tips provided about managing sales enablement with teams…

  • Start small – Elevate the outreach and deepen the call to action
  • Balance your financial measures and leadership levers.
  • Know the difference between an Account Centric and Account Based approach
  • To traditional career path of a Sales Development Rep is no to just move them into an Account Executive field sales role as the failure rate is high as many as 1 in 3 should the right nurturing and mentoring not be provided from sales leaders.

The role of the CMO: Insights from Forrester Research CMO
In hearing the CMO at Forrester Research present he raised some important points from a business perspective to consider.

As organisations as under more pressure and budget to deliver projects like digital transformation, the way return on investment is measured or needs to be justified now is more required than before.  Generally a marketing budget of 10% of revenue isn’t sufficient to drive the results expected in the business.

Customer Experience and Success – why it’s more important than ever before:
Some CMO strategy areas to consider to address:

  • Digital Outsourcing – turning technology debt to technology leverage, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is the current mode and can help digital transformation. 
  • Digital Vanilla – Nearly every company will pursue digital transformation but it’s about where the core is at. How can organisations differentiate through digital and marketing?
  • Crisis of customer loyalty – What is a rational expectation?
    The expectations and evidence varies vastly with Gen X, Y and Z behaviours and mindset for loyalty particularly with the choice of Digital Service Providers as well as new constant offerings always being introduced to the market.

Other Alchemise Consulting News

3D people competing in a race with arrows - isolated over a white background

We have just kicked off a strategic campaign with an account based demand generation campaign for a global data centre provider within the APAC region.


A leading Australian logistics company has benefited from the value of our Digital Readiness Assessment and why a strategic view is so important to consider first with your web and digital strategy:

Great questions, really made me think about what we have existing and what we should, but don’t. Biggest conclusion I got from the whole exercise is to prepare a proper business proposal to the Directors about online and website strategy across the global business rather than an ad hoc approach.”


 Our recent blogs… 

Throughout the quarter we took an in depth look at Sales Enablement and Inside Sales, as well as two different user experience perspectives of marketing automation: 

We also published a blog on exit strategies and wealth protection – How do you ensure your exit strategy from your business partnership has your personal finances protected?

Philip Karlsson, our Alchemise Consulting intern from earlier in the year has also shared a white paper reflecting on global business inspired by his experiences:


3D guy leaning on a calendar - isolated over a white background-1
As we approach the end of 2018, now is a great time to set aside some planning time to strategise and assess your pipeline and situation for this next quarter and looking ahead to 2019. For a complimentary, holistic Business Growth Assessment to independently review your business, sales and marketing performance and operations, please register below.

We’ll assess where your business is at, by collecting meaningful and relevant data and reviewing your goals and strategies.


How business owners can maintain focus and discipline for success

How did you develop your personal financial habits and do they correlate with your business habits as a business owner? Perhaps it only takes a short trip down memory lane to understand how attitudes came about, from an early age, and their impacts now on business owners.

This post was prompted recently during reflection about how personal success and habits are formed in running your own business when I was cleaning out some achieved possessions stored away for many years..


Personal discipline and habits

business-owners

I found one of my old bank savings passbooks from when I was a teenager (for those that remember what a passbook is!). For those that grew up in Melbourne and remember, it was a National Mutual Royal Bank (which became Bank of Melbourne) passbook.

When I opened it showed my savings details over about a period of about five years while I was working my first part-time job, a casual role at Coles supermarket. I remember aim to save at least 90% of each weekly pay packet – and somehow, surprisingly, I managed to achieve this.

This sparked my thinking about the fundamentals of developing discipline, resilience and successful habits in business, and how many of these habits develop as a child and as a teenager with your money values.  Many are formed and shaped by your parents’ attitudes and values. Without turning this post into a personal development article,  I do believe that while your influences can draw you into or away from those values, be it positively or negatively, you do have a choice in where you would like to be.

I wonder how many kids these days (with some entrepreneurial aptitude or potential) could have a digital savings account like this. Are the days of the piggy bank or forced savings still strong or is the digital world or cashless society going to further change spending habits? Do parents today still encourage the values of savings for goals or do they give in and provide more for their kids?

digital savings

I remember the only splurges I made as a teenager was to afford to buy myself my original Atari game console for $90 and also saving to buy my first car for $5,000 when I passed my probationary drivers licence test. This was all without my parents assisting me or gifting me any money for these purchases. If the goal is strong enough you will stay focussed and on track.

In basic terms, having only credits and minimal debits must be an ideal situation. For any financial planning or wealth planning exercise these are fundamentals of building wealth. Not spending more than what you earn to be able to save consistently and reinvesting this for compound growth or leverage is a simple ‘how-to’.

It was instilled into me early as part of my financial values to always set goals and stretch to achieve even greater goals. Having strong cashflow has already enabled personal or business decisions and options to be considered. In small business often too much focus is based on driving revenue growth but the importance of cashflow and profitability shouldn’t be made secondary priorities in your financial plan.

In my professional life these values have always applied and the need to have the discipline to not lose sight of this. If you reinvest your profits regularly and utilise the impact of compounding and leverage, the returns will help you increase the value of your investment. The value of passive income streams versus earned income has been emphasised, having seen many businesses put all their eggs in one basket.

From my cultural background, both of my parents traditionally valued the effort of earning a dollar, so every dollar saved was worth something significant to come in the future. Some might call this a very frugal approach but this habit (and discipline) provides the skills in running and managing a business also. I have always believed in delayed gratification also as opposed to “instant gratification” for the purpose of short term spend, but to maintain positive cashflow and sufficient reserves for the “just in case” factor.

So what can business owners do to stay focussed and disciplined?

As a business owner you need to keep your eye on the end goal as well as regularly reviewing your incremental goals and ensuring you have tightly managed your credits and debits (simply speaking). Simply managing your business spend based on knowing your cash inflow and cash outflow isn’t enough.

The first step is to be aware of your early habits for discipline and focus. If you know you are not naturally great at managing money or need more financial management skills, seek someone you trust to help coach you or guide you to be more accountable or responsible on a weekly or monthly basis.

I believe, to some extent, in the ‘slow and steady wins the race’ approach, and that there is ‘no get rich quick’ scheme unless you significantly increase your risk tolerance. For some, luck and timing also plays a part achieving success.

Make sure you know your business financials – don’t just leave it up to someone else to manage your finances and advise or update you. This includes knowing your profit margins and monthly cash inflows and outflows. If it’s outside your budget don’t stray outside what is committed already. 

For any aspirational business owners this is a good simple reminder of how a solid foundation creates success. To help with that, ensure you have the right people, processes and systems setup as part of your foundation and business planning.

Some tips for business owners:

In summary here are some basic business fundamentals for small business owners or someone who is starting out:

  • Set your goals – both short term and longer term strategies
  • Regularly review your goals whilst keeping focus
  • Keep a positive attitude and your business motivation up, particularly in the face of setbacks or disappointments
  • Allow a sufficient financial buffer (‘rainy day’ preparation) for any unforeseen risks and cashflow issues – plan for best case and worst case scenarios
  • Don’t miss out on opportunity costs versus being overinvested in one particular asset
  • Keep an open mind and be open to left field opportunities
  • Always look for ROI in any investments you make, not just speculation (unless you are prepared to lose that amount anyway)
  • Establishing clarity with your overall goal or ultimate purpose of the business
  • Establish multiple annuity revenue streams where possible
  • You must know your business numbers and overall financial position
  • Be open to change – the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again whilst expecting a different result
  • Know your risk appetite and keep managing it amongst your external environment to make sure you are not exposed.

If this resonates with you as a business owner and you would like to get back on track or accelerate your growth please contact us on +61 3 92255022 or info@alchemiseconsulting.com to book in a time to meet with us.

In the meantime, to help kick start your cashflow and growth, here is a FREE copy of our E-Book ” How to increase your profits with seven profit multipliers”

3 unconventional business productivity tools for driving your business growth

In driving your business growth, you would need to be highly productive to succeed in a competitive environment in Singapore. Time is money and the less time spent on a task means you can more work with less employees. The business makes more money and every employee gets paid more. This would be a win-win situation and everyone is happy.

The actual situation is slightly different. Currently, income is increasing faster than business productivity which is a source of worry for both sides.

graph showing incomes rising faster than business productivitySource: The Straits Times

Questions such as whether such increments are sustainable begin to weigh on both the employers and employee. For over 30 years, the Singapore Government has been encouraging companies to improve their productivity. In this article, we will introduce some innovative productivity tools that emerged recently. Perhaps your business can consider using them?

1) Virtual Design and Construction – VR full dress rehearsal cuts rework

The construction industry is notorious for its over-dependence on cheap labour and low productivity growth. Productivity actually declined by 1.1% in 2016 compared to 2015. The slow growth coupled with the tightening of construction worker supply means the construction industry are under pressure to improve their productivity.

business productivity and growth in the construction sector graphs

Source: Ministry of Manpower

One of the most exciting recent virtual reality (VR) technology would be Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). Instead of a staid blueprint, VDC provides a full dress rehearsal for architects, engineers, construction managers, owners, regulators and other stakeholders to provide inputs before the project is constructed.

Source: Mortenson

Instead of having to fiddle with stacks of papers, such designs can be seen from different angles on your tablets on 3D. Such models can be drawn to precision down to the last 10 centimetres and you can see how sunlight and other elements affect your building.

VDC has been used in Singapore to construct the mega projects such as Changi General Hospital Medical Centre and Northpoint City. VDC allows all parties to be on same page and it reduces rework and mistakes. According to a construction company, VDC allowed them to reduce rework by 50% to 90% and increased their productivity by 4% to 28%.

Higher productivity also means lower building costs. Property owners would spend less time on construction and this will reduce their labor and business financing cost. All these would lead to more affordable office spaces in Singapore.

So how expensive is a VDC? Well it depends your choice. Sketchup Pro cost US$695 per edition while the more established AutoCAD Revit will cost you US$2,038.35/year. This is affordable to you even if you are small architect firm and you can even tap on the $450 million Construction Productivity and Capability Fund (CPCF) by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) which had benefited 9,000 firms and 90% of them are SMEs. You can defray up to 70% of the cost or up to $30,000 so even the expensive AutoCAD software will cost just US$611.50 per year (S$838/year) and the cheaper Sketchup would cost US$208.50 (S$286).

2) Chef Watson – Create new recipes in minutes with Artificial Intelligence

If you are a restaurant owner, one of the main challenge would be to have new recipes to entice your clients to come back for more. There are literally thousands of restaurants out there who wants to get the next Michelin star and owners dream of having long queues from their doors. Having good food is more important than having flying robots as waiters but creating new recipe to lure in the clients is tedious.

There are 7 steps to take to create a proper new food recipe from developing an ingredient list, visualizing, sketching to tasting. It takes an expert dish designer 80 to 90 hours to create a new dish and their services don’t come cheap. What if I say you can create a new dish in 5 minutes with improved concentration?

Source: IBM Chef Watson

The 5 minutes is only needed for you to choose what type of style or occasion that new dish is for and to select the right recipe. Otherwise you can also create a new dish from your favourite ingredient. Chef Watson powered by artificial intelligence that can suggest thousand of dishes within seconds as you choose them. It is powered by the same technology that allows computers to beat chess experts at their own game. The best part of this machine is that it is absolutely free.

3) Telepresence robots – improve work-life balance & revenue

There will be times where you can’t be in the office. For instance, you might be on a business trip overseas when your colleagues needs to consult you on some detailed work. While you can talk over Skype but it is easier when you have a tele presence robot that allows you to see your screen and other co-workers involved in the discussion.

Source: MacWorld

Such telepresence robots are also used in Singapore by 3E Accounting. According to a TodayOnline interview with their CEO Mr Lawrence Chai, telepresence robots increased their productivity and facilitated their family friendly culture with flexible work arrangement. Average revenue per employee increased from $92,037 to $135,076 per year and productivity improved from 41.96% to 46.76%. It is also useful for them in retaining their employees.

The TodayOnline report mentioned that this robot cost $7,000 and it is claimable under the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme. IRAS website shows that up to $100,000 or 40% is claimable in cash, reduced from the 70% of previous years, and this means that it would cost $4,200 to bring in this robot today. This is a small price to pay for the productivity improvement and within the reach of most SMEs.

Competitive Edge

I hope that these three unconventional methods of improving productivity would be useful in your companies’ drive to prosper in Singapore. Higher productivity is a competitive edge for companies to stand out in a crowded field regardless of whether you are a start-up or a SME. These ideas might not be exactly suited for your particular case but it should give you an idea of the possibilities out there. Good luck!

Written by Ong Kai Kiat, Singapore-  Alchemise Consulting 

Learn more about how a Business Growth Assessment can help unlock your business’ potential, and register below for your free assessment.

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