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.

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

 

Alchemise Business Growth Newsletter #5 – Q3 – 2017/18

Sales & Marketing
Market Wrap 2018 

Introduction and Digital Risk Awareness  

In this quarterly newsletter, I would like to firstly focus on some broader topics to raise for awareness and why business owners, CMOs and marketers should be really focused on ensuring that business risk is managed for any digital presence or online identities.

Secondly, as any business evolves and focus is on revenue growth and profit targets, the issue of risk management may not be actively thought about or made aware of, so the topic of digital identity risk is really important to understand what can happen in this digital world that could turn a business upside down very quickly if awareness isn’t high and not managed properly. More on this topic shortly!

Marketing Insights Survey
We have just launched our “Why my marketing campaign failed” 2018 marketing insights survey and encourage participation of any business owners or sales and/or 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.

We’ll be sharing data-driven insights and a review of marketing trends and challenges at the conclusion of the survey.

Additional information available later in this newsletter.


How does digital risk relate to your day to day business sales and marketing activities?

If your sales and marketing initiatives heavily depend on your brand and/or reputation with clients online or offline in the market, there are some basic checks to ensure your business has protected your digital identity in terms of (but not limited to) your online security policies, client data integrity, and domain name and social media ownership.

As with any business risk, there is always the flow on effect and direct or indirect impact on your sales revenue and marketing effectiveness if there is a loss of productivity, reputation damage or opportunity cost.

Such examples include having your URL or website down, or if your marketing technology applications aren’t functioning or getting breached by hackers on your customer database.

If you don’t have an SSL certificate on your domain names you may be at risk and as a secondary risk, this can also damage your organic SEO ranking with Google’s search algorithms.

Who actually owns a domain name in a business? Is it the IT department to manage or is it a marketing department responsibility or the marketing agency?

If this is of interest to explore how you can protect your business we have a few simple checks inside our a new blog article that you MUST read!!

How do you protect your business identity and digital risk?

This month I also wanted to share with you some broad news areas to raise the awareness of and how to ensure you are covered.

Customer Data Protection and Security

1) Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme

data-management

In Australia, from 22nd February 2018, small businesses with over $3M in revenue need to be aware of the regulatory requirement to publicly disclose and report any customers’ data breached by hackers or technology problems.

We’ve linked two articles below for further reading:

Businesses unprepared for new data breach notification laws
Which small businesses have mandatory data breach reporting obligations?

2) European GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation 

EU-GDPR

If you are engaging globally and in countries within the European Union, you need to be aware of the new guidelines around data privacy regulation which come into effect on 25th May 2018.

If you are an Australian business, you might need to consider if and how this GDPR requirement impacts you.

This resource from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner contains more information about, and how to comply with the new requirements for Australian businesses operating within the EU GDPR, available here.


Start of 2018 – What we’ve been up to… 

Welcome Andrew McFayden
Marketing and Sales Insight Consultant andrew-mcfayden

In January we welcomed Andrew McFayden to Alchemise Consulting. Andrew joins us as a Marketing and Sales Insight Consultant and brings over 20 years of experience, across the IT, FMCG, automotive, construction and real estate sectors, to the team.

Andrew has an upcoming podcast series which you can preview here:

 How inbound sales is still unchanged from the 1940s to today

He has also written a blog about protecting your digital business identity and minimising risk, available here:

 How do you protect your business identity and digital risk? 

______________________

Welcome Bryan O’Reilly
Associate Consultant bryan-oreilly

We have also welcomed Bryan O’Reilly into our team recently as an Associate Consultant, and he broadens our experience and capabilities in the technology and telecommunications sector.

On that theme, we recently released a blog about NBN reseller services and how to differentiate amongst the current competition, covering increasing profitability and addressing customer churn as well as satisfaction and loyalty, available here:

6 ways NBN resellers can differentiate their services


 Marketing Case Study

How we helped an IBM Business Partner increase their lead generation conversion rate by 25% 
Case Study

IBM-business-partner

We have helped a leading IBM reseller in one month increase their 2018 campaign for cloud services and outperform a traditional lead generation conversion by 25%.

Using a combination of inbound marketing and a problem-centric approach we managed to generate 8 SQLs, 23 MQLs and 53 prospects in 30 days.

Typically traditional telemarketing typically achieves only less than 3% success rate of conversion from a numbers game.

Read more about the challenge, our solution, and the outcomes here:

IBM Business Partner drives up lead generation conversion rate by 25%


 Alchemise Marketing Survey 2018 

Why Marketing Campaigns Fail

We have just released an open survey on the back of our ‘5 Reasons Why Marketing Campaign Fail’ 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.

online-survey-marketingTo thank you for completing the survey, we will send you a checklist of questions and considerations for you to demand of your marketing agency or team to ensure you are getting the best ROI for your marketing spend! We’ll also send you our ROI calculator to help you work towards aligning your sales and marketing efforts. We are also offering a Digital Readiness Assessment (including a digital identity risk check) to early survey participants!

Once we compile the results, we will report back to you with data-driven insights and a review of marketing trends and challenges.


Alchemise Consulting supports The Intern Group

You may remember we hosted Charlotte Rogers from the UK on an intern placement in 2017 – Chak was featured as a new Host Partner in The Intern Group’s newsletter earlier this year!

intern-group-chak-ngWe believe in provide career opportunities to recent young graduates get a head start with work experience is important and to embrace global diversity with programs such as what Intern Group offers.


 Good luck with your Q4 and the fast approaching end of financial year! 

If you are looking for more information, or to arrange a consultation with us, please contact us at info@alchemiseconsulting.com,@alchemise_cons (Twitter) or phone our Head Office in Melbourne on +61(3) 9225 5022.

sales-marketing-alignment

Stay tuned for the next quarterly release of the Alchemise Consulting Business Growth Newsletter. If you would to like to learn more about how we can help you grow your business in 2018, please click below to make a time to talk!


Alchemise Business Growth Newsletter #4 – Q2 – 2017/18


Sales & Marketing
Market Wrap 2017 


I would like to share briefly our perspective on the main trends and market insights that have been seen throughout this year. In working with clients in digital marketing and sales acceleration to help business growth there are some common challenges faced.

If you think digital marketing is moving forward at a faster pace and feel like you can’t keep up, consider that in 2017 the marketing technology space is continuing to develop with over 5000 providers in the landscape.

growth-marketing-technologyDigital Marketing

How AI, Voice Channel Analytics and Social Influencing can drive your customer engagement further.

We have watched the introductions of Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa with interest in B2B and B2C and how voice search will which are paving the way for the continued momentum and validating the strength of voice as an effective marketing channel for inbound leads.

The progress of AI and chatbot technologies have provided some insight into how this can drive advanced marketing automation platforms further in the next 12 to 18 months and opportunity for better customer experience and increase time to market whilst developing more creative engagement for competitive advantage.

As published by a Gartner blog earlier in the year, we have seen the use of AI based voice call analytics warming up in the market for customer experience and specific marketing insights. If you are considering improving customer experience or use of direct call voice marketing analytics for B2B and/or B2C then we’d encourage you to understand how investment in this area can help you get ahead.  How can help you generate stronger ROI as part of an omni-channel strategy?  We have some progressive cost-reduction strategies which might help your business free up some cash flow from operational expenses in the area of digital connectivity needs.

Social Selling 

Social selling has continued to be a hot topic among both experts and everyday users, and from a sales and marketing perspective, a focus has been on the generational shift in consumer behaviour and communication. Surveying end users has shown a shift in preference from typing or messaging toward using voice for convenience and will lead many Millennial and Gen Z interactions.

While I was in the Philippines earlier this year, it was eye opening in understanding how Facebook is the central social media channel for news consumption in both professional and personal use. This highlighted the real decline in the traditional newspaper online and print mediums.

Yes, video content is a growing content channel, following the increasing functionality of Facebook and LinkedIn as well as existing video channels like YouTube and Vimeo. Video production doesn’t always have to be a professional, high-cost exercise; the value comes in building brand awareness and the personalisation of the way your company presents to your audience.

Here are some interesting digital market statistics from State of Inbound 2017 by Hubspot:

blog-distribution-channels

The influence of digital in sales and marketing is seemingly ever-increasing, and while it may seem daunting to enter the space or know how to budget for a realistic ROI, and keep up. You know that there are simple strategies and approaches to help ensure that your company is well-positioned to have the most successful relationships with your customers. We can help you on an suitable digital strategy or readiness to transform no matter where you are in the journey currently.

If you have found this interesting and want to explore further, feel free to contact us. We are also offering an obligation-free initial Digital Readiness Assessment and strategy consultation before the end of January.

Some of our 2017 highlights

In 2017, we completed our Sales Enablement Specialisation with HubSpot, so please come and talk to us about your needs for HubSpot CRM implementation, Sales and Marketing Alignment, Sales Enablement and Sales Coaching. Of course the full funnel approach for marketing automation is also available.

We saw at Inbound 2017, held in Boston in September, that marketing automation is maturing with lead generation driven by video content and Account Based Marketing (ABM)  so you can really focus on strategically targeting the specific audience and customers you are looking for.

We have also referred on some opportunities for the EMDG (Export Market Development Grant) application for some additional marketing funding initiatives from AusTrade.

Our most popular blogs in 2017

Our top headline blogs during 2017 around business growth and digital progression with our clients are recapped below.

  1. Digital strategy and user experience study for IT security consultancy
  2. New Market Entry Assessment saves 40% in start up costs in A/NZ – leading UK ICT serviced provider 
  3. 3 essential factors in a new market development strategy
  4. To small business owners, from your future Generation-Z customer 
  5. 3 key elements of what a Digital Readiness Assessment provides
  6. How inbound marketing and HubSpot marketing automation helped win a new client in just 10 days

Don’t forget also that cyber security has been a prominent topic of focus with some high profile corporate breaches occurring this year. If you are a cyber security services provider or vendor and looking to increase your marketing ROI please speak with us about how to really add value to your prospective clients.

Looking forward into 2018

Look out for our coming news on how our Inbound Digital Sales Enablement and Marketing services is designed to meet our client requirements and market needs.

From our perspective, the market is rapidly shifting and clients are much more ethnically and culturally diverse than before across APAC but even more noticeably in the A/NZ market.

We are also launching some value added services based on marketing analytics with an operational cost model to help support investment into the digital voice channel space.

We are looking forward to expanding in 2018 with an addition to our Inside Sales consulting team . This will allow us to focusing on regional and local client sector needs within business services, technology services and the sales and marketing channel.

sales-marketing-alignment

Stay tuned for the next quarterly release of the Alchemise Consulting Business Growth Newsletter. If you would to like to learn more about how we can help you grow your business in 2018, please click below to make a time to talk!


Alchemise Business Growth Newsletter #3 – Q1 – 2017/18

September 2017

Business Growth Newsletter Edition #3 – Q2 2017/18

It has been a very busy quarter with many developments in this new financial year so far.

In the headlines this year, cyber security has been a prominent focus with some high profile corporate breaches occurring this year. If you are cyber security company, read about how we can assist with specifically driving some marketing initiatives and raise your brand awareness and sales initiatives in the market with our specialised expertise in this area.

From an ICT sector perspective, the market opportunity needs differentiation in a very crowded marketplace with the security vendors, integrators and technology consultancies competing for growing market share in the APAC region. This was observed at the Gartner Security and Risk Summit in Sydney last month.

Our new initiative coming soon is to discuss ways to differentiate and help you with specific marketing and sales strategies to increase brand awareness whilst addressing the speed to engage opportunities. This includes exploring an influencer and social selling marketing approach to increase brand awareness first as part of a go-to-market strategy. We have engaged partnerships to deliver more value with security client marketing initiatives.

The common denominator has been developing more qualified leads and engaging at a deeper level to create and nurture a high quality sales pipeline. We will also raise and talk about the role of Inside Sales.

I would be happy to share some marketing insights into this area, so feel free to contact me to talk about the nuances of how to market effectively and drive your cyber security sales with a low cost and shared risk approach.


Marketing & Sales Insights

This quarter we are going to focus on some considerations for differentiation with marketing cyber security products and services if you are a vendor, reseller or partner…

Marketing for Cyber Security

Part 1 : Marketing Tips for Cyber Security: 6 Reasons to Differentiate with Sales Enablement Actions

If you are a cyber security provider or vendor and feeling that you aren’t getting enough leads from engaging marketing agencies or traditional telemarketing lead generation methods, there might be some key areas to consider in improving your performance and ROI for marketing campaigns.

Here are 6 reasons why you need a different approach to differentiate increasing your security domain knowledge and effective strategy to deliver better leads and being able to differentiate in marketing and selling cyber security solutions and services.

Read More


Part 2 : Marketing Tips for Cyber Security – 5 ways to deliver you more leads for Cyber Security companies

Increasing Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) quality isn’t based on just a numbers game for the reasons of a finite audience with your customer segment and depth of credibility and positioning:

What constitutes an acceptable MQL lead is not just a B-A-N-T approach to qualification. It requires some higher level of depth of information around the specific qualification of the security environment and any business needs that is more targeted through building sufficient credibility and point of different during the lead nurturing and generation process. This is typically applying a level of sales acumen which is where typically a Sales Development Representative or Inside Sales Representative delivers more effective result and is a better investment to deliver an Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).

Read More


Inside Sales – A Key to Increasing Lead Generation

Part 1: Why Inside Sales is a Key to Successful Lead Generation

This article has been written to open up some strategic thinking and discussion for business owners, as well as sales and marketing managers in SME’s or Corporate businesses on different ways to increase lead generation success with Inside Sales and Sales Enablement. Inside-Sales

It was refreshing to hear last month that a prominent marketing agency acknowledged that marketing supports sales and that successful lead generation cannot be achieved with just marketing automation and digital content alone.

It’s becoming even more important with the need for both sales and marketing functions to complement, align and integrate with each other and adopting a “full funnel” top down view. So how can you start that process and get a business to commit to a shift in mindset?

Read More


 Part 2: Why Inside Sales is a Key to Successful Lead Generation

How Inside Sales could provide more value than Business Development for SMEs:

The inside sales function can help bridge the gap between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL’s) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL’s) with the right sales enablement onboarding process and agreement between both marketing and sales.  We see this as a combined function with, ideally, common budget allocated between the two departments. Our recommendation is to engage Inside Sales specialists who understand your market and are able to scale based on demand.

Read More


New People

Charlotte Rogers-1.jpegWe welcomed Charlotte Rogers to the Alchemise team in August. Charlotte came from the UK to Australia for a six-week internship. In her time as Associate Intern at Alchemise Consulting, Charlotte had exposure to a variety of business experiences. We wish Charlotte all the best as she returns to the UK to start her final year of Economics at University College London.

Read Charlotte’s blog contribution and her piece with real marketing insights into future Gen Z buying habits,

To small business owners, from your future Generation Z customer.

My internship at Alchemise Consulting has been wonderfully rewarding. It has been incredibly beneficial to take my learning outside of the lecture hall, and to gain useful experience. I have particularly enjoyed applying the knowledge from my degree to a business context, such as performing analysis to extract insights from a real dataset.

These six weeks have passed far too quickly, and I am sad to be leaving Melbourne (and the excellent coffee) so soon. Exploring the laneways, galleries and cafés has secured its place as a favourite destination of mine, and I am certain I will return – hopefully sooner rather than later. Until then, I feel fortunate to be travelling back to London more knowledge than when I left, and with fresh motivation to complete my studies and begin my career. I want to extend my warmest thanks to Alchemise Consulting, for providing me with this enjoyable and informative experience.

– Charlotte Rogers

SujaySalvi Profile pic.jpegWelcome also to Sujay Salvi, based in Sydney who joined the team in August as our Business Development Consultant. Sujay is a seasoned ICT Inside Sales professional with technology-based entrepreneurial flair. He has more than 8 years of Asia Pacific IT Sales and Partner Account Management experience across Enterprise and SMB partners. He has specific experience in building go to-market regional channel partner business plans and accelerating growth of marketing lead generation campaigns and sales enablement delivery.

 

6243101430495380482.jpegCindy Marr has also joined the Alchemise team as Associate Principal Consultant. Cindy brings over 25 years experience in the IT industry in various roles from sales and sales management, corporate management and strategic consulting. She also has over 5 years experience in sales coaching and delivery. For sales training, Cindy asks for you to bring the courage and the commitment, and she’ll teach you the capabilities that will guarantee confidence and all that is required to go from being a mediocre sales person to an extraordinary success.


Upcoming Events

20161111_091356_resized.jpegI am looking forward to the Hubspot Inbound 2017 conference this week in Boston. Since last year we have come a long way in our partnership as a certified Hubspot agency partner and Sales Enablement specialists.

Hubspot Agency Partner Certification Alchemise Consulting April 17.png The development of a solid content marketing strategy is even more vital to get consistently right. We have found using a proven marketing automation platform with a well executed sales enablement process will provide a sustainable growth engine to drive more sales leads.

Come and talk to us about your needs for Hubspot CRM implementation, Sales and Marketing Alignment, Sales Enablement and Sales Coaching.

For a further insight into our experience with inbound marketing,
check out our recent blog,
How inbound marketing helped win a new client in 10 days.

3 reasons for Sales and Marketing Alignment in Financial Services

If you are in the Singapore financial services sector, what are the reasons for Sales and Marketing alignment? We have often heard that the Singapore’s financial sector is highly competitive but nothing beats the facts.

A recent survey by leading management consultancy firm, Bain & Company, found that Singapore financial institutions and retail banks (e.g. DBS, OCBC, UOB) lose a staggering 40% of new products sales to agile competitors such as fintech start-ups who are better at digital marketing.

The survey found that 70% of respondents would switch financial service providers if it was easy for them to do so. For new entrants who are entering the local market or challengers who are seeking to upset the existing order (e.g. fund supermart which entered the securities brokerage business), this is an opportunity. For your company to grab a slice of the pie from willing consumers, your company must first create and ensure you have sales and marketing alignment between the two functional teams.

Sales and marketing teams are not naturally aligned as they have different objectives. The sales team are more focused on the short term such as closing sales to meet the monthly or quarterly sales target, while the marketing team is more interested in creating a positive brand image and generating leads for the sales team. Here are three reasons why you should align both your sales and marketing teams.

1. More effective sales team = less labour cost

The widespread availability of information over the Internet means that buyers are now more empowered. For instance, when a company is looking to invest their excess funds for a good return, they can easily search for a list of fund houses and compare their returns, cost, volatility and so on that meet their criteria.

Marketing and Sales Lead Generation

When they are ready to buy, the sales cycle might be 30 days from the evaluation stage. The sales representative would need to interact with the clients that have the intention to purchase and not just interest. The sales representative would be frustrated when the client takes more than 30 days to respond as he can’t fulfill his sales target in time.

When the sales and marketing teams are aligned in today’s age, it means that marketing will agree to nurture the leads past the intent stage before passing the lead to the sales representative. By recognizing that 70% of the sales lead are not ready to buy yet in the buyer’s journey and passing on the remaining 30% who are ready to buy, the organization becomes more effective at sales. This means that your organization would require less salesperson to hit the same sales target or more.

2. Responding to buyer’s demand & not crossing the regulatory line

Singapore is famed for its strict financial regulation which provides peace of mind to investors and safeguard its sterling reputation as a financial hub. While there is significant money to be made, there are also risks involved in the process. For an organisation to be effective, it’s products must meet the customer’s demand and the sales person who is talking to the customer on the ground is most exposed to it.

When marketing and sales are aligned, the marketing department would know which of its products have more demand. Then marketing can craft the right message on its advertising materials to reach out to other customers who have similar needs. On the other side, marketing can help spot if the sales person is crossing the regulatory line in their eagerness to close the sales.

Singapore financial planners

Source: Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

In Singapore, the marketing collateral has to be approved by both the internal compliance team which have in depth understanding of the MAS regulation. Therefore the marketing team can flag any potential troubles and prevent civil and criminal liabilities falling on the company and individual sales person.

3. Get 208% More Sales

As companies learn to skip the vast majority of buyers who are not ready to buy, they can focus their limited time and energy on the buyers which are ready to buy. The sales person who is focused on closing the deals can’t read their prospect’s mind on their intent level. Only the marketing department which can do lead scoring (will be discussed in next article) will be able to do so.

sales-marketing-alignment

Source: Slideshare

If the marketing department consistently provide weak prospects to their sales person, they will learn to ignore the leads provided by them. However, the marketing department can continue to nurture the lead such that they are ready and studies would then suggest approaching the vendor after 57% of the buying process is complete. By 2020, buyers will approach the sellers after 80% of the buying process is complete. Research by MarketingProf showed that companies with aligned sales would increase their revenue by more than 208%.

What’s Next

Now that you know of the importance of  sales and marketing alignment processes, you will have to take action. In the next article, we will detail the possible actions to make that alignment possible. Stay tuned.

To find out more about how we can help with aligning your sales and marketing, please register below for an initial assessment.

Sales-Marketing-Consultant

Alchemise Business Growth Newsletter #2 – Q4 – 2016/17

Introduction to Q1 2017/18
New Financial Year Business Growth Plans

Welcome to the first quarter of this new financial year! This year is quickly progressing since welcoming in the New Year for 2017. I hope you have just finished Q4 strongly and ready for a great performance and business growth in the 2017-18 financial year. It’s the time to kick off with new financial goals and plans, and hopefully to capitalise on last year’s performance to aim for year-on-year growth and profitability.

Our aim is to publish quarterly newsletters with updates on our latest business news and developments in the area of sales and marketing, so feel free to follow our us via LinkedIn and subscribe to our newsletter.


A time to review last year

Some reflective questions to consider about last financial year and plans for year moving forward: 

  • Where is your competitive position in the market?
  • How can you increase your profitability?
  • What worked and didn’t work from your business plan?
  • What new strategies are needed for sales growth?
  • How much marketing investment do I need to make to improve ROI?
  • Do you need more sales and delivery resources?

Some market observations from last financial year 2016/2017.
The market is changing even more rapidly in this world of disruption, new technologies and innovation which is touching every industry sector. The same challenges involving the digital world are impacting traditional methods to develop leads and grow sales pipeline with every business. The need to generate a solid ROI from every investment dollar spend, and to be able to justify the spend is even more important than before. There are some many channels now competing for budget do where you spend relies on a solid direction and strategy plan before embarking on a lead generation campaign.

Within the marketing environment, creating the right partnerships can take some time and trial and error to find a suitable fit. There is a convergence of digital marketing, full service marketing agencies and niche marketing agencies which all specialise in helping to address marketing and lead generation. Direct experience in the sector your are operating in and tangible results will help choose the right help to suit your business.

This has been highlighted in the market with some larger and smaller acquisitions of digital media companies and marketing agencies by IT companies, management consultancies and some consolidation of marketing agencies through organic growth or client driven contracts and capability needs.

Marketing investments can be difficult to allocate for the greatest impact on your business. Do you spend $20,000 on Digital SEO, Website design, Google AdWords campaign or content writing? Do you run a marketing event? Or budget to hire an experienced sales person for direct field engagement? The way the marketing environment is changing and developing is only creating more pressure on and competition for marketing budgets.

The recently released HubSpot State of Inbound 2017 report on the future of sales and marketing shows many SME organisations spend less than $20,000 on marketing expense.The average small business spends at least $50,000 on their digital marketing presence, which may not be directly generating a tangible ROI and sales revenue from disparate digital marketing agencies or through time and effort delivered in-house. What we have observed is that not always a sales and marketing go to market strategy plan has been developed first.

Compounding the above marketing challenges is the average tenure in senior sales and marketing roles reducing to about 18-24 months, and good talent is hard to secure at the right market rates. In an APAC context there is movement without necessarily achieving a significant increase so retention of good sales and marketing leaders is proving more challenging pending sales quotas.

We recognise the importance of digital marketing and having a strategy to be more successful in effective lead generation, new business development and a more personalized content appeal to specific buyer’s audience.

Register for a complimentary Digital Readiness Assessment to find out how an improved digital strategy can help grow your business.

Digital Readiness Assessment

In more detail – Market Insights and Trends 2017 
For an experience-based extended commentary into market insights and trends, and the push toward digital marketing strategies, check our one of our latest blogs HERE.

Newsletter: Commentary: Market Insights and Trends 2017

Our Sales and Marketing Projects
We continue to expand our consulting services capability in line with market demands. We now have a greater focus on sales enablement services and inbound digital sales and marketing focus, working to develop better sales and marketing alignment for more consistent engagement.

We have been delivering consulting projects for new clients during the past 12 months at each stage of the sales and marketing process with a holistic approach from Top of Funnel, Middle of Funnel and Bottom of Funnel stages to deliver higher quality leads nurturing warm prospects, delivering sales channel enablement and specific marketing campaigns.

Our speciality last year was predominately within the technology and services sector – cyber security, networking and cloud/data centre domains, specialised engineering services and financial services sectors, throughout the broader APAC region.

We acknowledge that the marketing of professional and niche services is both a science and an art but it can be challenging without the real field and industry expertise required to assist with a go to market engagement. Areas such as ICT security and finance/investment sectors demand a strategic and contextual approach with good quality content for effective marketing to enterprise, corporate, mid-market and government- or sector-based prospective clients.

Let us tailor a custom marketing demand generation campaign for you that links your business strategy, sales and marketing targets, and people, process and systems together with a suitable investment focussed on Return on Investment.

The State of Inbound Report 2017
SOI17-partner-linkedinv2.png

The State of Inbound 2017 was released in May from HubSpot based on the latest data around the future of sales and marketing.

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

  1. Only 22% of all respondents say their organization’s sales and marketing relationship is tightly aligned.
  2. 31% of C-level executives say there is tight alignment between their marketing and sales teams, but only 17% of managers and individual contributors agree.
  3. Respondents with sales and marketing SLAs in their organization are 3x more likely to say their marketing strategy is effective compared to those in misaligned organizations.
  4. 70% of marketers say their top priority over the next 12 months is converting contacts/leads to customers.
  5. 63% of marketers say their top challenge is generating traffic and leads.
  6. 38% of salespeople say getting a response from prospects is more difficult than two to three years ago.
  7. 35% of salespeople say closing deals is more difficult than two to three years ago.
  8. 38% of salespeople say they struggle most with prospecting.
  9. 45% of salespeople say they spend over an hour performing manual data entry, yet only 21% of C-level executives said this is so.

My visit to the 2016 HubSpot Inbound Event in Boston provided validation of the rapidly shifting nature and importance of digital marketing automation. Every marketing plan requires an inbound methodology to respond to the ways in which buyers make purchasing decisions today compared with a more traditional approach.

I am looking forward to returning to the HubSpot Inbound Event 2017 in September, but in the meantime:

Read more about the State of Inbound report and the increasing importance of why you need to align sales and marketing with the impact of digital HERE

Alchemise Consulting – Digital Marketing Capabilites
For an overview of our recent news release and expansion of our digital services capabilities, please click here.
News Release: Alchemise Consulting expands digital services capabilities for APAC region

Case Studies

If you haven’t seen our recent published blog posts so far this year, here are some examples of some various client projects we have worked on during 2016 and how we have assisted with some common but key sales and marketing challenges from large MNC’s and SME businesses.

  1. Vendor partner channel engagement support
  2. IT security digital web user experience review for lead generation campaign
  3. US ICT vendor sees the need for marketing automation process improvement in APAC
  4. New market entry feasibility to Australia saves 40% cost for a UK ICT Services provider

Upcoming Calendar 

Stay tuned for our upcoming events or conference visits

  • July 2017 – HubSpot Grow Event, Sydney
  • September 2017 – Inbound 2017, Boston
  • Q1/Q2 2017/2018 – Alchemise Event Briefing for Business Owners and Sales/ Marketing Managers – (TBA)

Stay tuned for further updates and information on our upcoming events for the remainder of 2017.

Thank you for your support to date and look out for our next edition of the quarterly Alchemise Consulting Newsletter.
Have a great start to Q1 2017/2018 and remember, our success is your success. We aim to maximise your profits – happy selling!

If you’d like some tips and strategies for increasing your sales, click below to register for our e-book, “How to increase your sales with 7 profit multipliers”

Profit Multipliers

 

Part 1: How to choose a Sales and Marketing Outsourcing Partnership

Why would you consider sales and marketing outsourcing and how do you choose who to partner with? 

Commonly outsourcing professional services is used to gain access and leverage specific skillsets and experience that is not available internally within an organization.

Firstly, it is important to consider why you might want to outsource your organisation’s sales and marketing? While there is something of a trend for larger companies to outsource aspects of their operations, it may not be as effective for smaller companies, depending on what the need is.

Typically the cost of employment may outweigh the requirement or need for outsourcing. Perhaps it is a resourcing ‘on-tap’ and demand approach that seems appealing without having to go through the traditional recruitment process (with associated fees that typically run between 15-20%), and taking onboard all the risk yourself.

Outsourcing is often positioned as a cost reduction strategy, but go through the financial implications carefully with expert guidance as often it can end up costing more. The pure cost, in some cases, can be offset by having access to highly skilled resources on shorter project terms, which can be an investment than an overhead cost – especially when delivering for your end clients which have a direct sales impact.

If the need is on a large-scale resource intensive project or an ad hoc piece of work for a period of time that you don’t have the internal resource or talent acquisition skills to deliver, outsourcing may be a good strategy. Often backfilling a sales support, inside sales or marketing manager resource gap can create a large impact on your sales effectivness to execute an annual financial growth plan.

Time is money, and in every business the aim is to increase sales revenue and pipeline growth with good cash flow. In this current competitive marketplace and world of disruption, businesses must think of ways to create competitive advantage rather than focusing on price alone, all whilst managing tight budgets. Outcome based selling is what organisations realise is needed to add value to clients.

Sales and marketing are the lifeblood of any business and should be considered as a investment with calculated ROI not just seen as a cost of sale but also treated as priority and investment as part of a business growth strategy. It should be considered a tactical or strategic decision and complementary to the business, not as a replacement for internal sales and marketing functions. Every business should be focussing on new business development and ongoing lead generation.

Whether for small or larger companies, the challenges are common and outsourcing shouldn’t have a negative connotation but be considered as an alterative strategy to consider where it makes cost/benefit sense at a pivotal time in the market or in the growth plan. In circumstances where additional sales and/or marketing resources are needed with flexibility, outsourcing can be a valid solution to avoid the sunk cost of employment overheads.

Outsourcing selected aspects of your sales and marketing may suit smaller businesses who need to be flexible, agile and nimble to maintain competitive advantage and add more value other than being the lowest cost. Smaller businesses need to consider the time to market and sales enablement process and onboarding once the internal recruitment process is completed. There are low risk ways to dip your toes into marketing as a service or sales as a service which is an effective engagement model to selectively utilise which can generate a higher ROI.

There is an old definition of insanity if you do the same thing over and over again, you won’t get a different or better result!

Outsourcing functions will of course prompt changes in your internal processes but if you do your due diligence and thoroughly address and formally agree on how you manage the relationship, it should contribute to a comfortable transfer of responsibilities. There might be a perceived loss of control, but that is not the case so look at this challenge as an opportunity to manage the relationship and the KPIs and service agreements that come with the arrangement with the partner.

Remember a holistic dependency is always on people, processes and systems in any business function like sales and marketing. More importantly from a sales enablement perspective is speeding up the time to market which can make a difference in sales growth potential.

Some broad questions to consider are:

  • Is the engagement based on a traditional resource charge on time and utilization basis or is it a fixed retainer or project-based cost based on defined outcomes and KPI’s?
  • Can you gain access to the resources on a fixed project schedule or is it ad hoc access with no guarantees of availability on demand?
  • Are they dedicated or shared resources?
  • What guarantees and assurances are being offered in the case of non-performance or misrepresentation?
  • How much effort will you need to spend on people or project managing the contracted resources in your organization and project tasks and deliverables?

Summary:

Consideration of marketing and sales outsourcing will make sense to businesses that are open to dynamic business environment changes and willing to invest to grow the business. Where there are specific market opportunities and cash flow challenges to hiring full time employees, or internal politics prevents budgets for headcount for example, you may achieve cost efficiencies and greater sales and marketing productivity by exploring alternative outsourcing arrangements. When the partnerships are appropriately established, outsourcing can reduce costs of approximately 25% -35% over 6 months, along with increasing productivity and continuity, and speed to market as aligned to business revenue goals.

If you would like to explore a progressive sales and marketing outsourcing approach which can help accelerate your business and create competitive advantage or improve the process of selecting a partner then feel free to contact us for a obligation free discussion.

In the meantime, stay tuned for our next blog article Part 2: How to choose your sales and marketing outsourcing provider.

Sales and Marketing Outsourcing

How sales and marketing alignment can increase your revenue by 208%

Alchemise Consulting recently was interviewed by Thirst Creative on How Sales and Marketing alignment can increase your revenue by 208%.

‘The digital and online world has changed the way prospective buyers engage with your brand to be more personalised and direct. Hence the marketing funnel has deepened and so has most of the buying cycle before sales engage. Meaning sales now engage much later in the sales process.’ – Chak Ng, Managing Director of Alchemise Consulting

Please see the article writeup and also as a guest speaker at the “If you build it, will the come” event hosted by Thirst Creative here.

Sales and Marketing as a Service