Winning New Business

Last week we promised we would show you how digital marketing can help you compete for and win new business. The following article is the result of over ten years experience, thousands of successful client campaigns (and quite a few successful campaigns of our own). It should help you design and execute your own revenue generating activity.

Attraction is not enough

There are plenty of marketing agencies and ‘experts’ who will wax lyrical about search engine optimisation, pay per click campaigns, even social marketing. The hard fact is that no matter how attractive and ‘on brand’ your site is and no matter how much you spend getting noticed on line, it will not deliver a return on investment. In fact many executives see the company website as an ‘Internet Tax’: they know they have to pay for a website and invest in getting it prominant but they also know that (in most cases) the business generated does not equal the money invested.

The reason is that for major considered purchases people buy from people: not websites. Who amongst you would invest tens of thousands of pounds on a software system simply by searching the web, popping the product in your virtual shopping basket and proceeding to the checkout?

Most B2B products are complex a mixture of product, service and require a long term partnership if the purchase is going to provide a good return on investment.

Simply ‘hanging out a website’ will not do. Organisations have to be pro-active.

Getting Pro-Active (the wrong way)

Most companies use tried and tested methods to promote their business. If every other lemming is heading to the ‘Trade Show’ we should tag along; shouldn’t we? I have never heard an argument for trade show attendance that did not sound like an excuse:

  • ‘We have to go to be seen’.
  • ‘If we win just one piece of business it will pay for itself’.
  • ‘It is a great networking opportunity’.

So companies spend upwards of £30,000 just to share their competitive positioning and sales materials with all their competitors!

Do not think that you’ll be entertaining lots of qualified buyers on your stand: most trade show attendees are the office staff on a day out (competing to see who can collect the most freebees). If there are any senior buyers, the day will have been planned and they are likely to be evaluating options or doing due diligence before making a major purchase. If you know about the opportunity and have had a chance to progress through the early stages of the sale, great, (you do not need to be at the show). If you don’t know about the opportunity, forget it: at this stage you are unlikely to influence the outcome.

Another popular waste of money is outbound cold calling/telemarketing. It simply does not work.

Telemarketers are targeted on identifying opportunities. So guess what? They identify some. No matter how poorly qualified, the telemarketer, desperate to make the mortgage payment that month, will grasp at any straw to hit the numbers: the result is a slew of poorly qualified names and telephone numbers that will leave your sales professionals exasperated.

And do not get me started on mailshots.

Next to cold calling, junk mail is the next most hated form of marketing. Poorly directed, often irrelevant, rarely read: if you want to annoy the marketplace, associate your company with the destruction of the rainforests and melting the polar ice cap. Then be my guest: plan a mailshot today!

To get a mail noticed you will have to spend thousands designing a new and ingenious piece of origami that delights and amuses. This creates two commercial risks: if the prospect hasn’t had their eye taken out by the mailshot springing out of the carton, they are more likely to be interested in the origami than your product. (Unless, of course, you are an origami producer).

Getting Pro-Active (the right way)

Digital marketing can and does deliver significant return on investment. The website does not have to be a cost centre: it can be the source of your success. Intelligent marketing blends outbound digital activity with networking and information sharing. It enables discourse with your company, allowing you to craft well thought through and robust business arguments with prospects and customers. But it requires infrastructure, co-ordination and sustained effort.

Doing ‘an email blast’ is neither intelligent nor blended. Organisations that view their website as a living, changing beast are starting to win new business and post good growth. Remarkable in a time of financial austerity and economic uncertainty.

But there have to be losers. Perhaps they can be seen flocking down a motorway to an exhibition near you?

An Invitation

APM Digital are inviting business leaders, sales and marketing directors from finance, technology, engineering and consultancy firms to discuss and debate business generation over lunch at a central London location. Attendance is by invitation only and will not exceed eight. The guest list will not include direct competitors.

If you would like to join the debate either leave a comment and register your interest in the ‘London Debate’.

6 Responses to “Winning New Business”

  • I agree with all of your points made in this article. Fresh and meaningful web content is key to engage your prospective buyers. However, SEO is still necessary in order to get your buyers to the site in the first place.

  • I do NOT agree with points made in your article! Any professional marketeer knows that there are a variety of ways & channels to market. Whilst I appreciate the article is written in the pursuit of more business for APM digital, statements are very sweeping.

  • Mark:

    Thank you for your comments Sally.

    It is written from a digital viewpoint as, I suspect, your comments are made from a ‘direct mail’ viewpoint. Very often, when reviewing direct mailing houses websites we see that customer testimonials refer to ‘hitting mailing targets’ and ‘great execution’. Very few talk of a ‘great return on investment’ or ‘successful campaigns’. Of course there are several ways to market. It’s just in our opinion, direct mail is expensive, ineffective and uses too many natural resources.

  • Mark:

    Hi Tulin,

    Absolutely SEO is necessary. It is a pre-requisite and it gets you into the game. But to secure new business you need to be pro-active. An SEO only approach relies upon customers finding you and in a crowded, noisy and competitive market this can be a risky strategy.

  • Nicola:

    Fascinating, and I wonder if you have had a bad experiences with marketing comms in the past. In reality any marketing method executed badly is, guess what, a waste of time and money. Personally, I’m still an understand you audience marketeer, target and hit them with info from a few directions. As for exhibitions, well I know how many do them badly but we win at least £250K business from this method each year and for a small agency that’s not half bad.

  • Mark:

    Hi Nicola,

    I guess £250K revenue per annum from exhibitions would be OK, but how many exhibitions does that represent? If it was three then your looking at a net return of around £160K, which isn’t so great when compared with digital channels which have delivered well over £10m (net) for one of our clients this calendar year.

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APM Digital generates business for clients. Our unique, knowledge based information gathering campaigns open meaningful dialogue with decision makers. We deliver qualified opportunities and set appointments for your field sales teams.

Why we are different:

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  • 3. Over 10 years of B2B marketing experience
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