Category: Sales & Marketing (Page 1 of 2)

I love GDPR

Why I love GDPR

It’s June. We have passed the GDPR enforcement deadline and are slowly adjusting to what life is like now. So… what’s changed?

“GDPR is a pain in the ****”

Since its announcement, I have lost count of the number marketers I’ve heard complain about how the GDPR is making their job harder and how their business will suffer financially for having to adhere to these stricter regulations.

Now, of course, I don’t mean to minimise the pain of change. Adapting is often difficult. However, I do believe that many marketing professionals are completely missing the point of why GDPR is crucial – not just for the protection of individuals’ rights, but for the survival of marketing as a concept.

Time to restore the balance

Let’s be real here: These regulations were not invented to create a data nightmare for the sales and marketing community, but rather to help restore the balance between buyer and seller and reinstate some of the trust that has been abused by players who show little or no respect for the actual human beings behind the database.

As long as we all receive mountains of salesy spam emails on a daily basis and our personal details are being swept around the world like dust-bunnies in the wind, we need change.

Adopting a new mindset

While we’ve all been busy deep-diving into privacy statements and erasure policies and opt-in forms, the biggest shift has happened on a different level. Thanks to the GDPR, we have effectively been forced to adopt the mindset of the customer. The customer’s rights as well as their behaviour are now being formally recognised in organisations through policies, disclaimers and information.

We’re starting to see the whole process of data management and marketing communications from the perspective of the buyer rather than that of the vendor – and that is a gargantuan leap forward.

Things desperately needed to change, and the GDPR changes gave us a much needed shake-up.

The sentiment behind the GDPR regulatory framework is that the control over customer data should be put back into the hands of the customer. It argues that the end user should have the freedom to choose how companies can use their details, rather than be at the mercy of forces which have little or no regard for their integrity or their user experience, as long money is being made.

What’s next?

It will take some time before the new ways of doing things become a natural part of life. But in generations to come, our grandchildren will look back at our old spam-ridden email practices and shake their heads in disbelief.

Now we just need to get past the stage of over-zealous privacy policy announcements, and start really exploring the ways GDPR will make the world of marketing a much better one – through the use of adaptive content and tailored user experiences, for example.

ideal buyer personas

How well do you really know your buyer persona?

I often work with organisations that have a long history of selling products and services into specific industries and niches; yet cannot paint me a detailed portrait of what their ideal buyer looks like.

Their sales and marketing teams are unable to confidently answer the following questions about the buyer:

  • How much does he/she earn?
  • What’s their favourite social media channel?
  • What time do they get to the office in the morning?
  • Are they married/single?
  • What’s their main career ambition?

Questions like these may seem completely irrelevant at a first glance, but the more you dig down into them, the more you realise that each answer holds a clue to a successful marketing strategy. They provide you with behavioural cues, motivations and drivers that will help you position your offerings and communicate them in a way that becomes irresistible.

Knowledge is profitable

When it comes to clients and prospects, knowledge means not only power but also financial profit. How? Well, if you know exactly where to reach your audience, you won’t waste money advertising on the wrong platforms. If you know their main challenges, you won’t alienate them with irrelevant value statements. If you know what is important to them, you will be able to influence their impulse to buy.

Now – this doesn’t mean that you need to put a stakeout car outside your clients’ house or enrol in a psychology course. But you will need to do these four things:

1. Ask questions

When it comes to asking questions, there are of course various online survey tools you can use. However, the best way to get useful, accurate information is through conversation. Talk to people, face to face or over the phone, asking what they think about your product or service, and about what is important to them.

Take the opportunity to chat with people at tradeshows, in user groups, and in online forums. Most people will be helpful and forthcoming if you explain that you will be able to create even better products and services as a result of their input.

2. Follow the snail trail

As a business, you should make an effort to always find out how your customers found you to begin with. It’s also worth using analytics and tracking software to monitor how, when and where people access your online content on a regular basis. Over time, this will create a detailed picture of how your audience discovers your information and engages with it.

3. Listen and learn

Your sales team will be able to give you very useful input on their active leads. Take time to review these together regularly. Learn from their interactions with prospects and clients; this is a great source for discovering buyer behaviour.

4. Capture data

Contact forms are great tools for getting snippets of information from your leads. Use them to ask for a piece of key information like company size, age, gender – whatever is relevant to help differentiate your messaging to different personas.

However, be careful not to ask too much or use questions that seem too intrusive. If at all possible, use dynamic forms that only ask for one additional item of information every time the user downloads something, building up the lead profile over time.

Get to know your ideal buyer persona

Once you have created a clear image of your buyer persona – you may even have several – it will become a great deal easier to improve your return on marketing investment. You will be able to make strategic decisions quicker, choose better tools and plan more efficient campaigns.

It’s also a really fun and interesting process! Why not get started today?

Get your own guide to creating a buyer persona

If you want some more information and a free template to creating an ideal buyer persona, you can download your own PDF guide HERE.

Email marketing podcast

How to Generate Leads with Email – PODCAST

In this episode of the Awesome Marketing Podcast I’m interviewing conversion copywriter Sarah Anderson, who has an impressive track record of generating huge uplifts in open rates and revenue generation for clients. She shares some of her best tips for setting up a successful email marketing strategy, managing contacts, choosing email platforms and measuring results.



If you need some more specific advice on how to make email marketing work for your business, send me a message.

…and while you’re here, don’t forget to check out our Facebook community for more regular tips and guidance on how to become better at what you do.

Newsletters

“Should we be doing newsletters?”

The question of newsletters came up recently in conversation with a company I work with.

“We want to re-engage our audience, and we thought we could use a newsletter as the method. What do you think?”

Before answering, I wanted to try to understand what the real drivers were behind the idea. What were they actually trying to achieve?

As it turns out, they wanted to do two things:

  1. Get their existing email contacts to actively ‘opt in’ to future communications (to comply with GDPR).
  2. Put the brand back on people’s radar by telling them all the great new things they’re doing.

Personally, I thought the idea of doing a re-engagement campaign that also shared some insight about them as a business was a good idea. And for that to then lead into regular newsletters – why not? Great stuff.

But then I saw the content.

For their first newsletter, they wanted to include six different topics, all centred around them as a business: ‘This is our latest service’, ‘We’ve done a restructure’, ‘We’ve been nominated for an award’… you get the picture.

First of all, let’s be clear – what’s news to you, is often completely irrelevant to your audience. For example, hiring a couple of new directors is not necessarily something your customers care about. They’ll read it and go “So what?”

If it doesn’t add value to them, there’s no need to push it onto their desk. Which brings me to the true merit of newsletters: Adding value. We’ve all got busy inboxes and have to stave off the stacks of irrelevant updates we get on a daily basis. Do we really want to add to that noise? Of course we don’t. We want to create engagement, build relationships, and establish trust. And the best way to do that by email is to provide content that is helpful to the recipient in doing their job.

So what happened next?

I ended up shaving their suggested content down to a clear message of ‘We want to continue engaging with you – and here’s why.’ I reduced the number of topics from six down to three short sections, each highlighting a how-to-guide or educational content they can read and learn from. The call to action was a simple ‘YES – sign me up’ to keep receiving useful updates.

Now, the next challenge was to do with the frequency of these newsletters. How often should they be sent out? As they’re a small team with limited resource, weekly was out of the question. I suggested that monthly would be a more manageable rate, and would allow them to work on curating suitable content over the course of four weeks. (They already publish at least one blog post per month, so that would be a useful place to start in terms of re-purposing existing content.)

“Monthly is too much of a commitment. Let’s start by doing newsletters quarterly,” was the Managing Director’s view. I felt my heart sink.

OK – so what’s the problem with doing a quarterly newsletter? Well, here are the three main reasons:

  1. You ‘lose touch’. Once you get people to actively opt in to your emails, you want to make the most of that permission. If they only get an email every three months, you risk becoming one of those newsletters that people forget that they actually signed up for.
  2. People move on. We’re living in a more fluid workplace than ever. People move jobs, change positions, work on limited-time contracts. In the three months between emails, an address can become invalid – which means you’ll be getting a higher percentage of bounces next time you send something. And email systems don’t like bounces.
  3. It’s not a priority. When you know your newsletter isn’t due for another eight or ten weeks, it’s easy to put it on the shelf and ignore it until it becomes an urgent task. The last few days before sending it, you’ll be scrambling around for topics and ideas for what to include. (I’m speaking from personal experience here!)

A monthly newsletter doesn’t have to be taxing at all. Once you know that people want to hear from you (and you have learnt to identify content that’s jam-packed with value and helpful information) you will soon get into a flow of creating regular newsletters that make your readers – and your Managing Director – happy.

I’ll keep you posted on what happens next…

 

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Marketing lessons from a train station

What a train station taught me about marketing

This week I am in New York for a copywriting conference.
I have been to this city before, but every time it is an incredibly thrilling experience. Walking down streets lined with towering giants of glass and stone, every corner offering another iconic view. Street food vendors, yellow cabs, an ever changing wall of people rushing past. It’s like no other place I have ever visited.

What always strikes me when I travel is how amazed one person can be by another person’s everyday life. To me, walking into Grand Central Station is a fascinating experience of inspirational architecture. But for the native New Yorker, it’s just another stop on the way to the office. As a first-time visitor, I would never be able to see that building in the same, fleeting way that the daily commuter does – even though we’re both looking at the same walls, the same gorgeously marbled floors and sculpted archways.

This reminds me of how marketing communications work. In order to engage with someone, we need to understand their world view. We need to pick out the aspects of their experience that really matter – otherwise we just become background noise.

Promoting Grand Central Station as a tourist attraction is an entirely different task to selling it as a transport hub for the stressed suburban business traveller. It’s still the same station, but the critical selling points will be worlds apart.

The commuter doesn’t care about the ornamental bronze carvings or the 42nd street facade feature sculptures of Minerva, Mercury and Hercules. They just want to know the quickest way from Yonkers to Chinatown, and if they can grab a bagel on the way.

How often do we sell the wrong story to our clients? Do we truly know what they are actually interested in, and what matters to them?

The only way we will become better at understanding the needs of our audience and using those needs in our communication, is by stepping out of our own shoes for a moment and looking at the world from their vantage point. Ask questions. Investigate. Listen. And there in the murmurings of that virtual crowd rushing across the concourse of your marketplace, you will hear the voices that help you define your message.

Do you want marketing tips in your inbox? I share suggested systems, tactics and processes that will make your life easier. Sign up to the Hunting with Tigers bulletin and stay updated with hands-on marketing advice.

 

Photo credits: Peter Pesta, Travel & Leisure

 

 

Content Marketing - not Selling

How to sell without “selling”

This week I had an interesting question from a business owner.
She runs a highly successful tailored recruitment service, and had now been given the opportunity to introduce herself to a friend’s private network – packed full of prospective clients.

“I want to really show off my strengths – but I don’t want to come across as blunt and ‘salesy’. How do I do it?”

This is a question I hear from time to time, both from marketers and entrepreneurs. And it’s a valid one. Because let’s face it, everyone’s pretty clued up when it comes to sales messages these days! Your prospects can smell a pitch a mile away. And if they’re not ready to listen – they immediately switch off.

But how do we get around this?

How do we sell without selling?

Breaking through the ad noise

We live in an age of advertising fatigue. We choose on-demand TV and fast-forward through adverts, we disable ad pop-ups and we chuck direct mail straight in the recycling bin.

This may seem like a huge challenge for marketing, but it’s actually a brilliant opportunity to go beyond the traditional one-way-street messaging. You have the chance to create influence and engagement and win long-term trust. All you have to do is give people what they are actually looking for and interested in.

The 5 principles of influence

In this blog post I will outline some ways to get started with influencer marketing and how it can improve your lead generation.

  1. Ditch the scattergun. Get to know who your client is, what their challenges are and what they need. Visualise one specific ideal client and keep them in mind when you create your message. You will need to demonstrate that you are aware of their issues, and that you understand the frustration they feel. They need to know that you care.
  2. Ask: How can I help? Be clear not only on the challenges your prospects face, but how you can help them overcome those challenges. You must be able to show a clear connection between their ‘pain’ and your ‘remedy’. Sometimes the prospect isn’t even aware of their own problem, but they can begin to understand their limitations when they see how you are able to help.
  3. Show, don’t tell. Everyone can say how great they are and how amazing their product or service is. But most of the time, nobody else cares! We need to show our audience how our amazingness can be applied and what difference it makes. Let customer quotes, statistics and tangible benefits shine through in your message.
  4. Go where you’re wanted. While adverts and sponsorships do still play a part in the promotions mix, there are plenty of ways to introduce your brand in places where people already come to search for services or products like yours. Become a trusted advisor to those searching for help by answering questions and offering advice.
  5. Create high-value content. Rather than spending money on glossy videos telling the world how great your brand is, start creating content that actually helps your prospect achieve something. Teach them best practice, offer free high-level guidance, and share your knowledge. While this may sound like you’re giving away your skills for free, you are actually helping yourself by pre-qualifying your prospects. Those who turn to you after reading your content will already have ‘bought in’ to you and have an established interest in your offering.

Applying the principles

In a conversation with the business owner, we loosely walked through these principles. We both agreed on the first three, and the fourth one was already sorted out in this instance as she had a specific network to address.

This left the final principle: The content. What content should she create to influence this audience?

With limited timescales, I suggested that a targeted blog-style article would fit well. It would be an opportunity to address the wider issues and challenges of recruitment and to showcase how well she understands the prospects’ pain points. She could then guide the reader through the various checkpoints they should consider when choosing a recruitment partner – all built on her decade-long business legacy and insight.

Content creates influence

Content marketing is a powerful tool for creating influence. By using helpful, relevant and non-invasive content strategies we can build up engagement with our audience without being dismissed as sales noise. There are so many interesting ways you can promote your business through content, there’s no need to worry about running out of ideas.

So the next time you’re reaching for your pen to draft that promotional letter, email or sales page – have a think about these five principles and how you can make them work for your business!

Do you want tips like these to your inbox? I share suggested systems, tactics and processes that will make your life easier. Sign up to the Hunting with Tigers bulletin and stay updated with hands-on marketing advice.

 

Be a marketing monkey

Embrace your inner Marketing Monkey

When I was working as part of an in-house business team, I often heard sales teams referring to the marketing team as “marketing monkeys”. Now – I don’t know about you, but there were certainly some members of my team who weren’t entirely pleased with this epithet. They felt it was derogatory. Disrespectful. Mean. (I’m pretty sure it was even escalated to become an HR issue on one occasion.)

But is this really an insult, or in fact something much more insightful?

Personally, I didn’t mind at all. Instead, I would happily refer to myself as a marketing monkey. Not in an ironic, self-deprecating way either, but wearing it as proudly as a name badge. Why? Well, perhaps because the last time I looked monkeys were actually one of the smartest animal species on the planet. They use tools, they are super flexible, they learn from others and teach their young. Monkeys are amazing animals!

The business world is a jungle

Let’s face it; we are all different types of animals, and we all try to find our way through the business jungle. Every function in the business is in fact represented by an animal, and you work alongside them every day.

Take a look at all the functions here – and what a unique relationship Marketing has to each of them!

Marketing Monkey

Marketing: the nimble MONKEY

  • Swings from tree to tree, engaging with all animals with curiosity
  • Has a wide view of the horizon from the treetop, but also sees the ground at the bottom
  • Has the ability to shout far and wide to communicate messages of warning, excitement and discovery

 

Sales tiger

Sales: the hungry TIGER

  • When the Tiger is hungry, there is only one thing on its mind: nothing gets between it and its prey
  • Has a limited on-the-ground perspective and can learn much from the treetop view of Monkeys
  • To help the Tiger hunt, the Monkey must understand its challenges

 

The CEO elephant

CEO: the sturdy ELEPHANT

  • Stomps up new paths through the jungle
  • Has the ability to make powerful changes – but moves slower than many other animals
  • Is protective of its tribe and needs to see value for everyone

 

The HR owl

HR: the protective OWL

  • Takes the young under their wing
  • Keeps the bird’s eye view but zooms in on the detail where needed
  • The monkey helps the owl by making its voice heard, sharing its wisdom and supporting its efforts

 

The IT spider

IT: the productive SPIDER

  • Builds a framework for connectivity
  • Has an intricate model in mind and will continue to grow and repair its web until it is as effective as possible
  • The monkey helps the spider by suggesting new connection points or systems that may strengthen and expand the entire network

 

The Finance Squirrel

Finance: the frugal SQUIRREL

  • Always fully focussed on having enough resources to keep everyone fed
  • Plays a long game and tries to predict what needs to be done today to get results tomorrow
  • As long as the monkey can prove that what it does is of benefit to the future of the business, the squirrel will help and support it

 

The Operations Beaver

Operations: the constructive BEAVER

  • Tirelessly works to create the dam, with contributions from its tribe
  • The monkey can share insight on how other dams are built and what makes them different
  • The monkey helps the beaver by bringing it useful building material

 

When we as marketers see ourselves as monkeys, it’s easy to visualise all the support we bring to the other business functions. We adapt, we move swiftly to help where we are most needed, and we are constantly curious to find out new, better ways to do things.

So next time someone calls you a marketing monkey; be proud.
You ARE a monkey. And that’s what makes you awesome.


Want to know more?
Discover how to become a confident, influential marketer in any business. Order or download the book Hunting with Tigers – a Marketer’s Career Survival Guide today!

 Hunting with Tigers cover
Order book: Hunting with Tigers

 

spam trap

How spam traps trip up your email marketing

Email marketing is still one of the most cost-effective ways of nurturing your leads and prospects – but it is fraught with pitfalls, especially if your data is less than perfect in the eyes of your email automation software. Here’s what to do if you’re dealing with an email system that won’t play ball!

Email list warnings

I was recently asked for advice on what to do when Mailchimp (or any other email automation system) refuses to accept your email list.

In this particular situation, the user had received a warning saying that the list used “could contain spam traps”. They were unable to continue with their campaign until the issue had been addressed.

This obviously triggered a host of questions:

  • What does ‘spam traps’ mean?
  • Where do they come from?
  • And how can this issue be fixed?

Why email systems care about your data

When launching an email campaign in an automation system, the software will analyse your list using its own internal algorithm. It will look for any quality issues or warning signs that the data isn’t good enough. The reason is of course that the email service provider doesn’t want to be associated with email campaigns that are considered to be spam – so they are trying to protect the quality of your campaigns by not allowing data that sets off their alarm bells.

What is a spam trap?

One of the things that the email system will look for in your data is spam traps. These are effectively addresses that flag up as unsuitable for email campaigns.

These are some of the main types of spam traps to be aware of, as listed by CampaignMonitor:

    • The pure spam trap
      This is an email address that has been set up purely to lure in spammers. It’s placed on the internet as ‘bait’, open for anyone to copy and paste into their database. The only way this address would end up on your list, is if you have unlawfully collected it.This is often the type of address that would be shared from one spammer to the next, added to rogue email lists and sold on to unsuspecting customers.

      Remedy: Avoid buying lists – unless you are 100% confident that the data is legitimate and suitable for your campaigns. And don’t even think about adding email addresses to your database by copying them from the internet!

 

    • The recycled email address
      A recycled spam trap is an address that was once genuine, but is now no longer in use. Typically, it has been unused for so long that the provider has started using it as a trap to catch and block marketers who are not keeping their lists up to date.

      Remedy: Take regular action to clean and maintain your lists, removing any bounced or inactive email addresses.

 

    • The invalid email address
      An email automation system can also react to an obviously incorrect address – one that simply doesn’t exist. This scenario might occur when you collect email addresses through a form but don’t require the user to confirm the address being correct.

      Remedy: Don’t accept subscribers onto your list without first confirming their email address. This can be done easily using a double opt-in, requiring the user to actively confirm that they are receiving emails to the address they have given.

 

    • The typo
      An invalid email address could be one that is not deliberately incorrect. It could be one that is simply misspelled. This can be a mistake on the part of the subscriber, or it can happen when data is entered manually based on a phone call or a business card.

      Remedy: Always confirm the user’s opt-in as described above. As for manually added data, aim to test the email address by confirming their interest in your product or service using a single personal email message. If this bounces, you know there’s an issue with the address.

Shortcuts aren’t worth it

As tempting as it may seem to quickly add data to your list without checking its validity, this could end up causing you tremendous headaches.

Poor data management is one of the biggest reasons why email marketing campaigns fail to deliver. One nightmare scenario is that you may have your email marketing account permanently suspended – which is something you won’t want to experience. (Been there, done that!)

What to do with old lists

If you know you are dealing with data that is old and poorly managed, you need to pay particular attention to cleaning it before launching any large scale campaigns. Take the time to assess the quality of the list, and make sure to test it outside your email system.

However – if a list is more than three years old, you may want to consider starting fresh. There is a strong risk that your subscribers will have forgotten about you and will consider your new email campaign to be spam.

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Marketing productivity

The keys to marketing productivity

Whoa – is it Wednesday already?! How did that happen?

Some weeks, the days just seem to fly by. And not in a nice way.

Each new day seems to remind me of all the stuff that needs to get done but somehow hasn’t been done. It makes me wonder how many other people are struggling with managing their time and staying productive in their marketing.

Get systemised

I recently did some work for a systemisation consultancy. Their job is to help people become more efficient with their time and money, by understanding the processes and systems of their business.

I was fascinated by how much I could learn from just listening to how they work with clients! There is so much cross-over between general business management and marketing management.

Marketing productivity

Think about it: Marketing shares many of the same productivity challenges as the overall business.

  • We have a finite amount of resources and time.
  • We need to make sure we are cost-effective and provide return on investment.
  • We can save time and energy by streamlining processes.
  • We need to make sure we use the right tools and systems.
  • We need to have a clear structure of ‘who does what’.
  • We need to measure and report on key metrics.

So, what can we do to make our marketing processes run more efficiently, and that we get better results from what we do? Well, quite a few things actually. Even if we don’t have a huge budget, we can still do a lot to improve.

Key one: Get clear on job roles

If you’re anything like me, you tend to do a lot of things yourself, because it’s “quicker than getting someone else to do it”. But the truth is – we lose a lot of time this way. How much do you do in a typical week that shouldn’t really be in your job description? Get an overview of processes and activities, and start delegating and outsourcing everything that is not a good use of your time.

Key two: Systemise your daily tasks

How much of what you do is stuff that you do over and over, on a daily or weekly basis? This is where you can save yourself a lot of time. Look at ways to structure and systemise that in a way that makes it quicker to do each time.

Here are a few tips:

  • Template everything. Even a simple thank you email or meeting confirmation. If you do them a lot, have a template ready at the touch of a button.
  • Pre-plan and pre-populate your blog posts and social media posts weeks in advance, and on a rolling basis, to prevent any “dead air” panic at the start of the week.
  • Have an “event box” ready to go for future events, with all the basic essentials that you might need for tradeshows or workshops.
  • Use checklists for all your weekly and monthly marketing tasks to make sure nothing gets missed.
  • Use productivity tools like SharePoint, Chatter and DropBox to communicate with team members – inside and outside the organisation.
  • Make a note of all bottlenecks and frustrations you see in your daily job, and take some time out each month to look at ways to improve or reduce them.

Learn from business management

These are just a few ways to improve the way you operate. But there is so much more we as marketers can learn from business management – so keep an ear open to what people are saying in other areas of business to see what you can pick up and translate into your own world!

What tools and templates do you need? Let me know if you have ideas for documents or templates that would help make your job easier. I’m constantly producing new tools and make them available here on the website and in the Facebook community.

Partner Marketing

A quick guide to successful partner marketing

Managing the internal Sales and Marketing relationship can be hard enough. Throw a partner pool into the mix, and suddenly you face a whole raft of new challenges. But is there a way to reduce the partner marketing headaches?

Relationships rule

I’ve always championed relationship building, both inside the business and in the ecosystem of partners, resellers, customers and other stakeholders. After all, we are human beings – and we all share the need to be heard and recognised. By focusing on maintaining positive relationships with the people you serve, you will be in a good place to listen to and understand them.

How flexible can you be?

In my experience, one of the best things you can do for a partner is to be flexible. Rather than churn out exactly the same one-size-fits-all materials for everyone, consider taking a more tailored approach wherever possible.
Rather than expecting the partner to conform to your routines and processes, try to work in collaboration and create marketing packages that correspond with the way they work.

It will stand you in good stead in the long run.

I remember one occasion when I was working with an IT consultancy. They had a number of strategic partners, but one in particular who was under a lot of sales pressure – and needed some materials for a call campaign quickly.

I had the usual library of partner marketing materials to offer. I passed across various documents like service overviews, brochures, white papers, case studies. They weren’t excited.

“These guys are quite a hands-on bunch,” the partner liaison explained. “I think they could do with something a bit more… practical. Could we work with something like a call script, perhaps?”

I hadn’t worked much with call scripts in the past, and my general view on them was that they often had a tendency to make sales conversations quite rigid. However, in this case, I could understand why the wanted one. They’d only had some brief training, and there was a bit of complexity to the services offered.

I set out to create a call script in the form of an intuitive flowchart, following the typical patterns of the sales conversation. There were gentle, guiding questions that would help clarify the key points – without putting clunky phrases in the mouth of the caller.

A week into the call campaign, I asked the liaison how things were going – and if they wanted to make any edits.

“Please don’t change anything. They love it!” he said. “It’s helping them qualify leads correctly – without having to know everything about the services. Can we do this for our other partners too?”

Internal Partner Managers

Relationships are everything. Especially when there is an internal Partner Manager involved, who is accountable for the partner’s contributions to the business.

What your stakeholders need to know is that you will strengthen the relationship with the partner, not damage it.

The best way to ensure you are focusing on the right activities is to ask the right questions.

Questions to ask

  • What can we do for you?
    Don’t wait for the partner to come to you with requests. Always aim to be one step ahead and show proactivity. If you are unable to give the partner what they request – or if there is a delay – make sure to communicate this to set the expectations.
  • What’s coming up?
    Keep a close eye on what the partner is planning, so that you are aware of what will be expected from you in the future. 
  • Is there synergy that we can build on?
    Always look to engage not only with Sales representatives, but with your Marketing counterpart in the partner’s business. Share your marketing calendars, social strategies and content libraries, in order to understand how you can work together.

Focus on the value

The more you know about the partner, the better you will understand how you can help to raise their profile – which they will be grateful for, especially if they are a small business and you are large.

Whatever you do, make sure you get the most partner value as possible out of one set of activities. If there are multiple partners on board, can you use and re-use materials for other partners?

(Just remember to be fair and avoid being seen as favouring one partner over the other when they are on the same level!)

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