- Player: Thomas Kritzer
- Company: Sky Messaging
- Goal: R50 million for 2016/17
- Visit: www.sky-messaging.com
- Tenacity pays. We can’t stress this enough: Don’t expect the phone to ring. You need to make it ring. You need a good product to sell, but don’t ever assume that it will sell itself. Even great products need to be sold.
- Be patient. Work your leads. Build relationships. Have realistic forecasts. Be prepared to change direction; sales is a meandering road.
- Work at it. Success doesn’t come before work except in the dictionary.
In the B2B world, sales strategies must be multi-faceted. You’re not just selling your service or product; you’re selling a solution to your clients – one that must meet their own business objectives. If they can’t see a return on investment, chances are you won’t get repeat business from them either, which makes the ability to track your impact on their business all the more important.
As a marketing platform, the founders of Sky Messaging understand these concepts well, but they are as true for any B2B business.
“Companies do spend money. That’s a fact. What you need is for them to spend money with you. People like to spend money with people they like, so take the time to build a relationship. We’re professional and serious about what we do, and we understand that often the things really worth doing take time,” says Thomas Kritzer, MD of Sky Messaging.
“At the end of the day, the aim of any business is to move product off shelves. Marketing can help you do that. Our role is to show our prospects how we can help them achieve their marketing and sales targets, and then give them a way to track the impact their campaigns are having,” explains Kritzer.
It’s not a sale that happens overnight
“Our average sale turnaround time is two to four weeks, but we have had sales cycles that have taken up to two years, simply because we needed to build the relationship with the client first, and hold their hand through the process. The general public doesn’t understand what goes into Sky Messaging – what banners work, how planned the whole process is, where the plane goes, how it’s tracked and so on. We need to really show people how to use the platform.”
In addition, timing needs to be right for these campaigns as well. “Companies are sometimes waiting for budget again, or a promotion to happen, a new product range to launch, or a website. If we push too hard at the wrong time, we lose the sale. Instead, follow-through is important.
“We build relationships, find out as much as possible about the business and its strategies and goals for the year, and then keep track of when they’re doing what. That way, we’re able to go back to them at exactly the right time and pitch our unique marketing platform at a time when the extra visibility will really boost a sales drive they’re doing.”
Timing: Plan client approaches
The ability to approach clients at the right time involves a careful and systematic tracking process.
“We track every step in the sales process. We do it through software, but the principle is what’s important: Who is the target, when was contact made, what’s the next move? Everything is tracked with follow-up flags, and these are automated to pop up and remind our team when a follow-up is due. And we always, always follow-up. We don’t wait for the phone to ring. We go out there and make connections, offer solutions, and track what our prospects are doing to align our offerings with their sales and marketing strategies.”
Value-add: Meeting client needs
Because the platform is so unique, it helps to put the pitch into context, even though this comes at a cost to the company. “We always try to put the pitch into context – mock-ups, routing examples – what we can do with available spend. We make the pitch as real as possible. We also give the same treatment for all clients, irrespective of size. We understand that clients grow. We want to grow with them, and treat them well at the beginning of their growth journey.”
Kritzer’s chief goal is to add value to his clients, and that means working within the framework of what they’re trying to achieve, rather than getting as much spend for Sky Messaging as possible.
“We always ask our clients what other channels they’re using: Radio, TV, billboards, print ads and so on. We never suggest getting rid of those other platforms. Instead, we ask them to look at what they’re spending, and then take 5% to 10% of that and channel it into our product, and allow them to be the only brand in their sector in an uncluttered sky.
“We work best accentuating an activation at a rugby match for example, or flying over captive audiences in grid-locked traffic. We also guarantee that clients who take contracts starting at 200 hours per year have exclusivity in the sky. At the end of the day though, our biggest aim is to help our clients move product, and that means working within a broader strategy, rather than simply trying to make as high a sale as possible.”