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Sky Messaging on Becoming a Tenacious B2B Specialist

In the B2B world, sales strategies must be multi-faceted, that’s according to the tenacious founders of Sky Messaging.

Nadine Todd

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Thomas-Kritzer

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Vital stats:

  • Player: Thomas Kritzer
  • Company: Sky Messaging
  • Goal: R50 million for 2016/17
  • Visit: www.sky-messaging.com

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Quick tips

  • 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.

Related: How to Give Your Sales Strategy the Winning Edge 

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.”

Related: Which Selling Technique Will Best Benefit Your Business?

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.”

Related: How to Turn Your Clients Into Raving Fans

Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.

Techniques

Why Every Business Needs A Call Centre

Below are just some of the reasons why every business needs a call centre.

Amy Galbraith

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call-centre

As a business owner, you are likely always looking for something to put you ahead of the competition. This could be anything from a new marketing strategy to an exciting product. But many companies do not think of call centres when it comes to boosting their business and putting themselves ahead of the competition.

A call centre allows you to interact with consumers. If you do not have the staff for it in-house you can outsource for premium call centre quality assurance to ensure customer satisfaction. You will be able to provide stellar customer service as well as collect data from the calls to improve your business. Still not convinced? Below are just some of the reasons why every business needs a call centre.

They help to build customer loyalty

Having a call centre does more than allow you to answer the complaints and queries of customers. It will help to build up customer loyalty, especially if you choose to outsource your contact centre management.

While online shopping has grown immensely over the years, many consumers still want to be able to phone in and ask questions about products that are not working, that are damaged or for advice on how to remedy a problem with their purchase. A call centre will provide confidence to consumers that your company is there to help and provide trusted advice, which will, in turn, improve their loyalty to your brand.

Related: 8 Ways To Upskill Your Call Centre Team Before Year-End

You can get to know your audience

By having a call centre that allows you to interact with consumers on a one-on-one basis, you will be learning valuable information about who your customers are. And because you will be monitoring every call, you can ascertain the demographics of your audience.

For example, you might find that several calls are coming in from one area, which will allow you to focus your marketing strategies to that geo-location. Or you might notice that a certain product is bringing in similar complaints. This information will allow you to make important changes to the product. This data will help you to get to know your audience and tailor your products, services and messages to their needs.

They help to avoid lost sales

Quality assurance is vital to the success of your customer support. This is because a call centre will help to avoid lost sales and lead opportunities. Instead of relying on a voicemail service (which consumers will likely not use) your call centre will allow consumers to speak directly to a helpline, which will encourage them to buy from your brand.

For those who have a small amount of staff, outsourced contact centre services will provide a shorter wait time for call centre queues. Lost sales can be disastrous to a company of any size, so investing in a call centre will help to remedy this. If consumers are not waiting in long phone queues, they are likely to make a purchase or use your services. And leads will become conversions because consumers will feel valued and satisfied.

You will have an edge on the competition

In the world of business, everything is cutthroat. If your competitors have a number for consumers to call in case of any issues and you do not, it is likely that they will choose your competitor over you.

An effective way to beat the competition is to provide a call centre number to your customers as well as office numbers. This way they can call the customer support number for product related issues and the office number if they would like to speak to managers or make business deals. If you outsource your call centre management, you are sure to have a leg up on the competition. Consumers want to feel as though their voices are being heard and taken seriously.

Related: The Future of Call Centre Design

It is professional

Whatever the size of your business, remaining and appearing professional to business partners and consumers is important. Having a call centre that gives a customised greeting to consumers and sends them through to an agent will make it appear as though you are an established company doing business with many customers.

Professional customer service is vital for the success of any company, especially if you are a start-up. And if you are a larger company, try not to become complacent with the customer service you are already offering. If consumers can phone in with queries and compliments, they will have trust in your brand’s professionalism, leading to customer loyalty and more sales.

Be future facing

Anyone who runs a business knows how important it is to look toward the future. And having a call centre can help with this. It will help to build up customer loyalty, you will learn more about your consumers and your audience, you will avoid lost sales and you will have an edge on the competition.

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Techniques

Wow Them World Class With This Customer Service Myth

Without fail, every single business says that one of their differentiators is customer service. When was the last time you were wowed? Most businesses don’t walk their talk. Which means if you get service right, it really can be a differentiator.

Basil O’Hagan

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Customer loyalty is earned by being great, not satisfactory. Aim to be exceptional in your business. Deliver world-class customer service. Service that’s better than anyone else in your industry. That’s how you become great, and how you attract loyal customers. You have set yourself apart from the competition.

Let’s say you own a plumbing business — Plumb Rite. Set out to provide prompt, efficient service, with friendly workers who can explain the service they offer, and deliver quickly, well and affordably.

Satisfactory Is Not Good Enough. Be World Class!

Be remarkable. When you finish repairing a leak, you want your customers to go, “Wow, how good were those guys!”

Remember your customers’ names and where they live. Give them discounts, or free services where it’s warranted. Meet them in person and explain repairs to them.

While you should be aware of your competition, don’t simply replicate what they do. Maybe they’re terrible. Rather provide the best customer service you possibly can. Being satisfactory means you’ll be part of the bunch. Rather be great and stand out from the herd.

First, consider what customer service actually means. Do you make the lives of your customers easier? Too many businesses make the sale, and then move on. True customer service has a long-term outlook.

Once you’ve efficiently handled a customer’s business and sent her on her way with a smile and a friendly greeting, your work is not yet done.

Related: 9 Top Customer Service Turnoffs That Are Chasing Away Your Sales

Part of serving her needs is following up and making sure that everything is in order, after the sale is complete. After all, you are building a LASTING customer relationship.

Let’s say you run a camping store selling essential gear to the camping and outdoor community. A woman named Tumi comes into your store. She’s not really into camping, but she needs a tent.

You enquire what she needs a tent for and learn that there’s a music festival coming up in Mpumalanga this weekend. There are no chalets available, so camping is the only option. She needs a tent.

You recommend a leisure tent, help her pick the right colour, give her a brief tutorial on how to put it up and send her on her way. This is an awesome opportunity to follow up with some after-sales service once she returns from her camping weekend.

This is go-the-extra-mile time

Give Tumi a call the next week and — as professionally as possible — ask how she enjoyed her tent. Was she able to put it up without too much trouble? Was it warm enough? None of the zips malfunctioned?

This emphasises that customer service comprises service before the sale, during the sale, and after the sale.

Some other opportunities for good after-sales service:

  • A travel agent following up with a client during and after their holiday ensure everything went according to plan.
  • A butcher recommends a cut of meat to a customer. The next time he comes in, the butcher asks, “How was that kudu steak you bought last time?”
  • Cross-selling once you’ve made a sale. A parent brings their child into Toy Kingdom. You remember you’ve sold them an Elsa Frozen dress. “How about these lovely Frozen slippers to go with your Elsa dress?”
  • An automated SMS to thank customers once they pay their cellphone account.

Related: Good Customer Service Is About Relating At The Same Level


Service Tip

More than anything, following up shows you care. You want your customer to be satisfied more than you want her money. We’re also building a relationship that’s going to outlast this single transaction. Good after-sales service drives word-of-mouth recommendations and helps set you apart from your competition.

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Techniques

5 Signs Your Customers Have Questions You Aren’t Answering

You may be causing confusion somewhere in the customer journey. And confused customers don’t buy.

Sujan Patel

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When you come to my website, the first thing you see is me, a description of what I do and a button that encourages you to click on it. There are no surprises, no guessing where you should go next. I’ve laid it all out right in front of you.

Not all businesses make things this clear. Some have too much clutter on their homepage, overwhelming visitors with information. In fact, 75 percent of consumers polled in research by Stanford said that they judged a company’s credibility by its website design.

Such lack of clarity doesn’t apply just to websites. This could be a problem in your emails, your sales process, even your physical stores. And a  lack of clarity is troubling, because it confuses your customers, and confused customers don’t want to buy from you.

You need to make sure your business is focused on ensuring a positive experience. That means making sure no customer question is left unanswered.

Not sure if your business is suffering from a lack of clarity? If you recognise any of these five signs, there’s a good chance your customers are confused.

1. Your website stats seem off

We tend to assume that most people know what to do when they come to a website. But if your website is unorganised or cluttered, customers may not know where to go when they get there.

Maybe the customer wants to call you, but your contact information is buried. Or maybe he or she wants to purchase a product directly off your site, but the checkout process is too clunky.

If something on your website is off, your stats are going to show it. You’ll probably see a lot of visitors but not a lot of return visitors, and the amount of time they spend on your site may be low.

So, how do you fix it? Go through your website with a fine-toothed comb. Have someone unfamiliar with your site go through it and give you feedback. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and look at the site from their perspective. How can you make their experience on your site as smooth as possible?

Related: How To Win Trust And Wax Sales

2. The customer is indecisive

When customers are in the decision phase, you want to do everything you can to seal the deal and push them along with their decision. If they’re waffling or can’t seem to make that decision, there’s something wrong.

It could be that they don’t have all the information they need. If they’re confused about something, it’s your job to set their mind at ease. Make sure you’re open with your customers, and offer help with any questions or concerns they might have. FAQs, live chat options, videos and product resource pages can help tremendously here.

3. The customer doesn’t know how to use the product

customer-products

Is there one question that keeps coming up again and again from your customers? If you’re constantly getting the same question about your product or service, the answer needs to be clearer.

Customers shouldn’t have to call in to your support team for simple issues. You need to make it easy for customers to use your products and services. That means offering to help set things up for them and properly onboarding and training them in your product’s use. The more you can prepare your customers and anticipate their needs, the more satisfied they’ll be.

4. The customer is complaining

According to a survey by American Express, seven out of ten consumers in the United States have spent more money to do business with a company that offers great service. Excellent customer support is key to the success of your business, and without it, customers will be unhappy.

When customers are unsatisfied with the level of service they’re receiving, you’ll hear about it. If you’re getting a lot of complaints or seeing a lot of product returns, there’s probably something wrong.

To avoid getting an earful, you need to get to the root of the issue and find out the cause of your customers’ unhappiness. Is it your customer service team? Slow shipping times? Or something deeper? You may be causing confusion somewhere in the customer journey.

Related: How You Can Guarantee Customer Satisfaction

5. Sales are down

If you aren’t selling, something is wrong. It’s as simple as that. If sales are consistently on a decline, you need to go back and find out where the problem is.

Customers want to know what they’re getting into when they make a purchase. You need to make it clear what you offer, why customers should buy from you and how exactly they can go about buying.

The key here is clarity. Customers aren’t going to jump through hoops to purchase your product. You need to guide them through the sale by ensuring their questions are answered before they’ve even asked them.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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