Turning Business Relationships Into Profits
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Building Business Relationships

Are you struggling to create and keep profitable customers? Columns for Sales and Marketing Management who wants to build business relationships.
Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Perceptions of a relationship could harm your business

Do-Not-Call site has AT&T web bug. Trust us - we're a phone company. Web tracking link found in government Do-Not-Call site. [The Register]

Often perception is more dangerous than actual fact. The Register, a UK based technology publication, announces AT&T included a small tracking device in the popular Federal Trade Commission's Do-Not-Call page-- the article raises suspicious concerns of the relationship between AT&T and the commission (FTC). AT&T has a lot to lose from changing in telemarketing law, Is this a conspiracy?

Here are the facts as presented:

Other facts are presented, including the fact the $3.5 million contract was awarded to AT&T Government Solutions not the telemarketing division. Some 45 media mentions cover AT&T's concerns or possible losses due to the Do-Not-Call list, including a few covering the tracking code included on a government site.

While this opens up for all kinds of conspiracy theories, here are some possible explanations for the tracking code. Some are wild, while others make good sense.

There probably isn't a secret conspiracy, the FTC even announced the relationship and the possible conflict of interest in press releases months ago. However, how customers see the relationship could make them question doing business with you in the future.

Here is what you can do reduce harmful perceptions of a relationship could harm your business:

  1. Disclose the details of a relationship as soon as it is established,
  2. Provide clear separation between divisions that present conflict,
  3. Prepare early for media questions about competitive elements of relationship,
  4. Create separation by utilizing a separate prime contractor to manage project,
  5. Work directly with media when a concern arises with a consistent message,
  6. Coordinate message between divisions, customer, and public relations,
  7. Separate other issues that could compound the situation,

Justin Hitt teaches executives strategies to improve business relationships that can increase revenues while reducing costs of service. Publisher of Inside Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly newsletter.

7:38:51 PM    Join Newsletter

Three weblog service categories for enterprise

Community Services for Enterprise Blognets. Some of the services you might want to bring inside to help your blognets grow and prosper. The list grows, changes, and is not complete.  [a klog apart]

Phil Wolff lays out a useful framework for enterprise blogging as a tool to share information inside your organization. You must consider these points when implementing a weblog for project management or knowledge collection.

Wolff's outline sets a foundation that must be discussed before your information technologies (IT) department rolls out a weblog environment. His three categories: Discovery, Reading, and Writing will help increase the value and your decision making ability in this useful knowledge management strategy.

Justin Hitt helps executives build profitable relationships with customer, employees, and strategic partners. He can be reached by phone at +1 (276) 254-8747 or on-line at https://iunctura.com/

3:42:34 PM    Join Newsletter

Positive steps to trade-show success

Trade-shows represent a customer interaction point where you can reach a large number of decision makers. However, this type of event can be very expensive without an understanding of what it is and a solid plan to cultivate sales from it. Follow this brief guide for trade-show success.

A trade-show is a great place to:

There are certain steps you can take to make the most of each trade-show in both cultivating sales and existing customer relationships. These steps include:

  1. Present, Share what you have to offer with an audience with a specific need. Since most trade-shows focus on a single industry or topic, orient your presentation around solutions for that specific niche. Your booth addresses a certain theme within the trade-show theme, but makes available other information desired by visitors.
  2. Collect, Give visitors to your booth a reason to leave you more information. Often give-aways and gimmicks are used, but the best information collection tool is offering to send detailed information to prospects via the mail. Attendees will have plenty of things to carry, why give them heavy white-papers when they could be sent (and received) at a time more conducive to actually reading them.
  3. Follow-on, Literature fulfillment should be soon after the trade-show. Attendees are going to expect to receive information about your company 1 to 2 days after the trade-show ends-- anything later than that says they aren't important. If possible start fulfillment before your trade-show team wraps up, use an integrated CRM system that synchronizes with someone at your office that handles materials fulfillment.
  4. Qualify, Send your sales team only the leads most likely to purchase. Have a system in place to fully qualify each trade-show lead before starting your sales process. Plan this system before your trade-show, even incorporate it's elements in how you attract visitors to your booth. Remember, you're spending money on trade-shows to grow your business, not for your ego.
  5. Sell, Address qualified leads in close proximity to the event. Most attendees will forget about the trade-show weeks or months after they return to their busy offices. It is very important to follow up with each qualified lead within 7 business days after the event. If this isn't possible, your sales team should make at least a first contact within that period. Make sure the prospect knows why you are calling and where you got their information.

After your trade-show and all literature is sent to those who requested it, be sure to:

Notice I didn't say plan for the same event next year.  You won't know how valuable this trade-show was until you start converting leads to sales. Documenting these elements gives you a baseline for future analysis to understand if such events are profitable for you. In 3-months you will have some hard numbers to work with.

Justin Hitt helps executives build profitable relationships with customer, employees, and strategic partners. He can be reached by phone at +1 (276) 254-8747 or on-line at https://iunctura.com/

1:19:04 PM    Join Newsletter

Improve how your company handles of trade-show leads

According to Dennis Frahmann, trade show marketing represents as much as 17 percent of business to business marketing communications budget, but companies need to improve their handling of trade show leads. Frahmann is senior vice president of integrated marketing communications at Best Software, Irvine, CA (USA) and spoke recently for the Direct Marketing Associations B-to-B Marketing Conference in Tucson, AZ (USA). Learn more about what his comments mean to your company.

Frahmann offered advice for making the most of trade-shows leads. I'll present it here with my commentary on how it applies to positive relationships that produces quantifiable sales:

  1. Spend time to train staff about the marketing aspect of a trade-show. Trade-shows aren't just a place to share your latest products or to even talk about your company-- it's exposure, it's accessing decision makers. Every individual involved in your trade-show effort should understand the steps to trade-show success.  Clearly defining a qualified lead, core presented product, and product benefits is a start.
  2. Follow-up all trade show leads immediately. Nothing disappoints a potential customer more than requesting information that takes forever to receive-- at least if you never send it they will probably just forget about you. Plan your follow-on before the event, prepare materials, and have an idea of what you will be sending to each trade lead. Leads expect to receive your materials 1-2 business days after the end of an event.
  3. Gather enough information to service and sell each lead. At least have a worksheet to collect information about each lead. Just getting a business card isn't enough to convert leads to sales, you must know about a prospects challenges, desires, and expected results. If all you get is a business card, then call each individual after the trade-show to learn more about these selling points before you offer your product or service.
  4. Pre-qualify leads before sending them to the sales department. Use your sales qualification formulas to send only the highest quality leads to your sales team. Focus on those most likely to purchase, while providing the rest with materials about your product or service. You'll experience a higher conversion rate, plus spend less money in the effort.

Your trade-show is not just a nice display, but knowledgeable staff who can get prospects answers to questions about your solutions in a timely fashion. With this attitude you'll generate more sales after the show and have more qualified buyers learn about what you have to offer. How could your people better  plan their next trade show?

Justin Hitt, with over 10 years of experience in business to business executive relationships and strategic business intelligence; has reduced costs and improve customer loyalty for professional services and numerous other technology companies. Call +1 (276) 254-8747 or visit his website at https://iunctura.com/

11:22:45 AM    Join Newsletter

Role of executives in software implementation

Tips for the Internal Champion. You have to get real-time project information to team members on the road, technicians on your shop floor, or employees around the world. [PSAPortal News and Opinion]

Tips for the Internal Champion (Cook, Steve. Getting Executive Buy-In) provides useful strategies for implementing a project management portal, but are appropriate for any other software based management system. The common theme is executive buy-in, a critical factor in any implementation that works toward stronger relationships.

Improving your ability to make decisions can bring you closer to business objectives that convey the meaning of relationship value. Make sure your team brings you a system that provides critical information you need, get involved in the requirements process. Outline specifically what you use in decision making.

Often information technology (IT) teams will prescribe new technologies to executives because it is available-- take an active business-minded approach before significantly changing any business system. Don't let the latest-and-greatest slow down your business.

Justin Hitt helps executives build profitable relationships with customer, employees, and strategic partners. He can be reached by phone at +1 (276) 254-8747 or on-line at https://iunctura.com/

12:14:49 AM    Join Newsletter

Last update: 04/08/2004; 2:36:36 PM.

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