Victoria Hoshal Archives - d.trio marketing group

New Business Development Tips

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by Victoria Hoshal – d.trio’s director of business development

Best practices for new business development hold true across multiple industries – whether you are a marketing agency selling your services or medical device company selling in the B2B space.

I found a good overview on today’s challenging new business environment: http://www.brainrider.com/better-b2b-marketing/business-development-best-practice/

Although focused on the agency world, another article with great thinking is:  http://migroup.com/news_&_media/mercer_newbiz.pdf

I liked the tactical and organized approach to organic growth via existing clients and customers, as well as the idea of going after the customers/accounts you really want.

Here are some additional tips, based on my experience selling marketing agency services and before that, starting and running a small business.

When you are thinking about your organization’s new business opportunities:

  • Balance holistic thinking with focused tactics.  For example, the ability to assess (holistically) your universe of potential sales is necessary to any new business development.  However, within that view, focus on your best targets.  Better to have 5 highly-vetted, “good fit” targets than 20 “maybes.”  As per the Mercer Group article, find and pursue the customers YOU REALLY WANT.
  • Sell to your strengths – the best way to win a new customer is to show them where you truly outshine your competitors in either expertise or product.
  • This is also a way to filter customers that may not fit with your services. If it seems too much of a stretch, it probably is.  Your time and reputation are important – don’t waste them.
  • Don’t ignore your current or past customers.  Current customers can be a great source of referrals. Plan on visiting with them at least once a year for a “catch-up.”   Thank them for their business and ask for more. Ask them for referrals to other divisions or colleagues and other companies.
  • Plan a similar meeting with former customers. Recapturing a lapsed customer is typically MUCH faster and more productive of your time than acquiring a new client.
  • Interview your sales team for consistency of key messages and pitch points.  It’s important for everyone to start with the same brand story, regardless of needed versioning.  You might be surprised at what you learn.

When pitching a prospective customer:

  • Say “thank you for your time” at the beginning of the meeting.  Manners are important AND appreciated.
  • Remember it’s all about the customer.  Consider their business, their needs, tailor your approach accordingly.  This means paying attention to how much you talk about your company/your team, etc…..You’ll need to balance your sales pitch accordingly.
  • Conduct your due diligence and research ahead of the meeting so that you can plan discovery questions and stay on track.
  • Be able to articulate your competitive advantages, clearly and concisely.  Be sure you’ve tailored your value proposition to be relevant to the prospect.
  • Say thank you again at the close of the meeting.  Make the last impression a positive one. A further follow-up with a hand-written thank you note creates a longer-lasting impression.

Happy Hunting!

Revealing the big challenges in higher education marketing

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INTEGRATIING TECHNOLOGY WITH TRADITIONAL MARKETING TOOLS is the major challenge of marketers and recruiters who took d.trio’s 2013 Higher Education Survey.  Over 54% cited the merging of new with “tried and true” channels as their #1 problem AND opportunity.

Regardless of an institution’s size or student demographics, colleges and universities are grappling with how to build, market and nurture brand identity and differentiation in the user-driven social and digital domain.

More than 57% of all post-secondary students today are non-traditional:  part-time students, adult learners or both.  However, 88% of our survey responders say they are spending the same amount on undergraduate vs. graduate/non-traditional recruitment.   Budgets are not clearly not aligned with the opportunity and competition for adult students OR the complexity and scope of marketing channels in use.

We wanted to know how colleges and universities meet the challenges of a growing population of non-traditional students.   d.trio wanted to deepen our understanding of our college clients’ perspective.  We knew that a more cohesive view of our client’s world would help us offer the most relevant services and expertise for non-traditional recruitment marketing.

Instead of turning to published, traditional sources we went directly to college admissions and marketing professionals.  By conducting a custom survey to a highly targeted group at diverse institutions, we gained perspective and began a dialogue that we hope will continue to evolve. And by sharing peer responses, our survey participants gleaned their own perspective and useful benchmarks.

d.trio’s strategy utilized direct mail and email campaigns to engage and generate response.   We asked public and private institutions a wide range of questions about their marketing strategies – from recruitment marketing to brand positioning and the impact of online learning. Over 48 public and private colleges and universities responded, from over 21 states.

In this case, going directly to the source was the best option for revealing our client’s greatest marketing needs.

For survey results or more information on our higher education marketing services, please contact Victoria Hoshal at victoriah@dtrio.com.