I am giving a short briefing on “Managing the Work/Work Balance In Your Consulting Practice” at the South Bay Consultants Meetup on Mon-Apr-17 at 7:30am.
Let’s face it, finding customers can be quite a challenge. In this interactive workshop, we will cover a variety of proven marketing techniques for growing your business: attendees will select one or two that fit their style and develop a plan to implement them in their business in the next 90 days.
SKMurphy March/April 2016 Newsletter
This blog post summarizes our March/April 2016 newsletter, you can subscribe to the monthly SKMurphy newsletter using the form at the right
Before you can close a deal you need the phone to ring–you need leads. This issue we look at lead generation.
Special Offer if you are in Silicon Valley: you should consider our April 23 workshop on “Getting More Customers” in Sunnyvale; register at https://getting-more-customers-on-april-23-2016.eventbrite.com Early Bird ends April 9.
Each interaction with a business prospect or a customer has to promise an exchange of value: their time or money for at least the strong possibility of benefit. Many of the startup fantasy camp customer development training models neglect this and teach beginning entrepreneurs to rely on the kindness of strangers. This may work in certain consumer verticals but it rarely works in B2B markets.
We are offering our “Getting More Customers” workshop 9:00am-1:30pm on Sat-Apr-23-16. Spend a morning working on your business with a mix of lecture, discussion with peer entrepreneurs, and reflection and writing. You will leave with a plan for getting the phone to ring and your inbox to fill with inquiries.
Two key tasks we help early stage teams with are preparing for and executing successful negotiations of complex long-term business relationships. These early sales efforts must foster value co-creation with customers because both parties understanding of requirements will continue to evolve as the product is deployed and gains wider use.
Press Release Leads to Local Coverage. Covers why, how and how often to help you “bring on the leads.”
My interview with Gabriel Weinberg was originally published Sep-8-2010. He was doing research for what became his fantastic book Traction. We talked for the better part of an hour and a half and I can remember he kept returning in different ways to what was needed to close your first dozen enterprise customers.
He recently reorganized his site and made a fresh start on his blog. I have made some small formatting changes and added links to other blog posts I have written since the interview that elaborate on some of the points that I made. This content was originally at http://www.gabrielweinberg.com/blog/2010/09/sean-murphy-on-the-first-1-6-enterprise-customers.html.
I will be giving a evening workshop May 14 at PATCA on marketing professional services online. This is an interactive session for professional consultants.
We have been quite busy refreshing clients’ websites. Here are a couple that we are excited about.
Founders need leads and deals. Don’t pick give-aways that bury interest from real prospects. Have a real conversation and only exchange cards or scan a badge if there is real interest.
I took part in a great roundtable conversation at tonight’s PATCA meeting on “Low Cost Marketing and Advertising for Consultants” Here were a couple of suggestions that I made in response to situations or challenges that other consultants put on the table.
Q: I am launching a new live chat service and trying to decide the best way to acquire new customers from cold calling, email marketing, social media outreach by posting content to Facebook pages. What would you recommend?
Technology vs. Business Model
A live chat service is a technology, what is your business model?
Who is the Customer? What Is Their Need?
In particular who is the customer and why aren’t they using one of the several dozen live chat services already available? To determine the best tool for acquiring a new customer you have to have a clear hypothesis for who the customer, their need or pain point, and how your offering is differentiated from other alternatives already available to them.
Q: I have looked at your website and based on some of your blog posts you seem to provide a full range of tactical services–content, outbound messaging, SEO, videos, newsletters, demos, etc.. Why do you talk about “leads and deals” instead of focusing on the full range of services that you offer?
We sell to founders and they pay for leads and deals.
Any tactics or strategies we propose we have to connect the dots explicitly to how this will generate new leads or help them create opportunities or close deals. There are many good marketing services firms who sell to the Director or VP of marketing. People in those roles tend to be measured on the number of “marketing qualified leads'” (MQL) that they generate and sometimes look to contract out tactical marketing services to specialty firms.
Conor Neill has a great post up today on “a 9 Step Cheatsheet for Becoming a Public Speaking Expert” courtesy of the London Speakers Bureau. I am not usually a fan of infographics but this is is exceptionally well done. Expert public speaking requires deliberate practice the same as any other skill. Here are some key tips I took away for entrepreneurs from the list but the entire infographic is worth a look.
I signed up for a free trial of a lean project management tool (I have changed the name of the tool to <LeanTool>). A few days later I got the following nurturing E-Mail.
Subject: Are you afraid to manage your project in a lean way?
We’ve noticed that you haven’t been signing into <LeanTool> for a long time and this is a sign that you are not really committed to being lean. Remember that 96% of innovative projects fail, will your project be one of them? I hope not!
Remember that just having a gym membership is not going to help you get better, if you want to improve you have to do the work!
Log in to <LeanTool> today and start validating your project.
There are a x problems with this:
- it’s not nurturing.
- It assumes the tool is flawless and the problem is one of my motivation. In fact the tool does not work.
- I signed up for a free trial but none of the three primary dashboards in <LeanTool> for hypotheses, experiments, and results actually worked.
So I replied:
I went to add a hypothesis and it said that I need to pay.
I tried to add an experiment and it said I need to pay.
I tried to record a result and it said I need to pay.
Can you please explain your model for free evaluation?
It’s like someone showing you free samples in the supermarket and asking “Would you like to try it?” When you say “Yes” then you hear “that will be a $1”
You advertise a free trial but it seems like it is more like a free product tour, you cannot actually do anything.
Anyway, if what you are doing is working for you don’t stop but it seems weirdly antagonistic and dysfunctional
as an approach to letting me evaluate your software. Do you have any fully worked out examples I can review?
I got the following reply:
Hi Sean, thanks for writing!
We have reviewed the website and realized that there is a mistake: previously, we offered a free trial, and we haven’t updated the text in the startups page.
Sorry for the inconvenience. We really appreciate your feedback and we’d like to offer you a 14-day free trial with all functionality available and a 10% off in our pricing plans.
It seemed a little flaky so I waited a few days and checked their website, it still advertised a free trial.
“Get 1 canvas + 1 user totally FREE (No credit card is required.)”
A day later I got another copy of the original “nurturing” E-Mail.
- Sending the identical e-mail a week later is definitely not a good idea.
- Not fixing the website announcement of a free trial tells me that they are in free fall.
I got the following unsolicited E-mail this morning; I think the marketing term for this is “blogger outreach.” I have redacted the name of the sender (“YYY”) and the name of the firm/product (“XXX”) but “[press kit]” and “[review/checkout]” were included verbatim in the original. There was no footer with an unsubscribe option although phone number and address were included after the person’s title.
Direct Mail: A Letter With a Stamp Is Not Spam
In advertising it pays to be different. Letters and postcards with real stamps get through.
With everyone getting some much email SPAM, direct mail can be a way to differentiate yourself.
Postcards Work Too
We have used postcards to announce events where clients will be speaking or exhibiting. They have been very useful for raising awareness, increasing attendance at the event, and triggering a few phone calls. They don’t have to be opened to be read and are an inexpensive way to send a color image.
- Consider using unique URLs or phone numbers if you really want to track effectiveness.
- You can rent mailing lists or use your own.
- Because of the cost of this method you need to be careful to debug the message in advance: consider small targeted mailings, e-mail tests, adwords tests, or feedback from a few customers and prospects if time is short.
- We have used Overnight Prints and VistaPrint for printing as well as more than one visit to Fedex/Kinkos when time ran short.
Consider direct mail as an option for the target prospects you are trying to reach.
Nobody disputes how important “Call to Actions” are but sometimes I run out of ideas for good ones. Here is my list of favorite ones.
- Find out the latest
- Watch this short video for more information
- Check this out!
- See why we are excited!
- Learn more
- Read how we did it!
- Start saving
- Compare us to your current solution
Please suggest any that you have found effective in the comments and I will continue to update the list as they come to me.
SKMurphy functions as a startup advisor to help you understand the process of building a business. We understand the challenges of selecting an advisor–and advising entrepreneurs–and have blogged about it a few times:
- “Seeing The Elephant: The Entrepreneur’s Challenge of Integrating Advice“
- “The Challenge of Advising Entrepreneurs“
- “Advising Entrepreneurs“
- “We Don’t Encourage Individuals to Form a Startup“
- “Doing Less with Less“
We offer a no-cost, no-obligation MVP Readiness Assessment.
Request a consultation at https://skmtest.wufoo.com/forms/skmurphy-office-hours/