Start a file on each of your competitors including information gleaned from the web, advertising, promotional materials, pricing strategies and conversations with customers or suppliers. Review these files periodically, looking at their sales strategies, profitability, PR etc.
Ideas for gathering competitive information
When I meet people or companies who do it better, I use that inspiration and try to make myself better.
There are two reasons for doing it:
There will of course be times when you are both competing for the same piece of work and you may not win, but how you lose, and I am sure that is with grace, will say so much more about you, and guess what, you may still get a slice of the cake.
Competition is a game of balance and collaboration. It’s about win:win and you can “win” beyond your wildest dreams, if you do it right.
If you would like a 121 with me, I would be delighted to see how we can collaborate for success
The lack of trust in our own abilities can be damaging to our potential, as it can stop us from doing the things that we are really capable of doing.
What does confidence mean to you? Take this quick confidence review, it will, I promise be quite revealing. Get out your journal and just start writing. Come back and review in a few days. What are your next steps?
Complete the following sentences:
CONFIDENCE to me means…
When I see someone who has LOW CONFIDENCE levels they:
When I see someone who has HIGH CONFIDENCE levels they:
My confident self:-
When other people see me, they see….
When faced with problems this person (your new confident self) thinks….
Now sit and visualise yourself with all of the new confident traits and abilities that you have. Guess what you had them all the time, you just kept them hidden.
Congratulations. What will you do next?
Technology and IT systems make it easy to get information flowing, getting us to a point where we are so swamped by information and finding the time to share knowledge effectively is often overlooked. Knowledge management in organisations is usually implemented and managed by IT or project management or business services, when it should really be a collaboration of HR and IT and other relevant stakeholders. If part of HR’s role to change the culture and find people who are willing to share knowledge and keen to build on others’ knowledge are engaged, surely there could be ways to make it fun to share knowledge?
Here’s just a few ideas you can implement to invigorate the learning and knowledge sharing.
When people feel connected to the company, knowledge and sharing will flow.
I am sure you can think of more than 8 great ways to engage your teams.
This customer is a manufacturer of cable assemblies and associated services. As the company began its business strategy review process they identified that they needed to put a simple and effective marketing action plan into place which would help them to move into new markets and grow the business.
In undergoing a full review it was it identified that a cohesive sales & marketing strategy needed to be implemented.
After reviewing the setup, sales processes and what had been achieved to date a few quick wins were generated and a simple but effective strategy put in place. Just some of the achievements made in the first 8 weeks:-
Future plans include:-
The new branding, website and collateral which forms the sales toolkit went live in 6 weeks meaning that the business development team could promote the companies capabilities with pride and prospects from new market sectors could fully understand their capabilities.
The telemarketer kick started the lead generation process delivering qualified appointments back into the team enabling them to work towards the company’s turnover goals.
The CRM system data was cleaned up and new processes implemented meaning that the system is now strategic to the order creation process, has up to date data and quotations are being followed up in a timely manner.
By June 2011 they had over £5m worth of prospects in their pipeline, which they were converting.
There is often a fuss made in the media about organisations not allowing staff to use the internet at work due to potential abuse. Of course it will get abused, we are mere mortals after all and if you leave a door open with a bag of swag available to be taken what can you expect?
I come from the school of giving team members freedom and if they abuse my trust, they lose my respect and their privileges. It made sense to me that, rather than block it completely to allow it at certain times of the day, giving us the best of both worlds.
I once had what I thought would be a promising team member who used Facebook more than she used our internal systems and would confidently lie about her activities, unfortunately for her, we were not only able to see her Internet usage, we could actively monitor her usage of other internal systems.
In 2009 Robert Half Technology reported that 54% of employers had banned workers from using social networking sites and only 19% allowed it for business purposes. Whilst another more recent report from Mobiledia suggests that e-breaks make for better and more productive employees. I like the idea of e-breaks giving employees the opportunity to stay in touch with their friends in a ‘controlled’ way.
I wanted to raise the issue further and look at the use of social media as a branding tool for employees.
Organisations pay millions to brand themselves and often forget to pay the same attention to their people. Yes they train and develop them, but what about the picture that is painted to the outside world of your employees blogs, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts?
Whilst you may argue that employers are not responsible for how their staff are portrayed to the outside world and that they have no rights over how an employee presents themselves, I think organisations are missing a trick.
Personal branding that falls within corporate branding guidelines can only be good for the organisation. Many organisations now looking to do business with you, will research not only you, but your employees. If then, your employees are demonstrating expertise and professionalism through the way that they communicate on social media, it can only be good for you, can’t it?
For example one of my clients recently put a social media strategy together which included asking employees to register on LinkedIn and set up the company information to the branding guidelines we had set down. Each were tasked with obtaining testimonials and to link to the company pages. There has been a great up take. The next step is to maximise the opportunities that LinkedIn provides by making connections at all levels within key organisations and start a conversation and relationship. A group has been created which links to a trade body and is tied into an extremely important supply chain initiative.
From being reluctant to step onto the social media stage, we now have a well populated blog featuring case studies, news and updates from the MD. These are now Tweeted and the Twitter strategy is starting to take shape.
We haven’t broached the idea of a private Facebook page as a company portal for feedback and non sensitive news, but it is only a matter of time. Or maybe that’s a step too far.
Imagine if your company website was supplemented by the combined knowledge and insight of teams members at all levels of the business. What could your potential customers, funders, suppliers think? They would, I am sure be impressed by such an innovative modern approach, not forgetting how much Google loves backlinks.
There is always a downside and by enabling and empowering employees to interact with the outside world in this way leaves the way open to them being poached by others. We know that organisations are turning to the Internet to find employees. All I can say is, if you work hard to keep your passionate employees motivated and well rewarded why would they want to leave?
Using social media for employees is just part of the whole personal branding agenda, for personalised personal branding coaching or workshops for your organisation contact Jacqui Malpass.
This customer is a manufacturer of printed circuit boards and associated services. Having grown significantly since migrating from being an OEM to an outsourced contract manufacturer they now needed to capitalize on the investments made in people, processes and technology.
The company wished to grow from £17m to £40m over the next 5 years attracting 5-10 new customers spending approx. £1m – £5m per annum. The sales cycle was typically 12-18 months.[box] Jacqui really understood our issues helped us with some quick wins and then just ploughed on through the rest of the marketing activities for us with amazing energy![/box]
The company had made huge investment in all areas of the business including their sales and marketing; however the strategies employed were not delivering as anticipated.
The overall result was that they recognized that they needed to seriously overhaul the whole strategy or continue to stagnate.
After reviewing the sales and marketing process and what had been achieved to date, a few quick wins were generated and a simple but effective strategy put in place. Just some of the achievements:-
Once the key systems and processes were implemented and a simple approach to the marketing strategy put in place this company reduced their overall marketing spend, raised its brand awareness, built a fantastic sales funnel and were winning new orders.
During 2009 the marketing management was handed back to the company.
Everyone has an optimum way of learning new information. A person’s learning style is a combination of how they perceive, then organise and process information. When you’re familiar with your learning style, you can take important steps to help yourself learn faster and more easily. Plus, learning how to decipher the learning styles of others – like your colleagues – can help you strengthen your rapport and influence with them.
Each of us has something called a (preferred) representational system (visual, auditory, kinesthetic or auditory digital). There are two more which are gustatory and olfactory.
Despite having one preferred system you may combine two. E.g. you may be listening to a piece of music which sparks your imagination and you see pictures in your mind, or you may see a picture of cake and begin to imagine what it tastes like.
People use language based in their 5 senses (representational system). By matching their sensory words, you can establish a deep level of trust and rapport.
Understanding these will help you to frame or ask questions in a more relevant way and of course help you to understand your preferences and why you may find it difficult working with others who do not learn or speak in the same way as you.
One system is not better than another, it is simply your preferred way. However, if you can develop your language so that you can cover each, you will find it more effective when working others.
You have shown me of a way to proceed that looks good and I would like to see more of it
Goals are the large statements of what you hope to accomplish but usually aren’t very measurable. Goals are more vague and focus on the longer term. They create the setting for what you are proposing.
The overall goal should define the long-term communications aspirations:-
Under the goal, you set specific objectives. Objectives differ from goals in their specificity and ability to be evaluated and measured
Marketing objectives develop out of your business goals and objectives. And they should be driving your marketing strategy. Meeting marketing objectives should lead to sales – if they don’t, then you probably have established the wrong objectives, or you aren’t executing them effectively.
Objectives should seek to answer the question ‘Where do we want to go?’. And ‘how do we get there?’
The purposes of objectives include:
|Goals are broad||Objectives are narrow|
|Goals are general intentions||Objectives are precise|
|Goals are intangible||Objectives are tangible|
|Goals are abstract||Objectives are concrete|
|Goals can’t be validated as is||Objectives can be validated|
Your goals/objectives should include financial elements, such as revenue, gross profit, sales, and so on.
However, they should also include non-financial elements such as units sold, contracts signed, clients acquired, and articles published.
There are a number of business objectives, which an organisation can set:
However, whenever your set your objectives you need to remember SMART
Set objectives that you can really do something with:-
Now choose a blank page in your journal for different areas of your marketing and categorise your post it notes.
E.g. brochures, flyers, branding, website, sales
You can come back at any time and add or remove any of these.
|Objective||Long / Medium / Short Term|
Now that the objectives are set, and have been broken down into bitesized chunks, you can now begin to pull together a plan to meet them.
In order to obtain information about the wants, needs, preferences, beliefs and likely behaviour of potential consumers of your products and services you need to conduct some market research.
1) Define your goals
2) Determine the major components or objectives of the plan
3) Make sure that your objectives support the overall purpose (goal)
4) Break the objectives down into bite sized chunks.
5) Collect and evaluate the data you will need to determine what it will take to complete each component of the plan
6) Create a forecast
7) Determine action steps
8) Develop contingency plans
9) Implement your plan
10) Check the progress of your plan frequently and measure constantly, feedback, feedback, feedback
11) Make any amendments