12 Mar

10 ways to move business development forward this spring amidst travel cancellations & contagion fears.

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How’s your travel schedule shaping up? My next three five events just got canceled or postponed. I don’t know about you, but I am a rather hardy traveler. I just told a friend contemplating her upcoming vacation “If you go, you are at risk, but if you stay here you are at risk…so go!” That is certainly not the right advice for everyone in every situation, but like I told my daughter when she was born, “fear is the enemy of knowledge.”

Anyway, so what to do? Here are ten things I thought of that may help you (and to be honest, help me too) in the uncertain second quarter of 2020. Anything interesting? Let’s talk.

By the way, this week I am putting the finishing touches on an insightful piece with participation from some industry heavyweights on a very effective strategy to fight this pandemic (I’m not gonna say the C-word!), enhance employee work-life balance, and even help the environment. You should have that from me by Friday. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Have you contemplated any of the following?

  1. Conduct a Marketing Audit — I don’t run a PR or creative advertising agency nor do I seek to replace any existing relationships with such firms. However I have developed and do conduct a detailed marketing audit that seeks to first, clarify and hone a consistent marketing message that is best aligned with your target prospects for development and then we conduct a comprehensive analysis of your marketing efforts to make sure that marketing efforts and marketing budget is being most effectively spent to achieve measurable, quantifiable results.

The results of this marketing effort are then presented to your key executives and stakeholders as part of the agenda of a 2-3-day strategy session, at which point a framework for the following year’s activities is fleshed out into a detailed action plan. A key component of our strategy planning session is the definition of success metrics so that the following year’s activities can be measured, and success or lack thereof is clearly visible.

“When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind.”

William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, 1883.

  1. Lead Generation, arranging phone & video calls — My team and I have developed a proven prospect generation service that arranges telephone conference or video calls with qualified prospects that meet your criteria and have already expressed an openness to develop a commercial relationship with you. The core and value of this service isn’t in the manpower; you could hire a team yourself. Rather, it is our database and audience of interactors, subscribers, clients, and customers that we are reaching out to; in many cases people we already have developed a relationship with. My team and I are able to deliver results on a global basis.
  2. Launch a podcast — Podcasts are no longer coming, they are already here. (See page 16 of my presentation given at the 2018 CX Mindshare). If you aren’t listening, you know someone who is. They are extremely effective methods of targeting and engaging with your clients, prospects, stakeholders and wider audience. I can help you with the production, both content and technical; and leverage our media channels to support distribution.
  3. Create video content for travel-weary prospects — Feeling down because you can’t present your cool new capabilities to customers at the trade shows you are no longer flying to this spring? Don’t despair. Let’s create and package video presentations from demos to interviews and product / service offering tours.
  4. Push content — You aren’t face to face with your clients or prospects, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to communicate with them. I don’t mean calling them and bugging them with “you buy now!” demands but creating a campaign of useful content that provides value. NOT brochures telling them how great you are, but really useful knowledge transfer (I hope this message I’m sharing with you is a great example!). This could be written and/or multimedia.
  5. Promote any work-from-home initiatives you have — Do you have a work from home program? Now is the perfect time to promote and publicize it to prospective clients and prospective employees. Companies that already have these in place are not suffering as much as those that only maintain traditional workplaces. Now is no time to keep quiet, but share with the world what you are doing!
  6. Private executive roundtables — I have experience organizing, promoting and staging executive roundtables for the management of corporate clients.  At our executive roundtables, only vetted executives from verified potential prospect companies are in attendance, and you are the only vendor present, unless you may want to bring in a partner or co-sponsor such as a strategic partner.

We do all the work from researching prospective companies, identifying and inviting executives, handling the venue logistics, confirming the attendance of the invitees, and publicizing the event, including interviewing willing executives in attendance for future thought leadership pieces and white papers edited on your behalf.

Two Recent Events:

      1. Executive Roundtable Held by Microsoft and Unisys Uncovers Digital Transformation Keys to Success by Loren Moss   |   April 1, 2019
        Technology executives from some of the most important companies in Colombia met in Bogotá last week to discuss the achievements and challenges migrations to a cloud-based IT infrastructure. The meeting was sponsored by Microsoft and Unisys in collaboration with Finance Colombia and the professional … … Read full article
      2. Quebec Delegation Visits Medellín To Connect With Colombian Construction Industry by Loren Moss   |   March 26, 2019
        A delegation of 10 Canadian business executives from the Province of Quebec recently visited Medellín, accompanied by Export Quebec and led by Counselor for International Affairs Suzie Racine, for the purposes of connecting with construction industry executives in metropolitan Medellín. The successf… … Read full article

Our roundtables tap our carefully curated network of interactors, identifying those that fit the profile of an ideal prospective client for you. Those executives are invited to small, intimate gatherings, not to hear a sales pitch, but to discuss a key issue facing their executive function and industry. Of course, the key issue selected is one that you can help these executives and their companies solve. For example: Trump’s H1-B policy and its implication for maintaining necessary talent levels, Logistical challenges of offshoring to Asia or the Philippines; Maintaining a workforce in the face of full employment, etc.

    1. It is important that these roundtables take place face-to-face and are not webinars (have you ever dialed into a webinar and immediately stopped paying attention?). The roundtables are not presentations, but an interactive environment where these executives discuss these issues freely among themselves, and with your executives participating in the discussion.
    2. As a credible third-party analyst and publisher, my team organizes and I moderate these events in target markets that you identify. Prospects attend because it is a true ‘meeting of the minds” and they know they are not taking time out of their schedule simply to hear a sales pitch. Generally, they are organized in an upscale hotel or other meeting venue in large cities reachable by the majority of the prospects to be invited. Alternatively, guests can be invited, with travel covered, to one of your location cities to showcase your facilities. Roundtables are either morning events where breakfast is served, ending with a networking lunch after the session, or afternoon sessions followed by a networking reception. The reception or lunch provides a time for your executives to interact one-on-one with prospects in a conducive environment after hearing in detail the “pain points” expressed by each prospect during the roundtable. Of course, the flow of the discussion during the roundtable is guided in such a way to provide maximum business intelligence for your executives.
  1. Virtual lunch-and-learns — DON’T do a webinar, but do this: We order a pizza (or tacos, or whatever) for clients and prospects that agree to attend a virtual lunch and learn and have them delivered at the start of the virtual event. Rather than have them gather at your offices or in some specific place, we use this tactic to earn and hold their attention as we provide a valuable knowledge transfer: the LEARN in “lunch and learn.” A wasteful gimmick? No. plain old webinars are not effective and BORING. The other ingredient beyond the food is to make sure that the lunch and learn is a lively, interactive discussion and not Powerpoint-Hell. I can handle the logistics and production, as well as attracting prospects beyond your existing client base.
  2. Reload the chamber — Use the next two quarters to create rich content for the autumn and next year’s conference + events cycle. Let’s use this down time to produce the research, reports, multimedia content and collateral to make sure you are fully armed to hit the rebound at a fast clip.
  3. Highlight social impact — Let’s create a series of mini documentaries and written pieces on the positive difference your company is making in the lives of employees and the community. You are doing good work, let’s make sure that your employees, stakeholders, clients and the wider community are aware.

What not to do — Webinars. They are BORING. At least, they are boring when used for sales. They can be very effective when it comes to training and product updates with existing customers, however the “Learn how to shave 6 hours off of month end close with our robotic intelligence blah blah blah…” are torture devices. I’ll bet you don’t sell much off of them. Either the person suffering through is already thinking of buying (and you are just hurting the sales process) or people have dialed in to avoid some other meeting. They are sitting there checking their email, Whatsapping their friends, or watching ESPN on their phone.

What are your thoughts? How have your plans changed? Let’s brainstorm together. Simply reply to this email.

Stay safe, wash your hands!

-Loren

Photo – Miami International Airport © Loren Moss

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