Blockchain (yawn!!) – let’s break it down

Blockchain (yawn!!) – let’s break it down

Blockchain is probably one of the most popular buzz words bandied about over the past couple of years. But what exactly is Blockchain and what should you know about it?

WHAT IS BLOCKCHAIN?

Blockchain is simply a database or ledger that maintains a continuously growing list of data records (blocks) or transactions. Blockchain allows digital information to be distributed but not copied, it is the sole system of record.

A Blockchain transaction will have the following attributes:

It Can Be Shared

Servers or nodes maintain all the entries or transactions (blocks) and every node sees the transaction data stored in the blocks when created.

It is Decentralized

There is no central authority required to approve transactions or set rules.

It is Secure

The database is an immutable and irreversible record. Posts to the Ledger cannot be revised or tampered with – not even by the operators of the database.

It Runs on Trust

The distributed nature of the network requires computer servers to reach a consensus which allows for transactions to occur between unknown parties.

Automation is Key

The software is written so that conflicting or double transactions do not become written in the data set and transactions occur automatically.

WHAT ARE THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF BLOCKCHAIN?

Considering the popularity and potential uses of Blockchain over many sectors and industries, Gartner has developed the following SWOT Analysis

WHEN CAN I EXPECT TO SEE BLOCKCHAIN EFFECT MY BUSINESS?

According to a Gartner Hype Cycle Graph for emerging technologies, it will take at least 5 to 10 years before Blockchain Technology is widely adopted by mainstream industries.

WHERE WILL BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY MOSTLY BE USED?

Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are a type of alternative and virtual currency that are decentralized and built on Blockchain technology. Bitcoin would be a very popular example of this.

Smart Contracts

These are legally binding programmable digitized contracts entered on the blockchain. Giving computers control over contracts will make business more efficient and the legal system more equitable.

Banking and Finance

All the world’s major banks are currently investing heavily in Blockchain Technology as it offers many advantages, especially in the areas of audit and regulation.

Property

By placing all property records on the chain, prospective buyers will be able to immediately verify all requirements including ownership, title, land registry, insurance, etc..

Healthcare

This technology should become incredibly appealing to the healthcare profession as it could allow doctors and hospitals secure access to a patient’s entire health history there and then.

Supply Chain

The supply of goods or services blockchain ledger can be updated and validated in realtime by each participant in the supply chain. It enables equal visibility of activities and reveals where an asset is at any point in time, who owns it and what condition it’s in.

The above is only a small selection of where blockchain technology may apply in the future.

If you would like to know more about Blockchain and how it may affect your industry in the coming years contact RML Marketing & Business Development Solutions today

Why your organization should enter Business Award Competitions – 6 steps to consider

Why your organization should enter Business Award Competitions – 6 steps to consider

Business Award Competitions should become a serious part of your organizations overall marketing mix. As well as providing invaluable publicity, business awards can help lend credibility to your prospects, clients and give a sense of pride and motivation to your staff.

According to Ed Reeves, co-founder of Moneypenney, business award competitions “go a long way to promoting a business. An award win, or even a nomination, can act as a third-party endorsement for the business and a confirmed seal of quality which can reassure clients that they are, in fact, working with the best of the best.”

Your marketing and business development departments should treat business award competitions with the respect and resources they deserve:

1. Which Business Award Competitions should your organization enter?

Only enter award competitions that are appropriate to your organization and/or solution. Stick to genuine awards and don’t be lured by the multitude of new ‘fake’ awards which can be purchased, other organizations and peers can see through these instantly. A Business Association, Chamber of Commerce, Industry Body and or Channel Partner award is usually a good place to start.

2. Is your product/solution ready?

Decide internally if your solution is ready to enter the awards, should you sit out this year and enter the following year when your solution is more refined, developed and has a great customer success story to back it up?

3. Resources

Devote the resources and skilled staff to fill out the awards application form with as much detail as possible on why your solution should not alone be nominated but could also be a worthy winner. Where possible list customer success examples.

4. Publicity and PR

Make sure your marketing team fully exploits the PR opportunities presented. Remember that these business award competitions will help your organization gain additional publicity from the marketing efforts of the award show organizers, fellow competitors and industry peers. Even if you do not win, the fact your organization was nominated and promoted will stand to the organization for years to come. Make sure to develop an awards page on your website to list all the awards you have won or been nominated for.

5. Benchmarking

According to Small Business BC awards are often built upon best practice and industry standards. By measuring your business against the awards criteria and comparing against your competitors’ solutions, you will be able to assess where your product/solution stands in the marketplace.

6. Awards Ceremony

Awards ceremonies usually take place around evening dinners and social events, make sure to attend where possible as they present wonderful networking opportunities to mingle with industry peers. You could also use the opportunity to bring staff as a reward for their hard work and commitment.

If you would like to know more about how RML Marketing and Business Development Solutions can help your organization enter and win business awards that are appropriate to your industry contact us today.

4 Tips on How to turn Social Media Likes into Sales

4 Tips on How to turn Social Media Likes into Sales

We often hear organizations say something along these lines, “we are getting so many social media likes, shares and comments but we are not seeing an increase in qualified leads or sales”. The problem here is that organizations are only doing half the job, i.e. they have the first part completed by setting up social media accounts and providing great content. The problem is that when many organizations reach this stage they just sit back and wait for the sales to roll in.
Unfortunately, this is not how it works in real life, social media accounts need to be constantly worked and require a lot of time and effort to reap the rewards. Here are 4 quick tips that will help turn your social media likes into sales:

1. Engage with your social media likes audience

Thank people for liking your posts, ask them what aspects they liked and is there anything else they would like to see. Offer to setup a call or start an email conversation off the social media platform to further discuss the prospects needs and wants and how you can provide a solution for same.

2. Capture prospects details now for later conversion

According to Socialmediaexaminer.com the social media ‘liker’ may not be ready to purchase just yet, however, your organization now has an opportunity to capture their details and encourage them to sign up for your company newsletter, future promotions, case studies, etc.. As some social media leads enter the sales funnel at a very early stage you will need to develop targeted campaigns with further content that will help drive the decision making process.

3. Make buying easy

It’s most important to make buying super easy for your social media audience. Make sure that website links on your social media accounts bring the prospect directly to the purchasing page and not just your generic home page where they will have to further search for themselves. Some social media platforms will allow you to create a purchasing tab from within the platform.

4. Customer service

It is critical that you are highly responsive in a timely manner to questions and comments posted to your social media accounts. Ask satisfied customers to provide a 5 star review and be courteous and polite at all times as one bad interaction may have lasting effects.

If you would like to know more about how RML Marketing and Business Development Solutions can help your organization turn social media likes into sales contact us today.

Customer Prospecting, ugh, do I have to?…………..

Customer Prospecting, ugh, do I have to?…………..

The simple and easy answer is no you don’t need to do new customer prospecting. However, for those of us who would still like to have a business this time next year, the irrevocable answer is yes!
Customer prospecting is key to sustaining, growing and making a success of your business, whether you are a start up or more mature organization. According to Continuity Programs, customer prospecting delivers the following benefits:

• Higher Sales

This one is a bit of a no brainer and most likely the number one reason that any organization creates and executes a customer prospecting program. Gaining more sales will increase revenue and ultimately should lead to greater profitability if managed correctly.

• Customer Prospecting can lead to Decreased Costs

Very often organizations can become so focused on advertising as the key means to generate new business that they forget or overlook other lead generation opportunities. Having targeted customer prospecting campaigns can often be delivered at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising and deliver a better yield.

• Customization

Highly targeted prospecting campaigns allow you to customize your message to your intended audience, focusing on a need or solution that is highly relevant to them. Use customer success stories to back up your product or solution.

So now that you are hopefully convinced to start a customer prospecting campaign, here are some steps that Geoffrey James, contributing editor with Inc.com recommends you take:

1. Get a Decent List of Prospects

You can make up a great prospecting list from referrals, web site enquiries and networking (both online e.g. LinkedIn User Groups and offline e.g. Business Associations and Trade Fairs). You could also purchase a prospecting list that is focused on your target customers or industry niche.

2. Create a Qualifying Script

Define a conversational way to ask during the initial conversation if (a) the prospect has a need for your solution (b) the budget to purchase same and (c) the authority within their organization to do so.

3. Set Reasonable Goals for a successful Customer Prospecting outcome.

Set a target for how many prospects in your pipeline that you will need. For example, if you would like to achieve 5 new sales every week and you know from experience that you generate 1 sale from every 50 or so calls, you will need to make approximately 250 new calls every week.

4. Get into a Positive Mental state.

I cannot over emphasize the importance of this one. You will need a positive balanced approach. No one like to do business with a ‘Debbie Downer’, likewise this is hopefully going to be a business transaction, you do not have to try and be the prospects new BFF within the first 5 minutes of the call. Throughout the call be positive, optimistic and stay focused on what the prospects needs are.

5. Make The Call!

Work from a place where you won’t be interrupted or distracted. Always listen to what the prospect is saying and be aware of signs or indications where the prospect is letting you know they are ready to purchase right now “we’ve been looking to buy something like this”, “I was going to contact your firm about this”, “yes, we definitely need to talk”. These are key indicators that can help you move straight to the close of sale.

If you would like to know more about how RML Marketing and Business Development Solutions can help your organization develop successful customer prospecting campaigns contact us today.

10 Steps to Help Kill your Trade Show ROI

10 Steps to Help Kill your Trade Show ROI

The humble Trade Show offers organizations a wonderful opportunity to promote products and/or services, gather leads, develop fruitful partnerships, entertain clients and increase branding/exposure. All this sounds wonderful, however, Trade Shows usually come at a high cost (booth rental, staff, travel, accommodation, materials, giveaways, entertainment….) and must be planned and executed properly to maximize ROI.
To get the most out of your next trade show, here are ten steps that will help your organization achieve maximum results:

10 Trade Show Steps to  Help Kill ROI

 

Trade Show Booth Selection & Design

Try to pick a booth that will have maximum exposure – close to entrance, main stage, beside coffee dock, lunch area etc. Make sure you get a copy of and study the booth floor plan carefully, avoiding large pillars and obstacles that may hinder your visibility where possible.

At a busy show you have about 5 to 10 seconds to grab the attention of passing traffic. Make sure your booth walls have your logo, main keywords and products listed. Also, some visual aids and video demonstrations can be very effective in attracting the attention of potential prospects and partners.

Accommodation

If the Trade Show is taking place in a hotel try to book accommodation in that same hotel. They may have preferential room rates for show attendees and you will be able to network afterhours in the hotel’s bars and restaurants. If the Trade Show takes place in a stand alone convention centre, try to book the closest possible hotel, this will likely become an after show focal point. It also allows staff time to return to their rooms to take calls in private if necessary.

Staff Selection

Make sure that the staff you send to represent your organization are not alone highly versed in your solutions, but are also highly personable and approachable by the public. There is nothing worse than seeing a booth person constantly looking down at their shoes or trying not to engage with potential customers. Make sure that staff wear branded clothing at all times showing off your organization’s logo and key message.

Preshow Plan

Meet with your show staff and marketing team 6-8 weeks prior to the show start date. Make sure show staff are aware of the exhibition hours and logistics. Agree on promotional materials, swag and giveaways to bring. Study other exhibitors attending and try to arrange meetings with organizations that may be of benefit to your product or solution. If you have a speaking or presentation slot make sure that your slide deck is prepared according to the rules and regulations of the show organizers. Devise a promotional campaign announcing your organizations attendance through press release, email, blogs and social media, making sure that you use the show’s hashtag where possible.

Trade Show Start & Exhibition Hours

Try to arrive the day before the show officially opens to make sure your booth is well presented and all power points, lead capture and audio-visual equipment works. Make sure to have staff present for all exhibition floor opening hours. There is nothing worse than seeing an empty booth during a show, not to mention the wasted opportunity and cost to the organization.

Lead Capture

Use or hire lead capture scanners if offered by show organizers. This scanning equipment is very effective for a busy show and it is usually very easy to import the lead capture data into your backend system at the end of show. If you do not have a lead scanner always give a prospect your business card and ask for theirs in return. If the prospect states that they do not have any cards with them, ask them to write their contact details on the back of one of your cards. Attract prospects to your booth with swag or giveaway raffles that they must submit their business cards or details to enter the draw.

Walk Floor

Walk the floor during slow times (key note presentations, early mornings, class times….) to meet other exhibitors and see what the competition is offering. However, never leave your booth fully unattended and always have at least one staff member present.

Keynote Address

Make sure some staff attend the keynote address to learn what is new in your industry and what future opportunities your organization may be able to benefit from.

After show hours

Once the exhibition hall is closed for the evening make sure to attend the after show party or the hotel bar. These represent wonderful opportunities for networking and expanding your prospect and contact base, you can also use after show hours to bring important clients, prospects and partners to dinner.

Follow Up

Follow up, follow up, follow up……….and then follow up. When the show is over and you are back in the office make sure that you contact each and every lead that was captured during the event. Allow attendees a couple of days to get back and caught up on their own pressing needs, then make sure to reach out with emails and calls to further on the conversation from the show. You can also schedule a webinar, inviting all leads to a demonstration of your product or solution. Make sure all leads are entered into your database or CRM system and tag them to the show for future reference and ability to measure ROI.

For help on how to get the most return on your Trade Show investment contact RML Marketing and Business Development Solutions today.

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