By Andrew Hulme, Account Director
Do you want to accelerate your sales? Do you want a larger share of your market? Of course you do!
My role at FMI is focused on achieving success for my clients and over the last 20 years, I have worked collaboratively in many verticals (Automotive, Technology, Finance, and Retail to name a few!) with a host of brands to really understand their challenges. This allows me to deliver a bespoke solution that results in a positive return on investments – something that’s bred into the very core of why FMI exists.
Accelerating your sales
Throughout this three-part series of posts, I will share my knowledge on engaging your direct and non-direct channels, giving you insight which could help improve your sales performance.
There are many ways to achieve engagement and no one solution is correct, as it depends on a variety of factors, including industry, route to market, geography, people and resources. One commonality we have identified however is that having an engaged workforce and channel is key to any successful business.
Many things can impact sales, but we can distil it down to three essential components: product/service, promotion/marketing and the salespeople/channel. Often a lot of time is spent on above the line and below the line activity, but less time is spent focusing on engaging the front-line salespeople. Even with the growth of the internet when it comes to sales, the concept that people buy people and brands definitely still stands.
It is also true that people sell what they know and are confident with, so overlooking the people aspect of sales can have a big impact. By creating a dedicated engagement programme, you can ensure that the key people in your route to market are both informed and performing.
Four years ago, we started working with global consumer electronics company, Huawei and they had a smartphone market share of 2.5% – which is now around 19%. We soon discovered the initial stumbling block for the front line teams was that they weren’t confident on how to pronounce the brand name and therefore they would default to selling other brands.
Any engagement programme needs to be flexible enough to adapt to the needs of the audience, so throughout our relationship with Huawei, we’ve shifted focus from brand name, to product details, to the present where we are defining what it means to be Huawei.
When meeting with a client to discuss devising an engagement programme, I always start by asking three simple questions
- WHO are we targeting?
This question identifies the audience(s) and location(s) we are working with.
- WHAT are we trying to achieve?
This question gives us a clear goal to work towards so we can define the ROI metric.
- WHY are we doing it?
This is definitely the best question, because we uncover what the core business challenge is that we need to address. I cannot tell you how many times this question has completely changed the direction of a solution. It is common for people to come to FMI with a preconceived idea for a programme they would like to run, however, once the WHY question is asked you can see these programmes don’t always address the original business challenge. Always keep in mind the WHY as it is easy to lose sight of once you begin to think of a solution.
Once the answers to the three key questions have been defined, we can ask some of the more practical questions like;
Consider timings. Have you allowed enough time to scope, develop and launch the programme? Often there is a desire to launch programmes at a big event like an annual conference, but programmes need to have realistic timelines. Also, consider using a phased approach if you are rolling out to multiple countries.
This question looks to determine whether programmes need to run online and/or offline. Launch events can have a great awareness impact but are relatively costly. Launch packs with posters and merchandise can be more cost effective, but there is a chance not everyone will receive a pack and like events, launch packs can have a short-term awareness impact. Using an online solution can take time to build, but it offers more chance for continuous communication directly with your audience, meaning the engagement and awareness continues to build.
Look at the detail of the programme. Amongst the HOW questions are things like; how will you communicate with your audience? How will you gather data? How will the programme work in different territories? How will you be compliant with GDPR and CCPA? How are you measuring success? How will you fund the programme?
There are a host of things to consider when it comes to designing engagement programmes for direct and non-direct channels, which is why at FMI we help our clients step through this process in a structured manner. Look out for part two of this series and if you’d like to learn more, please get in touch with me directly! I can be reached at Andrew.Hulme@fmiagency.com or LinkedIn.