The Smart way to implement Campaign Strategy:
Hello Researcher! Feel like you have had enough of everything and want new clients ? And tell them that you guys are pure geniuses?
Here’s an article that sheds some light on how to plan and monitor such campaigns. A quick note and reminder for readers -Aldius Consulting is a Business Development firm that works with MR organizations only. There is a good chance you will strike gold somewhere in the article. Finders Keepers.
Step 1: Get the War Chest:
Make a small (30) list of companies that presumably will be interested in your expertise ? Along with the list put together a list of typical designations/ job titles of people in these companies that you would like to engage with.
Once done -get the following things too:
1.1: An Executive Summary- 5-6 Pages in all. No more than 300 words. Typical topics- Corporate Introduction, Leadership, Infographic, Fact sheet, Contact Information.
1.2 : Applications of your research: A case study or Whitepaper detailing your offering and/or approach. In our experience (rich/immersive/all encompassing kind of experience) you would like to keep this document under 10 pages. Assuming it will have no more than 3 pages that are content heavy.
1.3 : LinkedIn profile- Up to date. Check your website too for broken links and spelling errors. With all the content generation and changes, you will be surprised at what a DIY free spell checkcre (See!) and broken links test reveal.
1.4 : Prospecting Strategy- On a sheet of paper- Draw at a simple 4-5 stages of prospect engagement. How many touch-points would you want with the prospects. What information will you share along this customer journey? . Heard of prospect enthusiasm curve? One axis has information supplied by vendor, another axis has prospects enthusiasm levels. On the Graph-Things go north till a point then things go South. This is something that we have used time and again, in conjunction to other tools in order to design a prospecting strategy for marketing research.
1.5: Designate a Fearless Leader- Who is the doer? The one the Neo? The Prospectosaurus? How will you help in this role?
—–War Chest or a semblance Ready? Next Step————-
Step2: Know your Numbers:
You need to know your number and your average (or worst case ) conversion ratio, so you can contact as many people as possible to make the sale. Approximately 100 discussions will result in 20-30 proposals.
Mind you- Once you complete 100 discussions- You will be writing these proposals over a period of 3-6 months from meeting the prospects. Since these proposals are for companies you are not working for currently you will be converting between 5 and 20% of your proposals to projects.
Here are the numbers you need to plan for:
2.1: Number of meetings for an year
2.2: Number of Expected Proposals
2.3: Sales Cycle- Based on 1.4 how long would you expect (worst case please) for a new client to give you a project?
2.4: Conversion Ratio -Be a worst case scenario thinker on this one.
2.5: Projection for Year 1 and 2. Remember the power of compounding. While calculating, please factor in sales cycles, average value of your first+second study with a new client and total leads in your funnel.
Step3: Getting Social: Setting Goals———– Familiarity.
Whether we like it or not social media (all of it) is a great way to get your brand and company seen. This allows people to glance at who you are without feeling committed to doing business with you right away. But if they see enough of your company, they are NOT more likely to reach out with any inquiries.
Stop once you have achieved the objective of establishing familiarity. Remember, it is unlikely that a decision maker for a research project is out there reading your “Content” with every tweet/post. A lot has been said and written about the importance of establishing one’s credibility and subject matter expertise online. Create content- but be very careful-There is a very thin line, if crossed can be counter productive to your objectives of promotion.
Step 4: Get That Meeting: With or Without Familiarity:
Do not wait for prospects to reach out to you with a project, based on the quality of the content alone.
Research purchase decisions are not made on social media relevance or google rankings. It is based on the mettle of your organization and availability of an opportunity. Begin with the end goal in mind- Connect-Talk-Meet/Proposal-Study-Repeat.
Familiarity/comfort and Context is part of that process- They are Important Milestones. After familiarity or a belief thereof is established, seek for ways to talk and eventually meet with the prospect. It is the hardest part of the engagement cycle. There is no replacement for live, real time dialogue while bringing in a new client. The longer it takes for you and your prospect to get from Social media engagement to exploratory/discovery/introductory stage- the more pre conceived notions you will come to the table with.
Step 5: It’s a Process! Keep Going – Pipeline Progression :
Please refer point 1.4 Again. Then read on:
Think of innovative ways to keep in touch after your first engagement. Oh and a periodic email- just checking in- does not cut it. Perhaps a new content, thought leadership article. Consider posting it by snail mail in addition to other modes- Stand out and be different. Connect and Talk to other decision makers in different groups of the same corporate. You have to have a minimum of 3 different road maps of communication (point 1.4 people?!). Meaning, after your first engagement- classify the account to put on high, low, medium frequency of follow up. High Frequency=Once a Month for some, once a quarter for others.
STEP 6 : Track and Monitor Progress:
To track results, pick up no more than 5 KPIs. At Aldius Consulting, we advise our clients (and sometimes report back) on the following:
1: Net New Discovery Calls
2: New Contacts Identified
3: Potential RFPs for the month vs RFPs generated/Proposals Sent
4: Third and Fourth Level Calls/Meeting/Positive Exchange
5: Pipeline Added
Outside of these “quant” metrics, discuss campaign objectives and traction, Persona of the ideal prospects-Something that you can develop as you get further along the campaign.
Additionally you must track Activity progress: Group all your developmental activities in this: Emails sent, newsletters , blog articles, twitter and LinkedIn stats. Campaign tweaks and/or new Campaign Ideas generated.
STEP 7: DONT EVER GIVE UP! Good Luck !
Disclaimer: I am sure there are other steps! And I am sure you will be able to use the article as starting point to plan and implement campaigns. I have kept the needs of a Primary research firm in my mind while writing. I will write a separate article soon for other kinds of organizations in the research ecosystem. Also if you do not see a Prospectosauras in your org already, other than when you look into the mirror-Chances are you will have to pick a very skeletal-yogi version of this approach. If you would like me to discuss/write some thoughts for a Yogi version let me know by sharing your email on our website- Go to Aldiusconsulting.com