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Building a sales pipeline: A message from the CEO

April 2021

It can be tempting to rely on recommendations from existing clients when growing your sales pipeline, because a satisfied customer’s positive referral can obviously help to make initial sales conversations flow more smoothly.

However, while referral business is extremely important, relying entirely on referrals is quite risky, as the number of these leads tends to flatten over time. And so there is no getting away from the fact that other methods of generating leads also need to come into play. The business of marketing is a vast subject, and there are many relevant articles and publications available for reference, but here for now are a few thoughts.

You business strategy is a foundation for your marketing plans

Effective marketing starts with a well thought-out business strategy. A good strategy helps you define your vision, mission and business goals, and guides you in taking the steps you need to take to achieve them. Such objectives could include, for example, profitability, growing your customer base, or ensuring your organisation’s longevity. Here are some thoughts to assist:

  • State your marketing goals: Define a set of specific marketing targets based on your business goals. For example, deepening your relationship with existing customers through the sale of new or different products, or selling existing products to new target markets. These marketing goals might be longer-term and take a few years to achieve successfully, but they should be clear and measurable, and have time frames for achievement. You might need to change your marketing objectives if your external market changes due to a new competitor or new technology, for example.
  • Research your market: Find out about your target market, such as its size, growth and demographics. Be aware of changes over time.
  • Profile your potential customers: Now drill deeper into your target market, and develop a profile of the customers you are trying to attract. Identify their needs and how you could assist. Top tip: At the same time, make sure you maintain excellent standards of relationships with your existing customers – don’t drop the ball!
  • Profile your competitors: As part of your marketing strategy, it goes without saying that you should know your competitors. Identify their products, supply chains, pricing and marketing practices. Then work out what your own competitive advantage is – or perhaps use this to work out your own particular weaknesses? In this way, you can improve your own performance.
  • Develop strategies to support your marketing goals: Having worked out some of the specific information required for potential customers, list your target markets and / or customers, and plan a set of strategies to attract them. For example, if you want to deal with a certain sector of the economy, such as mining, it makes sense to research mining publications in order to find out in which media to target with your messaging around how your products and solutions can assist in this vertical sector.

Getting prospects into the pipeline

To ensure a steady flow of new leads, you’ll need to be proactive – a key priority in our own philosophy at Networks Unlimited - in identifying new potential prospects. This could mean attending events, embarking on advertising campaigns, or targeting new vertical markets or geographical regions. For example, you could:

  • Follow up an email with a phone call, with the aim of setting up an appointment with a potential new prospect, rather than relying only on the initial email to generate goodwill and interest.
  • Follow up on referrals from existing clients.
  • Develop an organised marketing campaign and system for follow-ups.
  • Host online events to engage with existing and prospective customers.

It’s important to be able to deliver a positive sales experience. Rely on your expertise, and be strong in articulating your unique value proposition.

Top tip: Above all, be prepared to answer what benefits your solutions can bring to the business of your prspective customer.

How Networks Unlimited can help our channel partners

We are in a strong position to help our partners build a solid strategy platform for your future marketing campaigns, and generate good leads for your business. Based on the premise of putting our partners at the centre of all that we do, we are always cognisant of being close to you in order to better understand your priorities, and help you to achieve your goals.

Three pillars of Networks Unlimited’s offering:

We will continue to enact our best possible value offering to you within the converged technology, data centre, networking, and security landscapes. This means working according to the foundation of our three pillars: delivering products and solutions that are affordable, outshining the competition, and providing faster service delivery.

Affordability of the solutions that Networks Unlimited provides is a critical part of our business strategy, ensuring that we pass on value to our partners. We continuously assess our portfolio to include best-of-breed offerings and solutions, and the very latest thinking, as well as offering comprehensive support and training. Speed represents our third distinguishing competitive advantage, both in our service delivery, as well as in the fact that we continually embrace the newest frontiers of technology.

Acknowledging the difficulties brought by COVID-19:

We are cognisant that everyone is under pressure to cover overheads. Therefore, Networks Unlimited can negotiate payment terms on a deal-by-deal basis depending on the partner, customer and deal size.

Since the early days of the ‘hard lockdown’, we have been concentrating on helping our partners with access to products, finance and logistics, and our full product portfolio is available to our reseller partners. We have put a strong focus on licence-based options to minimise logistics and delivery time and speed up sales, as well as on renewals and maintenance. Additionally, licences are delivered via email and delivery, support and billing is instant.

 We have further provided online training to address specific sales or go-to-market drives on products. This includes free training across certain technical courses which we usually charge for, which have been very well attended.

From a marketing point of view, most physical events were obviously cancelled and a pivot towards digital campaigns was increased.

Marketing:

As mentioned in last month’s newsletter, we offer our own marketing services on behalf of partners, so that we can share our joint stories with an appreciative audience, and thereby interest other potential customers in the products and solutions under discussion.

In conclusion, our passion for innovation, people and business drives us to constantly to embrace the newest frontiers of technology, thereby playing an ongoing role in igniting pending tech developments that enhance the end-customers’ businesses.

We are stronger with our partners, and we trust that our partners believe they are stronger with us.

Warm regards

Anton Jacobsz

CEO

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