Covering all things Sales, Marketing, Product management and Going global. Content taken directly from our jams and delivered in bite sized learning chunks.
Successful businesses do more than just provide great products. They create and deliver an exceptional customer experience every step of the way. Today’s customer has access to a global marketplace and a myriad different options- it isn’t enough to just offer the most affordable solution in your area. You need to stand out during every stage of the customer journey. If your business can’t give customers what they need, they’ll find someone that can.
That’s why smart businesses optimise their customer’s experience at every stage of the buying journey.
What is a customer journey and why does it matter? When you first hear it, the term “customer journey” sounds like a fluffy marketing buzzword that has zero place in the real world. It isn’t. The buying process can be broken down into five distinct stages. At the end of every stage the customer re-decides, consciously or subconsciously, whether to continue their journey with you or move on to one of your competitors.
By creating a delightful experience every step of the way, you are encouraging them to choose you. Let’s take a look at the five different decision points.
Your customer has a problem. They are vaguely aware you exist and offer something that can fix what’s bothering them. So, they look you up! They check your website and scroll through your social media profiles. They look at online reviews.
At this point, they make a snap decision. Are you worth exploring further? Make sure that the answer is a resounding yes by creating a strong social media presence and using an intuitive, UX optimized website that has enough engaging information to make them want to learn more.
You made it through the first test. Now, your potential customer wants to understand if you are a good fit for them. They’ll begin by scouring your resources and digging through your user reviews. They may even hit you up on social media.
To pass this stage, create resources that answer their burning questions. Build a powerful FAQs section on your website and create blog posts that address the most common pain points. Show them you’ve got the answers and aren’t afraid to share them!
Your customer has decided they want to buy. Now comes the real test. How easy is the process? How long does it take for your sales team to reach out to qualified leads? What are your email and social media response times like?
Can you answer all their common objectives? Can you make your customer feel secure that they’ve picked the best possible option? You’ve got to anticipate their questions and assuage their worries. And, you’ve got to do it quickly! If you don’t, someone else will.
What happens shortly after buying? Elation, followed by buyer’s remorse. With so many options available, your customer wants to feel like they got the best possible one. A big part of that rests on how well you treat them after the purchase.
Do you have a customer nurturing plan in place? Do you go above and beyond and offer special deals to existing customers? Do you answer queries and questions quickly? According to research, 60% of customers who complain on Twitter expect a response within one hour.
So, make sure that you’ve got your bases covered! Create a system that helps you catch inquiries and respond quickly.
The customer journey doesn’t end after the purchase. Retaining existing customers increases their overall value to your business. One of the best ways to keep customers and leverage your relationship to reach new potential customers? Turning them into advocates.
Create a loyalty system and reward customers that recommend you to their social circles and share your content. This works on two levels. By making your customers feel like a part of your team, they feel more invested in your success and want to help! Plus, you are tapping into one of the most effective forms of marketing- word of mouth.
Understanding your customer
This all sounds great, but to create a quality customer journey you need to understand what makes your customers tick. Everyone is different. What works for one segment for the population will be completely ineffective with another.
To really optimize your customer journey, you need to get to know who you are speaking to. One of the best ways to do this is by creating an ideal customer avatar. Your ideal customer avatar is an amalgamation of the main features your target audience shares. It gives your team a real target- someone they can understand and relate to.
When creating your avatar dig into the data. Who are they? What’s their job title? What clubs are they a part of? How do they think about their problems? Sales VPs and solopreneurs use different terms to describe their pain points. To be effective, you need to understand who you are talking to. A little research now will have big benefits later.
Level up your skills further
Optimising the customer experience takes time. To help get you on your way, we recently interviewed Kirsty Traill, the VP of Customer Success at Hootsuite, as part of our Sales & Marketing Jam webinar series.
Kirsty shared a lot of fantastic, actionable tips she uses to optimize the process and create a delightful customer experience. And, with a 97% customer satisfaction rating, she is definitely doing something right.
Jump over to the webinar and get some tips you can start applying straight away.
A Focus On Knowledge - Announcing the - Ask Me Anything Series – Opening Up & Delivering Silicon Valley Level Osmosis
The Kiwi Landing Pad has been running for 7 years, originally founded by John Holt & Sam Morgan. Over the years we have evolved as the world changes and technology changes with it.
Traditionally we have taken a stance that we'll try not give advice but instead provide observations and learnings from what we see, experience and learn from meeting and working with thousands of people, companies, brands and communities.
When I started at the Landing Pad in 2014, joining the team and preparing to go on an epic journey with John and the original KLP supporters, it was apparent that we are a community of entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs prepared to help NZ technology companies expand globally. We pride ourselves on being community led and actively to this day are still operating this way, some might say somewhat successfully as our community has grown to 3,000+.
Our ability to be agile and launch new programmes depending on what our community seems to want and need at any given time is exciting to watch and be apart of. It makes us happy to provide true value and see impact as it happens.
John and I have been chatting lately and we've decided to launch a new series, there is something awesome that happens when you spend time in global markets, and doing the same thing for 'years' you get a knowledge base and learn things that just become second nature because you live and breathe it, but second nature to us I've learnt somewhat naively is liquid gold to our community.
Announcing the 'Ask Me Anything' Webinar Series
We are going to try an experiment and see what works as we have done with all our programmes. The first Friday of every month we are going to set aside an hour as a team to essentially be live on a webinar answering questions you may have. This might be tackling the US market, growing a global business, what's going on in the US, down to measuring, metrics, dealing with the trials and tribulations of being a founder, building communities or whatever you need to know in the moment that we might be able to answer. Hopefully we won't get too many trolls, but we've realised this might be the easiest format to get some of our knowledge that is stuck in our brains out in the open.
Join us for the first one on March 17th, you can register here.
Let's see how this goes!
It doesn’t take much scrolling through a LinkedIn newsfeed before you will stumble across an image proclaiming something along the lines of “skills can be learnt, but character is built over time.” While it is an absolute cliche, it’s also rooted in reality. Kiwi Landing Pad is all about growing the potential of New Zealand businesses as they look to expand into the American market. A big part of that is about finding the right people - especially when you are in the early stages of a startup when money is tight and the team is small. At that point it’s essential that you’re hiring people with a good character and an intrinsic motivation to learn, work and improve their skills. In the words of Mark Suster “team is the only thing that matters.”
Let’s take a few (unfortunately not too hypothetical) examples of where this can go wrong. Imagine you’ve just hired a top developer to build out your product; they have the skills you need and the qualifications to boot, but six months down the track they’re out the door because they’ve just taken a better salary (here’s an extreme example). Or one of your first sales hires has a chronic problem with excuses and is slowing down your sales team. This can be fixed by hiring two sales reps rather than one when you start selling - this is something we’ve covered multiple times in our Sales and Marketing Jams. Now you’re 6-12 months down the track, running low on funding and the product isn’t working or you have 3 customers (or maybe even both). These aren’t good problems to have.
One of the ways that we’ve seen companies get around this problem is by taking a ‘hiring for character’ recruitment strategy. This means looking for people who are responsible, have empathy as well as an inner drive to do their very best at their job. Sure they want to shine, but they are interested in doing it in the ‘right way.’ They take a longer term view of things, continually learning and work with a wider sense of purpose because they can align your vision of the future with their values. One of the interesting side notes to living to San Francisco is the dismissive attitude towards the “perks” that technology companies offer - there are a lot of people who don’t really care about the food that comes with working at Google, especially after you factor in the hour long commute either way.
Hiring for character often involves a few deliberate choices that ensure you bring on “missionaries” who share your vision and see work in a startup as a way to fast-track their careers, rather than “mercenaries” who are focused on making money and grabbing as many stock options as possible. Borrowing from Mark Suster - one of the best ways you can avoid mercenaries (and a whole lot of other issues) is by hiring people who are a weight class lower than they want to be. These are people who are good at what they do, but want to take the next step and basically don’t have the required years of experience needed to match their title. While startups are seen as the hot thing to be in right now, they are a hell of a lot of hard work. There is also a cultural difference between startups and established companies - a senior salesperson from a name brand company who is fed qualified leads is going to have vastly different set of expectations (and is probably less likely to work out) than a more junior salesperson who’s used to hunting their own deals and doesn’t stand behind an instantly recognisable logo. Someone who hasn’t done it all before (and therefore has an opinion on everything) is also much more likely to learning from their mistakes rather than blaming it on the executive leadership or other external factors.
While one cost effective way of upskilling staff members can be through online training, one of the major advantages of working in a startup is the freedom to be a jack or jill of all trades, working on a diverse projects that may or may not be part of your job description. Having a relatively flat management structure, being agile and constantly having to figure your way around problems without much money are all part and parcel of working in a startup. We advise against taking a straight jacket approach to hiring for skills - a positive attitude and an appetite for learning is a lot more helpful than a straight A+ academic transcript when you need someone who is going to have to figure things out for themselves. The other downside to a straight jacket approach is that you essentially mimic a big corporation, minus the certainty, prestige and defined advancement opportunities.
Hiring for character starts at the interview process - it means you need to be talking about what values your company holds as well as what your mission and vision is. Looking past the skills they’ve put down on their resume you want to find out why candidates want to work with you. Get to know them as people - after all, if they’re any good you’ll be spending an enormous amount of time with them.
Kiwi Landing Pad loves to pass on information from other successful entrepreneurs to nurture startups, and late last year they started the Kiwi Founder Series, bringing awesome people who are out there doing the work into the spotlight.
The Kiwi Founder series is made up of “crowd casts” that give business go-getters direct access to a targeted knowledge base full of helpful information for growing and scaling. In the first of these crowd casts, Cameron Priest, Co-founder and CEO of TradeGecko, speaks about his experience moving their SaaS startup to the wild world of Singapore and raising funds for further growth.
One of Trade Gecko’s goals in moving to Singapore was to launch their business in the JDFI incubator. They were looking for an area with great government support, large markets, and fewer distractions for their 90+ employees. They also had a sneaking suspicion that raising funds in Singapore would be substantially easier, and Cameron notes that Singapore is similar to Silicon Valley in that venture capitalists actually want to invest with you, making fundraising relatively painless.
Surprisingly, they received $815,000 (Singaporean dollars) during their initial seed round, back when they only had 10 customers.
But before they could start a Series A, they needed roughly $1m in revenue; a goal which TradeGecko thankfully reached at end of 2014. So far, they’ve raised all the funds they need to support thousands of customers in more than 100 countries around the world. And they expect to raise even more funds through 2016 to expand that reach.
While it’s not always easy to find businesses that have done what TradeGecko has done – as in, not many people have built a SaaS business that brings in $100 million a year outside of the Silicon valley – but Cameron says that their success hasn’t come without mistakes.
His advice to budding entrepreneurs looking to do what they did:
While Silicon Valley is usually the dream locale for startups, Singapore has done a great job of helping TradeGecko become the success story they are today. According to Cameron, it’s an excellent place for Kiwi entrepreneurs to launch a global business and it shouldn’t be ignored – especially for businesses who want to take advantage of the booming middle class market.
Catch the recap here:
This post is all about building a scalable content marketing machine, based on a webinar with Tami McQueen—Director of Marketing at SalesLoft. Tami is based in Atlanta where she joined the startup- SalesLoft,several years ago and started and scaled the marketing team there. In this Webinar, Tami discusses how to grow and scale a content marketing team. She leads with the idea that 'great marketing should make the customer feel smart and good marketing should make the company look smart.' Good marketing is all about your audience.
What is your Mission?
To begin with, identify your organisation's key mission/vision. For example, your mission could be 'To be the World Class Sales Authority in Sales Development.' Identifying your mission will allow you to do a SWOT analysis and identify your strengths, weaknesses, current opportunities, and potential threats to your team. Your mission will also help you identify who your key audience is and how to create and distribute content in a way that resonates with them.
An Early Stage Content Team
An early stage content team must include at least one of each of the following: builders, connectors, and distributors. So, what do these positions involve exactly?
A 'Builder' is a content marketing specialist, someone who is going to write, generate, curate, find, and assemble the right kind of content. A builder is a creator, whose daily tasks may include writing ebooks, blog posts, and other content.
A 'Connector' is someone who takes the content that has already been created and shifts it into a form that is distribution ready. These people serve to connect the creators and distributors in the content process. The 'Connector' may be a designer who creates the layout of an e-book or brands content with the company logo. This is where the 'Distributor' enters the picture.
A 'Distributor' may be a Social Media Manager or an entire Distribution Team who take content and share it through the appropriate channels, whether this be paid or organic. Distributors are critical in getting content into the hands of the right people.
Once you have this Early Stage Content Team up and running, you can then replicate this model as your organisation grows. For example, a Customer Marketing Specialist may act as another builder and a distributor could be your Email and Marketing operations manager.
Scaling a Content Marketing Team
Adopting Agile Methodology or running on a 'Sprint' basis will allow your organisation to remain focussed and on-task. By having an Agile Methodology you can go week-by-week, ticking things off your list of priorities and achieving the company's mission. Implement a Trello or Asana Board. This technology will help you dive into the Agile Methodology and track your different projects and metrics as well as ensure your team is all on the same page and know what they are responsible for during each sprint.
It is now time to create a One-Page Strategic Plan. This will allow you to maintain that focus on your main mission and keep up with your weekly Agile Methodology goals and metrics. Include these things in your Strategic Plan:
Create content that lasts
Creating content that lasts is essential for your company. You need to be able to create content that you can use over-and-over again and that will have some longevity to it. You may be asking how you are going to create five blog posts per week or an eBook every week. The answer is, you don't have to! Create a content flywheel. A content flywheel allows you to create one big piece of content and then from that original content, break off branches that can be used for other mediums. For example, you may start with content from a Webinar, you may then break that content down into 5 blog posts, you may then create 20 tweets from the content in those blog posts, and so on. The three main sections of the content flywheel are:
Types of content to consider creating may include:
Create an editorial calendar
This will allow you to plan your content creation. Create it as a shareable day-by-day spreadsheet that includes content assets, author topic/title, potential headlines, synopsis, CTA (call to action), theme, and a published URL. Creating an editorial calendar will ensure everything is recorded and accountable and that all content is on track.
Your Content Marketing Machine In Action
Follow the steps in building a content marketing machine, and you’ll be on your way to building a strong subscriber base through collecting email addresses. Your email list is a valuable list, and by nurturing your leads over time, you’ll see positive results through the trust you build with your audience.
Other helpful Resources
Seeing Tami’s marketing team in action at big conferences such as Dreamforce, SaaStr and SalesHacker is truly a magical thing. They are super innovative and produce such great results, they are able to have such an impact on there audience and customers by following the sprint and agile methology, we all know how hard it is to lose track of what activities we are meant to be doing, especially when operating on small startup budgets, with lean teams. Juggling various marketing campaigns can be a challenge.
During this Webinar we offered some insights on how to build a functional content machine, how to plan and tackle campaigns, what the DNA of your team should look like and how to ensure you achieve the objectives that you’ve set for yourself.
Catch the recap of the Webinar here:
Reposted by Kiwi Landing Pad - Original post written and contributed by Nicole Williams
Today I went along to the NZ Sales and Marketing Jam organised by Kiwi Landing Pad.
I was aware that the event consisted of a panel of US experts talking on Sales, Marketing, Product Management, American Etiquette & getting US ready.
It was a free event (although you had to express interest and then be invited).
To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations. Panel talks I’ve seen at conferences have been forced, disorganised and offered less value than individual talks. The quality of the advice depends heavily on the questions and facilitation.
Panels are much harder to get right than conference organisers anticipate.
And #NZSMJ was an entire day of one panel…
It turns out I was very wrong. The event was exceptional. We may have lucked out by being the second of three events (Christchurch was yesterday, Auckland is tomorrow) so the panel had the perfect mix of enthusiasm and chemistry. It was clear the panelist got along and bounced off each other well. Every story shared was valuable and insightful.
We are seriously lucky to have such high calibre speakers and events in Wellington. For free.
It was mentioned that this event came together in just one month, yet the panelists were top notch. They included:
They shared a vast range of knowledge which was practical and applicable. Here’s a few of the soundbites I found most interesting…
On community management
On scaling for growth
On product management
And finally, never forget
If you’re in Auckland tomorrow, I’d highly recommend tweeting @kiwilandingpad and seeing if there’s any way you can get a ticket!
Building a business is hard, building a global business is even harder Sales is the life blood of business at all stages. The best product and technology is of no value unless it can be meaningfully connected to consumers.
In the 5 years we have been operating we have been approached by many entrepreneurs and organisations looking to enter the US market – most do not get out of the starting blocks. Our mission is to get more Kiwi entrepreneurs and their teams into the race. This programme is designed as a starting point for thinking about some of these key requirements around the critical areas of Sales, Marketing/Demand Generation and Product Management.
We want to provide our community with a concise summary of what we have observed and some recommendations supported by interviews and presentations from companies and entrepreneurs dealing with these issues so that they can learn faster and focus on the more important elements to their business.
There are three key areas that we will cover over the day.
Sales – a broad approach to the topic but focused from an overall perspective of the importance of not just sales strategy in the go to market sense but the ability to “sell” your proposition.
Demand Generation / Product Management – an overview of the importance of building funnel and ensuring focus on product / market fit
Please register your interest in one of the below sessions.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS
CHECK OUT OUR VIDEO TO FIND OUT MORE!
We look forward to seeing you back in New Zealand in October!
Sian & the Kiwi Landing Pad team
Editor’s Note: post originally appeared on the Kiwi Landing Pad blog, visit here.
An event series and online resource dedicated to supporting the New Zealand ecosystems development in Sales, Marketing and Product Management.