“Any organization in which marketing is either absent or incidental is not a business and should never run as if it were one.” – Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management
Can outsourcers from Latin America challenge companies from India to become the dominant providers in the IT and back-office outsourcing market?
Can you, as a company from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Chile, Uruguay or Peru, become the next Cognizant, TCS, Wipro, or Infosys?
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Look at the list of the Top 10 IT Service Providers of the Year published by CIO.com. Of the top ten, four are from India and the rest are from the United States. Will there be a day when the list has at least one firm from Latin America? Or maybe two or three?
Will one of those firms be yours?
Nearshore outsourcing – the term used to describe outsourcing to Latin America from the U.S. – has been around for about twenty years. Unfortunately, we still have not seen companies from The Americas become major players on the world stage.
I believe that can change.
To achieve market dominance, I believe you, as a software development, IT management, or business process outsourcing company from Latin America, must take a completely different approach. You need to stop trying to compete like the Indian, Russian, and Filipino companies do, and create a new strategy.
To really achieve breakthrough success, you need to change the rules of the game, and not play by everybody else’s rules.
In this book I talk about the secret weapon Latin American companies can use to change the rules of the game and become dominant players in the outsourcing market.
In the following pages you’ll discover how you, as an outsourcer from the American continent, can adopt modern marketing methodologies to create a new market for your company and start to drive exponential success selling your services in the U.S. and Canadian markets.
But first, a little background on how we got here.
Nearshore Outsourcing: The New Hope
Since the creation of the term “nearshore outsourcing” by Mexican IT services firm Softtek in the late 1990s, we’ve seen an explosion of software development companies, IT services firms and BPO providers from Latin America selling their services in the U.S. market.
They’re challenging the dominance of the Indian outsourcing juggernaut, and proving that smart, innovative companies from the American continent can make a name for themselves in the most competitive business market in the world.
Names like Softtek, NEORIS, CI&T, Globant, Making Sense, Stefanini and iTexico have blazed trails, capturing market share and proving that you don’t have to look to India or Russia to outsource your software development or back office services.
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In the pages of the book Nearshore Marketing: How Nearshore Providers Can Leverage Digital Marketing to Enter the U.S. Market, we provide a roadmap that Latin American outsourcing providers can use to enter the U.S. market - on their own terms.
American companies can now outsource their IT, back office operations, and software development to captive data centers, development teams, call centers, and business process outsourcing companies in Latin America in the Caribbean – just south of the largest market in the world!
American companies can actually have real-time conversations with their new providers during normal working hours and not have to stay up late at night to talk to teams in Mumbai or Bangalore.
They can jump on a quick flight to Guadalajara, San José, Costa Rica, or Mexico City, stay a few days meeting their team and touring their facilities, and fly back home in time to spend the weekend with the family.
Nearshore represents the brave new world of outsourcing. It promises to change things forever. It has opened up a new frontier for American companies. We discovered a whole new continent of possibilities in an area we only thought of as a place to enjoy a beach vacation.
As a result, we’ve seen a big uptick in the formation of software development, IT management, call-center, and BPO companies from Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and other countries offering their services to the U.S. market. These firms saw the opportunity and started marketing themselves using the selling points created by Softtek.
Despite the existence of hundreds of software and back-office outsourcing providers – from Mexico all the way to Argentina – Latin America, as a destination for outsourcing, has still not captured the public imagination as it should.
The problem with Nearshore is…Nearshore
In a 2013 interview with Nearshore Americas, Deborah Kops of Sourcing Change said, “Outsourcing companies spend very little money on sales, marketing, and branding. Marketing is the front door of any business, but outsourcers aren’t strategic about the sale.”
And because of their lack of focus and imagination in marketing, most nearshore companies have started to look and sound alike. They are essentially singing from the same songbook.
And what, exactly, are they saying?
Nearshore companies across the American continent have started to “differentiate” themselves with the selling points that every other nearshore company is using.
1. Same Time Zone
The number one advantage that most, if not all, nearshore outsourcing companies tout as their most important benefit is the time zone. This plays perfectly to the pain that U.S. IT executives experience when they stay up late to make phone calls to their development teams in Bangalore or Manila. Latin American outsourcing providers emphasize the advantages of being in the same time zone as U.S. executives, who no longer have to stay late after work, or get up at an ungodly hour in the morning just to talk to their development team.
In fact, with the rise of agile software development methodologies, such as SCRUM, that require daily stand-up meetings before the workday starts, the benefits of having outsourced teams located in the same time-zone have become self-evident.
2. Similar Culture
This argument – one that plays into the fears of “the other” – is that Latin American outsourcing teams share the same western cultural values as their American customers.
But these cultural values are typically not defined. “Similar culture” loosely refers to sharing similar musical tastes, similar family values, and other fuzzy similarities. But the main benefit emphasized is that Latin American team members aren’t afraid to disagree with their American clients. They’re not afraid to say ‘no’ when, in their professional opinion, the client is clearly wrong.
They contrast this to Asia-based teams who are depicted as being “yes men,” afraid to go against the wishes of their U.S. –based clients. This argument leverages cultural prejudices effectively while walking a moral fuzzy line.
Trips to Asia – and even to Eastern Europe – are exhausting and take up far more time than most executives are comfortable with. You lose a whole day traveling to your destination, and another full day traveling back home. That’s two days lost!
Latin American companies have skillfully played into the pain of travel across time zones. They stress the benefits of proximity when outsourcing to destinations from Mexico and Central America.
“You can get here in three hours, visit your team for a day, go to the beach the next day, and then fly back to be with your family before the weekend arrives.”
A very attractive benefit, indeed, except it doesn’t work for a huge swathe of outsourcing destinations. Namely everything in the southern cone, such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Peru. Flying from New York to Buenos Aires is about 11 hours – four hours less than a flight to London!
4. Mexico and NAFTA
Companies from Mexico have an additional advantage over other Latin American countries: their inclusion in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Hopefully, this won’t change under the current U.S. presidential administration.
The non-immigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico, as NAFTA professionals, to work in the United States in prearranged business activities for U.S. or foreign employers. They can avoid going through the H1B visa application process.
Mexican companies can send complete teams on-site to work for up to three years, if needed. An incredible benefit for companies that have outsourced long, complex, multi-year projects and need the expertise and consistency of a team working on a continuous basis.
These are great benefits, but unfortunately, over the years they have become the same benefits used by many other outsourcing organizations throughout Latin America. They have been overused to the point where any U.S.-based company looking for nearshore outsourcing help will start to see the same benefits repeated again and again.
Most nearshore companies look just like each other, because they’re all playing from the same playbook.
The “Me, Me, Me” Marketing Mistake
The most important mistake nearshore outsourcing companies make is that they talk about themselves first. In marketing, that is the biggest mistake one can make.
You see, customers don’t care what you do. They don’t care how you do it. They don’t care what advantages you provide – until they’re convinced you can help them solve their problem. They need to see themselves in your website, in the words of your sales people, and in your email messages or cold calls. By talking about the advantages of nearshore vs. offshore outsourcing as your main message, most nearshore companies miss the most important message they can communicate: WIIFM.
WIIFM are the English initials for: What’s in it for Me.
To get somebody to notice you in the first place, you have to bridge an important gap in your prospect’s mind. That gap is the gap from where your prospect is right now – a situation of pain, discomfort, dissatisfaction, unhappiness – to the place where they want to be.
How do you craft a message that communicates WIIFM? We discuss this in chapter one.
Overreliance on Government Support
Nearshore Americas, in the interview with Kops mentioned above, said, “In Latin America, as in other parts of the world, the heavy lifting when it comes to marketing outsourcing opportunities is done by government and industry organizations.”
When I first became acquainted with the nearshore concept in 2009, I became aware of a program called TechBA, an initiative by the Mexican government to help Mexican technology companies enter the U.S. and Canadian markets. They had offices in Austin, Texas, San Jose, California, Detroit, Michigan, and Toronto, Canada. It was a great idea and I was happy to see the Mexican government investing money to support their growing technology industry.
However, as I became more familiar with TechBA and the companies that had been chosen to participate in the program, I started to notice a pattern – an overreliance on government support that had the effect of removing the necessity of companies investing in their own marketing.
TechBA was one of several accelerators dedicated to helping Latin American technology consulting companies and technology startups with their market entry into the U.S. market.
Unfortunately, TechBA no longer exists. But, there are other accelerators, such as the famous IT Clusters of Tijuana, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Cancun, and other Mexican states. There are accelerators in Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, and many other countries.
Accelerators were formed to create an environment for companies to learn and gain the support needed to grow their companies. But many IT management and software development firms have gotten complacent and view the accelerator and the government agency as their “marketing arm.”
They have forgotten that marketing is the prime function of a business, as the 21st century’s foremost business thinker, Peter Drucker, said in his book The Practice of Management, “Because it is its purpose to create a customer, any business enterprise has two-and only these two-basic functions: marketing and innovation. They are the entrepreneurial functions. Marketing is the distinguishing, the unique function of the business. A business is set apart from all other human organizations by the fact that it markets a product or a service…(a)ny organization in which marketing is either absent or incidental is not a business and should never run as if it were one.”
So many nearshore technology and services companies have this false sense of comfort because they have essentially outsourced their marketing to government accelerators, even though these accelerators explicitly state that marketing should be the function of the company themselves.
Something must have been lost in translation.
Country Pavilions at International Events
Another government crutch is the company mission trip to foreign conferences or trade shows, the hallmark of which is the country pavilion. During the South by Southwest Interactive annual conference in Austin, Texas, several countries buy large blocks of trade show space to provide booths for companies that were carefully chosen for these trips.
At the recent 2017 SXSW, Mexico had the Promexico Pavilion, Korea had the KOCCA Pavilion, the UK had the UK Department of International Trade, and Argentina had Argentina @ SXSW – Ideas that Feed pavilion.
Country Mission Trips
Similar to the country pavilions, the country mission trip is another sponsored trip wherein a few companies have been specifically selected, out of a pool of dozens, if not hundreds, of prospective companies. The purpose of these trips is to tour the target country through a series of pre-arranged meetings and events designed to introduce them to new markets.
Again, this overreliance on the government to arrange these trips provides a kind of reliance, and also stigmatizes the companies involved. The message being broadcast to the target international market is, “Come and meet me because I am from Mexico/Argentina/Chile/Costa Rica…” What gets lost is the specific value proposition of each company, and how they communicate the WIIFM of target clients.
Don’t get me wrong, most of the participating companies do provide a lot of value, but the message is wrong. Potential clients are not looking for vendors from a particular country, they’re looking to solve a particular problem.
Overreliance on Hiring Sales People
This is a common approach that I’ve seen too many nearshore outsourcing providers take, and it often ends in failure. It’s based on the belief that by hiring expert sales people to sell your services, you, the technical founder, can focus on what you do best – running a development shop/call center/BPO operation – and the “expert” will sell for you.
The problem is, you’re putting the cart before the horse. There are many things that must come before you hire sales people.
First, you as the founder, must do your own initial sales. Yes, you heard right. There is no better sales person than the founder. That’s true of technology startups, retail stores, consulting companies, and consumer goods.
Why should the founder do the initial sale? Because the founder knows the product or service. He or she is the only one who has the tolerance and patience to figure out the right sales pitch, the right value proposition, and is the only one who has the power and flexibility to change the offering to match the realities of the market.
Once the founder has figured out how to sell the product, then – and only then – does he have the right to ask a hired sales person to sell his product/service. It is the founder’s job, either by himself or with his co-founders, to train his sales people in how to sell the service.
You’re hiring sales professionals, not miracle workers.
Secondly, you need to figure out your value proposition, your positioning vis-à-vis the competition, your discounts or entry offers, and many other things before you hire sales people. This is the function of marketing (whether the founder does it or not), and must be in place before the sales person can properly sell the service.
Overreliance on Commission-Only Sales Schemes
By far, the biggest error nearshore outsourcers make – and the most unrealistic marketing/sales approach they look to – is the belief that they can hire a commission-only sales person. They do this in the mistaken belief that talented independent sales people with lots of connections will gladly introduce them to clients or even close deals for them, and the sales person won’t mind receiving compensation until after the outsourcing deal has been closed.
If you believe that fairy tale, there is a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.
Putting the shoe on the other foot, let me ask you this: would you be happy offering up your valuable Java-programmers or UX design people for a three-month assignment, free of charge, and if the application works as advertised then, and only then, would your client pay? No. You wouldn’t accept that, would you? Then why would you think somebody would sell your services on a commission-only basis – especially if your service has never before been sold in the U.S. market?
Results of the Traditional Approach
So, what’s the verdict on the traditional sales and marketing approach that has typified the nearshore outsourcing industry? There are five results (or lack of results) I’ve seen:
Unreliable or Unrepeatable Sales
The number one disadvantage I’ve seen with most nearshore firms, with no well-thought-out sales and marketing strategy, is the lack of a reliable or repeatable sales process. They’ve closed a few sales, and maybe gained an important client or two in the U.S. market, but they don’t really know how they closed the sale, and are unable to repeat the steps they took to close their first one or two sales.
Feast or Famine
That lack of a repeatable sales process leads to a feast or famine mentality. Maybe you’ve closed a large services deal that lasts nine months and represents 75% of your total revenues, but when the project is over it’s time to scramble for a new client. You’re forced to put your best developers on the bench or, worse yet, lay them off.
No Presence in the Media
Today, many companies generate interest and leads through mentions in the press. There’s nothing like a third party endorsement to drive interest in your company. But without a concerted sales, marketing, and PR effort, most nearshore firms have no presence in the media.
Barely Any Online Presence
Of course, today, without a solid digital presence you might as well not exist. According to the Corporate Executive Board, 57% of the purchase decision has already been completed by B2B buyers before they ever contact a sales rep. That means they’ve done their research online. If you don’t have solid content, thought leadership, and an SEO strategy, you basically don’t exist on the internet. You won’t show up in your prospect’s research.
At the same time, if you are already in a sales process with a U.S. company, what’s the first thing they’ll do? They’ll Google you. If you have a bare-bones website with me-too content – or worse, if your site is in Spanish, or it’s been translated badly – and you haven’t published any thought leadership content that educates your prospects on their problem and your understanding of how to solve it, your chances of proving your authority to this prospect are next to none.
Not Meeting Your Potential
Finally, by not carrying out a concerted marketing and sales strategy, you are missing your potential as a company. You could be earning more revenue, closing more sales, gaining more recognition and establishing your company as a leader in your space.
It’s easy to do, because nobody else is doing this. But, it takes work.
What do all the previously mentioned tactics have in common? They minimize the importance of marketing.
The Nearshore Marketing Approach
Latin American companies have access to a secret formula that will help pull the rug out from under established outsourcers and help you compete in a modern, stealthy manner. This secret formula can help you become the Netflix to outsourcing’s Blockbuster; the AirBNB to outsourcing’s Hilton; the Uber to outsourcing’s Yellow Cab Co.
The secret to achieving breakthrough results is to realize a core truth: the rules that launched WiPro, TCS, HCL and Infosys to the top of the outsourcing game won’t work for you. They got to where they are by becoming outsourcers.
You need to play by your own rules. You need to stop being an outsourcing company. As Peter Drucker said, “You’re not really in the business of software development, outsourced customer support, business process outsourcing. You’re in the business of marketing.”
Now, you may be thinking, “But, we’re an engineering company . . . I have an engineering degree . . . software development is what I do. How can I be a marketing company?”
That’s great! I don’t want you to change it. Just realize that software development, business process outsourcing, or whatever it is you do is what you deliver after you’ve performed the marketing function and created a customer.
Your service is the vehicle to help your customers achieve whatever it is they want to achieve in their lives or their businesses. Your prime function is marketing.
That’s a huge mind shift, and it is what will finally make the difference for Latin American outsourcers.
To succeed as a Latin American outsourcing company, you need to stop being an outsourcing company and become a marketing company.
That’s the secret formula for launching Latin America into the public imagination. Those are the new rules of the game that will help you dominate.
What is Marketing?
Before we get into the details of the Nearshore Marketing Approach, let me first define marketing for you. There are so many definitions out there about what marketing is that it gets confusing.
When you Google “What is marketing?” you get this definition: “[Marketing is] the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.”
That’s a very basic definition of marketing, and it’s not very powerful. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as follows: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
Good definition, but a little complex.
My favorite definition by far is by Ryan Deiss of DigitalMarketer.com, “The role of marketing is to move prospects and customers through each phase of the value journey.”
Why do I love this definition? Because marketing doesn’t stop with awareness of who you are and what your product or service is. It doesn’t stop with getting a lead. Marketing starts with that, but then it helps you take customers down your sales funnel (with your sales people), and it helps you close the sale. It helps your customers discover all the other services and products you offer, and it helps turn them into loyal customers.
Finally, marketing generates raving fans who will promote your business to other customers.
Do you see, then, why your core function should be marketing? Because marketing doesn’t just stop at the awareness stage. It infuses your sales process, your product or service delivery process, your customer service process, and your retention process.
If you’re a technology consulting company or a back-office outsourcing company, your technical or operational services are the tools that marketing uses to turn new customers into repeat customers, convinces your repeat customers to spend more, and then turns them into raving fans.
Nearshore Marketing Explained
But there is a special approach that you, as an outsourcing provider from Latin America can adopt when entering international markets, especially if you’re trying to sell your services in the United States, Canada, and Europe. It’s a secret formula I call the Nearshore Marketing Approach.
It’s a full-spectrum marketing methodology that takes your prospects and customers through the complete customer journey. But, it has some additional benefits to help you overcome some of the barriers particular to Latin American firms trying to enter the North American market.
Following are a few of those barriers.
Being a Foreign Company
As a company from Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Jamaica, or the Dominican Republic, you’re a foreign company to U.S. prospects. That’s a fact you can’t hide from. It presents some barriers – but also some advantages.
Your most obvious markets are companies and organizations looking for outsourcing providers. They want to outsource their software development or back-office operations to a company in the third world to take advantage of labor-cost benefits. This is called comparative advantage.
Comparative advantage is an economic theory whereby one organization has an advantage over others in producing a particular good if they can produce that good at a lower relative opportunity cost, i.e., at a lower relative marginal cost prior to trade. Companies from Apple to Nike actively search out the comparative advantage when outsourcing the production of their iPhones and athletic footwear to producers in the third world.
India has developed a reputation as the place to outsource IT management and software outsourcing, because of their comparative advantage providing quality technology talent at a relatively low cost compared to U.S. technical talent.
Unfortunately, today, there are two disadvantages if you’re a foreign company trying to do business in the outsourcing market: 1. Outsourcing has become somewhat of a dirty word, especially in today’s political climate, and 2. Latin America is still a relatively unknown destination for outsourcing, despite the rise of the term “nearshore” and the marketing efforts behind this term.
While there is a small group of companies who are aware of the nearshore phenomenon and actively seek out providers from Latin America, they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to potential customers.
The ‘Red Ocean’ of Nearshore
Nearshore outsourcing has created its own red ocean, and the majority of Latin American outsourcing providers are swimming in the bloody waters of the nearshore red ocean.
In the book Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim and Renée Muaborgne introduce the concept of blue oceans and red oceans. Red oceans are markets that are already full of competitors all trying to sell similar services to the same limited market. The waters within that market are red because of the bloody competition. “Products become commodities, and cutthroat competition turns the red ocean bloody.”
That’s where the nearshore market is today. So, what’s the answer?
Sell in the blue ocean – a market that’s wide open. Your fellow nearshore providers are not competing against you in the blue ocean. It’s a market of prospects who aren’t necessarily looking for outsourcing providers, and in fact might not even be aware that outsourcing to Latin America even exists!
These are prospects and customers who have a need for your service, and you must figure out a way to connect with them and convince them that you’re the answer to their prayers.
How do you, as a foreign company, connect with these North American buyers in a way that meets them where they are? How do you make that stretch and promote your services, not as a company where being from Latin America is your main asset, but as a company that has a product or service your customers want and you just happen to be from Latin America?
The Nearshore Marketing Approach addresses this.
Lack of understanding of the North American Market
There is a second barrier for foreign companies wanting to enter the U.S. market: your lack of understanding, or perceived lack of understanding, of the North American market and the mindset of U.S. and Canadian customers.
I’ve spoken to many executives from Latin American companies who express frustration at the U.S. market. They see the contradictory nature of the market: the U.S. is a huge market, but the U.S. consumer is so hard to reach and so hard to convince. The big question on every nearshore outsourcer’s lips is: how do we get them to answer our phone calls or respond to our emails? How do we turn an initial meeting into subsequent meetings, and how do we close the sale?
In other words, how do we sell to a U.S. customer?
I understand the frustration. As a former enterprise sales executive, I had to learn how to break the barrier that so many companies from Latin America face. The barriers are:
- Lack of time. U.S. buyers are just too busy. They ignore your email messages, your phone calls, and your trade show booths. They have no time to listen to your pitch, because they’re mind-bogglingly busy just trying to deal with their own day-to-day battles.
- They’re overwhelmed with choices. You’re just one of hundreds of vendors clamoring for their time. They get pitched electronically, via phone, and at events every day –dozens of times a day. You’ve got to be really damned special or relevant to be able to penetrate that barrier of indifference they’ve erected to keep out the ever-increasing avalanche of marketing messages.
- They don’t want to meet you. In Latin America, business relationships start with a meeting and end with a meeting. In the U.S., business relationships start online, and they might meet you at some later time in the process, if at all. If you read points one and two above, you’ll see they have little time, and they’re overwhelmed by vendors wanting their time.
- They prefer online. Closely related to the previous point, American buyers start their buying process online. In fact, the corporate executive board noted that 57% of the purchase decision has been completed by B2B buyers before they ever contact a sales rep.
The Nearshore Marketing approach addresses these barriers, especially points two and four above: how to penetrate the wall of indifference U.S. buyers erect to protect themselves from the constant stream – or spam – of vendors trying to sell to them, and how to form a compelling, authoritative online presence that will help you get to the 57% stage with your prospects.
The Components of the Nearshore Marketing Process
So, I know I’ve kept you waiting a long time, and you’re probably saying to yourself, “All right, tell me, already! What is this secret nearshore marketing formula?”
Okay, I hear you . . . thanks for your patience!
I’ll summarize here the components of the nearshore marketing process, and I’ll delve into the details in each subsequent chapter.
1. How to Position Your Service in the U.S. Market
In chapter one we’ll explain that you should position yourself by emphasizing the transformation you provide your customers, not by emphasizing the service you sell. Yes, you heard me right. Nobody cares about your product or service. Yet, we, as entrepreneurs, fall in love with what we sell, and we talk about what we sell all the time.
Your customers are not buying your product or service – they’re buying a transformation. They live in a place of dissatisfaction and pain. They want to get to a new destination, a place where life is better, where they’re smarter, better looking, more powerful, and more successful. Sell them that transformation and know that your product or service is just the vehicle to get them there.
In this chapter we explain how to position your offerings as the vehicle to help your customers achieve the transformation they’re looking for.
2. Your Number One Marketing Tool
In chapter two we discuss why your customer’s journey with your company and your service is your number one marketing tool. Marketing doesn’t end with convincing prospects to become customers. As such, you must infuse marketing into how you deliver your services.
How you on-board your customers, how you deliver your service or product, how you support your customers when they have questions or problems, how you upsell them and cross-sell them, and eventually, how you turn them into members of your “tribe” is all marketing. In this chapter, I’ll teach you how to turn your company’s operations and processes into powerful marketing vehicles.
3. How to Establish Authority to Make Selling Easy
In chapter three I’ll explain the importance of establishing authority with content and how to develop that authority. Authority is especially important when you’re a foreign company entering the U.S. market and you’re a completely unknown entity. Establishing authority helps to break the barrier of being an unknown organization and establishes you as a thought leader in your space.
4. The Right Way to Build Your Website
In chapter four we explain why most nearshore companies entering the U.S. market use their website in the wrong way. They think their website exists to explain what they do and list their services. What I argue in this chapter is that your website is a resource that should combine the functionality of an app, an educational resource (to fulfill your customer’s information gathering needs), and as a tool to get them to the next stage using calls-to-action and sales funnels.
5. How to Drive Traffic to Your Website
In chapter five we explain how to drive traffic to your website through paid and organic methods. In this day and age, even if you sell a high-end B2B product or service that requires a high-touch, person-to-person sales process, ignoring traffic to your web properties is like missing one leg of a three-legged stool. You need a steady stream of prospects, thought leaders, influencers, and industry pundits coming to your website through various means.
I’ll explain how to leverage your content to produce earned media attention, how to drive traffic using modern SEO methods, and how to leverage paid advertising to get the flow of traffic started to your authority content assets.
6. Selling 2.0: How to Reach The Right Customers
In chapter six I explain the importance of reaching out directly to your prospects through direct mail and other outbound methods. These are called contact campaigns, a term coined by author and consultant Stu Heinecke.
As B2B companies selling high-end services, it doesn’t do you any good to wait for your prospects to contact you. You have a much smaller addressable market than B2C companies. You can probably identify all your prospects on one spreadsheet. While it’s essential to drive traffic to your content, it’s mandatory to reach out directly to your customers, especially if you know who they are. In this chapter, we explain how to design and execute a contact campaign to generate leads and customers.
7. How to Close More Sales With the Escalation Model
In the final chapter, chapter seven, I explain the importance of selling your service through the escalation model instead of the traditional way. What is the escalation method? Just as you can’t ask someone to marry you right after you meet them at a party (you have to actually date that person, and progress through various stages of the dating process before you get to pop the question), you also can’t immediately start pitching your service.
In this chapter, I explain the psychology behind the escalation method, and how to build a predictable sales model by taking your prospects through logical, sequential steps so your customers see that buying your core service is a logical next step.
How to Use This Book
To get the most out of this book, I recommend reading it all the way through, from beginning to end. Get a feel for the methodology, and start thinking about how this could apply to your own business.
After your first pass, then it’s time to implement the steps I outline in each chapter. I would start with Chapter 7, “Sell Your Service with the Escalation Method,” and Chapter 1, “Sell a Transformation, Not Your Service.” You need to define what you’re actually selling, and how to sell it, before you perform any other type of marketing.
These first two chapters form the basis of your entrepreneurial journey in the U.S. market. Michael Masterson, in his book Ready, Fire, Aim, says, “Without sales, it is very hard to sustain an ongoing business.”
Then I would go straight to Chapter 6, “Outbound Marketing is Alive and Well.” You need your first few clients, and the best way to get them is to reach out directly, don’t wait for them to come to you.
Then you should immediately go to Chapter 3, “Establish Authority Through Your Content.” To sustain an ongoing sales rhythm, you need to establish authority through content. Having authority content will make your sales process easier and smoother. It’s like oil to lubricate your sales machine.
Then proceed to build out a useful, functional, “app-like” website through the recommendations in Chapter 4, drive traffic to it using the recommendations from Chapter 5, and finally, once you have enough customers and you start delivering your services, laser focus on applying the recommendations in Chapter 2.