Those who know me are aware that I re-entered the workforce late March with SpotOn.  The goal is to onboard new clients, arming local businesses with intuitive, integrated engagement software, and payment processing services.   B2B sales.  New to me.  During Covid-19 to boot.

For the session I led with the local chamber recently, I had to write a bio.  For a host of reasons, it was a bit of a struggle.  In part, to sum up 20 years of experience into a few sentences was challenging.  In part, having dealt with some extremely tough personal circumstances, I had to overcome self-confidence and esteem issues.  Surprised?  Me too.   At this stage in my life, however, the level of self-awareness is truly remarkable.   When the bio was complete, it described me to a T. 

Here are the highlights:  An accomplished strategic marketer with 20 years’ professional experience.  Uniquely skilled at developing sustainable marketing strategies, extending data analytics capabilities, and integrating modern technologies into business operations.  Offers a history of success spearheading all facets of marketing operations.  Creates the new and different.  Leads from the front.  Transparent, genuine, collaborative, and inspirational style.  Always striving to make a meaningful difference.

Not by intent, I noticed afterwards that the word ‘sales’ in non-existent.  Yet here I sit in a B2B sales capacity.    From my perspective, there is little difference between sales and marketing.  One in the same.  I know that this mindset is atypical.  I realize, now, that it’s because I’ve always – ALWAYS – searched out data, insights, tangible “stuff” to drive decisions and activities and downstream results.  No matter the function – acquisition, retention, communications, customer service, for example.  It simply didn’t (doesn’t) matter, in my brain.  Fact-based decision-making.  Data-driven activities. 

Time and time again, the results spoke for themselves:  efficiencies and effectiveness gained, optimization, improved experiences, positive change.  It was rarely easy.   Yet, it was always rewarding, fulfilling – and quite successful. 

Will this approach work in my new B2B role?

So, today, I share the B2B Strategic Plan I’ve been “working.”  I was not asked, nor directed, to create this when I took the position.  I simply could not allow myself to hit the ground running without a strategic plan in place.  I will not dive into all the underlying specifics.  Rather, here’s a high-level overview.

Align B2B Strategies with SpotOn’s Vision & Mission

Imperative to strategic planning.  Ensure all go-to-market strategies, goals and activities are in alignment with the company’s visions and missions.  Here are SpotOn’s:

  • Vision:  Help SMBs create meaningful relationships with their customers, saving them time and money with an experience that exceeds expectations. 
  • Mission:  Empower SMB business owners with cost-effective payment processing and customer engagement tools with concierge-style customer support.  Connect consumers to SpotOn businesses with a convenient app that gives them easy access to deals and loyalty rewards.

Establish Overarching Strategic Goals

At the highest level, what goals are we seeking to achieve for the audience(s) we serve?   Identify what the determining factors are for success and longevity.  Imperative to leverage the voices of business owners and consumers.  If they “win,” the company – and – I also “win.”

Business Partners

  • Capture and leverage relevant and actionable data, insights, and modern technology
  • Yield higher profit margins through optimized revenues, expense reductions and process improvements
  • Deepen engagement with customers and community

Consumers

  • Deepen engagement with businesses

Establish Individual B2B Strategic Goals

Next – my new business.  What strategic goals do I put into place that will achieve the overarching goals, that are also aligned with SpotOn’s vision and missions?   Here’s what I came up with:

  • Expand reach & awareness of brand, mission, and value propositions
  • Optimize visibility of SpotOn solutions and my expertise
  • Connect decision-makers with the missions and with me
  • Develop engaging ways for prospects to get to know me, our business, capabilities
  • Build trust; create emotional connections
  • Become the local community resource for marketing strategy and solutions
  • Nurture relationships, resulting in strong customer and referral base
  • Undertake an omni-channel ‘go-to-market’ approach
  • Mine prequalified leads, convert to high quality and mutually beneficial partnerships
  • Quantify the effectiveness of various social, personal, direct, and indirect selling strategies
  • Monitor and showcase results, impact to businesses’ bottom-line (measure, refine, optimize)
  • Strategically and effectively onboard – and further engage – strategic partnerships

Establish Guiding Theme

Theme-based marketing puts the needs of our business owners, and their customers, at the center of it all.  Specifically aimed to help them adapt, navigate change.  It builds trust and credibility.

  • Reach, Inspire, Influence

Establish Guiding Strategy

Identifying effective and efficient ways to reach and engage with business owners, where and how to inject myself (meaningfully) into the conversations – to help.

  • Social and Personal Engagement

Strategic Go-To-Marketing Approach

Considering how to go about acquiring new business, based on the overarching strategic goals, this is the approach I have been taking to-date. 

  • Data-Inspired:  Critical importance for businesses to capture and leverage data and insights to make impactful decisions
  • Audience-Centric:  Business- and consumer-facing.  Aligned across journeys-paths to purchase, the appeal of services & offerings
  • The Destination:  Focus on actions and promote the outcome; results-oriented, measurable, allows for continuous improvement
  • Proven Value Proposition:  Unmatched suite of tools; end-to-end platform; closes loop from marketing to purchase; engagement power
  • Positioning:  Reach – Inspire – Influence – via Social Media and Personal Branding.  Become the local ‘go-to’ for marketing strategy and Ambassador of SpotOn solutions
  • Optimization:  Test, Measure, Repeat:  Optimize processes and channels for efficiency; quantify results for continuous improvement
  • Make a Meaningful Difference:  Champion and celebrate success; inspire one another; impactful results feed the Value Proposition

Tactical Execution

Now, what specific activities will be executed, put into play?  Some of these have been accomplished, some are work in progress, and others are in the hopper.   As data and insights become available, regarding the effectiveness of activities undertaken, adjustments will be made.  What’s important is that the activities are aligned with everything already mentioned – the company’s vision and missions, and the strategic goals set forth for clients, their customers, and my B2B business:

  • Establish a central hub (personal business website)
  • Establish a strong digital/online personal brand presence
  • Create a blog – educate, inspire, drive awareness and conversions
  • Create content and promotional calendars
  • Automate and streamline activities, processes – leveraging modern technology
  • Identify ideal keywords, hashtags: set up SEO, optimize sites
  • Leverage network of influencers, ambassadors, colleagues, partners, and friends
  • Ask for recommendations and referrals, promote … shares, likes, reviews, etc.
  • Join and play an active role in national, regional & local networking groups – local Chamber of Commerce, BNI, NABO, etc.
  • Incorporate user-interaction (blog, email, reviews, surveys, downloads, gamification)
  • Test and invest in paid media (optimize, highest RoMI)
  • Measure effectiveness at every juncture, with technology – and pivot flexibly

That’s a wrap …

It is no coincidence that I am doing the exact same things that we, as an organization, encourage our local community business owners to do – establish a strong online presence and brand reputation.  Further, my approach is not unlike what SpotOn engagement software has been designed to do – create and deepen connections.  Provide helpful and meaningful interactions.  Both of which have proven to be effective.   

Next week will mark the end of the “90-day ramp-up” period I had established for myself – to lay the strategic foundation and make ample progress executing on the above tactics.  So, the following 90 days will be most telling in terms of actual conversions, new client acquisition.

Some may agree, fundamentally, with how I am going about this new gig.  Some will disagree.  It may prove to be sound overall, it may not.  I may succeed in this role, I may fail.  Yet, I forge ahead with courage and heart.  And belief. 

As a believer in the connectivity of all things, no matter what the future holds, for this moment in time, this is meant to be.  I am blessed to be in a position to help my local business community, working for a company with an amazing culture and strong core values.    Forward-thinking, innovative.  So, before I close, a shout out to the powers that be at SpotOn.  Thank you for allowing me the leeway to launch this as I have.  I hope to make you proud. 

All – what do you think?  Agree, disagree, indifference?  Things you would add?  Things you’d toss aside?   Let’s continue to learn from – and lean on – one another.   We’re all in this together.

Until next time, stay healthy and be happy!

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