Posts Tagged ‘sales’


Branding and Marketing Lessons From Car Sales Trailblazer Laura Toyota

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
PR Marketing Laura Toyota Brand Reputation Management Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Media Monitoring Media Relations

flickr user Mike Mozart under CC BY license

A 25-year-old car saleswoman in Bozeman, Montana, has caused a bit of a marketing disruption at Ressler Motors, the Toyota dealership where she works. As Ad Age reports, Laura Madison won’t take walk-in customers, she won’t help remove snow from the cars on the lot, and she gives out her personal number, not the dealership’s.

She has her own site, lauratoyota.com, which she pays to host, and her personal car is wrapped to advertise that site. (The cost? $3,000, which she paid out of her own pocket.) Her strategy is working big time. While not every marketing and public relations professional has the freedom or the ability to do what Madison does, and her model would not work in every circumstance, there are a number of valuable marketing and public relations takeaways to give your efforts a big boost and greater return.

Forge real relationships

Ad Age reports that Madison sends regular (paper) notes to her customers for their car’s “birthday” or for the holidays. Old-school snail mailed cards carry a lot more personal connection than personalized emails, and since they’re a fast-vanishing, time-intensive tradition, are more meaningful.

Your customers get emails every day. But how often do they get addressed cards in the mail? Investing the time and funds into connecting with people in more personal ways can keep your relationship with customers fresh and positive for a much longer time than a monthly email.

Build your model on referrals

Madison builds her marketing model on referrals and direct content, a savvy strategy given that most Millennials seek out opinions and reviews from their personal networks before making a purchase decision. While there’s no demographic breakdown on her sales, it’s probably safe to say that she sells to people in other generations, not just Millennials.

Word of mouth marketing and referrals have always been vital for the best salespeople, a tactic that marketing and public relations pros shouldn’t ignore. Making it easier for clients and prospects to seek you out based on recommendations from friends will pay off. Consider implementing monthly seminars hosted by a company rep and promote the rep’s bio and expertise more than your brand. Or consider monthly articles from reps accompanied by their bios or getting reps engaged in social media; there are plenty of ways to market the people, not just the brand.

Be a trailblazer

The “we’ve always done things this way” mindset is an easy rut to stay in, but usually doesn’t have a great payoff. Instead of trying to put Madison back in the corporate box, her boss, Jeff Kayser, has encouraged her methods and helped her start educating sales staff to integrate her approach into the dealership’s overall strategy.

Being open to new strategies and ideas is important for any business, not only to harness new talent, but also to keep said talent at your organization.

Be transparent

Car buying is a notoriously opaque and frustrating ordeal, but Madison’s up-front, approachable strategy makes the process easier, which in turn makes more people want to buy from her. On her blog she has an abundance of car-buying advice, including questions to ask your car salesperson and the answers you should expect, an informative blog, information about how she sells, and information specific to hybrids.

This not only positions her as an expert, but also as a resource. Putting good information out in the open helps lessen potential frustration and confusion for buyers and puts her on their side.

Institute a results-based commission

On her site, Madison notes that the dealership doesn’t pay her or other sales reps based on the traditional commission structure, but rather on a pay plan based on volume and customer satisfaction. That in turn makes sales reps more responsive to customer needs, not upselling.

While a revamp – or abolishment – of commission structures isn’t something every organization can or is willing to do in full, it’s something worth considering if it could improve the process for both sales reps and customers.

Demonstrate trustworthiness

Madison’s personal marketing strategy has another benefit – it makes her accountable to her customers. They know exactly where to find her should they have a question or a problem. Most customers find accountability and trustworthiness appealing, and having that sense of security can only be beneficial to business overall.

Kayser reports that since Madison’s arrival at the dealership three years ago, the dealership’s monthly sales have increased from an average of 213 cars to 330 cars. There’s no information to indicate whether this is due solely to Madison’s efforts, or due to increased dealership advertising. Madison’s personal monthly sales almost nearly doubled over three years, from 12 to 20 cars, but it’s hard to measure whether that’s due to the dealership’s overall improvement in reputation and awareness, her natural learning progression, her reputation management acumen, or all of the above. But either way, there are plenty of branding, reputation management, and marketing takeaways from Madison’s drive and skill.

Crunching the Numbers: How to Tie PR and Sales

Thursday, April 17th, 2014
Photo by PRNews

Photo by PRNews

The PRNews PR Measurement Conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this month provided a platform for the industry’s measurement experts to share their knowledge and strategies. Yesterday, we wrote about Mark Stouse’s recommendations for thinking like a CEO to link PR efforts with sales numbers. Today we cover the second half of the presentation, in which Angela Jeffrey, managing director U.S. at Salience Insight, brought metrics and formulas to help realize those PR-sales metric connections. If you want to DIY and need an easy formula for calculating ROI and cost efficiency, here are the formulas Jeffrey explained.

ROI=Payback-Investment/Investment*100
Payback = incremental revenue
Investment = what you put into it [either in time (calculated as dollars per hour) or in dollars]

Here is a simpler formula for determining the correlation between ROI and PR. It is not a valid ROI but is valid a contribution toward it.

Revenue Event= (Payback-Investment)

Where payback is incremental revenue and investment is what you put into it.

To calculate cost efficiency metrics by your activities, use:

Cost-per-impressions (Tweets, Fans, Website Visits)
* Add up target impressions
* Divide campaign costs by impressions
* Results: Cost for one person to see your item

You can use the results for a specific survey or campaign to compare cost against the total of progress seen.

Cost-per-awareness (Attitude, Understand, Preference or Loyalty Uplift)
* Gather percent of uplift in survey scores
* Divide campaign cost by percent gain
* Result: Cost of percent gain in survey results

When it comes to measuring your web analytics, do your homework first.  Understand Google Analytics and be able to create goals and funnels. Having those goals and funnels in place actually helps you determine what you want your outcome to be. Most of us do not usually get the opportunity to influence sales. So where you can, define macro and micro goals.

An example of this was developed by Avinash Kaushik, where he created a formula or assigning dollar results to micro goals, which can show progress against macro goals, and can be established with a bit of internal research and agreement with management. An example of a micro goal would be a “contact me” sign-up form, and a macro goal would be a $500 sale or donation garnered from that signup form. So if it took ten “contact me” sign-ups for one sale or donation, that would mean that each sign up cost $50.

Once you have your goals established, set up a goal funnel to compare your web analytics with the channels.  Track visits and dollars spent from each channel and divide the revenue by number of visits from each platform to compare values-per-visit.

If you use a competitive share of voice, which is weighted tonality, to link outcomes, you can see the correlations. But earned media coverage analysis must include qualitative measures like message, prominence, or dominance, as well as quantitative measures like number of items or impressions.

Ultimately, successfully measuring the link between public relations and sales means a lot of math and careful analysis, but streamlining your processes and orienting them toward measurement will lead to reliable data that gives you deeper insight into your PR efforts. How are you tying your ROI & Outcomes/Outputs to your PR and Sales activities? Which measures give you the most insight?

Think Like a CEO: Measuring the Link Between PR and Sales

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
Think Like a CEO: Measuring the Link Between PR and Sales Mark Stouse Crystal DeGoede BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas

Photo by PRNews

How do you measure the link between PR and sales and drive brand revenue and engagement?

Last week I attended the PRNews Measurement Conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The annual conference brings together the most spirited group of measurement experts.

The session started off with its first speaker, Mark Stouse (Twitter: @markstouse), VP Global Connect at BMC Software. He stated that there are three big questions that every CEO wants the answer to, not just from the sales leaders or marketers but from everyone within the organization, including PR practitioners:

1. How well are you performing in your area of business?

2. How well are you leveraging the resources you already have?

3. What contributions are you making to the organization?

What the CEO or CFO of your organization cares about the most is revenue, margin and cash-flow. In order to make your way into a position of delivering value to the CEO and answer those three questions, you have to start thinking like a CEO. CEOs don’t care about possibilities, they care about probabilities; nor do CEOs care about how creative something is, they care about if it actually works. So, when CEOs talk about cause and effect, they want to see correlation (at a minimum), and preferably, causality.

Your c-suite expects you to understand what you do so well that you have the necessary data in-hand and are confident enough to present this data at any time. If you cannot predict what the outcome of your PR is going to be, then a CEO may see your success as luck, whereas if you’re able to use your data to predict an outcome, that would show skill. Showing the relationship between  public relations and sales through data-driven correlation and causality is critical to obtaining executive buy-in.

Stouse recommends four key steps to success:

1. Think like a CEO

2. Understand your functional performance
3. Understand what ROI really is
4. Connect the dots with sales productivity

Another way to tie your PR measurements and metrics to sales is to support the three legs of sales productivity (below) and to tie investment to revenue, margin and cash-flow.

1. Demand generation
2. Deal expansion (sale to the same person)
3. Sales velocity (close the deal quickly)

According to Stouse, we are all in sales. We have to sell to people on the outside and on the inside. It redefines the marketing mix model.

If you tie into the numbers and the money you will be credible and get that seat at the table.

Check back tomorrow for mathematical insights from the session’s second presenter, Angela Jeffrey.

Taking Control of Your Career: 7 Tips From ‘Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office’ Applicable to All Genders

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

by Deborah Gilbert-Rogers*

books_office

As the New Year progresses, I find myself drawn to reading a number of professional coaching, personal finance, marketing and sales books. Being a bit of a book junkie and wanting to reduce clutter, I now download samples to the Kindle app on my smart phone before purchasing a physical copy. (This is one millennial who won’t give up her physical books.)

One sample captured my attention recently, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers, to such the extent that I purchased and downloaded a digital copy of the book right then and there! Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, part of Dr. Lois P. Frankel’s  Nice Girls series, examines the unconscious messages women are taught in girlhood – which may or may not be helpful – that are then continued in womanhood and how these behaviors and messages influence a woman’s ability to progress in her career (as well as other areas of her life).

For Frankel the emphasis is on the word “girl” not on “nice.” Dr. Frankel is the first to point out these learned behaviors are not exclusive to women and that men experience their own set of messages in boyhood that affect them in manhood. However, our culture has an insidious way of encouraging woman to continue girlhood messages and behaviors in ways that differ from men.

Here are some of the “mistakes” I think relate to most business and PR professionals, regardless of gender, and tips for taking charge of your career.

1. Not Understanding the Needs of Your Constituents: Whether it’s our client, CEO, stakeholder, customer or target audience – we all have people that we serve. It is imperative to know what they need and want. Otherwise we risk missing an opportunity by not providing value. “The trap many women fall into is thinking they know what’s best for their constituents and therefore not asking the right questions on the front end,” writes Frankel. One way Frankel suggests to overcome this behavior is to “be more concerned with doing the right thing than doing things right.” In other words, don’t be afraid to shift perspectives as new data emerge and as change is warranted.

2. Skipping Meetings: Attending meetings is just as much about personal branding and marketing as it is about the content explains Frankel. She suggests, “Using meetings as an opportunity to showcase a particular skill or piece of knowledge (provided it’s not note taking or coffee making.)”  Additionally, “Ask to be invited to a meeting where you’ll have the chance to meet senior management or make a presentation about something for which you need support.”

3. Ignoring the Importance of Network Relationships: Years ago people believed that showing-up for work and doing a good job would be enough to protect their careers, explains Frankel. Unfortunately many still buy into this belief today and have been taught that building relationships at work wastes time and distracts from the job at hand. Frankel suggests actively participating in a professional association and developing relationships before they are needed. If you wait until you need the relationship, it is too late.  

4. Making Up Negative Stories: As PR and communications professionals we understand the importance of storytelling and the power it has to influence audience perception and behavior. However, as women we have a habit of creating negative stories and assuming we’ve done something wrong in order to explain a mistake or why something didn’t go as planned, addresses Frankel. In the workplace, this negatively affects our ability to take positive risks and trust our intuition. Frank suggestions beginning to “replace negative stories with neutral ones” and to look at “alternative scenarios that could explain what has happened that have nothing to do with you doing something wrong.”

5. Failing to Define Your Brand: Just like corporate branding and marketing, personal branding involves defining the value you bring to the table and how you stand apart from the competition. Frankel advises coming up with three to five things you enjoy most about your position as a way to start defining your personal brand. The reason? “We tend to be good at what we like,” notes Frankel. Then relate these strengths to your position and what you bring to it. Having these statements in place will help set you apart from the competition, whether that is within the organization or externally when delivering a proposal to a client or prospect.

6. The Inability to Speak the Language of Your Business: While there are times when it is best to avoid jargon, you must still be able to use the language of the entire business. “Influence comes from knowing the business, and one of the best ways you can exercise your influence is to use language unique to your industry and profession,” writes Frankel. Beyond your area of expertise and department, familiarize yourself with the ROI, bottom line, and other performance indicators of your corporation or client. BurrellesLuce offers a great newsletter on Finance for Communicators which is available in our free resource center.

7. Using Gestures Inconsistent with Your Message: Presentation is everything. Your “gestures should be integrated with your energy,” remarks Frankel. Don’t be afraid to take up space – a behavior that runs counter to what many women have been taught. Frankel suggests “allowing gestures to flow naturally from your spoken message” and to “match your gestures to the size of your audience.”

What professional books have you read lately that you’ve found helpful? Share your recommendations here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

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Bio: After graduating from Rider University, where she received a B.A. in English-writing and minor degrees in Gender Studies and French, Deborah joined the BurrellesLuce Marketing team in 2007.  As a marketing specialist she continues to help develop the company’s thought leadership and social media efforts, including the copywriting and editing of day-to-day marketing initiatives and management of the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog. Facebook: BurrellesLuce Twitter: @BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: dgrogers

2012 Counselors Academy Conference – Beyond the Hype of Influence: Unleashing the Power of PR

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Colleen Flood*

“Going beyond the hype of social media and online influence means going beyond the numbers and popularity games. It means digging into the real meaning of influence and finding the true value of making connections with the right people,” explained Pierre-Loic Assayag, CEO of Traackr, and Shonali Burke, VP, Digital, MSL Washington D.C., at the 2012 PRSA Counselors Academy.

There are many tools to measure influence, including Klout, Peer Index, Tweet Level, and Tweet Grader. The problem with tools that measure influence is that they cannot agree and that is because marketers are asking the wrong questions. Rather than try and use new tools based on old practices, marketing and PR professionals must understand that influence varies – both qualitative and quantitative – and depends on content.

With three percent of people creating 90 percent of the impact online, it is imperative that communicators understand influencers as they pertain to individual clients. Not all influencers will fit the bill. Therefore, marketers must identify the right people for the job. In other words, marketers must choose relevance over popularity.

  1. Influence is both an art and a science. Search, secure, rank, and track.
  2. Focus on the task at hand. “Cognitive blindness” causes many marketers to miss influencers.
  3. Commit. Discover, listen, and engage to understand what the conversation is about.

Once marketers have found the relevant influencers, then what? Assayag and Burke say that it is time to “manage influencers” and that PR professionals must approach the relationship as if “it is a marriage and not a date.” Part of managing the relationship involves understanding the different metrics that define success such as web traffic, brand mentions, sales, engagement metrics, and sentiment/tone, among others.

In the end, finding the right influencers is really about providing value (what can you do for them?), being relevant, and being genuine and then finding the right metrics that help drive value and not hype. In wrapping up, Burke talked about the Blue Key campaign and how it used the power of influencers. Check out my colleague, Andrea Corbo’s post, When a Hashtag Leads to Help: PR Tips from #BlueKey

How are you unleashing the power of your PR? What metrics drive the most relevancy for your clients?

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*Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce