FAQ’s What we need from you

What do you need from me?

Initially as we work through the market research phase and begin the build the pipeline we’ll need to learn more about your experiences with clients, what’s worked, what didn’t and why.  We need to know your ideas about target markets and review your marketing material.  We certainly do not rely on marketing material however it can be helpful; if you don’t have marketing material it’s not a deal breaker.  Case studies are always helpful for us to learn more about your business but also so we can share results with your prospects.

What we need most from you is to be a team member.  Our ability to be successful requires us working as a team.  We need to know enough about your services to be dangerous but we need you to be the expert.  We are able to open doors to extremely high level decision makers and we need you to shine or we risk damaging that relationship that has taken years to develop.  We’re very careful about who we bring in front of our contacts as we know one wrong move and we may never get that opportunity again.  So for you it’s about respecting all that we do today and all we’ve done to create the relationships we have that ultimately will benefit you.  We put those relationships on the line to help you grow your business.  We need you to recognize that you need to bring your “A” game to those meetings, you need to follow up in the appropriate manner and frequency, you need to deliver on what was promised at the time it was promised and you need to service the hell out of that account.  If you intend to raise your game by growing your business you need to start today with our very first introduction.

The Honest Economy by Marcus Sheridan

Below you’ll find an email from my friend Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion (www.thesaleslion.com – great website, download his e-book, it’s amazing).  Marcus is a fantastic speaker and was recently selected to speak at a TED event and has received rave reviews for his talk – you can click on the link below to see the video.  In his comments below he mentioned 5 things you can do today to Embrace the Honest Economy and Change Your Business Forever – what are you willing to do?

 

From Marcus:

At this point, you and I have a choice. Be it the way we live our life or run our business, we can walk to the beat of the way “it has always been done” as well as the way “the other guys do it” or we can make a divergence in the road and clear our own path from this point forward.

When it comes to marketing you and your business, this reality has never been so true. Please stick with me for a second so I can explain…

As some of you are already well aware, two weeks ago I spoke at a TED event near Washington DC. As one who speaks a lot, this 11-minute talk was the hardest thing I’ve ever done on stage. I literally poured my heart and soul into it because it’s a message I so firmly believe in. I also know, without a shadow of doubt, that any business or individual who embraces this approach will positively change their industry, build their brand, and create more paying customers in the process.

I’m calling this movement “The Honest Economy ,” and it’s my hope you’ll consider joining the movement today-and also hugely benefit in the process.

And what is The Honest Economy? Simple, it’s one that’s not based on cheap sales tactics, poor financial practices, or slick ad copy. Rather, it’s fundamental core comes down to two essential elements: Great communication and teaching.

This is why content marketing is something I talk about so very much on The Sales Lion. When all is said and done, we’re just trying to be better teachers and communicators.

But to make this simple, I’m going to mention 5 things you could choose to do that not only are fundamentally based in truth and honesty, but will have an incredible impact on your business, brand, and bottom line. Here they are:

5 Ways You Can Embrace The Honest Economy and Change Your Business Forever

1. Answer every question-positive or negative-you’ve ever been asked by a prospect or customer. Turn each question into a blog post title, and then just answer it. Hold nothing back. Be real. Be consistent. Make this a culture.

2. Write a manifesto about something you seeing wrong in your industry, and then show it to the world. (Yes, this takes guts, but you’ll be amazed at the results.)

3. Make an offer to customers no one else in your industry is willing to offer. (Car Max did this with their 5-day money back guarantee in the used car industry and it worked out pretty well for them 😉

4. Make a section of your website called “Who we are not for.” (Believe it or not, it’s more important in your copy that you tell people who you’re NOT for (your product, service, etc.) than who you are for. I’m sure no one does this right now in your industry, but if you do, you’ll see the powerful psychological effect it has on customers and prospects.)

5.  Show your “secret sauce” by making a video explaining how you do what you do . As mentioned in the TED talk, if McDonalds showed the world how to make their secret sauce, don’t you think it’s time we showed ours?? Whether you offer a product, a service, are B2B or B2C-please consider showing the world how you make your secret sauce.

2 Requests that Could Change Your Life and Mine as Well 

I have two sincere requests on this day my friends.

1. Choose one of the above challenges . Tell me, by hitting “reply” to this email, which one you’re doing (or will do) and why. I ask this because I want to be a part of the journey with you.

2. I need your help spreading my TED talk. In order for the talk to be considered by TED.com (only 2% of all TED talks make it to the main TED.com website ) I really need to get the views above 10,000 by next week (currently it’s at 4,000 after the first two days). If everyone that receives this email just clicked on this link and watched the video once, we’d be way above that number. And if everyone shared that same video on Facebook or Twitter, the results would be astounding.

I’m not usually one to ask my readers and subscribers for favors, but today, I am. I do sincerely need your help and hope you’ll consider going to YouTube and at least watching the message-The Honest Economy.

As always, thanks everyone and I can’t wait to hear your responses to the 5 challenges above and see which you’ll choose.

Marcus Sheridan

How Fast can you Close Deals?

When I’m asked a question like this I immediately start to wonder if this prospect is the right fit.  Why are they asking this question?  I get it, you’re looking for Return on Investment, I understand completely, you’re putting out money and you want to know the value of what you’ll receive in return and here’s the answer…I don’t know yet.

Let’s face it sales can be a bit of a crap shoot.  Anyone who guarantees you increases in sales/revenue at “x”% is without question lying.  A couple things we need to consider:

 

  • What’s your currently sales cycle?  Why is it that long?  Are there challenges that contribute to the length of the cycle or is it just that long?
  • Who is your potential buyer?  And why?  How do you connect with the potential buyer currently?
  • Do you have a presentation or marketing materials?
  • How do you price?
  • Who’s your competition?  What do they do really well?  What’s unique about you?

Many of these questions may seem silly but here’s why I ask:  We can typically shorten the time it takes to get to a decision maker but the sales cycle is the sales cycle.  You should not expect any major changes to the amount of time it takes someone to close a deal just because you’ve hired an outsourcing firm.  That being said it’s not uncommon for us to close deals in half the time it takes you but for others it may take longer.  It depends on the complexity of the deal, the process necessary to get the deal complete (RFP, multiple decision makers, large vs small deal, etc).  We find that many of our clients don’t have a strong grasp of their target market or they target someone they want to be a client but will never be one.  We find that many of our clients have little marketing materials that are usable while others have too much and it can become confusing for the prospect.  We don’t rely on marketing material but it can be a good conversation starter so it’s certainly helpful if done right.

When we ask you about your competition there’s nothing that drives me more insane then hearing you say “Well, our people are smarter and our service is better.”  As if your competition would actually say, even if it were true, that they hire below average staff and their service stinks.  This is the equivalent of telling your prospect “blahblahblahblahblah”.  What makes you unique, if you don’t know, it’s time to figure it out or you can forget competing – you’re essentially making yourself a commodity and now it’s all about price.

Pricing.  Oh pricing, it can be the devil in this relationship.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a prospect into a decision maker for a deal that would double the revenue of their company only for them to price the project so far out of the realm of possibility that the prospect is literally in shock.  They loved you, you came highly recommended, they felt you could deliver and make them shine like the rock star they are and you blew it with cocky aggressive pricing and then you blamed me for losing the deal.  Here’s the deal, when it comes to closing with outsourced business development, it’s a partnership.  You rely on us to ensure you have a qualified lead, a decision maker with a budget and a strong connection either personally or professionally.  We rely on you to showcase your value, deliver high quality and always on time, and to price competitively.  We can go to bat for you if you’re within reason but if you’re off the mark, there’s nothing we can do to help.  In fact we’ve probably damaged that relationship by bringing you in the door.

So how fast can we close deals?  I don’t know, it’s different for every client.  Some happen within the first 2 months while others can take a year or two.  If you’re not viewing business development as an investment in your company’s future then perhaps it’s not right for you at this time.  If you’re counting every dollar and every minute that goes by you’re not seeing the forest through the trees.  Business development is about building the relationships that are going to change your business and when was the last time you built a long lasting, happy client relationship over night?

So, who do you work with?

When we started the company almost 5 years ago our clients were very small professional services firms.  There’s nothing like starting a company several months before one of the largest economic downturns this country has ever seen and yet we’re still here today.  Over the years we’ve refined our business model and our target markets where now we represent professional services firms and government contractors in the $2-50,000,000 revenue range.  We’ve found that our sweet spot is $5-30,000,000.

Originally we only worked with professional services firms but around here everyone targets government contractors and they started asking “Can you do this for us?”  Originally I said no, it wasn’t our model and it would mean learning an entirely new business practice and you can just forget about learning all the acronyms.  Eventually we found the team that exists today that allows us to offer top notch service to our government contracting clients.

You’ve probably read our customer rants blogs but here’s why people come to work with us – we give them the strategic business development executive they want at the price they can afford specific to their target market/s.  It may be commercial, Federal government, state and local; it may be in NYC or it may be here in the DC metro area.  We’ll be the first to tell you if we’re not the right fit.  We have a Client Acceptance Protocol that helps us determine right fit clients and I’m accountable to the operations team and my business coach to ensure we aren’t bringing on anyone outside the parameters.

To see if outsourcing your business development needs makes sense, give us a ring at 410-832-7560, ask for Karin.

Meet the Springboard Team – Don Goff, Ph.D.

Don has recently joined the Springboard team and we’d like to welcome him and share with you are excitement – Don brings amazing capabilities to our clients looking to expand in the Intelligence Community.

Dr. Goff has over forty years experience in business, education and the military. Nationally recognized for superior, innovative, and profitable approaches in cyber security, he built the first remote access laboratories for network security, intrusion detection, and forensics, and developed curriculum for Information Assurance and Homeland Security masters degrees which were designated a National Center of Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. He has successfully developed profitable marketing programs for small businesses and has served as a Proxy Director for a foreign-owned cyber security company that grew its EBITDA from negative 1% to positive 10% in 5 quarters.

As a practitioner, he has experience in Information Assurance, Computer Network Operations, Certification & Accreditation, FISMA, NIST-800 series, DoD Instruction 8570.1 and other federal standards. He has written agency-level security policies and plans and provided written reports and chaired or participated in blue ribbon studies.

Dr. Goff works with his clients to identify and develop markets for its cyber security services, including SharePoint development and maintenance. He understands his client’s goals and works to build on current service offerings in the Department of Defense and other sectors including but not limited to healthcare and financial,as identified.  Dr. Goff will advise on federal and commercial market potential and access beyond his client’s current customer base; identify and evaluate potential markets and new customers; provide consulting services to interact with potential customers and clients to identify their needs; review technical and pricing volumes; assist in drafting technical and pricing volumes; introduce clients to potential additional target-specific marketers, as desired; and secure meetings with potential customers.

In addition, Dr Goff will provide subject matter expertise in cyber security and critical information protection in developing a strategic marketing plan for Springboard clients.  Actions may include identifying specific target clients from government agencies.  Deliverables will include developing a meeting and presentation schedule within the designated agencies and assisting in the preparation and development of meeting-specific marketing collateral.

Dr. Goff is a well know expert in and around the Intelligence Community, his expertise and ability to communicate with prospects is a true asset to Springboard clients.  If you’re looking to increase your opportunities at Fort Meade, NSA, the Intelligence Community or in the Department of Defense, Don may be an excellent fit to help you win business.  Call 410-832-7560 and ask for Karin.