Iain Lovatt helps businesses to understand their data.
His business provides marketing analytics, campaign management and customer insight to more than 400 clients across the world. Iain is an expert in B2B marketing and analytics. After 30 years at the helm of his business, he is also giving back to students at the University of the West of England as a Visiting Professor.
Iain started in business with a direct mail business called Business to Business Direct, his first venture into B2B marketing, generating sales leads for BRS Truck Rental. How did he attract prospects for BRS? Iain recalled using a technique of sending survey mailers, that Dunn & Bradstreet used. He used to generate surveys about seasonality. Truck rental is really busy around Christmas. So in September he would plan and write to ask people what trucks they might need during the October/November rush period. By the second week in December, truck rental falls off a cliff. So message timing was crucial. The call to action was to get forward bookings of trucks.
The surveys would generate a 7 to 8% response rate. Of which 20-30% would be good leads for BRS salespeople to start having good conversations with people.
Lead generation is not new.
Iain comments relationships with people. In today’s age you try and get from:
“I’ve met you, why aren’t we married?” as opposed to going through the whole courtship process. In sales we are still trying to push people to the far end, too soon. Believing their web homework is sufficient to get them there. But people still need persuading, nurturing, looking after.
Kevin mentioned a bestselling book by Ryan Levesque “Ask” getaskbook.com
Iain also mentioned another survey project for tool maker Hilti, where he wrote from the Finance Director to accounts that had not transacted in the last year, and asked them what their plans where for the next 12 months, because if they didn’t say that they needed their account kept open, they would close it and they’d have to go through the process of formally applying for a credit account again. 30% response rate. Their lapsed clients got in touch to say they had lots of jobs on and they’d need lots of stuff.
Focus – salesman tend to speak to people that are easy to talk to – cup of tea calls. Iain’s FD survey mailer was all about focusing the attention on people who DID have something to talk about. They had a need.
Surveys – we assume we know more about people than we really do AND they assume they know more about us than they really do. So a survey, a questioning technique “Ask” is a great way of starting a conversation. Because I am asking about you.
Iain noted in his early days in business that there was a lot of waste. Things that were going on that really didn’t matter. That weren’t going to pay-back in the short to medium term. So Iain started to get involved in SEGMENTATION.
Iain analysed where tenders were being successful. Iain would help focus businesses to concentrate on sectors that were more likely to deliver higher returns with higher likelihood of successful tendering.
His early business approach was he would do anything for anybody as long as they would pay. To earn money as a direct marketer. The focus was always on how does he earn money. He took that same approach to clients. As a new business the only thing that matters is earning money.
This focus on segmentation was quite revolutionary. People kicked back. They thought everyone was their audience. Not true then. Not true now. Iain used the following analogy:
“There are people who read The Sun who can afford to buy a Rolls Royce. But Rolls Royce wont advertise in The Sun, because the majority of people who read it are never going to buy a Rolls Royce. They’d advertise in The Times, because there is a higher proportion of the readership that would buy a Rolls Royce.”
It is the same today. “It doesn’t cost me anything to send them an email, so we’ll blast everybody and they might buy from me”.
Further tips from Iain.
Some of the problems of 30 years still exist in B2B Marketing. You cannot get through to talk to people. You have to find RELEVANCY in communications. Have you spent any time trying to understand you and your issues before you rattle off your sales message?
Iain’s 30 Years of Experience Tips
- Know your customers
- What do they do?
- What’s the state of their market?
- How will their market develop in the future?
- How will they use your services?
- Know the value of those customers
- Know the money you could earn versus what you do earn
- SACK the bottom 25% of your customers – they are a drain; they tend to shout at your staff too.
(Iain had a customer where a customer had 9% of revenue but 45% of costs.)
- MONEY MAPPING (See Iain’s YouTube Introduction to Money Mapping – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtVjeZSuIds)
Iain used the Money Map on themselves. They increase revenue the year after by 50%. You release time for the people who CAN spend more money. Speak to your better customers more often and they will spend more money with you.
“The Customer is King” Not is Iain’s book. “Not until he is ready to tell them he is”.
One B2B marketing client got an increase in sale of 11% and profits of 32% in one year.
In the Next 100 Days:
- Know who your customers are. Print out your customer list in full. Work out who you should get rid of. Work out who’s worth keeping. Analyse your customer list.How can I make that cut? What will they spend with me next year? In a realistic way.
- What is their value. Then estimate what you would like the customer to spend. What do I have to do to get from them. Re-order the list by what you’d like from them.
- What you need to do to achieve your ambition numbers for them next year. This will help you plan ahead and focus on those who are in the bottom 25%.
Then change your services and behaviour to service the top customers you retain.
It is Pareto 80:20 analyses, really. Go with the numbers.
How would Iain help the business owner?
Overlay your customers onto a BOSTON MATRIX and overlay money and costs over it. You will see a focus on treasures and avoids.
One of the issues for businesses is that when Iain maps prospects against the money map/Boston Matrix, they are equally spread. This speaks to businesses chasing VOLUME. As opposed to focusing on quality of customers.
What’s the big difference between NOW and 30 years ago?
We do the same. But faster.
- Customer give them all their data, from however many sources they might have – 10-50 sources, then build a single customer view – so they see who their customers are.
- They then match that to a universe of businesses that exist in the UK or the world, and build a money map and create a segmentation model.
- This is dropped into an on-the-fly analytical tool and provide that to marketers.
- They do their segmentation models, select the segments they want to target, and the software executes campaigns to them – email, mail or telephone.
- They monitor what is going on the website, against all of those names and addresses in the database. If you go onto the website, they populate that website with information with truly relevant information about their recent use of services. Then loop that exchange into the database and run it again.
In 30 years, they have aggregated more data together, so the issues have got bigger. The models instead of being 4 quadrants are between 2 and 20,000 cells. Provided in a train of thought execution tool to marketers.
Iain calls it large data. Big data is essentially unstructured data.
Fundamentally, it is about relevancy. A relevant conversation for a salesman, through to conversations that are on-the-fly. Instant webpage creation, using personal information.