If you take a good look at any business that has been successful in the last couple of years. There is a very strong possibility that you will see a clear Unique Selling Point or USP.
Your Unique Selling Point is essential to building your business and continuing growth. That’s why we’ve put together some ways you can work on your USP and help draw even more customers to your business.
So much more than just a way of selling your business, your USP needs to be part of your company’s culture, the foundation even.
What on earth is a USP?
It’s the thing that sets you apart from your competitors. It gives your business it’s edge in the mind of your clients and potential clients and makes you stand out.
If you break it down; unique means that no one else does it yet. Selling point means the reason your clients spend their money on you or your service. These aren’t just gimmicks, they’re the reason to buy from you.
If you’re a marketing automation company that offers a full brand review with every sign-up, that’s a USP.
What isn’t a USP is price. Don’t get sucked into the belief that being the cheapest is a USP, neither being the cheapest or the best is unique. Most businesses think they offer the best service for the most competitive price. Equally, for most of them, it isn’t true.
With a strong enough USP, your pricing will be worth it- no need to try and offer bargains if your service is worth so much more!
Developing a strong USP ensures your customers focus less on price.
If you can develop a strong and genuine USP, the prices you charge become secondary to the service you provide. Clients will pick your business because of the USP and will be willing to pay the extra for it. These are the types of clients you want to attract, those that choose you for price will always be looking for a cheaper deal elsewhere.
Many companies develop or build their company around a USP. If you’ve been trading for a while and still aren’t sure what yours is – speak to your clients, their reasons for using you may not be what you expect.
Reach out to your clients and ask them why they chose you and keep track of the answers. You’ll probably start to see a trend appear in their answers, that’s your USP.
It’s absolutely vital to identify your true USP, the one that exists in the minds of your clients. You may set out to have the best quality service within your industry, but if your clients actually choose you because you have friendly, knowledgeable staff then that’s your USP.
Helping focus your marketing efforts.
Knowing your USP and having it tried and tested with your clients suddenly makes marketing your business a lot easier. Sticking to your USP and avoiding anything that deviates from it builds consistency and integrity for your brand.
Take Krispy Kreme for example, their USP is that their donuts are baked fresh in store throughout the day, guaranteeing the best customer experience. They even went so far as integrating a unique sign that illuminated when the ovens were on, notifying customers that hot, fresh donuts were imminent.
When Krispy Kreme then started allowing cold, off-site baked donuts to be sold in supermarkets to gain an extra revenue stream, they damaged the brand integrity and lost touch with their client base which nearly cost them their business.
Keep it simple.
The best USPs are simple and easy to maintain. This also helps to keep your business easy to market, because the reason to work with you and your company message is clear.
Without a USP, you may find marketing your company and services a struggle. When such a simple concept can make it far easier to generate new business and boost your success, you’d be crazy not to!
Published: 1st February 2021
A quick Google and you’ll find most Marketing degrees defined as a Bachelor of Arts (BA). Not a Bachelor of Science (BSc) as you would, say maths. However, I believe that Marketing IS a science and I’ll tell you why…
Far removed from any colouring-in department, I started my career in a sales department. As one of a team of two marketing assistants, who made up the finance sales and retention team’s whole marketing arm. I had a baptism of fire for 2 and a half years, learning the numbers behind the success. Our job was simple, get data that needed to be pulled out of the CRM and ensuring the targeting was correct and in line with the goal. Making sure that the team had enough people to call that meant they hit their sales figures.
In my first ever marketing role, 18 and straight out of school. I learned the fundamental rules of what a funnel could look like and how to work backwards to ensure success. I learned the importance of these figures and how they gave you a good starting point to ensure that you could change the broken and capitalise on the success.
For anyone that has met me since and thinks I’m obsessed with data, I’m sorry!
I continued on from that job with my marketing fire ignited. The curtain lifted on what business could be like and how pivotal a marketing function is to business success. Its ever-evolving purpose and ties to all sorts of other departments in the business.
I was hooked!
I went on to work for retail in print marketing, hospitality marketing in brand, business to business marketing. Then, I moved on to working in client engagement and finally a 360 back to working directly in sales. But, this time, sales are the product and not just the team.
A trend appeared through all these roles. No matter how clever the caption, pretty the picture or engaging the video the key to every piece of success was tracing, testing, changing and learning. You needed big picture thinking, logic and process. You needed to understand what you were being told. How this aligned with success or failure – It started to remind me of science experiments at school.
Science is a subject I took all the way to A-level and loved, art I dropped in Year 9 due to misunderstandings with the teacher, although I am sure this doesn’t affect my summation of the two here! Science was always something that made sense; it had structure, could be broken down into sections and had no definitive outcome apart from the one you could prove via test and learn.
It was simple, change one thing and see what happens.
Always the same starting point, what is your aim, what are your variables, and which are you changing for testing. Look at many marketing briefs today and there is a very similar structure in place.
I have worked with some brilliant designers who are artists in their work, copywriters who could be acclaimed authors and production teams who are incredible at what they do, and we would not have marketing success without them! But, if you don’t know what you want, how it’s going or what you need to change to make it better you could have the greatest picture in the world, it makes no difference.
Creative, sound and visual media are often what we become in awe of when we see it as consumers. The clever Netflix campaigns on billboards or client engagement pieces by Spotify. Still, the unglamorous numbers drive marketing. That’s why I think marketing is arguably a science and should be looked at as one.
We are not the colouring-in department, but some of us can draw VERY pretty pictures!
Monet McGee – Head of Marketing & Operations at Intelligent Talk
If you enjoyed this blog, you may enjoy another of our recent pieces on aligning Sales & Marketing.
Published: 18th January 2021
When people think of New Year’s resolutions, productivity at work is usually pretty high up on the list. Alongside cutting out junk food, quitting certain vices and learning a new skill.
At Intelligent Talk, we like to think that any day is a good day to make positive changes and we don’t need a New Year to make it happen!
We understand the appeal, especially after the year we’ve all had (Even TIME magazine declared 2020 the “worst year ever”). We’re all looking to the new year as a way to make a positive change in our lives.
However, with 80% of resolutions being broken by February it seems like we could all use a helping hand to make meaningful change that last the year and beyond.
Although we may still be facing COVID-19, lockdowns and a lot of economic uncertainty, it’s still possible to create positive change.
So, if you’re looking to boost your productivity, here are our favourite ways to go about it.
1. Remove the need to be motivated in order to be productive.
Usually, when considering productivity, the first thing that comes to mind is motivation. We all tend to think that productivity needs to start with a rush of inspiration and energy in order to do things.
This isn’t necessarily the case. All productivity actually requires, is action.
Waiting to be motivated can cause a lot of frustration and friction as we wait for the ‘perfect’ time to work on something, we end up giving way to procrastination and guilt.
If instead you tell yourself, this will only take a few minutes, once you sit down and start the rest will flow easier.
2. Newton’s First Law of Motion.
It is more difficult to start than it is to continue. If you’ve ever started going to the gym, you’ll know how true this is. Once you have incorporated your new habits into your routine, you become more productive and they are much easier to maintain.
3. Incentivise completing your to-do lists.
Human beings work with impulses. And much like Skinner’s rats, you can become more productive by adding more pleasure to the action you want to do, or painful consequences if you don’t do it. For example, you can listen to your favourite music whilst completing a task or reward yourself once certain objectives are complete.
This can also work on the flip side, set yourself forfeits like doing 10 push-ups if you don’t hit certain deadlines or targets you’ve set yourself.
4. Follow the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule essentially means that 20% of your actions produce 80% of your results.
For example, if you have 10 things to do, identify the 2 goals that will bring you closer to your overall goal and which can wait a little longer. It’s essentially prioritising in it’s most basic form.
5. Substitute old habits with new habits.
When dealing with habits it is much easier to substitute an old habit than to create a new one or break an old one completely. For instance, if you are trying to cut down on caffeine – instead of stopping from drinking coffee completely, replace each cup you would normally have with a cup of tea or water instead.
6. Use the Pomodoro technique.
This time management technique uses a timer to break up your work into intervals with a short break in between.
Traditionally using blocks of 25 minutes, this can be adapted to suit your needs with the idea being that you focus solely on one task during that block and nothing else, once the timer rings you take a short break to refresh yourself before starting another timer and block of activity. Once you have completed four blocks, you take a longer break. You can find more about this technique here.
7. The 2-minute rule.
If something takes less than two minutes, do it now. A simple, yet effective way to clear those smaller tasks that often get put to the side.
8. Stop multitasking.
As our lives continue to get busier and busier, most of us have looked for ways to get more done by multitasking.
Technology has made it easier than ever to multitask, but constantly multitasking can lead to a reduction in overall brainpower and memory problems.
9. Track your time online.
If you work online, or from home, it can be incredibly easy to get distracted and off-track.
Social media and other distractions are only a click away. Making it all too easy to check Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or other apps and websites that time can be wasted on for hours.
Apps such as Rescuetime can help you audit your day to tell you where you’re really spending your time.
It may feel like you’re putting in 8 hours of work but after a closer look, you may notice that’s not the case at all.
Keeping on top of your distractions can be a great way to ensure your time is spent more productively.
10. Procrastination happens – make the most of it.
Procrastination is natural, sometimes the harder we try to be productive, the harder it becomes.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is embrace it. Embracing it doesn’t necessarily mean giving in to it completely though. Instead of being sucked into a Netflix show, watch a TED Talk. Instead of reading inane Facebook updates for 20 minutes, read a blog post (we’ve got plenty here).
Being gentle with yourself reduces the pressure that can cause burnout and a decline in mental health. Allow yourself a few minutes of distraction then refocus and get back to the task at hand.
Applying even one of these tips will help you become more productive, save you time and allow you to focus on the things that really matter to you in 2021.
We’d love to hear if any of these tips help you, or if there are any you would add!
Published: 11th January 2021
Marketing works. Sales works.
Independently these teams function, but when they work together, it can be incredibly powerful.
Think Shaggy and Scooby, Batman and Robin, Mario and Luigi, Buzz and Woody.
These all have one thing in common – they’re all fantastic duos where you can’t imagine one without the other. I mean you probably could, but they’d be nowhere near as good!
The same should go for your sales and marketing functions.
It’s not all smooth sailing:
Bringing these two teams together can be a tricky process for several reasons. It isn’t easy to measure and takes a lot of people management but, if you want success for your business – it has to be done.
The more sales and marketing work in unison, the more successes the business will see. Most companies will have separate sales and marketing teams, but to reach your customers from all angles, they must work together.
Marketing campaigns are put in place to build brand awareness and inform customers of your services – this then generates leads.
The sales team are there to convert those leads into new business opportunities by following up with the customers and giving more information.
Marketing works well on its own but where’s the sense in generating leads with no sales team to follow them up?
Sales can also generate their own leads, but this tends to be a much slower process, and why should they do it all themselves when they could be utilising the marketing leads too?
Time to make improvements:
The first thing to do is identify where you are right now:
- What are the goals of your sales and marketing teams?
- Do they have any common goals they could work on together?
- Do the teams hold regular meetings together to understand each other’s activity?
- Is there anything that needs to be addressed to streamline processes?
Once you’ve pulled all of this together, you can start to get a plan in place.
- Set common goals. If team objectives don’t align with one another, both will have issues converting leads.
- Involve both teams. 68% of marketers think their sales team don’t utilise their content correctly to generate leads. If sales were more involved with marketing processes such as creating customer personas, there would be more interest and buy-in from the sales teams. Keeping sales involved also gives your marketing team much better insight into who the customers actually are. It’s sales that interact with them the most after all!
- Keep in contact. A crucial part to aligning any business areas is communication, sales and marketing are no different. Dependant on workload and company goals these should be held weekly, monthly or at the very least quarterly. Create a setting where both teams can share what they’ve been working on, collaboration opportunities moving forward as well as key areas of success and needing improvement. Meetings are also an excellent opportunity to cover new content ideas; not everything has to come from marketing!
The really important bit:
You must be able to measure the successes of your teams. Knowing what you should be measuring is even more vital. Metrics such as marketing qualified leads or ‘MQL’s help the marketing team keep track of different steps in their process, but not a huge amount else; so they’re not giving much back in the way of reporting.
If your sales and marketing teams don’t know what they learn each month from analysing their reporting data, chances are they’re reporting on the wrong metrics.
Key areas to track improvement are:
- Lifetime customer value
- Lead generation through your website and socials
- Sales qualified leads
Keeping your marketing and sales teams informed not only of what their goals are but also how their success is being measured will ensure the alignment between to two teams will continue and bring further successes to the business.
Food for thought:
Not everything needs to be internal. There is any number of reasons why you would want to engage an external agency to support your business growth plans:
- You need your sales function to have support through team alignment changes.
- You’ve never had much success with internal sales, so you’re outsourcing completely.
- You’re launching new products and need a separate team to market it, but don’t have the resources to hire a whole new team.
Whatever the reason, Intelligent Talk has the solution.
If you think your team could do with an optimised sales stack – check out our advice here.
If you’re looking for a bit more heavy-duty support, get in touch and let’s see how we can help!
Published: 14th December 2020.
Here in the UK, we are a service-based economy. According to the Office of National Statistics, it’s where over 70% of our GDP comes from, with over 80% of our workers being employed within the various service sectors.