Business Growth & Strategy

Growth Through Sales and Marketing: Tools to transform

Drawing from the latest Vistage Research report “Marketing Matters,” Chief Research Officer Joe Galvin set the stage for the Vistage National CEO Conference on Growth with a powerful insight:

78% of CEOs report accelerating shifts in buyer behavior as a result of the pandemic. Buyers have become more autonomous and digitally driven, increasingly unable or unwilling to meet face-to-face with sellers. And they have developed higher expectations. Responding to these changes presents an opportunity for CEOs that are ready to adapt — and it poses a serious threat to CEOs that don’t.

Members gathered virtually and in Irving, Texas, were up to the challenge, and here you’ll find key takeaways shared. Read on for actionable learnings from:

  • Bonin Bough, Chief Growth Officer, Triller
  • Boaz Rauchwerger, Vistage speaker and President, Boaz Power Corporation
  • Deb Gabor, Vistage speaker and CEO, Sol Marketing
  • Tiffani Bova, Global Customer Growth & Innovation Evangelist, Salesforce

Vistage members, please also visit The CEO’s Journey: Growth Through Sales and Marketing post-event page for keynote presentations and more. Looking ahead, save the date for the first National CEO Conference of 2022, People and Culture on March 25!

BONIN BOUGH | Hackonomy 2.0

Bonin Bough“What is the last thing you look at before you go to bed, your partner or your cell phone?” It’s a question that not only got the audience’s attention, it illuminated what Bonin and Vistage Research expressed is imperative to growth in a COVID world: real-time digital marketing.
Considering 95% of participants in Bonin’s survey said the last thing they look at is their phone, how can SMB leaders capitalize on the trend to propel growth and make the most of marketing dollars?

Here are Bonin’s 6 ways to hack consumer engagement:

  1. Rethink mobility — Consider using text messaging to build your business.
  2. Practice real-time engagement — Break down barriers to customer interaction.
  3. Monetize media —Think creatively to make your marketing make you money.
  4. Power aspiration with allocation – You can aspire to be anything in the world, but you must allocate resources to get to there.
  5. Optimize TV/Video — Leverage the benefits of each channel.
  6. Consider culture vs. cluster — Explore the nuances behind demographics.

“The best way to predict the future is to hack it,” Bonin emphasized, urging attendees — whether B2C or B2B —to challenge the status quo and not be afraid to break things.

BOAZ RAUCHWERGER | Create your Unique Selling Proposition

Boaz Rauchwerger
To get attendees in a mindset for creating their Unique Selling Proposition (USP) Boaz Rauchwerger shared 4 mantras for success:

  1. Whichever way I see anything, I am right.
  2. Attitude is everything.
  3. I choose my attitude every day.
  4. I’ll fake it until I make it.

Extolling the benefits of a strong USP in place of slogan, byline and/or elevator pitch, Boaz shared 4 rules to create a unique selling proposition:

  1. Make it short — no more than six words.
  2. Don’t be logical. The purpose of a USP is to prompt the question, “What are you talking about?”
  3. Start with the word “We.”
  4. Include the word “You.” (When you include the word “you” you get “me” involved.)

A strong USP stops people in their tracks, Boaz said, and has potential to be its own intellectual property. TIP: Structure your USP like this: “We do “X” for you.”

DEB GABOR | Attracting the ideal customer archetype

Deb GaborYour brand is a relationship with your customer, Deb Gabor shared. The question is, what emotional response is your brand compelling? “People have to feel something to do something,” Deb explained. “98% of what your customers’ brains are doing happens beyond what they’re aware of.”

With that in mind, the customer archetype to strive for is one of “irrational loyalty,” by which your customers’ connection to your brand is so indelible, they will not stray even if logic deems they should. To demonstrate this, Deb used the example of an iPhone user’s relationship to Android.

Considering irrational loyalty can protect your brand through even the most turbulent times, what lessons can be learned from brand legends like Apple and Campbell’s Soup? According to Deb, the best brands in the world aren’t just different, they’re unique.

3 questions to answer to strengthen your brand:

  1. What does your ideal customer’s use of your brand say about them?
  2. What is the one thing your ideal customer gets from you they can’t get from anyone else?
  3. How do you make your ideal customer the hero in his or her own story?

Remember, Deb said, “Actions speak louder than marketing. And your brand guides your actions.”

TIFFANI BOVA | The Experience2

Tiffani Bova opened her data-packed presentation with a bold claim: “The fastest way to get customers to love your brand, is to get your employees to love their jobs.” The pandemic has shined a light on companies’ lack of investment in engaging employees and instilling loyalty in customers, she elaborated.

Some powerful statistics:

Of customers surveyed:

  • 80% feel the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services.
  • 66% expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations.
  • 78% believe current crises should catalyze business improvement.
  • 68% say COVID has elevated their expectations of companies’ digital capability.

Of employees surveyed:

  • 92% seek flexibility in where they work.
  • 69% of marketers say it’s harder to collaborate now than pre-pandemic.
  • Just 36% of marketers strongly agree the training they receive from their company sets them up for success.
  • 54% of sales reps would not be willing to pay $1 for an hour of their manager’s time.

Considering companies with high customer experience (CX) AND employee experience (EX) grow 1.8x faster, Tiffani had these insights on how SMB CEOs can build modern growth organizations that deliver.

Customer experience (CX)

“Customers will remember the experience they have with a brand much longer than the price they paid,” Tiffani said. It’s no longer enough to engage with them, you must connect. Echoing Bonin’s earlier sentiment, she encouraged abandoning the labels B2B or B2C in favor of B2E — business to everything. The pandemic has created “super-consumers,” and listening to their needs is crucial.

4 ways to deliver enhanced CX:

  1. Enable teams to play multiple roles.
  2. Rely on tech to break down silos among teams.
  3. Prioritize metrics that align to your customer.
  4. Share data across customer-facing roles.

With 46% of growing SMBs already expanding ways customers can reach them, the four above areas are where your business can differentiate.

Employee experience (EX)

Employee experience is the missing link to accelerated growth, Tiffani said, and there are 3 key things preventing companies from taking action:

  1. Lack of alignment.
  2. Burnout and turnover.
  3. Isolated teams.

Bear in mind, Tiffani said, it’s a person who delivers on your brand promise. Unhappy customers can make unhappy employees, and vice versa. Don’t hire for culture, hire for a values match.

Traits that help SMB leaders succeed:

  • Innovative mindset
  • Market knowledge
  • Good leadership skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Flexibility and agility
  • People and communication skills
  • Self-discipline
  • Money management skills

4 steps SMBs can take to improve EX:

  1. Align your company with strong leadership and vision.
  2. Align IT and operational strategy to focus on CX.
  3. Incentivize cross-functional teams to enhance both CX and EX.
  4. Invest in technologies to measure CX and EX.

“Be bold. Give it a shot. The worst thing that can happen is, it doesn’t work,” Tiffani said in close. “You either win — or you learn.”

Thanks to all who joined us virtually and in Irving, Texas, for this day of learning and perspectives shared. And a special thank you to our Business Resources for lending their support and expertise.

Category: Business Growth & Strategy

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About the Author: Mary Ellen Sheehy

As Chief Member Programs Officer, Mary Ellen Sheehy leads Vistage’s Member Programs team, delivering world-class events, Networks, expert speaker programs and other benefits that provide small and midsize businesses with resources and con

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