Generating new business and thriving
Covid-19 changed the world as we know it, and along with it, customer expectations. Everything is evolving and those organisations that want to thrive, add value, and solve customers’ challenges, will need to have a hard look at their products and services to accommodate the shifts that are happening.
One thing is clear: we won’t understand the full impact of the pandemic for quite some time. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that some organisations are still able to thrive and gain a competitive advantage, even in the most trying times.
Heinrich Swanepoel, Business Development Manager at PaySpace, a leader in payroll and HR software, says generating new business is not a perfect science. “You never know exactly what is needed, but it is still critical to understand your audience. This means understanding who they are, where they fit in, and even identifying who you think your ideal customer is.”
He says having a full profile of the customer is key to understanding them.
“In any customer journey you need to have several things in place. Firstly, you need to constantly create awareness about the company through marketing, blogs, and social media, which will create an interest in your product or solution. From there, it moves to the desire stage, where the interest becomes a need. Following this comes the action stage, and then after that, it’s retaining them by interacting with them, and meeting their future needs.”
He says even in this strange time, marketing and sales funnels haven’t changed dramatically, and now it’s more about honing or sharpening that edge and targeting specific customers.
The road to generating new business isn’t without its challenges either. “For me, the biggest obstacle is attention and experience. Today, customers are spoiled for choice, and have trouble focusing, especially in a world where there is a plethora of offerings, and one that is more digital and connected than ever. Customers are being targeted and spoken to in multiple ways, on multiple channels, so you need to know your audience, and where they spend their time.”
It is also critical, says Swanepoel, to have good content to keep them engaged. “Experience is key, too. Your competitors are only a click away, so ensuring your platforms are intuitive, seamless, and offers a good user experience is fundamental. Customers are used to convenience and want everything to be available at the touch of a button without any hassles. If they don’t get this, they will move on.”
Another factor that is key to generating new business, he says, is keeping the customer at the heart of everything that your organisation does, particularly in light of the connectivity that has crept into everything. “Service is playing a much bigger role. Companies that are service-oriented have customers that stay loyal to them. “
There are initiatives that companies can introduce to benefit their customers and grow their organisations, such as ‘refer a friend’ or ‘refer and earn’ that PaySpace implemented. “Again, when a customer has completed the sales journey; has become a customer, enjoys the ease of use, and their expectations have been met, then you’re fulfilled a specific need for them. If you can accomplish all of that, you end up making them advocates of the company. If they can benefit from sharing that experience with others, it’s a win-win for everyone.”
He says although people are more likely to talk when an experience is negative, positive feedback can help an organisation grow significantly. “Many qualified leads have come to us from referrals by PaySpace users and customers, and the conversion rates for these leads are dramatically higher.”
There are several key characteristics of a thriving organisation, says Swanepoel. “It’s always about the product or service, the culture of the company, and the industry it plays in. There must be a balance for the company to be healthy.”
The product is critical, as is the culture and the market you play in and the value proposition you offer. It is also important to differentiate yourself and set yourself apart from your competitors, because being the same as every other company in the same sector won’t offer you success. “You have to define yourself and what you stand for,” he says.
In closing, Swanepoel says what we’ve seen in this day and age with the pandemic, is that the fastest growing company is the market leader. “But this is not just about increasing sales. There needs to be a major focus on retention instead of simply going after new business. Make a point of hearing from the customers who got you to where you are, and be sure to keep them happy.”