Monday, December 30, 2013

The Learning Strategy's 2013 Top Ten (10) Most Popular Posts...

The Learning Strategy's Top 10 Popular Posts

1.  15 Important Reasons Why Community Colleges Should Be Your Business Training Resource. Anything missing? 1. Experience - Serves hundreds...

2.  The Learning Strategy – Five (5) Phases of the Hourglass CNA.  Understanding employer grants are good, understanding employer needs are better…

3.  Business Outreach Tip:  STOP Doing the Same Old Things... 

4.  A Story About Charlie - Employee Training That Goes Beyond Learning! I wanted to share a story about Charlie, a 62 year old technician from a large Fortune 20 telecom company.  At the time, Charlie told me he ...

5.  Community Colleges: If You Want To Engage with Business, Rethink Your Marketing Strategy and Business Outreach Efforts.  When employers think of a Community College, they usually think of a place for a student to receive a quality two year education at an...  


6.  The 6 Major Challenges for College Workforce Organizations:   Meeting the needs of business has become more complicated and the demand for...

7.  Are you working with Vendors or Strategic Partners? Do you know the difference? “We’re going to see employment-based learning as a new model going forward,” said Harper President Kenneth Ender. “It’s a powerful tool ...  

8.  College's Strengths and Weaknesses?  The recession refocused companies on the bottom-line in a more straightforward way, and a broad review of policies across the corporate ...

9.  Five ( 5) areas for civilian and military retirees to focus on in 2013.  Was this past year an employment bust for... 

10.  Top Five Ways to Market Higher Education to Businesses.  With the increasing pressure for Higher Education to meet business educational needs, the label of “off-the-shelf” traditional classes ...

What Can Happen if You're Actually Successful in Internet Marketing...




I was fortunate enough to work for one of the pioneers in Internet Marketing.  This was a very large company who had the idea to elevate their brand, products and services by using internet marketing.  Of course, we had access to the best website designers, an e-commerce engine and sophisticated web tools to support any type of product sale or inquiry.
Our approach was our market research, our messaging and our online sales through the internet.  We looked at the benefits of Internet Marketing such as richer content, easy accessibility and an additional sales channel to interact with prospects and receive better lead sources, better prospects, increased sales.  Also, it provided us real-time results by systematically measuring through web analytics, client reviews, surveys and ratings.

Sounds like a nice problem to have?  Right? What we didn’t realize was the potential for success - how to manage the large volume of prospects who were interested or were considering buying our products and services.  The problem was our response time (follow-up) was slow and many times even non-existent.     
As we all know, like globalization, internet marketing has brought new help and thousands of new efficiencies that have dramatically changed the way we do business.  But at the same time, if poorly planned and staffed, internet marketing can potentially damage a company’s brand reputation, customer satisfaction and most importantly trust.

Bringing more traffic to your website is good, but below are 6 strategies to manage sales ready and not so sales ready leads:

·         Develop good lead criteria.

·         Have good scoring criteria against your established lead criteria.

·         Have a mechanized web-to-lead strategy, automatically assigning sales ready “hot” leads or “warmer” leads to the seller.

·         Include these leads as part of your sales management meetings.  Manage them as you would manage traditional prospects.

·         If you are receiving an abundant of “warmer” or “lesser qualified” leads, assign them as well to your staff or our Appointment Lab to nurture until they become appointment ready for the seller.

·         Get feedback, what attracted the person to the site, what did they like about the content, what experiences didn’t they like….

In the Internet Marketing age, reputation moves at the speed of light. Do something wrong, and you will know about it within minutes, get something right, and your reputation can blossom just as quickly.www.thelearningstrategy.com

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Salesman (A Poem)

The Salesman

Who is the Salesman? 
One that never gives up - aiming to please.
Someone that you want them to be.
Is it his generous spirit, his will to succeed?
Exceeding all the plans that you believe.

Your high expectation is his inward flight.
That makes the path before him look so bright.
Is it his knowledge or willingness to learn?

Is it his natural instinct to discern?
He’s motivated by results, but does not stop there.
It’s his moral character that is his ultimate care.
Character that can be doomed with deceit, fear and pain.
He can still turn this tragedy into glorious gain.

What other role faces this exercise of power?
That might force the Salesman’s soul to scour.
In creating demand with such sacrifice.
He is compensated for his noble deeds.
But can fall short of your primary need.
Leaving a dead unprofitable game.
That will always be linked to his name.

Never giving up, he will always find comfort in a cause.
His breadth of confidence is his spiritual applause.
As his moral character is tested, but is not flawed.

This is The Salesman, Who never gives up and is aiming to please.

Someone that you should want them to be.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

New Year's Resolution - Six (6) guidelines in working smarter

It’s impossible, right? In order to get more done, you need to invest more time or hire more people. Working ten hour days will make you more accomplished than a colleague that only works seven. Hiring a person will double your output but will cost you at a time when budgets are shrinking.
Working smart beats working hard. In some cases working more can actually damage the amount you get accomplished. Also, getting someone up to speed in understanding your business and acquiring the right skills can cause you to work even more.  In both cases, the degree effort matches outcomes has been overstated.
Working less and accomplishing more isn’t easy. It requires thinking creatively to find more effective ways of doing things. But first you have to be open to the possibility that your methods aren’t as efficient as they could be. Once you do that you can look for ways to get more accomplished without just increasing your to-do list. Here are a few guidelines to start looking:
1) The 80/20 Sales Rule

The 80/20 rule basically suggests that a small amount of inputs contributes to a much larger amount of outputs. Using this rule means to minimize time spent in the unproductive 80%.
In application, you can’t simply cut everything that doesn’t directly contribute to your bottom line. Some things, however trivial, still need to get done. The purpose of the 80/20 Sale Rule is to force you to be more ruthless in cutting time in areas that contribute little. Here are a few suggestions:
·         Cut prospecting time (see below, sharpening the saw) time to invest more in growing your key accounts.
·         Say no to people who want commitments that don’t contribute enough value.
·         Spend more time developing an inbound marketing strategy and get prospects engaged and interested in you.

2) Interactive Selling - Critical Path

Instead of performing a needs assessment and jumping to the proposal, work the Critical Path interactively with the prospect before you deliver a proposal.  The Critical Path is a list of actions that is key in developing a no-surprise proposal.  You will find your prospect will be a valuable contributor, you’ll spend less time producing the proposal yourself and you’ll increase your probability of getting the sale.  Give yourself and your prospect action items and deadlines which will cultivate a desire to collaborate.  A proposal that concludes with a Critical Path is far stronger than one that ends with a price.
Here are some applications:
·         Document the history and projection portion of your interactions with the prospect from the time the initial meeting up until the proposal is completed. 
·         Chunk the project into smaller tasks and action items. Again, strive to complete those pieces, rather than just working on the project aimlessly.
·         Include the history portion on the last page of your proposal.

3) Sharpening the Saw

There’s an old story of two lumberjacks in a tree-cutting contest. The first picked up a rusty axe and ran into the woods immediately to start chopping trees. The second spent almost until the end of the contest sharpening his axe. After which he walked up and quickly felled the biggest tree.
The moral? Don’t use rusty tools.
Don’t waste your time doing things you don’t intend to be excellent at. Delegate them to someone who does have a sharp tool. Based on the above, if you want to invest more of your time in growing key accounts, building no-surprise, interactive proposals, why not contract with the AppointmentLab who is focused and skilled at getting you appointments.  Perfect the things you want to master and make it a priority to sharpen your tool beyond what is necessary to cut. The right partner can save you time and money.
4) Rule with Numbers

Assumptions are the biggest waste of your time. When your intuitions about the world don’t match the way it works, you can never be efficient. The only way to combat false assumptions is to test them and follow them up with numbers. The results of a test can save you hundreds of hours if it shows a current process has no impact or suggests a faster alternative.
Key Process Indicators (KPIs) - Don’t just measure the result of the sale.  Measure for example, how much research it takes to qualify a prospect, how many prospect interactions (emails and calls) it takes to get the appointment, how many prospect visits it takes to get the sale.  See how they go up, down, or change over time and how they impact your sales results.

5) The Marginal Rule of Sales Process Management
Is it better to be a perfectionist or sloppy? A perfectionist develops a process that he/she follows, measures the results and continuously improves.  One can never be efficient in getting an appointment, negotiating and contracting without following a process.  For example, randomly calling prospects or not preparing for a sales visit is a waste of valuable time. I think the answer is simpler: If the input invested gives less output doing a comparable task, it becomes haphazard, unproductive and more importantly, you could be losing potential clients.
Here are some applications to try:
·         Develop a systematic process by communicating a valued business reason (VBR) for prospects to meet with you.  Try following our Don’t Give Up process. 
·         Measure the difference between different amounts of time spent within your process. Analyze at what point in the process you are getting the appointment and compare the effectiveness changes when you change the amount of time it takes. Can you really justify spending 20 hours per week conducting  research, developing VBRs, Success Stories, e-mailing and calling on prospects instead of spending more time with your existing clients?
·         Are you getting a “yes” with a slower proposal process?  Analyze the success rate percentage using time spent on the Critical Path (above) with the client.  You don’t merely want a decision, you want a yes!  Interactive selling raises your closing percentage and boost the number of times you get a yes.

6) Energy Management

Energy management, as opposed to time management, forces you to think of results as a function of energy, not time invested. Working intensely for a short period of time can accomplish more than working for days, tired and distracted.
Working yourself into low energy can actually make you accomplish less than if you rested. Here are some ideas:
·         Work in bursts. Divide yourself between complete rest and complete focus. Don’t constantly switch in-between which leaves you neither rested nor productive.
·         Keep your prospect engaged. Maintaining the prospect’s interest and optimism while the proposal is under development lessons the burden on you to develop the “perfect solution” all by yourself.

·         Rest, health and fun matter. Enslaving yourself to your work can actually accomplish less. Master the ability to recharge yourself when you need it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

12 Reasons Connecting Education, Industry and Community Promote Mutually Beneficial Partnerships.


12 Reasons Connecting Education, Industry and Community Promote Mutually Beneficial Partnerships.
 
 
Start spreading the word, businesses want to know!  www.thelearningstrategy.com

·         Builds community awareness of degree, non-credit, certification programs, community –     corporate events, employer pools, foundations and other options for prospective businesses

·         Creates strategic and tactical connections between colleges, business and the community

·         Increase and diversify employee training and recruiting programs without increasing business headcount capacity

·         Facilitates leadership development

·         Outreach promotional strategies for business

·         Connects key stakeholder groups with industry leaders

·         Maintains learning tracking and a follow-up system with business

·         Shared LMS with real-time access to online programming

·         Provides students and businesses to connect

·         Provides business employees and colleges to connect

·         Business can expand employee education locally, regionally and nationally. 

·         Bottom line: Small and Enterprise businesses will contribute economic growth to the local and regional communities

 Jeff Roth

Monday, November 4, 2013

First-of-Its-Kind Online Master's Draws Wave of Applicants


By Douglas Belkin

In the past three weeks, Georgia Tech received nearly twice as many applications for a new low-cost online master's program as its comparable residential program receives in a year. The degree-which uses Massive Open Online Course technology-is the first of its kind, and its popularity suggests a growing demand for online learning.

The Georgia Tech program is the first master's degree from a top-ranked university based on the technology that drives MOOCs. The only difference is it is not "open," or free, as a MOOC is traditionally defined. Students have applied from 50 states and 80 foreign countries, according to the school. To graduate, they will never have to step foot on campus and will pay about $6,600, compared with about $44,000 for residential students.

The application period for the computer-science master's program, which ended on Sunday, marks another inflection point in the growth of MOOCs, as corporations, schools and online providers team up to create more such credentialed  programs.

Millions of people have taken individual online courses, but most MOOCs don't lead toward degrees, and critics argue they don't help students land jobs.

Now, a handful of schools have started to offer credits for MOOCs. And last month Udacity, a Silicon Valley company specializing in MOOCs, announced the Open Education Alliance, which allows students to earn a free certificate based on a series of online courses developed with input from Google and AT&T, among several other companies.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with its MOOC partner edX, is starting a course sequence called the XSeries, For up to $700, students will be able to take a test and earn a "verified certificate" in subjects like computer science and supply-chain management.
"I think this is symptomatic of a lot of what we're going to be seeing in the future," said Ronald Ehrenberg, the director of the Cornell Higher Education Research Institute.

Also notable among the batch of applications for the Georgia Tech program, which starts in January, is the 14- fold increase in U.S. residents. Zvi Galil, the dean of its College of Computing, said 1,854, or 79%, of the 2,359 applicants were U.S. citizens. For the residential class that began this fall, just 128, or 9%, of the 1,371 applicants were U.S citizens. Only about 150 students enrolled in the residential program, while most of the online students are expected to matriculate.
Graduate engineering programs have been dominated by foreign nationals for decades. Nearly two-thirds of all computer-science graduate students and over 70% of all electrical-engineering graduate students studying in the U.S. are from other countries, according to Stuart Anderson, author of a recent report on the subject for the National Foundation for American Policy.

"The problem is that there is no guarantee that we're always going to be able to attract talented foreign graduate students," said Mr. Ehrenberg. "We don't know what the immigration policy will be or what job opportunities there will be here relative to these people's home countries so the notion of providing more of your own is certainly important."

Sebastian Thrun, the CEO of Udacity, which is partnering with Georgia Tech as well as AT&T to create the program, said the large number of U.S. applicants highlighted a demand among adult students. "There is a really huge number of people in this country that would love to get an education while having a job or raising a family or staying at home," Mr. Thrun said. "But that need is being unmet."

Mr. Galil said he hopes to expand the Georgia Tech model to 10,000 students. The school hires an additional teacher for every 60 or so students to facilitate online chat discussions.
Every applicant with a four-year college degree who graduated with at least a 3.0 will be accepted, but that acceptance is conditional on making at least a B in the first two courses. The residential program accepts fewer than one in five applicants and that selectivity  is good for the school because it enhances prestige-but Mr. Galil said qualified applicants are turned away.

A residential student recently approached Mr. Gail and complained that the online program would devalue his degree if it grows too large because so many more people would have it.
Mr. Galil said he told the student: "You're not here because you're good, you're here because you're lucky. When we admitted you, we turned away 500 other students who were as good as you or may be better.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Be prepared for success!










What can happen if you’re actually successful in Internet Marketing?

I was fortunate enough to work for one of the pioneers in Internet Marketing.  This was a very large company who had the idea to elevate their brand, products and services by using internet marketing.  Of course, we had access to the best website designers, an e-commerce engine and sophisticated web tools to support any type of product sale or inquiry.

Our approach was our market research, our messaging and our online sales through the internet.  We looked at the benefits of Internet Marketing such as minimizing human resources, richer content, easy accessibility and an additional sales channel to interact with prospects and receive better lead sources, etc.  Also, it provided us real-time results by systematically measuring through web analytics, client reviews, surveys and ratings.

Sounds like a nice problem to have?  Right? What we didn’t realize was the potential for success - how to manage the large volume of prospects who were interested or were considering buying our products and services.  The problem was our response time (follow-up) was slow and many times even non-existent.     

As we all know, like globalization, internet marketing has brought new help and thousands of new efficiencies that have dramatically changed the way we do business.  But at the same time, if poorly planned and staffed, internet marketing can potentially damage a company’s brand reputation, customer satisfaction and most importantly trust.

Bringing more traffic to your website is good, but below are 6 strategies to manage sales ready and not so sales ready leads:

·         Develop good lead criteria.

·         Have good scoring criteria against your established lead criteria.

·         Have a mechanized web-to-lead strategy, automatically assigning sales ready “hot” leads or “warmer” leads to the seller.

·         Include these leads as part of your sales management meetings.  Manage them as you would manage traditional prospects.

·         If you are receiving an abundant of “warmer” or “lesser qualified” leads, assign them as well to your staff or our Appointment Lab www.appointmentlab.com to nurture until they become appointment ready for the seller.

·         Get feedback, what attracted the person to the site, what did they like about the content, what experiences didn’t they like….

In the Internet Marketing age, reputation moves at the speed of light. Do something wrong, and you will know about it within minutes, get something right, and your reputation can blossom just as quickly.

www.thelearningstrategy.com

Friday, August 30, 2013

Business Outreach Tip: STOP Doing the Same Old Things

I saw a blog the other day and after taking a course at a Community College  years ago, I found my copy of Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson.  

It’s a story about two mice and two “little people” who are the size of mice, but who are human and have human brains and emotions. The mice, on the other hand, act like mice – they act on instinct and are always in hot pursuit of cheese.

They're all camped out on Cheese Station C, enjoying their vast supply of cheese.  Until it runs out one day.

The mice, being mice and unemotional, simply put their running shoes on and scurry back into the world, in search of new cheese.

The little people, being unemotional humans, whine and complain.  They yell and huff and puff, "This isn't right" and "We want our cheese back!"

It takes them a long time, but finally one of the of little people gets out into the world, searching for new cheese.  It's not easy, it's discouraging at times, and takes time.  But eventually he finds his new cheese, and it's bigger and a more delicious pile of cheese than he'd ever seen before.

The moral of the story?  Do something different, be persistent and Don't Give Up!

Are YOU Doing Something Different? Or are YOU Doing the Same Old Things?

One of the biggest areas where change is happening is in Higher Education.  Twenty years ago, no one predicted that the Internet would be play a prominent role in enrollments and online learning.  And as little as five years ago, few people anticipated that you could do business using online integrated marketing (SEO, blogs, social media, etc.) generating interests and enrollments in your institutions.

Yet, despite all that, many colleges are still resistent and are doing what their predecessors did years ago, traditional marketing (TV, Print, Radio) with an informational website.

By doing the same old things, will your supply of proverbial "cheese" run out as more students and adult learners build college relationships, via social media and other Information Age avenues?

So do this right now.  Try something new.  It's time for change by adapting to a new generation of learners before your "cheese" runs out!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Notice: Liberal Arts Majors

20 cities looking for Liberal Arts Majors.  Think about adding a skill and your chances for higher visibility increases 4-fold...

http://www.businessinsider.com/tops-cities-for-liberal-arts-majors-2013-8

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Healthy Tips!

KID'S SUN SAFETY    
                             
Did you know that just a few serious sunburns can increase your child's risk of skin cancer later in life? Kids don't have to be at the pool, beach or on vacation to get too much sun. Their skin needs protection from the sun's harmful UV rays whenever they're outdoors.

Most of us know how important it is to rub on sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection. But, there are additional ways to protect your child's skin: keep them in the shade when the UV rays are strongest (10 a.m.
to 4 p.m.), cover them up with protective clothing and have them wear a hat.



Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

Friday, August 9, 2013

Competing with For-Profits in Attracting Businesses


Has anyone seen the latest University of Phoenix (UoP) commercials?  What is the message?  Get an education at UoP - our graduates are executives in business and we have business partners to help you get to where you want to be…  And colleges like Strayer University, Grand Canyon University are now listed in INC as one of the top 50 companies.
A major trend in Higher Education enrollments for the past decade has been the number of adults greater than age 25 and older seeking an education.  It could be finishing their degree through employer tuition aid, upgrading their professional skills to be more attractable to their company, changing careers, or reestablishing a post-military career.  As people are positioning themselves for success – and corporate executives agree – education is the key that opens the door to work that’s meaningful, financially rewarding and in demand.  There is every indication that this trend will continue, but with who?

Most segments of higher education are competing for these students and one way is to strategically establish business relationships.  For profits such as the above are increasingly developing these relationships and are dominating the market as a result of innovative approaches to learning and their significantly larger promotional budgets.  Here a few strategies not-for-profit and public institutions can adopt to help level the playing field.

1.     Know Your Strengths and Recognize Your WeaknessesStrengths:  All colleges and universities pride themselves on developing traditional academic programs, curriculum and teaching for the 18-21 year old.  Public Institutions and community colleges need to apply this strength into workforce training; working with businesses that need these best practices to customize their needs into educational solutions for their employees.  Additionally, professional certificates in business, healthcare and IT technology areas already have been developed and in many cases have become the mainstays of these institutions.  Weaknesses:  First, all colleges and universities need to work hard in counseling students and assisting students who are having difficulty in completing their programs. Second, public institutions and community colleges need to market and attract businesses through a data driven-results approach - following up with businesses on new trends in education and promoting successful programs that have led to employment are essential in establishing and maintaining integrity and credibility in the businessworld.  You can accomplish this by developing an interactive student support service, a marketing promotional strategy and a business outreach plan.  Marketing strategies can be following up with successful alumni, telling success stories and advertising the success of a particular individual or business partner on your brochures, website, podcast, blog and social media campaigns. You might even consider outsourcing these functions to a professional, trusted and valued partner on a contractual basis, www.thelearningstrategy.com.  

2.     Changing Demographics - The new generational mix, active adult lifestyles and corporate globalization will be a critical factor when choosing a college or university academic degree or professional certificate programs.  For-profits have done remarkably well in the past decade to accommodate these demographics, especially though online learning.  Public institutions and community colleges will need to invest in, develop and build their technology infrastructure, student support services and inbound marketing in order to compete with for-profits for students and corporate executives interested in their degree and certificate programs, philantrophy, career fairs, employer sponsorships, etc.. 

3.     Engagement - Lastly, the most important program strategy for any college and university is to get students and business involved.  Colleges and universities, similar to UoP, need to demonstrate that their academic and certificate programs meet the needs of businesses which will in turn positively impact the industries they serve.  This helps to connect the student to the college to the business.  
Given the number of options that adult students and businesses have when selecting a college or university, public institutions and community colleges must go above and beyond to ensure students and businesses understand exactly the advantages the provide  (see The Learning Strategy’s 15 Reasons Why Community Colleges Should be Your Business Training Resource). 

Health Tips!

*** Today's Tip:  DON'T REWARD YOURSELF FOR CALORIES BURNED        

Many times people overestimate the calories they burn with exercise, and they may reward themselves by eating more. If you run for an hour and then go out for a large high-calorie coffee drink with a large muffin, you probably consumed more calories than you burned. This may not be a problem if you are trying to maintain your current weight, but if your goal is to shed a few pounds, be cautious of feeling "entitled" to eat more because of your exercise. You could sabotage your efforts.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Top Five Ways to Market Higher Education to Businesses


With the increasing pressure for Higher Education to meet business educational needs, the label of “off-the-shelf” traditional classes has flipped.  Rather than meeting the needs of its faculty, it’s meeting the needs of a dynamic, rapidly changing business environment.  Is this even possible, given the college’s resources and experience?

There are plenty of college institutions out there that have workforce, corporate training, contract training and continuing education departments who are more than eager to offer the ideal customized solution to a business.  For-profit and non-profit institutions alike are becoming increasingly savvy at delivering need analysis and assessments, cobranding curriculum design/development and delivering non-traditional learning platforms (i.e. blended, hybrid, virtual, webinars, online, etc.).  Just send out a flyer, email blast, and make some phone calls or lately, an invitation to chat with a live representative.  Will those messages aim to educate or persuade a business?  Just as education providers are becoming better in marketing, so are the prospective businesses.  So the question becomes-do you have their attention-will you sell them or will you serve them?  The following are the top 5 ways to market Higher Education to Businesses:

1.       Provide a business-friendly website experience.
Many colleges ignore business program information as an afterthought to their traditional student-centric marketing.  Off-the-shelf and traditional programs are less complex and are simply what college instructors know best, so they tend to dominate traditional catalogs that migrate to their website for students.  Don’t make it difficult for a business find out what is available to them with an experience that speaks to their needs.  Create value added content messaging and linking throughout the experience.

2.       Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – seek B2B professional help.
Adding a few meta-tags is simply not going to cut it if you want to be a thought leader in education and be on top of the search results of businesses.  Your key pages, keywords, blogs, podcasts, social media, must be targeted and handled by professionals who know business.  Do-it-yourself SEO is a dangerous way handle a critical element of your digital marketing strategy.  This is especially true due to the fact that many institutions of higher education have minimal marketing budgets that try to cover students, community and business organizations.  Identify areas where you offer a business solution and optimize your content to get businesses there quickly.  You’ll serve the business and your institution.

3.       Use a B2B Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System – A traditional Student Information CRM won’t suffice.
If you plan to provide an efficient and effective experience for businesses interested in learning about your programs, it will most likely be a combination of automation and personalization.  A CRM helps you to collect information from businesses, industries, employee-students, grant programs in an organized way.  This enables you to respond to their needs immediately, track your interactions and offer them valuable feedback on what’s working and what’s not working.  This is a different dynamic compared to student information data gathering.  Determine what communication is valuable to the business so you can automate and make the time required for relationship building.

4.       Integrate traditional customer service and content-rich self-service resources.
Businesses, more than any other segment, are constantly being sold to before they even inquire.  By incorporating interactive tools and self-service elements to your website and landing pages, you give them the opportunity to feel in control to educate themselves on your educational options.  Video testimonials, program previews, CEU-credit transfers, grant programs, live chat, and unfiltered social media conversations provide a way for the prospective business to get to know you on their terms.  We found an increasing number of businesses that know about their local colleges but don’t know how they, as a business, can benefit from their programs and services. 

5.       Most importantly, proactively reach out to businesses – The Personal Touch.
While website, email blasts, and social media of the business shopping experience are important to learn about your programs, there is no replacement for proactive, personal business outreach.  Businesses know about your college and want explore more about information regarding new trends in education, customized training, partnerships, grant opportunities, campus career fairs, community and foundation events, sponsorships, etc.  

It’s a win-win relationship and both parties will learn more by meeting each other….

Our Appointment Lab and Inbound Marketing services www.thelearningstrategy.com help colleges and universities guide these strategies and tactics in an informed way that will lead to a more relevant, useful experience for businesses.  When businesses can make a balanced and informed decision about the best ways in serving their needs, this is a critical first step in trusting and valuing an educational partner in accomplishing their educational goals and objectives.

Contact Jeff at jeffroth@tlstrategy.com

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Looking to Hire...


I am looking to hire someone with good research and B2B outreach skills for our media, PEO and educational client partners.  If interested, please reply or contact me at jeffroth@tlstrategy.com.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

How many Business Development or Salespeople Do You Really Need?

How many Business Development or Salespeople Do You Really Need?

Before you hire anyone ask yourself this question, how big is your market opportunity?

Here’s a ten (10) step approach The Learning Strategy, www.thelearningstrategy.com found that works:

1.       Begin with your average contract amount multiplied by your average profit margin.  Let’s say $40,000.00 (gross) divided by 35% = $26,000.00 (net).
2.       Let’s say your combination of new and existing accounts equal 300 per year with an average gross revenue (AGR) of $120,000,000.00, average net revenue (ANR) is $7,800,000.00 per year.
3.       Current ratio sales per account is 1 salesperson|100 accounts totaling 3 salespeople accountable for $4,000,000.00 AGR, $2,600,000.00 ANR each.
4.       Now you need to identify the size of your market, what type of training customers are buying and what type of training customers will be buying.
5.       Let’s say you can identify 2000 businesses with an employee size of 100 or more.  Now you need to eliminate businesses that don’t qualify as part of your served market.  For instance, if you providing high-ticket sales training, you may want to eliminate industry codes having to do with retailing who sell through distributors or non-profits.  Then you might want to eliminate all non-headquarters businesses (if headquarters are where the decision-makers are).  You may be down to 1000 businesses.
6.       Then you may want to validate and score.  Are these ideal customers? Rate them by Dollar Potential, Access & Credibility, Product Training Fit, Community College Value-Added Fit, Leverage and your Personal Conviction.  Uh oh, down to 300 targeted business prospects!
7.      Next, add your existing accounts plus the targeted prospects (300) by the number of calls or outreach attempts.  You’ll want to segment the opportunity here, “awarding” more sales calls and outreach attempts to businesses with larger potential.  You may also want to budget more touches with businesses you already do business with (you don’t want to lose them!).
8.       Go back to item 3 for a second…  Using the 1 salesperson|100 account ratio, let’s say it took seven touches or 700 calls a year or an average of 20 calls or outreach attempts per week.  Use this as your model example.
9.       Now you simply multiply the total number of existing accounts and new targeted business prospects by  the amount of touches per year to determine how many touches a typical salesperson can make.   Be sure and reflect the time your salespeople spend in non face to face activities like research, planning and reporting, custom development projects, quality assurance and training which is about 30% of the week. 
10.   Based on the above scenario, to maintain your existng accounts and target new business prospects totaling 600 accounts, would require 4,200 touches.  4,200 touches divided by an average of 700 touches per salesperson works out to 6 full-time salespeople.  So if you have 3 people now, you could:  
a.       Add more full-time headcount (in this case an additional 3 salespersons) or,
b.      Increase the size of the opportunity for the targeted business prospects or,
c.       Hire the Appointment Lab via www.thelearningstrategy.com to reduce the amount internal calls/touches, reduce the amount of research, planning, reporting % and ultimately maintain the amount of full-time headcount capacity refocusing their efforts on nurturing the business relationship.
  

How do you determine you’re Business Development (BD) or Sales budgeting if you are providing corporate/contract training to businesses? And how can you grow your gross and net revenue if adding more salespeople is not warranted?  And what sort of approach should you use if your BD or sales team includes the Appointment Lab?  How critical is it for you to ensure that the partner you choose understands what your values are and how you are represented in the business community you serve?  We’re helping Community Colleges competitively position themselves in the markets they serve!