Author Archives: Jamie

Will Sales Jobs become Obsolete?

Modern technology has become a permanent fixture of our day to day lives and this has had an influential effect on business. Many aspects of business have become automated, whether it be online shopping, self-service checkouts or click and collect points. Companies are looking towards technology as a cheaper, faster and more advanced alternative to human workers. Whilst this has been massively beneficial to customers, many workers have lost their jobs with whole industries now completely automated. With technology advancing every day, other business sectors could be at risk of this outcome. Will sales be next?

Sales play an important role within every company. Individuals within these positions can offer services which mean the difference between a customer making a purchase or going elsewhere. However, with more consumers choosing to shop online, many aspects of sales have been automated. Take for example the retail juggernaut Amazon. The majority of customers will have purchased countless items from Amazon without ever speaking to a real human. This is becoming standard for all online stores, with consumers only interacting with customer service agents if they have some sort of problem.

We are already seeing evidence that some sales jobs have already become obsolete and others are not too far behind. That being said, this doesn’t mean that all aspects of sales will become automated in the future. There are some aspects of customer service which simply cannot be replicated by software and this is good news for workers.

The reason certain sales positions will remain in human hands is that they can offer something unique. Sales reps can build real relationships with customers and this engenders trust between companies and their consumers. Humans can also offer a personalised experience to customers which helps consumers to feel cared for and respected. Finally, sales reps can also provide subjective information which is something that is often missing from automated processes. It may be the case that in the future, the human sales experience becomes a luxury which is sought after by customers. For example, compare clothes shopping online with interacting with a real life personal shopper.

Whilst the human experience is still relevant when it comes to businesses and their interaction with customers, this may not be the case with business to business relationships. Many companies are opting to buy online because they claim it’s quicker and easier than having to deal with a sales rep. It may be the case that sales position will take more of a hit within B2B because companies are more likely to know exactly what they want. Some consumers may prefer help from reps because they haven’t actually made their minds up yet.

As we move forward, many positions within companies are going to become obsolete, this is just a fact. This could have a devastating impact on workers but there could be ways in which to combat this effect. We will lose some job types but these will be replaced with new positions we haven’t seen before. The trick is to offer something which cannot be provided by a machine and this can be applied to whatever your job description is. In terms of sales, employees should look into personalising the service they offer. This means becoming an expert in your chosen field and proving that you have both the objective as well as subjective knowledge required in order to offer a fully rounded service. As with many positions, a sunny disposition and friendly manner are also worth their weight in gold.

How to Make Your Pricing Strategy Profitable

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Creating and maintaining a successful business can involve a variety of different processes. Arguably, one of the most important considerations is pricing as this can dictate the overall health of your company and whether you are turning a profit. The general consensus is often that the lower your prices are the more popular you will be with customers but this isn’t always the case. Your pricing strategy should be completely tailored to your individual business and should take into account the specific issues affecting your company.

Costing

When creating a pricing strategy, one of the first things to look at is the cost to your business. This can include anything from design, manufacture, shipping, promotion and customer service. Each and every company will have different costings to consider in accordance with the product which is being sold.

All of these costs should be factored in to the overall price of your product or service. The amount you spend to produce and provide the product shouldn’t be higher than the cost applied to the customer otherwise you won’t earn a profit. This may seem like an obvious point but it’s one that is often forgotten by many businesses. Especially those who work within a volatile market that is subject to unexpected price hikes. It should be noted that start-up companies may find it difficult to make a profit in the first year due to the time it takes to establish a business and attract a customer base but this is something which is individual to each business. Profit should be the eventual goal of every business.

Competition

Once you have calculated how much it will cost to run your company, it can be useful to check out your competition. Look to your peers who are offering similar products or services and find out how much they are charging. This doesn’t mean you should copy your competitors and their price plan but it can be useful to ascertain what customers are paying for similar products. This is important as it can be quite difficult for businesses to judge the financial thresholds of their clients. Charge too much and you alienate your customer base, charge to little and you may send out the wrong message e.g. poor quality.

Using your competition as a benchmark for your pricing strategy can be difficult for companies who offer unique products and/or services. There are some businesses out there who don’t have many peers, if any at all and they can find it difficult to decide on a specific price point. In these circumstanced your business costs become even more important and influential.

Cost vs. Value

Some companies can charge a price for their products and/or services which is much higher than it costs them to provide it. This is when the idea of value comes into play. The cost of an item is how much a company think its worth, the value of the item is how much the customer is willing to pay and this difference can be pivotal. Some companies have become incredibly successful because they base their pricing strategy around the value of their products.

The value of a product or service is determined by many different factors, including the type of product, branding, function and in some cases even packaging. A good example of this phenomena can be found with tech giant Apple. The overall cost of manufacturing and selling a product such as an iPhone is much lower than the final price applied to the customer. Whilst many companies are unable to achieve this with their own tech, Apple have succeeded because consumers are willing to pay extra because they recognise Apple as a high quality brand. This is the same reason why some customers will pay extreme amounts of money for designer clothing which will have been made for a fraction of the cost. Value is an important concept.

 

Why Is There No Trust Between Consumers and Companies?

Trust

‘Only 8% of people trust what companies say about themselves’ – this recent shocking statistic is representative of the problems facing the majority of businesses. Companies may have become more efficient at advertising and targeting sales but they have become less trustworthy. This is a major problem which isn’t going away. Without trust, businesses cannot build long-lasting relationships with their customers and therefore cannot create brand loyalty. There are many reasons behind this shift but there are ways for companies to turn things around.

Advertising

There have been a lot of changes within advertising in recent years, many of which are to blame for the lack of trust between companies and clients. For example, many consumers are uncomfortable with their personal information being shared without prior consent. Another issue with advertising is how the actual products and services are described. Some businesses exaggerate the benefits of their products and therefore make it extremely difficult for the products to live up to the hype. This leads to a disappointed customer who is going to take their business elsewhere in the future.

The best way to engender trust within your customers is to be respectful and honest. This means advertising products truthfully, without exaggeration. Incorporating customer reviews into your product pages will also help in creating a well-rounded outlook of your products and services.

Sales

Profit and sales are vital to any business but they shouldn’t come before your customers. Many companies will endeavour to sell products and services to customers, whether the consumer needs them or not. This can be particularly unethical when it comes to vulnerable people such as the elderly.

There is a way to chase profit and still operate as a conscientious and thoughtful company. One of the best ways to achieve this is by finding your client base. Target the group of people who are already looking for your products and/or services and sell to them. As well as helping to build trust, this approach can also make much more sense financially compared to targeting everyone.

Customer Service

Customer service offers a direct relationship between businesses and their client base. This allows companies to showcase how they treat their customers and this will dictate future interactions. The best away to approach this issue is to listen to each and every customer and treat every correspondence with the same priority. Some customers will have complaints but businesses should remain calm and try their best to remedy the problem at hand.

Many companies now offer a wide range of customer service options, which is highly appreciated by consumers. This means offering traditional communication methods such as telephone, email and post, as well as more modern options which include instant chat, social media or even video chat. The easier you make it for the customer, the more likely they are to return to you in the future.

Identity

Branding can be powerful tool, not only for boosting sales but also for showcasing yourself as a reputable, customer-centric company. There are many ways to build a brand identity which focuses on both business and people. For example, many organisations work hard to combat their carbon footprint and encourage others to do the same. Some businesses are incredibly philanthropic and will complete pro-bono work alongside their paid services.

These are just some examples of the ways in which branding can effect trust. Any company can forge successful relationships with their consumers by projecting an honest image of quality, reliability and respect.

Unfortunately, although very few consumers trust organisations within the corporate world, this can change. Many newer businesses are going against the traditional business model and beginning their journey with mutual respect in mind as opposed to profit no matter what.

Does Directory Advertising Still Work?

Directories

Modern advertising conjures up images of viral marketing, television campaigns and social media but where does this leave directory advertising? This traditional form of advertising has been popular for many years but the business world has changed dramatically in recent times. Although there is a lot of competition out there, directory advertising still has its place and can offer a wealth of benefits to small and large businesses alike.

Paper vs. Digital

Traditionally, directory advertising utilised a paper based system, e.g. yellow pages. Before the internet, these directories would have been one of the only ways for people to find specific types of businesses. With the advent of the internet, these directories have moved online. Online directories retain all of the advantages of their paper counterparts but benefit from the networking potential of the internet.

Branding

Branding is important for every company but creating a brand can be expensive and time consuming. Advertising within a directory can help businesses in their endeavour to build their brand. This can be achieved in a variety of different ways, through showcasing products and services to including an introductory paragraph on the business as a whole. This is especially successful in specialised or trade directories as consumers will begin to identify specific businesses with particular industries.

Search Engines

Businesses which advertise through a directory based website will often feature highly on search engine results. This is due to the fact that many directories often place high on search results and by creating a connection between your business and the directory, your rankings will increase as well. This is particularly beneficial for smaller businesses who may find it difficult to compete with larger companies who utilise SEO.

Targeted

One of the main advantages of advertising within directories is that you are going to reach your target audience without even trying. Many companies go above and beyond trying to target advertising to specific client bases but directory based advertising does it for you. This is especially true for trade directories which will only list companies who deal in a specific market. This approach is particularly efficient and is therefore ideal for businesses with less money to spend on marketing.

Feedback

Customer feedback can be an invaluable tool, not just for you but for other potential consumers as well. Many online directories allow customers to post reviews or comments on particular businesses and their products and services. This can be a form of advertising in itself and the best part is it’s completely free. Customer reviews help to personalise your products and can actually influence other customers into making a purchase.

Networking

As well as offering a database of businesses for customers, directories can also be utilised by other companies. Therefore they can help businesses to network with their contemporaries which could lead to new suppliers or even new contracts. In fact some businesses build their entire infrastructure around working with other companies, e.g. B2B. The internet has opened up communications throughout the globe and therefore networking has never been easier. Whilst many business owners flock to social media, many forget the benefits of directory networking.

It’s clear that there is still a place for directory advertising, especially for businesses who are looking to gain exposure. In some cases, advertising using this method can have advantages over traditional online advertising, social media and email marketing. Overall, directories offer a relatively, quick and easy method for boosting sales and showcasing your business to consumers.