Business Insights

Business Insights

Maximise your marketing advantage with these 7 marginal gains

Between 1908 and 2004, Great Britain won just one cycling gold medal at the Olympic Games. 

In fact, Team GB’s performance was so mediocre that one of Europe’s top manufacturers refused to sell them bikes because they didn’t want to look bad.

But in 2008, everything changed. Britain's cycling team won 60% of the gold medals that were up for grabs. For the next ten years, Team GB dominated professional cycling, winning 178 world championships, 66 gold medals and five Tour De France victories.

It’s one of the greatest winning streaks in sporting history. But how did they do it?

The concept of marginal gains is simple: instead of looking for groundbreaking innovations, find and make small improvements wherever possible. By making 1% improvements across a range of areas, your overall performance will be dramatically improved.

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Unsurprisingly, marginal gains has a lot of support in the business world as well as sport. Success in both fields comes down, in part, to maximising your competitive advantage wherever possible.

But what can you do right now to find and make those marginal gains so that your business will have the edge?


Invest in your CRM

A well-implemented and managed CRM can be the central nervous system of your marketing operations. It can help you identify your top customers, optimise your marketing processes and improve sales and marketing alignment.

A poorly-implemented or looked after CRM is little more than an expensive contacts book.

Time and money spent on your CRM - either building campaigns, tidying up your customer data or improving your platform knowledge - will pay itself back many times over. Especially if you’re already spending money on a platform which is currently underutilised.


Refresh your website

Websites degrade over time. This can be because of technical glitches which accumulate as your CMS and plugins are updated, or because they’re no longer in-step with your services or positioning, or because the design and messaging has become outdated.

Now is the time to fix these things. Not only because you may have the time to do so, but because your interactions with prospects and customers are likely to be entirely online for some time to come.

A slightly dodgy website may seem not like a big deal to you, but for someone who’s coming into contact with your business for the first time, that’s their first impression. 

Having a website that’s littered with 404s and typos is like turning up to your first meeting with coffee spilt down your top.


Upskill your team

Every team has knowledge gaps. No matter how accomplished or qualified your people are, there are always things they can learn.

Online training will not only set you up for the future, it will show your staff that you’re committed to them and their future. It may also give them a renewed sense of purpose and positivity, which will be particularly welcome during these uncertain times. 

This training can be internal , such as some 121 online sessions with someone more experienced on your team; or externally sourced, there are a lot of really good offers out there at the moment. Plus providers such as HubSpot have fabulous online tutorials.


Fix leaks in your pipeline

Every business owner and marketer wants to create a seamless and optimised customer journey but few businesses have one.

Now is a great time to find those leaks in your sales pipeline and fix them. A few of the signs that your pipeline could do with some work are:

  • Low conversions at the top of the funnel
  • Leads that aren’t followed up on
  • Bottlenecks in the middle of the funnel
  • Inaccurate sales data or missed sales targets

Aside from your marketing and sales process, now is a great time to look at your general marketing and business operations. Processes are hard to fix when they’re in full swing. The fact that things are a little bit quieter makes this a great time to overhaul processes which could do with a refresh.


Get feedback from your customers

Your customers know your services better than anyone. In fact, they can give you valuable outside perspectives on what currently works and what could be improved.

Gather feedback from top customers and use it to tighten up your services and customer experience. They may also be able to give you a steer on what your competition is up to, how your pricing stacks up and other routes to market you might want to consider.

"Genuine customer insights are a powerful starting point for new ideas and innovation."

Customers are also a great source of insight for innovation. Ask them what they’re struggling with and what kind of support they’re looking for at the moment. Genuine customer insights are a powerful starting point for new ideas and innovation. 


Review the competition

In order to establish a competitive advantage, you need to know who you’re up against. New players enter the market all the time, so use this opportunity to refresh your competitor research.

A few of the key things you may want to look into are:

  • Who are your direct competitors in terms of product or services?
  • How do they position their products or services, what language do they use?
  • How have they branded themselves?
  • Who are they working with?
  • What are their routes to market?
  • What’s their marketing approach and what can you learn from the publicly available stats like social engagement?


Improve your distribution

Take stock of all of your distributors and look into how they represent your product. Distributors can sometimes fall behind in terms of branding, messaging or positioning. 

Using this time to make marginal gains across your CRM, website, skills base, pipeline and customer experience will put you in a great place to capitalise on the economic upswing that follows the current situation and give you the edge on your competition.

If you're struggling to identify areas for improvement or want advice on how to tighten up your marketing processes, feel free to get in touch

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Images via Adobe Stock (takasu) and Pixabay

Business Growth

Written by Sally Shuttleworth

Sally Shuttleworth is Regional Director for The Marketing Centre and specialises in working with small and mid-size businesses. She has over 20 years’ experience working in a broad number of different industries, including FMCG, tech, manufacturing, the baby industry and financial services.

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