OHTec SIG Recap: Building a Cohesive Sales and Marketing Strategy

Too many companies are taking a random, scattered approach when it comes to marketing and selling to their target audiences, according to speakers at OHTec’s first Sales and Marketing Special Interest Group event of 2019.

Share
  • Email
  • Compass Payroll

    The SIG speakers—Bruce Scheer, CEO of SalesConversation.com and host of the Sales Conversation Podcast; John Merritt, CEO and co-founder of Chicago-based Zenn Solutions; and Pete Martin, founder and CEO of Cleveland-based Votem—agreed that the best way to drive growth in the bottom line is by identifying a larger theme or point of view within the company mission and then taking intentional steps to align activities behind that larger purpose.

    Scheer said companies that have not identified that larger purpose end up engaging in random acts of content and conversation and that does nothing to build the business. “There’s no cohesion or consistency,” he said.

    To help in the process of pinpointing this greater purpose, Scheer recommended sales and marketing leaders ask themselves the following three questions:

    • What is my customer’s biggest problem?
    • What are people in my market currently talking about?
    • What unique insight can my company bring to this conversation?

    Merritt hit on similar points during his presentation at the event, which was held Jan. 17 at the Great Lakes Brewery Tasting Room. When you take time to ensure what you’re doing is tied to the bottom line, you avoid “busy work” and will be better positioned to hit your sales and marketing objectives.

    Time well spent

    Aligning everyone behind a singular purpose and then communicating that mission to customers can be a lengthy process. Scheer said companies will have to take time testing with their target audience, industry influencers and the company’s own internal sellers as well to ensure the messaging is hitting the target.

    Another helpful exercise when planning the execution of a cohesive sales and messaging strategy, especially as it relates to digital products or services, is to take the analog experience customers experience and ensure the digital experience matches that analog experience as closely as possible, Martin said. All told, it can take between 18 and 24 months for the theme to take shape, Scheer said.

    Votem’s Martin attested to all the legwork that must go into putting this kind of strategy in place. In the case of his company, he said Votem has gotten good at qualifying opportunities. The company goes state by state and determines where their efforts are most likely to yield results. This results in the creation of a heat map showing where Votem should focus its time and energy and, in the process, helps it avoid being inefficient.

    One stumbling block Scheer has seen companies run into comes when big egos get in the way. He’s seen examples where the senior leadership of a company will want to make changes to the customer sales and marketing plan. When that happens, he said it’s important to remind these leaders that this plan isn’t being developed for them; rather, it’s for the company’s target audience who have already made it clear that this messaging resonates with them.

    “We’re not designing for your CEO,” he said. “We’re designing for your customers.”

    The OHTec Sales and Marketing SIG is just one example of the many events the Greater Cleveland Partnership hosts each year that provide Northeast Ohio companies with education and resources they need to grow their business. Click here to view a list of more upcoming events that could benefit your business.


    Pre-Check
    Next up: Part 1: Energy Audits: The What and Why
  • More in Operations
  • Part 1: Energy Audits: The What and Why

    Most people do not like the thought of an audit. It brings to mind penalties and problems from Government entities, but when it comes to your building, an energy audit can be a valuable map to improving your facility and saving money.

    Most people do not like the thought of an audit. It brings to mind penalties and problems from Government entities, but when it comes to your building, an energy audit can be a valuable map to improving your facility and saving money.

    Share
  • Email
  • Compass Payroll

    Through our programs we have performed energy audits on over 800 buildings in the Greater Cleveland area during the past 3 years. These audits, most of which were performed at no cost to the customers, showed where the best opportunities for savings could be found and identified some issues that the business owner, either never knew about, or did not realize was wasting so much energy and money.

    A holistic review of a building identifies, not only the easily spotted wasters of energy, like old lighting and inefficient HVAC equipment, but can also identify areas of waste that are more hidden like behavioral factors and the intersection of your equipment and the building envelope. The audit process is simple and involves a walkthrough of your building, answering some questions about your operation and providing recent utility bills. We are then able to generate a model of how your building uses power and identify those savings opportunities.

    In this series of posts, we will dive into some of the what and why of building energy audits and the items that we most frequently find. Stay tuned to learn more about these topics that will be discussed:

    1. Part 2: Audits: What and Why
    2. Identify Changes: What We Find - Annual Energy Spend
    3. Why Bills: Tuning Curve
    4. ECM: Frequent Findings
    5. Don’t Leave it on the Shelf

    To contact the energy team, email energy@gcpartnership.com or call 216-592-2205, or visit cose.org/audits to learn more.

    Pre-Check
    Next up: Part 2: Energy Audits: the What, the Why, and the Savings
  • More in Operations
  • Part 2: Energy Audits: the What, the Why, and the Savings

    In the first blog of the energy audit series, we talked about the reasons for doing an audit and some of the basics on what to expect. Now we want to show what energy savings and types of projects we identify in buildings. We have performed a little over 800 building audits through our programs, so we have seen a wide variety of building types, sizes and conditions. The example we’ll illustrate is based on an 8,800 square foot building.

    In the first blog of the energy audit series, we talked about the reasons for doing an audit and some of the basics on what to expect. Now we want to show what energy savings and types of projects we identify in buildings. We have performed a little over 800 building audits through our programs, so we have seen a wide variety of building types, sizes and conditions. The example we’ll illustrate is based on a 8,800 square foot building.

    Share
  • Email
  • Compass Payroll

    Energy audits tell you what your building is currently spending in terms of energy, but the real purpose is to identify ways to save. Using the average 8,800 sqft building, building tenants or owners spend on average $16,000 annually on electricity and natural gas. The building audit has identified $3,500 in savings with a payback of 5 years.  Buildings with larger usage tend to find larger savings. 

    These savings come from a number of different Energy Conservation Measures (ECM) and range from the low, no cost variety to significant capital expenditures. The chart below is from a typical building and highlights the usage of power by building system and where the savings will be found. The lighting and heating sections for most of the buildings we see are where the savings is found. Lighting technology is driving a lot of this savings and because we live in a northern climate, heating is a significant factor as well.

    Looking at the lighting in the graph below you may be surprised that there is so much savings to be found. The technology in the past 5 years has improved both in quality of light and the efficiency of the equipment. Savings of 50% on your lighting is not uncommon, in fact, it tends to be the largest driver of cost savings.

     

    In this post, we covered the amount of savings that is typically identified through an energy audit and what part of the building it affects. The energy audit is not the end; it is just a road map to identify the opportunities.  Like any accurate map, there are landmarks that are needed to find your way. Next time we will look into one of those energy audit landmarks, your current utility bills and why they are needed in the audit process.

    Pre-Check
    Next up: Part 3 Energy Audits: Utility Bills and the Tuning Curve
  • More in Operations
  • Part 3 Energy Audits: Utility Bills and the Tuning Curve

    This series about building energy audits has covered why to have one done and what we typically find. In this blog we discuss an integral piece of the energy audit -- your current utility bills.

    This series about building energy audits has covered why to have one done and what we typically find. In this blog we discuss an integral piece of the energy audit -- your current utility bills.

    Share
  • Email
  • Compass Payroll

    During a building audit, we look at all of your building systems and using software, create a model of how your building uses power.  A lot of detail goes into these models, from counting individual lights to determining the age, size and approximate efficiency of your existing HVAC system. What we find is these models are very accurate in determining energy use and savings opportunities.  We also know that every business and every building use power differently, so while the initial numbers are pretty close current utility bills allow us to “tune” the model and make sure it accurately represents how you use power.

    Actual Natural Gas vs. Predicted

    By aligning our model with your bills we have confirmation that not only are the structure and systems in your building properly represented, but we are also showing the proper behavioral and operational trends. This tuning step provides additional confidence in the findings so you can believe the savings identified and get started on those projects.

    Next time we will share the frequent energy conservation measures we find during building audits.

     

    Pre-Check
    Next up: Part 4 Energy Audits: Energy Conservation Measures
  • More in Operations
  • Part 4 Energy Audits: Energy Conservation Measures

    This series about building energy audits has covered the what and why, the savings, and utilities and the tuning curve, but what suggestions do we give to managers to save power and money? This time we will review the common changes we identify.

    This series about building energy audits has covered the what and why, the savings, and utilities and the tuning curve, but what suggestions do we give to managers to save power and money? This time we will review the common changes we identify.

    Share
  • Email
  • Compass Payroll

    Energy conservation measures (ECMs) are the term for the projects we identify through the energy audit. Every report has a variety of projects listed in increasing length of payback. Projects range from the instant payback of behavioral changes to the longer-term paybacks found with changing out HVAC systems and insulation.

    There are some items that show up in almost every audit. These tend to be both inexpensive, so they easily fit into our target payback window, and ubiquitous in terms of everyone can do better. The most common type of ECM are the behavioral changes. These include things like properly set thermostats and making sure the lights get turned off when not in use. These behavioral changes have no cost but provide significant savings. The other common ECM is lighting changes. While many of the large companies in the region have taken advantage of the new lighting technology to save electricity, far too many of the buildings we see in the region are using outdated technology that costs them unnecessary electricity and maintenance costs. LEDs are available in just about every form and are cost competitive to older technologies, so we see lighting suggestions in nearly every report. Another recommendation that is showing up more frequently as technology changes is smart, or internet based thermostats. These systems provide a wide range of benefits, the least of which being the 20-40% energy savings that they have delivered to the buildings that have installed them.

    There are two key takeaways from this: first, don’t feel bad that your building is not as efficient as it can/should be. Most of your neighbors are wasting energy and money also. Second and most important, it does not take a huge budget and extensive renovations to save money on power. The knowledge form an energy audit and a little effort is all that is required to improve your building and save money.

    Pre-Check
    Next up: Part 5 Energy Audits: Start Saving!
  • More in Operations
  • Part 5 Energy Audits: Start Saving!

    This series about building energy audits has covered everything from what an audit is, the reasons for having an one, what is involved, and what we typically find. The hardest part of the energy audit is using it.

    This series about building energy audits has covered everything from what an audit is, the reasons for having an one, what is involved, and what we typically find. The hardest part of the energy audit is using it.

    Share
  • Email
  • Compass Payroll

    Energy audits provide a roadmap for how to make your facility more energy efficient. The report not only gives estimated costs for the energy saving measures, but also tells you how much power and money you will save and the estimated payback. The only problem with an energy audit is that it does not complete the project by itself. Like any map, it will not get you anywhere if you don’t take that first step.

    We never hear people say they are not doing the recommended projects because they want to keep wasting money on their utility bills or love their old flickering yellowed lights. Which is lucky, because we do not have anything to address those reasons, but almost everything else; from lack of capital to leased spaces has solutions that we can help you identify and access to get on track. So, don’t leave the report on the shelf. Pull it down and start saving!

     

    Pre-Check
  • More in Operations