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Join Us at Leeds Business Week October 10

By Jennifer Esty  |  September 7, 2017

Leeds Business Week is a week long programme of over 100 events dedicated to the business and wider community across the city. Attracting delegates and contributors from across the Leeds City Region and beyond, Leeds Business Week promises to be a brilliant experience for everyone.

Driving Sales Growth with Digital Marketing

Sharp Ahead will show you how to improve your digital marketing and drive sales growth. You will also hear directly from YPO, the UK’s largest public sector buying organisation, about how they generated 200 new sales leads in 3 months on a limited budget.

To find out more about the event, or Leeds Business Week in general, visit the Leeds Business Week website.

Spaces are going fast, so please save your seat soon — register now!

Already registered?

Excellent, we can’t wait to meet you there.

For information on the venue, including parking and travel tips, please check out Aspire in Leeds.

Woman taking a call via headset

5 Inbound Call Handling Basics to Improve your Lead Generation Campaigns

By Jennifer Esty  |  August 8, 2017

Too many lead generation campaigns fail to achieve their full potential due to poor inbound call handling. Maximise your marketing investment by getting these five basics right.

Answer the phone

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, and I can’t believe I’m writing this, but many companies really do falter at the first hurtle. A successful company properly focused on inbound sales enquiries will answer every single call, no matter what time of the day or day of the week.

Calls should never go unanswered because someone is on holiday, or at lunch, or in a meeting. And there are plenty of excellent call answering services that provide a high quality experience to prospects and customers outside of business hours. Use one.

Answer in their language

A similarly painful observation but equally important: B2B prospects considering high end products or services expect and deserve a local phone number answered by a native speaker who is well versed in the company’s products and services.

Again, for B2B companies looking to expand into international markets (or from international markets into the UK) who might not yet have a local office, it’s still worth in investing in a local number and consider outsourcing to a local company specialising in inbound enquiries.

It’s not just for rookies

Many organisations use their inbound phone team as a training ground for new employees looking to skill up to be ‘proper’ sales people. And while it makes sense for sales rookies to cut their teeth on less qualified prospects before putting them in front of the big fish, make sure they are surrounded by skilled peers and are given the proper training to do their job well.

Equally it’s important to remember that the skills that make a successful inbound sales operator are not necessarily the same as the ones that make for a successful sales person. Sales people are taught to keep talking and to ask the right questions. Inbound operators need to listen first and talk second.

Take nothing for granted

Organisations who outsource their inbound sales will no doubt have regular reviews with their agency, covering KPIs, listening to calls (live or recorded), checking up on staff training and generally ensuring high quality delivery. And if they’re not, they’re with the wrong agency.

Organisations who use internal resource, however, are less likely to have these sorts of quality checks in place and just assume their employees are doing a good job. Nothing could be further than the truth. Our experience doing mystery shopping for clients shows that not only do calls go unanswered (see first point) but many are answered by unskilled staff who see inbound calls as a disruption to their ‘real’ job.

Ensure your inbound team know what their KPIs are and put in place processes for monitoring quality.

No one likes surprises

Nothing makes an inbound operator’s job harder than not having the right information to help a prospect. Make sure your inbound team are familiar with your marketing campaigns, before they happen.

They will need to see ad copy, landing pages, be trained on any promotions or demos that have been offered, and be aware of any qualifying (or disqualifying) criteria.

Sharing your marketing campaigns with the inbound team before the campaign starts has the added bonus of getting feedback from the front lines before you waste time or resource on campaigns that are likely to miss the mark.

Coloured and Decorated Easter eggs

Preparing for the Easter holiday: quick tips for B2B marketers

By Jennifer Esty  |  March 24, 2016

Easter weekend is nearly here, and you’re probably  looking forward to a few days of hot cross buns and chocolate eggs, but who is looking after your marketing while you’re away?

If you have an agency helping you out, you might not be too worried. However if you’re looking after it on your own or with a small team, some of whom are also on holiday, there are a few things you can do to make sure all the hard work of the past few months isn’t compromised by a week away.

Using AdWords?

If you have Google AdWords campaigns running, download the Google AdWords app (not AdWords Express).

This handy app gives you top line campaign information including:

  • Stats
  • Bids and budgets
  • Real-time alerts and notifications
  • Call a Google expert
  • Act on suggestions to improve your campaigns

Schedule content

Not all of your potential customers will be on holiday, so don’t let your content go stale while you are away. You can schedule content for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. There are loads of tools you can use, including HootSuite, Sprout Social and TweetDeck. Check out this article by Capterra, complete with a handy comparison chart for more information.

Using Facebook?

With Facebook Pages Manager you can view and respond to comments and private messages from your phone (as well as see Page Insights) and the Facebook Adverts Manager allows you to edit your ads and budgets, get notifications of when ads are finishing and keep an eye on your spending.

Still send emails

Most email platforms will allow you to send emails scheduled for a specific time. Marketing automation platforms also allow you set up automatic email sends based on user behaviour. So you don’t need to stop your lead nurturing over the holidays or let potential leads go cold while you figure out what to do with all that leftover lamb (incidentally, the BBC do a nice list of recipes).

Think about your website

As with email most content management systems have an option to schedule content, so you don’t have to leave your Happy Easter message on your website until the 11th of April. Nothing screams ‘I’ve gone on holiday and don’t care about you right now’ like outdated seasonal content. If your website CMS doesn’t have a schedule function, consider putting your best performing content on the homepage while you’re away, or at least don’t leave up information about an out of date event (or a picture of an Easter egg) during your break.

Check with your Sales team

Finally, just before you leave, make sure there is a plan in place to deal with inbound leads. If you have a small sales team who are also on holiday, make sure someone will be monitoring the group email address and you have an answer service in place so the phone doesn’t go unanswered.

Happy Easter!

Various charts next to a keyboard

What Sales Needs from Marketing in B2B Companies

By John Woods  |  December 2, 2015

Every organisation is different, this is a generic list designed to provide insight on the sort of activities marketing should be providing to generate qualified sales leads.

Please click here for your free printable Marketing Activities Checklist.


Respond to social media: Use a social media monitoring tool (we use Act-On’s Prospecting tool) to place alerts for our brand, our competitors brands and keywords about our offerings. It’s simple, help people find the information they are looking for and some of them will turn into sales leads.

Respond to brand advocates: When a client talks about our brand respond, it makes them feel good, us feel good and builds trust with potential clients.

Follow your customers and promote their success on social.

Don’t use automated tweets: It’s faux, be authentic.

Post upwards of six tweets a day, two Facebook and three LinkedIn responses/shares/updates.


Post at least one blog/case study/white paper per week, but if there is nothing to write about we don’t write a substandard idea just to meet a target.

Summary report on lead generation from marketing blogs, case studies, white papers and social media. The Marketing team will need Marketing Automation software to do this.


Detailed report on lead generation from marketing blogs, case studies, white papers and social media. The Marketing team will need Marketing Automation software to do this.

Attend networking events – not everything happens online! Aim to speak at one event every three months as a minimum. Record the talk and put it on YouTube and SlideShare. This will improve your customers search experience.


Review marketing strategy and amend as requited.

Set goals for next quarter, ensure goals are matched to capability to deliver, adjust goals or capability if there is a disparity.


Implement a marketing automation solution.
Align skills of marketing department with needs of business.

Ready to find out more? Please call on 01189 001920.

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