In some fields, it is more important to seem like a big company than others. For example, in my second start up, it was imperative that we were a dependable and solid player, right from the start. That of course is not easily done, when there are only four of you, in a fairly large country like the UK, but here are some tricks we used to strut our way to the top.
Peacock strategy–look bigger and take up space
In every large event we attended, we showed up with as many people we could possibly afford. During congresses, we spent our time at our booth, making sure all our meetings were held there, making it look busy. And it was. Everyone came for the drinks reception, the welcome dinner, the customer events.
We travelled in packs, and were soon a force of our own. We showed presence, and seemed much larger than the small little group we actually were.
Be very visible
We ensured we attended every meeting the first year, small, medium and large. We were everywhere. It was an expensive year, but I can see that it gave us a market presence that it would have taken us years to accomplish otherwise. Our brand recognition is beyond our hopes, both in the UK and internationally.
Get a kick-ass CRM system and use it
If you diligently use a system that tracks and records everything, the system itself will start producing as if you had an extra employee.
The way it saves time internally, how it records leads and information, how it ensures that the customer always gets the best from the company (everyone is updated, on the ball and aware of the plan) it is a key pillar for effective customer service.
When you use it right, it is an enormous resource. We spent some extra money on building a custom made connection between Sage and Salesforce, and almost four years later I am still glad we did: we still use it and find it invaluable.
A word of caution: the above is expensive. It takes investment, and you’d better be sure. I would advise against going down this road and changing the plan half way through: it is a long term strategy and it needs commitment.
Before you invest, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can I afford this?
- What are the key events I need to attend? How many others can I afford to go to this year, but exclude from my plan for next year?
- How can we make sure we make the most out of each event: make them last for longer than the two-three of the congress? (We drag our impact out over several weeks: starting three weeks before and finishing off two to four weeks after. We use mailers, calls, visits, event reports, follow up and feedback etc.)
- Am I certain I need to be well known by everyone? What is my purpose for wanting that? There are two things to take into consideration here: Get rid of ego. It is expensive, leads you astray and hinders your growth.
- Why do you want to be known? If it is just sales, think again. That is too simple. (as an example: we needed to be big to be able to handle contracts in tenders for the NHS, and we needed to be present so that international scouts would consider us as potential distribution partners: we needed additional products in our portfolio.)
- Finally, be clear with people on your intentions. It is easier for people to think of you as the market leader if you have already given them the reason to see you as one and it is much easier if you have given them the vocabulary to describe you as one.
Be sure this is what you need before embarking on your peacock strut. And then proudly announce that you intend to be the market leader.
About the author
Angela Spang is the founder, owner and managing director of London Medical Education Academy, which was founded on the belief that life-long continued surgical hands-on training is crucial for improved patient outcomes. Angela has a broad and long background in international business with medical device, having held internationally focused senior positions with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Allergan (AGN) and American Medical Systems with a strong focus on the importance of training.