Taking your business to the next level

Turning leads into clients is what Persuade Marketing specialises in

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Marketing is one of the key factors to any business and even more so when you hit tough economic times. Unfortunately, it’s the area of the business where you are likely to find the most cuts and often the least qualified people for the position. Leadership sat down with Jared Koning, owner of Persuade Marketing, to see how they get the job done considering the company’s rapid growth over their two years of existence.

Their client base includes leading JSE-listed companies. They also have business overseas in Australia and the UK, however Koning attests that their focus is predominantly on South African business.

Sales is the predominant force of most businesses. Many companies rely on call centres to make their sales, however, how effective are these call centres? According to Koning, the reason so many companies struggle with call centre sales is because emphasis is placed on the number of calls rather than the quality thereof which creates its own issues.

Koning says that most companies’ sole focus is on the call quantity output of each call centre agent. “This is not the correct way to go about it,” elucidates Koning. In sales, engagement is key. The ability to speak to your prospective client at their level of understanding creates an atmosphere in which a sale is possible.

Getting off the ground

So how does Koning do things differently to ensure that Persuade Marketing continues their upward trend, despite the sometimes-dire economic outlook? Koning admits that growing up, he was fortunate to have his father’s guidance, a father who has vast business knowledge, which allowed him to gain practical knowledge firsthand. Starting his own business was always the goal and in order to get the finance for it, he worked on cruise ships for three years, and saved the required capital.

Koning then started his own education company which grew to over 17 000 students, in multiple countries, in under a year of operation. This is where he got the idea of outsourcing business processes thatled to the creation of Persuade Marketing. A brief stint as the marketing manager at Media24’s educational division followed before he co-owned another business. After this he started Persuade Marketing.

“My love of marketing stems from my love of interaction with people and understanding different personas and cultures; the psychology and triggers of how people think, what motivates their decisions, how they react, what influences them or persuades them into action. Marketing is about connecting with people and guiding and educating them on a journey through touch points; using emotion, authority and trust towards a deliverable,” explains Koning.

Building relationships

In keeping with his principles regarding marketing, Koning refuses to go the general route many competitors take. Generating leads is the starting point of every sale, but it is how you deal with those leads that make the difference.“At Persuade, we go further and offer the full circle: from correct market research to lead nurturing and acquisition to give our clients all the necessary tools and insights to increase the chances of closing on every lead we generate.

What makes our company different is we operate in a human-to-human element as a specialised consultancy that can leverage technology but integrate numerous personal touchpoints; to engage, nurture and acquire and even retain when required,” says Koning.

This method has clearly worked for Koning. He is proud of what he has achieved in only two years with offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg and 30+ employees and part contractors. Persuade Marketing has already generated R20 million in returns for their clients this year.

Passion is something Koning clearly has for the business. He has overseen the transformation of numerous companies from what was once a numbers-based call centre to a fully functional, sales driven environment. These are key elements to what Persuade Marketing can do, by simply offering a service beyond just producing leads for the client.

Technology

And some advice for those companies that have harnessed the digital age by using machines to sell their products—stop, it does not work effectively. While technology should be embraced and used,the human-to-human element remains the most effective way of operating. Marketing has largely embraced the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), more so than many other industries. It has largely benefited the industry in terms of tracking numbers, finding good leads and sifting through data.

“New technologies have radically altered the way we do business,” explains Koning,“primarily because of the vast amounts of data that takes software beyond Microsoft Excel and traditional methods. to make sense of all of this data. With social media and even more advanced data from sources, such as Statistics South Africa, we can now really micro-target prospective leads and really capture who is a serious lead and who just has an interest by using sales funnels.

Anyone can buy a list of names and call around. Using proprietary machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI), we can now organise this vast amount of data to really dig deep, and before we even make calls, we can tell with a certain probability, statistics-wise, which is a serious lead.Of course, all the tech mumbo-jumbo is useless without establishing a genuine rapport with the client, or prospective client. Old-fashioned face-to-face customer service is important, more than ever, in such a competitive field. We work with our clients to achieve their goals. They need to understand our process, so they trust us to give them genuine customers, not just leads.”

Many of Persuade Marketing’s competitors have branded themselves as remote full-service marketers and lead generation specialists, but there is so little emphasis on face-to-face communication, which has actually become more important. The ‘onesize fits all’ model doesn’t work and the promise to work miracles for your client doesnot work either.

“At Persuade Marketing, we meet with our clients and I personally get to know them very well. We talk about their goals and opportunities as well as barriers they have had. From there, I go through our process, and show them how they can achieve success through traditional techniques, but also how to swiftly parse through the vast amounts of data available today to find those customers who want to buy today, not some time in future.”

The human touch is what Koning believes plays the biggest role in setting Persuade Marketing apart from their competitors. His clients know and trust him, his methods and his ability to adapt without egotistically claiming he can achieve the unreasonable.

Data

But how exactly do they attain these results for their clients? Gaining over R20 million in turnover for his clients is not something to be scoffed at. What techniques does he use to achieve this? For obvious reasons Koning is reluctant to share all his secrets, who would, but data and ability to use that data effectively comes up regularly during the interview.

“It is no secret that there is a treasure trove of data out there. But it is challenging to sift through that data to find out what is relevant and what it means. We explain to our clients how we do that.

Some of the tools include using custom algorithms to sort through the data using machine learning and artificial intelligence, but those are already the tools of today.”

In conclusion we speak about outsourcing and the importance thereof. Across the board, outsourcing hasincreased drastically in recent years and will continue to do so.

“With more and more people making their living by becoming entrepreneurs, outsourcing parts of their business is essential. But whether you are an entrepreneur or a large multi-national corporation, you simply can’t set up a market research and statistical analysis lab and convert leads into customers when you want immediate sales.

“We have already put into place a lab that is not only using today’s bleeding age algorithmic technologies but experimenting with new potential techniques—and therefore you must outsource today. We have prospered as a business because we have evolved and are nimble and are constantly inventing and testing new techniques in finding customers for our clients,” Koning concludes. 

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