Keith Loris on Exit This Way™ / by Kerri
Listen to Keith Loris on Exit This Way™
Keith Loris, President and CEO of Sales Renewal Corporation in Concord, MA joined host Kerri Salls on Exit This Way™ to discuss The Challenges of Small Business Marketing and Why It’s Important Before You Sell Your Business.
Keith Loris is adept at leveraging marketing and technology to efficiently and effectively drive leads and sales. Prior to founding Sales Renewal, Keith, during his 29 year career, has held executive level sales, marketing & technology positions at technology companies such as Sageful, SoftLock, ServiceSoft, Xerox and NYNEX. Keith earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Vassar College, and a master’s degree in computer science from New York University. In addition, Keith holds three patents in the use of neural networks and lexical analysis for image & pattern recognition.
The Challenges of Small Business Marketing and Why It’s Important Before You Sell Your Business
Historically, marketing has been seen as a cost center and businesses have consistently under-invested in this area, when it’s marketing that can increase topline or bottomline results, revenue and profitability. As a marketing expert, Keith explained a bit about the importance of growing revenue in the year or two before you sell your business.
He referenced guidelines from the US Small Business Administration which say you should budget for 7-10% of revenues to be applied to marketing efforts. He also identified competitive strengths as being marketing assets to include in your marketing strategy.
Keith used the analogy of retirement account investing – that asset allocation is key in portfolio theory. In the same way, a company’s marketing strategy should be to invest in a diverse portfolio of marketing assets, not just focused on a few tactics. He said each company needs to look at their marketing effort to see where you can maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.
Risk/Value Tradeoffs in Marketing
Just like in other operations and leadership area, before you sell, Keith emphasized the need to ‘fix’ marketing procedures that are based on the owner or one person’s personality. He talked about the risk/value tradeoff of one person being integral to all marketing efforts. Instead, he suggested building out a system, policies and procedures to evaluate and appraise marketing efforts to externalize the owner’s expertise and experience. When you use metrics, your marketing efforts are like a machine, those metrics can be measured and become predictive.
Beyond growing topline revenue, Keith explained how putting in place tangible systems and processes for marketing that can be appraised, gives you a basis for analysis. Historically, because analysis is hard, owners settle for listening to their gut. Or worse, as Keith’s story goes, they get a referral to a marketing person who works with different kinds of companies in a totally different industry, and they wonder why they don’t get a return on their investment in marketing.
Keith talked about three categories of businesses in terms of how they grow their revenue- which is a factor buyers want to understand. He described in real estate vernacular as: ‘fixer-upper’, ‘as is’ and ‘best in class’. Good analysis and use of big data for marketing can position a business as ‘best in class’.
Keith made a distinction between the people you hire to do marketing as ‘good guys’ vs. the marketing team that is aligned with your economic interests. Just because they are good guys does not mean you will see the ROI you seek from their efforts. In contrast, a marketing approach that is tied to you topline and bottom line financial interests can be found and expected. This is the basis of his unique business model, because he believes benchmarking results of all marketing efforts helps you identify who your target market really is, where to find them, and to develop a coherent plan to reach them.
He went on to compare different marketing models, the mistakes of single tactic marketing approaches, and missed opportunities if marketing stagnates in the year or two before you sell your business.
Listen to the full interview here.