At a time of Lockdown, Online Media offers new opportunities | #eBizInsights| Ursula McDonald | Podcast


Ursula McDonald from A Country for Jane joins us to discuss new media in these scary moments in history.

It’s in times like this that business needs to adapt quickly by embracing advanced technology that can provide access to new business opportunities and previously uncharted markets.

“The old way of finding new business opportunities has run its course,” says Ursula McDonald, Managing Director of women led and owned marketing and business innovations company ‘A Country For Jane’. “Cold calling, desk drops, trade shows and list brokers are not yielding the results they used to.”

As South African businesses look for growth in an economy where job losses and budget cuts are the new norm, traditional marketing efforts, especially in the B2B arena are being pushed to innovate. “Costs attributed to a sales force with no pipeline of verified leads, are being questioned,” says McDonald. But the reality is that new business contacts are hard to reach, and the most influential decision-makers are protected by layers of gatekeepers whose job it is to keep out the ‘salesmen’. 

“The quality of sales pitches is also often shallow,” explains McDonald. “There is often no effort made to understand the potential client’s challenges in a specific industry, or how a product or service being pitched could alleviate their pain. It’s often just a ‘one pitch’ for all scenario, which leaves prospects feeling that sales representatives have no understanding of their business.”
It’s a pain point being experienced by multiple companies across South Africa. “Business leaders will listen if a sales pitch takes into account their unique challenges,” says McDonald. But how does a company execute multiple pitches for multiple industries?

“Leads by Jane is our answer to stagnating business growth,” says McDonald. The advanced technology works off an intelligent LinkedIn platform, but that’s not where the innovation lies.
“For businesses to succeed in a weak economy, they need to be able to forecast projected growth. This can’t be done with any accuracy unless there is a pipeline of new business prospects,” states McDonald. “Leads by Jane is a digital platform that links relevant content, in our case, highly researched content, that marries an understanding of macro-economic factors, causing industry pain points, with a product or service that can offer relief.”
The platform developed internationally by Scott Cundill, Leads by Jane’s development partner, offers businesses the chance to engage one-on-one with business prospects. “It aims to get sales reps in front of the prospects most likely to purchase,” says Cundill. This is done through the use of a tracking system that measures content engagement. “We need more thought leaders in South Africa,” explains McDonald.
“People who have a researched opinion, on how to kickstart growth and add value to the economy. We position sales reps as those thought leaders to give them a business opinion that is authentic and resonates with business leaders. This sets them up, with a differentiated view from their competitors, allowing them to make a standout impact in the market. We then track the reaction to their opinions and identify business prospects with whom the content resonated.”

McDonald calls this ‘Idea Economics’. “Idea Economics was born out of our frustration, at the lack of business understanding inherent in many sales pitches. For our economy to grow, we need businesses to thrive”, says McDonald, “Idea Economics ensures every business is marketed from a business reality, not with a catchy slogan.” 

Can South Africa surprise its critics and finish 2020 with a higher GDP growth number than 0.7%? “Leads by Jane has been developed to create real business relationships based on a shared understanding of business realities. In the end, businesses have a solid pipeline of verified leads”, says McDonald. “Many companies are under pressure to meet sales targets,” continues Cundill. “But in the current economic climate, these targets aren’t being achieved. Leads by Jane pinpoints the sale cycle weaknesses and determines where in the process things are going wrong”. Having verified leads can quickly become a moot point when the sales team lacks the skills needed to turn them into sales. It’s why Leads by Jane has incorporated a sales training module that equips sales reps with the tools and confidence they will need to continue the relationships and close the deals. 

Leads by Jane has the potential to increase the chance of turning a business pipeline into business success. “Beating the growth forecasts, both as a country and as separate businesses is going to require new ideas. Leads by Jane closes the sales loop for companies who need to get traction in tough times,” states McDonald. 

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