'Developing Customer Acquisition' Speakers’ Panel receives great feedback from SMEs

15 February 2016

'Developing Customer Acquisition' Speakers’ Panel receives great feedback from SMEs

Speakers' Panel receives great feedback from SMEs who packed the lecture theatre at Henley Business School to hear three inspiring business leaders speak on building customer acquisition channels.

Supported and sponsored by the Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub, the Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship hosted the 'Developing your Customer Acquisition Channels' Speakers' Panel at Henley Business School on Monday, 15 February 2016.

Attended by over 60 SMEs and introduced and moderated by Jurek Sikorski, Business Development Lead and Executive in Residence, the speakers shared their stories of building and operating their customer acquisition channels.

Opening the event, Jurek spoke about how SMEs are building revenues through an increasing range of customer acquisition channels and described the challenge for many in selecting the best mix of channels. Jurek presented a simple 5-step framework for selecting the best mix and stressed the importance of being creative in identifying and testing channels to acquire customers.

The presentations were opened by Alex Thatham, Managing Director Westcoast, an award winning IT distributor having string partnerships with the likes of Apple, HP, Microsoft and Samsung and UK's 32nd largest privately owned company.

Alex spoke with great conviction about Westcoast customer acquisition strategy and how it has built a network of resellers from large to small retailers, system integrators and value added resellers using outbound sales and digital marketing to gain customer traction.

Alex summarised Westcoast's customer acquisition strategy succinctly as 'we operate outbound, focused sales channel, working as a team that is commission driven, supported by all marketing channels... we measure everything, and have fun'.

Following Alex was Adam Hale, CEO Fairsail, a provider of cloud based HR management software for mid and large sized businesses helping them increase productivity by automating the entire employment journey from recruitment and on-boarding to performance management and off-boarding.

Adam highlighted that for Fairsail it was all about demonstrating real benefits for his business customers who were distributed internationally, helping them to achieve greater workforce visibility and provide better employee experiences through automating HR processes.

Adam remarked that three things pre-occupied him (and kept him awake at night) - helping customers become successful, building a motivated team and innovating to constantly deliver a great solution.

Completing the presentations was Elizabetta (Zabetta) Camilleri, CEO Sales Gossip, a website and mobile based marketing services business that aggregates information on fashions and promotions from over 1,300 fashion and beauty retailers and communicates these to shoppers ina targeted way.

Zabetta wowed the audience sharing her story of how she founded and grew SalesGossip through testing and selecting ('trial and error') a range of channels that today includes business development, PPC, SEO and viral marketing.

Zabetta spoke with great authority about the fashion and retail industry and how engaging shoppers is changing, and how this will continue to change in the future and why it is important to be creative in finding ways to reach the shopper.

The learning experience continues into Q&A which afforded some great answers to questions, all of which was captured on video to be made available via the Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship.

There is no doubt that to follow these three companies is to learn how to engage and service customers in a way that builds long term success.

The audience provided some positive feedback:

Nigel Penn-Simkins, MD Article10 'Superb event'

Crispin Satchel, Head of Business Development & Marketing Gartec Ltd '2 hours of very well spent time'

Rebecca Zhi Herbert, MD Wisdom Spring Education 'It has bought me to think about the channels and try them out'

The University of Reading is committed to work with the SME community in the Thames Valley Region for mutual benefit.

Read more at http://www.reading.ac.uk/about/working-with-business.aspx

Contact and notes:

Jurek Sikorski
Business Development Lead & Executive in Residence, Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship

Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship
Henley Centre for Entrepreneurship is part of Henley Business School at the University of Reading which provides a hub for teaching and research in the subject, inspiring students from across the University to embrace, develop and apply their entrepreneurial abilities.

E: jurek.sikorski@henley.ac.uk
W: /research/research-centres/henley-centre-for-entrepreneurship/


Ed Cooper
Director, Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub

Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub
The Growth Hub offers a new way of working to Berkshires high growth businesses. Backed by government it provides a single gateway for ambitious businesses who are seeking the information, guidance, support, expertise, finance, knowledge and experience they need to scale up the grow, boost performance and find new ways of working.

E: info@berkshirebusinesshub.co.uk
W: www.berkshirebusinesshub.co.uk