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2. External Environment and Industry AnalysisGeneral environmental components that impact the industry and the firm: economic, political, cultural, technological, or legal forces, including global/international economy. Industry analyses: competitive structure, current and future competitors, customers and key stakeholders.Key analytical tools you can choose from 1) Porter’s Five Forces Model; 2) Stakeholder Analysis;3) SWOT Analysis (primarily the OT portion);4) Strategic Group Mapping; 5) Industry Key Success Factorsabout four pages please
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United Bus Sales
By: Ally Diaby
Table of Contents
Executive Summary ………………………………………………………… 4
Description of Business …………………………………………………… 5
Scope of the Project ………………………………………………………… 8
Social Media Analysis and Marketing Plan …………………………….. 9
Analysis ………………………………………………………………… 9
Facebook ………………………………………………………………. 13
LinkedIn ………………………………………………………………… 21
Website ………………………………………………………………… 27
YouTube ……………………………………………………………….. 30
Sales Activity and Sales Force Development Strategy ………………. 32
Analysis ………………………………………………………………… 32
Coaching ……….………………………………………………………. 34
Territory Planning …………………………………………………….. 37
Tracking and Monitoring Sales Activities ………………………… 39
Customer Loyalty Retention Program …………………………………… 47
Definition ………………………………………………………………. 47
Analysis ………………………………………………………………… 49
Implementation ……………………………………………………….. 50
Suggested Retention Programs …………………………………… 51
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Conclusion ………………………………………………………………….. 60
Recommendations ………………………………………………………… 61
Bibliography ………………………………………………………………… 63
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Executive Summary
United Bus Sales faces unique challenges and opportunities among its
competitors in the school/commercial bus market. There are a few bus
dealership/service companies in the Big Lake area, but United Bus Sales location right
off Highway 10 grants the business a greater visibility. After discussing with United Bus
Sales’ President, Jason Anderson, the main threats faced by the company, the
consulting team has come up with three key objectives, which will be covered in further
details in this report:
1. Sales Activity & Sales Force
2. Marketing & Technology Strategies
3. Customer Loyalty Retention Program
There are numerous other dealerships across the state of Minnesota that could
be considered competitors for United Bus Sales, but for the purpose of this project the
team’s focus is on a smaller geographic area, hence Big Lake and its surroundings.
United Bus Sales facility location and size is an advantage against its competitors.
However, one of its biggest issue is the lack of online presence. As a result, the team
has lined up various methods and cost effective ways to increase the company’s
popularity and customer base.
The team has elaborated marketing and social media plans to work on United
Bus Sales online visibility and social reach; developed customer loyalty retention
programs to improve customer service and customer relationships with the business,
and finally the team ran an overall analysis of the current sales activity in order to
determine the correct sales force to ensure an increase in revenues and activities.
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Description of Business
United Bus Sales is a bus dealership corporation for commercial buses and
school buses. United Bus Sales was established in 2017 by Jason Anderson. He
entered the bus industry in 2006 as a salesman at Hoglund Bus Company. Currently,
the business holds a total of six employees who serve different purposes. The business
is open from 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday and offers services to repair buses as well as
specific parts so you can fix it yourself. United Bus Sales inventory includes types A and
B Star Crafts school buses, along with types C and D commercial buses, which are
generally bought on the used market.
United Bus Sales is located at 16676 197th St NW, Suite B, Big Lake, MN,
55309. Some of the advantages is they are located right off Highway 10 with a road that
leads directly to them, so there is always traffic passing by their facility with ease of
access. The building is adequately spaced to hold a large number of buses. Hence,
they have sufficient parking space for customers and additional buses. However, one
disadvantage is that when typing in “United Bus Sales” on Google it redirects to the
wrong location, which is on the opposite side of Big Lake. Additionally, even though the
company is off of Highway 10, it is tucked away, and out of sight.
United Bus Sales customers are primarily school districts and private contractors.
Other customers are people looking for older buses. In total about 60 percent are
contractor including Public Transit. The other 40 percent is comprised mainly of
healthcare, assisted living, and the party bus industry such as the Executive Express.
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The industry undergoes seasonal fluctuations. School buses are primarily sold in
June, July, and August. The sales cycle starts early January through May. Schools are
focused on budgets and generate their revenues from taxes and from the state annually
on July 1st. Nonetheless, the market experiences a two to three-year delay. An example
is when the great recession hit in 2010, the effects of which were not felt until 2013.
Commercial buses are sold year-round with little seasonal fluctuations, whereas school
buses are sold during the summer months.
The business has a website that is currently operational, however the consulting
team has several suggestions to improve it. The company spends nearly $400 per
month to appear on top of the google search list. There is currently no Facebook
account, no blog, no Twitter, nor a LinkedIn account for Jason or the business. Sales is
another crucial role that the company is in need for. That role is filled by Andy
Gunderson, who travels around the state to make sales for the business. Mr.
Gunderson and Jason are the only people in the sales department thus far.
United Bus Sales has two separate types of competitors:1- State/local, and
2- National levels. For the State/local levels the competitors are Twin Transport Group,
North Central Bus Sales, and United Truck and Body. At the National level, their
competitors are Midwest Transit and Equipment, Tesco Bus, and Navy Coach.
The advertising strategies that are used by the business are quite basic. For
instance, as of the current year 2018, Jason Anderson shared that the company is over
their marketing budget, which can affect how they compete with their competitors. The
company holds a list with all their current customers and their current email and mailing
addresses, which is used to mail information. The information on those emails and
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mailed letters are for the purpose of educating clients on the bus industry, who United
Bus Sales are, and the services they offer. Tax advantage information is also included
with a list of the inventory that is available.
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Scope of the Project
The consulting team has decided, in accordance with Jason Anderson, to cover
three deliverables for United Bus Sales. They are as follow:
1. Social Media Analysis and Marketing Plan: The social media
analysis and Marketing Plan will be looked at by the team by viewing other company’s
social media pages. First, after evaluating the company’s current website, the team has
come up with some best practices to make it more user-friendly for United Bus Sales’
customers. In addition, the team will cover some important facts on LinkedIn and
Facebook, then provide recommendations on how to implement them into the
organizational social media strategy.
2. Sales Activity and Sales Force Development Strategy: The
sales activity and development strategy will be approached by the team by looking at
key performance indicators (KPIs). The team will discuss several ways to meet sales
goals using various sets of tools under KPI, and track sales activity annually. The
information obtained will then be evaluated and transformed to fit United Bus Sales’
needs.
3. Customer Loyalty Retention Program: Given that United Bus Sales
does not presently have a program in place to retain their current customers, the team
will generate various loyalty retention programs. Following that the team will compare
other businesses customer retention strategies and implement them to meet United Bus
Sales’ goals.
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Social Media and Marketing Plan
Analysis
Social media and marketing strategy define how your organization is going to use
the powers of social media to accomplish its communication with customers. The social
web has been growing fast. The latest research on social media usage with Smart
Insights by Dave Chaffey (2018) shows that there are two main factors driving the social
web in accordance to a Global Web Index study. The first one is mobile: people are
using the internet via their mobile devices and that has increased by 60.3 percent to
818.4 million between 2012 and 2014. The second one is older user adoption: Twitter’s
55 to 64-year-old age bracket has the fastest expanding demographic with 79 percent
growth rate as of 2012. Facebook and Google have a fast-growing demographic in the
45 to 54-year age group with a growth rate of over 80 percent. Still wondering how
using social media will profit United Bus Sales? Let’s look at the facts.
First, social media is a major influencer in purchasing decisions. It gives an
opportunity to personalize a product or a service to potential customers. Research from
Crowdtap reveals that 64 percent of 3,000 people surveyed use social media to find
inspiration for shopping (up 51 percent vs. prior year). This is driven by retailers
targeting consumers with personalized offers and deals on social networks. Major
corporations invest large sums of money in their marketing plan to lure marketers with
promises of improved software application programming interface (API). That includes
the capability to upload consumer email addresses to run personalized marketing
campaigns. For instance, through Facebook API, marketers are able to manage
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audience data for customer audience targeting, create specific ads, run analytics, and
manage campaign assets such as accounts and pages.
Second, almost half of all social media users use platforms on social media with
the intention of making a purchase. Of those, 40 percent choose what to buy based on
what they have most commonly seen and the recommendations from social media
platforms. Peers influence one another on whether or not to use a product. That is why
many businesses value customer service and view customer reviews as the most
reliable and cheapest way to advertise a product.
Third, in this competitive world a lack of strategy is handing the advantage to the
competitors. It is unlikely for an organization with a low social media presence to be
successful. Having a clear marketing strategy gives you the ability to plan, prioritize,
execute, measure, and optimize your goals. With that foundation, it is likely to achieve
more prominent results as the process can always be changed because marketers
learn from real data. It is important to go beyond the mere strategy and try to monitor
the results with a goal in mind. For example, simply posting contents to appear active
may not prove successful to the purpose of the business. The only way to ensure
successful delivery of the advertisement is by not only reporting results, but being able
to use those results to measure performance. Therefore, a structured approach to
communication and measurement is highly encouraged.
Fourth, social media play a major role in customer communication. Regardless of
the age bracket, customers interact on all social platforms in their own terms. In other
words, different people use different platforms for various purposes. The clue here is to
acknowledge that information and use it at the business advantage by targeting each
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platform and customer in accordance with their reason for operating on these accounts.
As an illustration, let’s consider the use of Facebook. Younger customers tend to use
Facebook and Twitter interchangeably to find the latest trends and gossips, while older
customers may more often use it to obtain information on businesses or to find good
deals on the Facebook market. That is to say, customers are active on social media.
Therefore, it is imperative to know who your target market is, thus have a better
understanding of their needs and interests. This is why a strategy is needed. Deciding
how to connect with a customer requires a strategy. Always keeping an objective within
your plan ensures a more efficient and accurate outcome.
Fifth, a business reputation on social media is vulnerable. There are good and
bad things that can happen when you are on social media. Information can be
transparent and reached easily, but unhappy customers can also be heard. If a
customer feels they were treated unfairly they can voice their displeasure. However, if
you’re not in the social media world, you are not important. The risk of losing mindshare
to social media aware adversaries.
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The graph illustrates two time periods for different teams. Period one represents
the time when the teams did not use social media. Period two shows the teams using
social media and how it impacts on their point systems. Notice that when not used
effectively, social media can have a negative effect on the business’ reputation and
sales results. That is the case for team 2, experiencing a decrease in period two.
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Facebook
The evolution of social media is ever changing. The founder of Facebook, Mark
Zuckerberg, never thought of the huge impact it would have on people’s daily lives. A
few years ago, social Media websites were not as important as they are today.
Facebook was the first of its kind in 2004, and it was only available to higher education
establishments in the Boston area, but then it took off throughout the world. Despite
facing several investigations, Facebook reported its highest earnings ever of
approximately 50 percent from a year ago during the third quarter. One of its most
popular tools: its mobile ads, is so full that the platform is experiencing a shortage of
storage space, even though they are charging high amounts for them.
As of the second quarter of 2018, the network counts nearly one-third of the
planet among its user base, which is roughly 2.23 billion active members–who log in at
least once a month. Behind these numbers is a growing realization among businesses
that social media is the single most effective way to reach audiences, with teens (i.e.
tomorrow’s consumers) now spending up to nine hours a day on social platforms. An
insatiable appetite for video among users, paired with better technology for making,
posting and targeting social updates, sees companies now spending more money on
social and digital ads than on TV advertisements.
The team noticed that neither Jason Anderson nor United Bus Sales has a
Facebook account. As a result, the first recommendation is to create a personal account
for Jason and a business account for the company. The purpose is to reach as large of
an audience as possible using one of the biggest interface that is Facebook.
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The above image illustrates the first step when creating a business Facebook
account. That includes the name of the company, the location of the facility, the type of
business, and the contact numbers among other characteristics that will be covered
later on in this paper.
Investing the necessary time and budget into Facebook will benefit the company
in several ways. First off, Facebook has connection with other social media and many
important websites you can sign up for. It is growing exponentially in size as it owns
other social media networks such as Instagram and Whatsapp: a social messaging
service that enables users from all over the world to send free messages to one another
over WiFi or data connection. These two purchases although not seemingly profitable at
first, are immensely valuable to Facebook in terms of personal data and as proof that
the company is staying on the edge of technology. Having a business Facebook
account will enable United Bus Sales to be accessible to the public without a need for a
friend request. Customers will have access to general information such as products and
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services available at United Bus Sales, the company location and future upcoming
events. One important aspect to keep in mind is that Facebook being a content based
social media site, an active online presence is highly recommended. As such, there
should be regular posts including sharing special events taking place and which the
company is involved in, sales that are happening, current trends in the bus/school
industry, new products/services, job opportunities, etc. In other words, the team
suggests posting anything that is related to the industry and to United Bus Sales that
may be relevant to customers.
Below is a graph from the State of Inbound Marketing HubSpot (2012) exhibiting
the importance of Facebook for businesses and how they view it to be a necessity.
Another advantage of using Facebook for United Bus Sales is to not only
increase online visibility, but amplify the company’s message to reach more people all
over the state, the nation, and even globally. Facebook is the largest social network,
hence giving United Bus Sales the best chances at connecting with the most people
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regardless of their location. It is a glance at customers from various backgrounds,
demographics and perceptions. In the long run, United Bus Sales could use this
opportunity to grow its business nationally and in different parts of the world.
Below is a graph from Security National (2016) that shows how users from
different demographics, languages, and genders like the use of Facebook.
In addition to the large customer base exposition, Facebook will help United Bus
Sales with an incredibly targeted audience through advertising and the ability to create
brand loyalty by building a long-lasting relationship with its customers. One way the
team has found to do that is by frequently sharing special deals and promotions as
mentioned above, interacting with customers, and personalizing the business account.
As a result, the team predicts a more effective customer service, which will steer more
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traffic to the account, hence to the website. Furthermore, the team recommends linking
all social media accounts and the company’s website to efficiently monitor marketing
effectiveness.
Finally, the use of Facebook enables a better competitive advantage. To do so,
the team will help ensure that United Bus Sales uses the best practices to create a
business professional, yet personal Facebook page to attract and interact its customers
as well as other potential businesses. One of the most critical aspects of a Facebook
page is the profile picture. The team remarked that the company uses the color blue
and white as its main theme on its website. Hence, using a profile picture that is easily
identifiable and matching with the company logo is vital. The team recommends keeping
the original blue and white theme, however adding a logo to make it more attractive and
unique.
In addition to a good profile picture, the Facebook account should also have a
cover photo that is relatable to the school bus industry. For example, having a cover
photo of children getting onto the bus as the background picture, and zooming in on the
profile picture showing the name United Bus Sales along with the logo and theme colors
will have a spectacular effect on the company’s page. Below is a …
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