To effectively run a profitable business, one of the things you must know is – where are your sales coming from? It’s something that most small to medium businesses do not think of, but that is a BIG mistake. For the survival of any company, irrelevant of size, you need to know where your sales are coming from, but more importantly – who is in control.
Answer all these questions with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Are you on track to succeed in your sales revenue goals this year?
Is your marketing prospecting correctly?
Are you reaching the right sales decision makers?
Do you usually achieve success when dealing with multiple decision makers?
Are you forecasting correctly?
Are you operating efficiently?
Does your sales force have the right material to influence sales?
Are you attracting customers?
Are you establishing excellent buying relationships with your customers?
Are you producing quality leads?
Are your customers engaged with your brand?
Do you have a short sales cycle?
If your answers are mostly ‘no’ to these questions, or you have to think hard before answering, then it may be that your customers are in control of your sales or even worse, no one is.
Marketing and sales functions are now very closely aligned in an online marketing world. There is no, ‘I’ve done my bit, now it’s your turn,’ handing over from marketing to sales any more. Marketing is present right through till the payment is made, producing the kind of collateral in mixed media that achieves sales. The point of marketing is to take the lead on a journey; a journey from introduction to a closed sale. Does this put your customer in control of the journey? No – never. At all touch points, and pain points, you need to be there guiding your lead to progress further. You lead them, not the other way round. If your customers are in control the sales funnel becomes nonexistent and you are not able to clearly define a purpose in any the resulting chaos.
The questions above illustrate the symptoms of ineffective marketing and if you can identify the cause, you need to remedy it by taking control of your marketing, resulting in reaching out to your audience in a stronger, more focused way. For instance, if your current strategy is not producing quality leads – what are your calls to action (CTA)? Where are they? Are you gathering the right information in your CTA? Are you keeping potential customers engaged long enough? Where are they leaking out? Are you reaching out to your current customers and engaging them? Are you making it easy for them to refer new clients your way? How visible are you in the online arena? Is your social media bringing in leads? There are so many questions that one point raises, but all of them indicate your marketing needs an overhaul.
Once you have the questions, find the answers!
In your role as a ‘lead guide’ all your marketing must have a plan. The classic ‘sales funnel’ model still works, and works well, but it needs personalizing to suit your company goals. Personalization is no longer an option. This involves a well-organized and well executed plan or content path that keeps you in control leading the potential customer further into your brand.
Look at each stage of the sales funnel and try and adapt it in to something practical, some type of online content pathway that is unique to your product or brand. Detail is important here. Get right down to the issue in hand and resolve it. If it is leads leaking out as they don’t know where to go, fix it. A landing page, blog entry or testimonial may be all you need to put your potential sale on to the next step in right path, and save the sale.
If you decide not to use the traditional ‘sales funnel’ as your master strategy, your customized plan MUST be funnel shaped. In the front of your mind you must always remember you are the guide and driving force, not an information kiosk that answers questions – and goes nowhere.
There is no ‘on size fits all’ marketing plan for every industry, but take time to analyze the data you have about your sales at each level of you plan and see where all your exit points are, and think about ways to improve them, or even better, resolve them completely.
The strength of marketing is in the variety of media now easily accessible to the marketer. As you make your overall marketing plan and break it down into actionable stages, try and include as many forms of media as will fit well. Video, images, interactive polls or quizzes, white papers downloads, newsletters, testimonials, spec sheets, blog – the list goes on, are all ways that you can entice your lead to look further. You goal is to draw them in and not let them out – unless you want them to. Do not dis-count anything, just because it doesn’t fit into that part of the campaign, doesn’t mean it won’t fit another one.
Make sure you are clear and focused on each media and what it needs to achieve. And don’t be afraid to try something new or different. The point of the plan is to keep your consumer engaged and moving forward, not to produce more of the ‘same old, same old’ and race to the finish line. Just make sure it is bold, decisive and irresistible so you remain in control of the sale.
The quality of your plan, and its components, has a huge bearing on its overall effectiveness as a marketing tool. To keep in control you must be producing attractive, irresistible marketing collateral that ignites the interest of the lead and makes them feel like it has to be read. There are two main components to high quality marketing.
The data you have is essential to any decision you make in an online marketing campaign. The key is – what data? You need to track almost everything you do to have the right data to hand. How much data can you really say you have tracked? Too afraid to answer that question? Take a deep breath and carry on reading…
Answer these questions with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
Are you taking calculated risks?
Are most of your risks a success?
Do you always have the right data to hand?
Are you decisions based on data?
Can you easily locate the contact information for every lead you have?
Are your leads effectively scored?
Can you track each customer across all channels easily?
Is your data transparent?
Do you have the right marketing personas?
Is your content resonating with your demographic?
Is your revenue growing?
Are you sourcing and retaining your marketing and sales talent?
Are your sales and marketing staff increasing in skills?
If the answer is ‘No’ to any of these questions your company may benefit from implementing an automated marketing system. The more ‘no’s’ in your answers, the more critical it is to consider an automated marketing system to increase the ROI of your company.
In research by Add On those of companies using a CRM system:
The type of automated system you choose is up to you as marketing is a personal journey, but having the right data when you need it can take all the guess work out of targeting your sales. Actively using your CRM as a tool in your strategy keeps you firmly in control of the sales pattern as you designed it around your customers! The data you had helped you know where they were, who they were and what buying habits they were following and you tailored your sales funnel around them.
Take the time to investigate as many as you need to find the one perfect for your company strategy. The details they contain will help you refine your marketing so that it is effective. By using it effectively and making the most of the data, the ROI can outweigh the cost of the system.
There is only one way of creating quality content – and that is to let a professional do it. They will guide you through the system and create versatile marketing that you can use again and again. If you want to save costs, do your homework and know what you want and where your audience is. This can shorten the time it takes to prepare the media, as well as money at every stage. The risks of failure are much lower when you engage professionals so factor that into your ROI.
Staying in control of your sales funnel is the only way to make your marketing produce the kind of leads that impact the bottom line. Invest some ‘time energy’ into refining your strategy and making your content pathway engaging and focused on the successful journey of your customer.
What have you found works in keeping control your sales journeys? Comment below and share your valuable knowledge.