Want More Clients? Do You Need to Fix Your Marketing or Your Sales Process?

I spent the last week at a conference and had the opportunity to speak to lots of small business owners about what was working, and what wasn’t working in their business. A lot of entrepreneurs were saying that even though the overall trend was an increase over last year, they are still looking to increase their revenues even more.

I found it interesting to listen to what they thought was preventing them from achieving those goals. The two topics that come up most often in these discussions are marketing and sales. The thing is that I think there are a lot of entrepreneurs who don’t understand the difference between marketing and sales, and how one impacts the other.

Here is a simplistic way of explaining it. Marketing is what happens before a client contacts you. It’s what you do to increase awareness so that people know who you are and what you do. Sales starts once the client contacts you asking for information about working with you. It continues from the initial contact until you have their credit card number and their signature on the dotted line.

Once you have the sale closed, I would say marketing kicks back in again (though I know many people feel that the service you do after the sale is a continuation of the sales process – and I can see their point on that!). The reason I feel like it is marketing is that you are now setting the stage for repeat and referral business. In my opinion, that’s marketing.

So basically MARKETING is the process of getting your name out in front of more potential clients, of letting them know you exist and how you can help them. SALES is the process of closing those potential clients who raise their hand and say “hey, that sounds good! I’m interested in that!” You could certainly break things down even further, but for now let’s go with that idea, OK?

So what’s your problem?

When you look at your business, ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • How often are you getting new inquiries or quote requests?
  • Does your phone ring fairly often?
  • When you do get an inquiry, is that person the “right fit” for your business?
  • Once you reply to the inquiry, how often are you closing the sale?
  • How hard do you have to work to close the sale with that prospective client?

It’s your marketing…

If you aren’t getting many inquiries, it’s fairly easy to see that you have a marketing problem. You aren’t doing enough to let people know you, and your business, exist and that you can be of service to them. In this case, your marketing problem is generally pretty simple – it probably means you just aren’t doing enough marketing! No one tells you that when you open your business, you aren’t just becoming a business owner, you are also becoming a marketer… but it’s true!

Not getting enough inquiries is not the only sign that you have a marketing problem. If those leads aren’t coming in the way you want them to, if the people contacting you aren’t your ideal clients or if you are just flat out having to work really hard to close the sale, then your marketing just isn’t getting the job done the way it should.

Really great marketing will filter your clients for you. It attracts your ideal clients and draws them in. They see it and they think, “YES! I want that!” or “I need her!” It gets you half the way down the sales path because they have already “self selected” and decided that they want to work with you. It’s almost as if your marketing handles a good bit of the client qualification process for you.

At the same time that your marketing is attracting your ideal clients, it should also be repelling those clients who you just don’t want to work with anyway. They should see that same message that makes your ideal client anxious to talk to you and think, “why on earth would anyone want THAT” and toss your ad in the trash.

Far too many entrepreneurs get worried about appealing to everyone or saying something that is off putting to some people. My answer to that is that this is actually a GOOD thing. Those aren’t the clients you are meant to work with anyway!

How do you fix it?

If you are experiencing these marketing problems, you need to sit down and take a good hard look at your marketing message.

  • Do you know exactly who your ideal client really is? (hint: if your answer is a vague as “moms of preschoolers” or “baby boomers” then the answer is no, you don’t know exactly who your ideal client is!)
  • Are you able to clearly articulate what it is that you do for them, why they should work with you? (Another hint: if the answer is “I give great customer service,” or “I have 25 years of experience in the industry,” that’s not thought out enough).
  • Are you making sure you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket? You should aim to hit them with your marketing message in at least 3 different places at the same time whenever possible.
  • Are you marketing consistently and regularly or only here and there?

It’s your sales process…

Now if you are getting a lot of inquiries from all of the right people but they just aren’t converting into sales, then you have a sales problem! At that point, it’s time to sit down and evaluate your sales process.

For the next month, keep track of the number of inquiries you get and the number that you actually close and book. Keep a spreadsheet or a chart that tracks your leads and sales. Once you have that information, you can figure out what percentage of sales you are closing. No one is going to have a 100% close ratio, but if you are closing less than 50% of the prospects you work with, there is definitely significantly room for improvement in your process!

How do you fix it?

  • Review the “script” you use as the basis for your conversations. Don’t have one? Well, that might just be your problem!
  • Take a good look at your qualifying questions. Are you getting the info you need?
  • Review the emails you’ve sent during the sales process, do they have a really clear call to action on what the client needs to do next to start working with you?
  • A BIG but really basic thing that I see happening a lot… are you actually asking for the sale? I’m always amazed at the number of people who present the perfect plan but then close the conversation with “so take a look at this and let me know if you have any questions. OK?” and never actually ask for the sale!
  • Review your follow up procedures. Chances are you aren’t following up enough!

So here’s your homework…

Set aside some time to look at your business this week and see where you can find room for improvement. No matter how successful you are, we can ALL find somewhere we can be doing better! Pull out your marketing plan for the last year, review your materials and your message. Look at your sales process. Review those scripts and templates and see if you can adjust the language a bit to appeal more to your ideal clients. Practice a “closing the sale” conversation with a friend or colleague and ask for feedback. You’ll be glad you took the time to do this when you see your revenues increase as a result!

Data-Driven Marketing Starts With Data, Not Software

Organizations are well aware that the key to influencing a customer or prospect is to reach them at the right time in their purchase journey. Multi-channel marketing powered by a single, organized, integrated view of consumers empowers companies to perform successful data-driven marketing. Data-driven marketing success relies on two items:

1. Single customer view (sometimes referred to as 360 degree view)

2. Actionable marketing data

Single Customer View

To develop a single customer view of all consumers requires an organization to integrate all of their customer and prospect marketing information into a central location. The key is to match all of the data available for one individual to that specific individual. Connecting every aspect of one consumer to all of the different variables that pertain to that consumer can be a daunting task. But when done correctly, the single customer view offers a wealth of knowledge to marketers. Using the single view of a consumer, organizations can analyze and understand the complete consumer journey. This knowledge provides companies the data-driven ability to deploy the right message at the right time using the right channel to the right recipient.

Actionable Marketing Data

To provide customers and prospects with personalized, relevant, and timely interactions, marketers must have actionable marketing data. Actionable data means your data is always Trustworthy, Accessible, Fresh & Integrated (TAFI). Without actionable data, organizations do not have the foundation necessary to perform data-driven marketing. The myriad of marketing systems utilized by companies to perform cross-channel marketing are only as good as the data being leveraged by a given system. Data-driven marketing starts with data, not software.

Data-Driven Marketing Success is within Your Reach

Developing a single customer view from all of your marketing data and ensuring your marketing data is actionable is within reach. A marketing database provides marketers with a fully integrated, reliable, 360 degree view of the customer that empowers their data-driven marketing initiatives.. A marketing database also provides various software systems and platforms with actionable, integrated data to send personalized, relevant, and timely interactions throughout the consumer’s purchase journey.

Data-Driven Marketing Database Solution

A single customer view is only available to organizations who are able to fully integrates pertinent data into a central location. A database solution provides companies with a central location and a data-driven marketing database solution. A marketing database houses information such as where and how products are purchased, when and what was purchased, dollar amount spent, and customer demographic/lifestyle, and firmographic information. Insightful marketing data gives database marketers the ability to create targeted marketing campaigns that their audience will relate to and act on. How? The ability to extract all marketing data-from internal and external sources-allows direct marketers to create a three-dimensional portrait of their customers. Marketers can create this image because they have access to a wide variety of detailed information about each individual. Then, direct marketers are easily able to determine the interests their customers and prospects have, their preferred communication channel, and which offers they are most likely to respond to. Ultimately, organizations can pull finely-tuned lists for their marketing campaigns or use the data for cross-channel marketing via other marketing software systems and platforms.

A true data-driven database solution allows companies to integrate items such as the following.

  • Customer and/or prospect data
  • Multi-channel contact data (e.g., postal address, email address, text messaging, phone number, mobile push, social media, etc.)
  • Recency, Frequency and Monetary data
  • Multi-level managed data (e.g., email, individual, household, residence, unique business, unique email address, etc.)
  • Attributes of customers and/or prospects (e.g., interests, preferences or affinities)
  • Demographic/lifestyle, and firmographic data
  • Segmentation data
  • Campaign history
  • Marketing touch tracking/promotion history
  • Multi-channel suppression and opt-out data

A fully integrated data-driven database solution provides marketers the ability to gather additional information on their customers and prospects that drives campaign response rates, sales, and ROI. Data-driven marketing starts with data, not software.

To learn more about the benefits of data-driven marketing database solution go to http://www.dovetaildatabase.com/marketing-database-solution-experts.

Ten Reasons You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy

To ensure that your Digital Marketing efforts bear fruit, you will have to chalk out a prioritised plan of activities. Although there are many companies who are getting effective results without a strategic approach and by using mainstream methods like social media sharing, email marketing, etc., they are also missing out on many opportunities and are failing to face challenges. Hence, to ensure that you have a solution for any problems you face while marketing your products and services digitally, a full-proof strategy is imperative.

Outlined below are the top 10 reasons why you need to chalk out a Digital Marketing strategy:

To move in the right direction

Mapping out a path by setting goals is extremely important. You must be clear about why you are investing your money and resources and what is it you want to achieve by marketing about your business through the digital mediums. If you will not have a goal, you will not be able to allocate capital and resources correctly. Even the resources that you have appointed would be directionless, and all your money and efforts will go in vain.

To know your online market share

Chalking out a strategy would also help you know your online market share and act as per the analysis. It would also help you understand your customers’ preferences, their demands, behaviour, and target areas for you.

To reduce threats from existing and new competitors

A meticulous strategy would enable you to take strong measures against competitors and recognize the untouched market areas and target them accordingly.

To have a clearly defined online value proposition

The clearer the objective of your digital marketing strategy, the clearer will be the online customer value proposition. Your potential and existing customers will be able to differentiate between you and your competitors hence, will stay loyal to you.

To identify and overpower your weaknesses

Formulating a robust digital marketing strategy is the easiest way of recognizing and gaining control over your weaknesses, if any. In the process of devising a strategy, you will use a wide variety of tools that will help you identify and address your weak points, effectively.

To ensure smooth integration with your traditional methods of marketing

Word has it that digital marketing works best when combined with traditional methods of marketing. Hence, to ensure that both the marketing strategies that you have go hand in hand, it is better to form a digital marketing strategy.

To take quick action if any problem is encountered midway

By defining a marketing strategy, you will not only be able to weigh your options and foresee certain situations, but you will also be prepared and able to respond quickly to any situation that might arise.

To avoid wastage of resources caused by duplication

A strategy that you have not ideated and simply adopted might be a waste of time, resources, and money as it might be an old one. You wouldn’t land in such a situation if you are forming a brand new and exclusive strategy. You can see what will work best for you and invest time, money, and resources in sync with those options.

To stay agile

Staying agile, dynamic, and coming up with new approaches and ideas is the best way to retain and gain online audiences. With a strategy for your digital audiences, you will be able to stay abreast of the changes and improvise according to the market situations.

To always have room for optimizing

You will know how, when, and why to allocate resources so that your digital marketing strategy is optimized and keeps on providing you high ROI.

So there you have it. The reasons and benefits of planning and deploying a thoughtful strategy before taking a plunge in the ocean of Digital Marketing.

Generating Leads for Network Marketing – The Marketing Mix

Generating qualified leads for your Network Marketing business can be either the key to success or the stumbling block. Network Marketing is all about connecting with people first, developing trust, likeability and giving value to the marketplace before selling to them by providing products and value they need.

Typically, most people actively engaged in the business don’t have a marketing plan for generating Network Marketing leads and subsequently don’t generate leads on a consistent basis to gain the traction and momentum needed to succeed.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks in this process is choosing a lead generating tactic that works. There are lots to choose from and quite often business owners find themselves going from one tactic to another without mastering one Network Marketing lead generation tactic, all of which are highly effective if done correctly. The old saying ‘Jack of all trades, Master of none’ is still as relevant today as it was when I was in the building industry..!

I’m all for positive affirmations and positive thinking, but before you blindly head off generating leads, ensure you have a marketing plan. A plan that you can understand, implement and get results with. The following points will help you to formulate your Marketing plan.

Remember that it’s all about generating qualified leads that don’t get put off when there’s work to do..!

1. Understand Your Target Market

Who is your target market? Remember that it will usually be people looking for a solution to a problem if you’re going to use online lead generation methods. The first thing people do is type their problems into Google and YouTube, and the people looking for Network Marketing leads will usually be frustrated Networkers who have run out of warm market prospects looking for solutions because they don’t have a marketing plan or the knowledge for generating leads for their business.

2. Define A Lead Generation Tactic

There are lots of lead generation tactics, all of which are effective if they are done properly and to their fullest potential both free and paid. These lead generation tactics include Article Marketing, Video Marketing, Solo Ads, Facebook Advertising, Banner Ads the list is long, but don’t be fooled into thinking that paid advertising is better than non-paid or free methods of advertising, the common denominator is mastering one tactic, being effective with it then scaling up.

If you are actively generating leads for Network Marketing or if you’re looking for an effective method of lead generation I would recommend article marketing as a wise time investment to produce a valuable asset that will give you leverage, longevity and sustainability in your business.

Article marketing is a marketing plan that has been effective for most of the top leaders in the Network Marketing industry because done the right way, and to its fullest potential, article marketing is a powerful way to generate leads for Network Marketing. In order to execute this article marketing plan, you will need a couple of ingredients in your marketing mix:

1. Article Marketing System

The article marketing system consists of getting high quality articles written with the researched relevant keywords woven into the title and body of the article, containing links to your lead capture pages. Once written, the article will need to be shared with your target audience and a back-linking campaign targeted to dominate your competition and make your article “Generating Leads for Network Marketing” be the first article people find.

2. Lead Generation System

The vital step is your lead generating system. Having the right system in place will ensure that all your hard work researching and writing articles is put into action. The system will give you positive cash flow by offering a funded proposal where you profit by giving value to your subscribers even if they say no to your primary company, and the system will give you leverage by generating leads for Network Marketing on autopilot, which is when it gets really exciting!