A traditional view in sales and marketing is that we have to choose between a high volume, low quality lead generation formula and a high quality, low volume alternative. But is it not possible to have a third option – both high quality and high volume?
We think there are ways of getting closer to the third. Take a look at the 7 strategies here and think about how they could help you.
- How do you get your best business?
This can be such a valuable piece of information. Track every piece of business to understand how your best customers find you and then create a plan to be there regularly and a system to make it happen. It could be via a contact with great connections, online searches, networking, events, advertising – and a hundred other media – however, it is unlikely to be in just one place.
Record where all of your business comes from, note the quality of the business in terms of its value and fit with your products and services and us this to build a well researched marketing plan.
- Be very specific about who you are looking to do business with
This doesn’t mean to say that you can only do business with one group of people who all share the same problems at the same time with the same budget. However, by defining the characteristics of the distinct groups of people you could help – and who need your help – you can speak directly to them in your marketing activities.
For example, a web design business could help new business owners who have a small budget and very little idea of what to include in their new site. This service could be quite different to the one they provide for a larger business looking to get to the next level, who have an outdated website and also now want to integrate it with their CRM system. Now imagine the words they will use in their marketing campaigns for each group – different, aren’t they?
- Define sales qualification criteria
This is not just for bigger businesses. Qualification criteria help you to work out the likelihood of a prospect becoming a customer. On the face of it you are only likely to know this once you have an initial conversation, however, they can also be used to steer your marketing copy towards those most likely to buy from you. Here are the key areas to filter contacts by:
Is their need for a solution within the next week, month or does it have no timeframe?
Do they have one or have the authority to find one and is it big enough for what you sell?
Is the person you are dealing with a Decision Maker or indeed have the ear of the Decision Maker? Sometimes those tasked with doing the buying ‘leg work’ can be very influential. If not, which person holds the authority?
What sort of problems or wants do they have and do you have a good fit solution? (Force-fitting a badly matched solution is a short term gain for long term pain – unless you’re setting out to be a low quality unreliable brand!)
Do they have policies guiding who they do business with, e.g prefer to work with businesses accredited with ISO standards or associated with trade bodies.
- Clarity of marketing messages
If you were to ask your customers to describeyour services in one sentence, would the descriptions be consistent? Remember, you could have different sets of descriptions for different groups of services – but consistency is key.
For example, back to the web design company, when asked to describe the service their new business customers unanimously say, ‘they hand-held us through the process, making it simple and painless and delivering a creative and functional website which customers love.’
This is a real measure of whether your marketing messages are clear and hitting the right targets. What do you want your customers to say about you? Find out and use customer feedback to generate more of the same
- Be where your best leads are
This could be fun! Perhaps they play a lot of golf, tennis, rugby or bowls – or a socially distanced version! Perhaps they spend most of their time on line or perhaps they are often members of local associations – Scouts, Rotary, IoD. The important thing is that you know where to find them. Easier said than done. Research is the answer and takes many forms:
Social media discussion groups
Reading business and trade press
- Existing customers are leads
This is so often forgotten. Keep talking to them, encourage them with targeted promotions, invite them to events, thank them for their business and ask them what else they need.
- Focus on referrals
According to the consulting giants Bain & Co, 87% of satisfied customers are happy to pass leads to sales reps but only 7% of sales reps ask for referrals. Now you might not see yourself as a sales rep but when you are representing your business your customers certainly do. A referral process doesn’t need to be sophisticated. For the web design company it could sound like this, ‘do you know any other businesses that have been trading for more than 3 years, who are doing well and are beginning to think of revamping their website? Would you be happy to introduce me to their Marketing Director?’ Note the qualification criteria in our request!
Getting your customer and product mix right saves times, makes you more profitable and can even make business more enjoyable. These 7 steps are not just a good start but a great way to continually review, improve and build your sales strategy.