How to Manage Long Sales Cycles

May 27th, 2015

Burning-BridgeI was talking with a client last week about the long sales cycles in our industry. I was “bragging” that I have one client that took nearly two years to convert from prospect to client. Unimpressed, the client then mentioned that he had one that took eight years!

OK, eight years is a little ridiculous, but a 6-12-18 month sales cycle is an all-too-common scenario in B2B professional services industries… one that we all have to learn to mange. From my perspective, there are two key strategies for “sticking with it” through the long sales cycle.

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I Lost a Client Today!

May 20th, 2015

big co logosIn fact, it was our longest-standing client.

No, we didn’t mess up. And no, they didn’t find another marketing services supplier.

The issue is an all-too-common one in our industry… they lost their largest client. In this case, one that accounted for more than 25% of their total revenue. And with that kind of financial hit, my client is facing some serious cash-flow issues… and that’s what got us.

For some firms, a client worth 25% is actually on the low side… I’ve heard of a single, large client accounting for as much as 60-70% of a firm’s total revenue! And with a huge client like that… it’s not IF you will lose them, it’s simply a matter of WHEN.

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Advertising Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

May 13th, 2015

ad memeThere was an article in this morning’s newspaper discussing how expensive it can be to build awareness through advertising… $340k+ for a 30-second spot on The Big Bang Theory, $600k for a spot on a Fox Network NFL game, $675k – per day – for the universal masthead on YouTube, $200k to be an Instagram advertiser and even $1.5million for a spot during the NCAA March Madness final game.

I agree… pretty staggering numbers. Unfortunately, it’s because of articles like this – and sensationalizing the dollars involved – that the overriding perception about advertising is that while potentially a valuable weapon in a firm’s marketing arsenal, it is too expensive for most firms to take advantage of.

And while it’s true that you do have to spend some money to create and place the ads, the actual dollars needed to help build awareness through some of the Market Research industry (or most any industry, for that matter) marketing vehicles are downright pedestrian when compared to those numbers above. For example…

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