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- How to Sell to Market Research Buyers, Part 2
- How to Sell to Market Research Buyers, Part 1
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- Running a small firm? Who holds you accountable?
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- Your Sales Forecast Doesn’t Have to be a Guessing Game!
- Lead generation is a 3-step process.
- Measuring Sales… it’s Not just about Revenue
- 7 Selling Behaviors Seller-Doers Must Employ to be Successful.
- Can you really be “all things to all people?”
- 12 Marketing & Sales Activities you Gotta STOP this Year!
- How to maximize the impact of your marketing investment.
- Revenue Growth? Try the ‘5% Challenge’… it’s Brilliant!
- Should you ever walk away from revenue?
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- 20 Marketing and Sales Concepts Business Leaders Need to Know, Part 2
- 20 Marketing and Sales Concepts Business Leaders Need to Know, Part 1
- 10 Guidelines for How to Be Successful at Sales
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- 6 Marketing & Sales Lessons Learned in our First 4 Years in Business
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- Marketing Measurement: 3 New Methods You Have to Try in 2016
- The One Thing You Must Include in Your 2016 Marketing & Sales Plan
- Not using LinkedIn? Are you kidding me?!
- Is it OK to fire a client?
- Take Charge of Your Own Success… Stop Relying on Others!
- Getting first-time clients to take a chance on you.
- 9 Ways to Build your Business During the Summer Slowdown
- The Top 10 Ways to Build Awareness
- The 13 Most Common Website Mistakes
- The Most Important Part of Exhibiting
- Content marketing isn’t a one-time thing… it’s an all-the-time thing.
- THINKING! A framework for creating better business plans in 2015.
- Not happy with your marketing & sales? Then make just one change in 2015!
- For Beginners: Should I Tweet Daily? Yes… and here’s how.
- Got your Marketing Plan for 2015? No?! Now’s a good time to start…
- How to Connect with Booth Visitors – An Exhibitor’s Worksheet
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- 10 Ways to Get Clients to Sell FOR You (and they won’t cost a dime!)
- Do you know where you’re going? Why Strategy should drive your marketing & sales.
- 11 execution tips to help you exceed client expectations
- How to Turn First-time Clients into Repeat Clients
- 15 easy, low-cost marketing and sales tactics for 2014 – Part 2
- 15 easy, low-cost marketing and sales tactics for 2014 – Part 1
- 13 Lessons for Researchers Who Don’t Want (or Like) to Sell
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- Get it right! You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
- It’s not that complicated! A common sense approach to the marketing & sales process.
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- Prove it! Nine ways to convince prospects to work with you for the first time.
- Five everyday ways to grow your business
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- Six marketing and sales mistakes MR firms make every day
- Eight proven ways to build awareness – and why you should!
- Suspects, Prospects and Clients: Is your firm focused on the right target?
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- Learning to play the game: What football can teach us about marketing
- Differentiating your firm in a crowded marketplace
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- Size Does Matter: 4 Approaches to Growing Your Business
- The 12 Guiding Principles of Marketing (part 2)
- The 12 Guiding Principles of Marketing (part 1)
It’s not that complicated! A common sense approach to the marketing & sales process.
Many (many) years ago, when I was an upstart corporate executive, one of my colleagues recommended a book to me on finance and accounting for non-financial managers. I liked it because it took fairly complicated concepts and processes and explained them in plain, simple English – perfect for a marketing and sales guy like me!
Coincidentally, since opening Harpeth Marketing, most of my client contacts have been non-marketing and sales professionals and I’ve looked for plain-English resources to help them better understand concepts and processes surrounding business development. And while there a lot of good resources available, I needed one that was specific to the B2B services industry.
So I looked at the MR marketing and sales activities and created a model that lays out a step-by-step process for growing revenue. We call it the Marketing & Sales Pyramid™…
Step 1: Do your homework
Before you can decide where you want to go, you need to understand where you’ve been and where you are right now. To lay the foundation for your marketing and sales program, take some time to do a little homework – don’t assume.
- A SWOT analysis to determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- Client surveys (not project-related). Ask “What do we do right?”, “What do we do wrong?”, “How can we improve?”, etc.
- Ex-client surveys. Ask “What did we do right?”, “What did we do wrong?”, “Why did you leave?”, “Who do you use now and why?”, etc.
- A review of competitor websites.
- A marketing and sales audit. Take an objective look at what you’ve been doing to see where you can improve.
Step 2: Make strategic decisions
Spend some time looking through the information gathered during Step 1. What did you learn? What trends did you see? What opportunities bubbled to the surface?
Then answer these key questions:
- What are we selling? And at what price?
- Who are we selling to – defined target audiences and specific key accounts?
- How do we differentiate ourselves in the marketplace?
- What’s our messaging?
The answers to these questions will establish your strategy and your direction in the marketplace.
Step 3: Build awareness
Now, based on your strategic direction, decide how and where you will build awareness for your firm and services. Spend your time and money in places where your target audience can be found.
Consider your website, a blog, social media, advertising, e-mail, subject matter content, sales calls, networking, exhibiting at conferences, speaking/writing, etc.
Reminder: Awareness-building is not only to capture the attention of new prospects but to stay top-of-mind with existing clients as well.
Step 4: Generate leads
Building on Step 3, you need to implement activities that capture data from prospective clients (e.g., name, company, e-mail, phone number, etc.) to make new connections for later follow-up. Your awareness-building will help generate a certain number of inquiries but to go beyond that, additional action is required.
Consider making materials downloadable from your website (e.g., e-books, white papers, etc.), hosting a Webinar, networking, exhibiting at conferences and connecting on social media (especially LinkedIn).
Note: I would not recommend scouring industry directories and dumping the contact information into your database – that’s just spammy and may also violate the directory’s user agreement.
Don’t forget existing clients. Often, your success with a big client hinges on a relationship with one person, but what if that person leaves? Make an effort to connect with new people at multiple levels inside every large client organization.
Step 5: Nurture your leads
Just because you’ve generated a new lead doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy. It will take time and you want to be top-of-mind when they’re ready.
Consider regular and consistent e-mails, sharing articles, connecting on social media and occasional phone calls or in-person visits.
Step 6: Create first-time clients
At this point, you’ve walked a prospect through the sales process and now it’s time to do some business. What can you do to help generate and close the first sale?
Consider a compelling capabilities presentation, free trial offer, effective proposals, competitive pricing, first-time client deals, etc.
Step 7: Ensure repeat clients
The key to the success of any business is to develop repeat clientele. To do that in market research, you must first do good work. (I’ll assume that’s a given for you!)
Beyond that, consider post-project surveys, thank-you notes, post-project calls and debriefings, client-specific communications, gifts, efficient and accurate billing, etc.
You might also decide to create a segment of your clients called “key accounts.” This would be your largest (or potentially largest) clients – for whom you might do some extra-special things to maintain or increase loyalty. Many firms assign a key account manager to shepherd their largest clients.
Proven and systematic
The Marketing & Sales Pyramid is a proven and systematic methodology – each step building on the one before – to create a marketing and sales plan and effectively engage with clients and sales prospects.
For each step, we discussed just a few ideas. As you get into it, spend some time brainstorming about what else you can do to maximize your efforts. Once you’ve done that, put together a timeline, assign responsibility, look at the budget and measure everything!
Good luck and good marketing!
The article was originally published in Quirk’s: http://www.quirks.com/articles/2013/20130927-1.aspx.