- Running a small firm? Who holds you accountable?
- Marketing & Sales Success Begins with a Simple Step… Thinking!
- 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?
- Get Ready for 2017 with these 6 Marketing & Sales Activities
- 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
- Strategy Before Tactics!
- 6 Marketing & Sales Lessons Learned in our First 4 Years in Business
- The Sales Presentation: Stop Reading the PowerPoint Slides and Tell Your Story
- Content Marketing not working? Eh, don’t worry about it!
- 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
- Not getting the email results you want? Make sure you’re following these 7 email marketing guidelines.
- 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
- Social media marketing success in 30 minutes a day
- 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.
- How MR firms are blowing it with new customers: Lessons learned while secret shopping
- Management or sales… you can’t serve two masters.
- Prove it! Nine ways to convince prospects to work with you for the first time.
- Five everyday ways to grow your business
- How that ‘one great client’ could doom your firm
- 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?
- A Checklist for Conducting Your Own Marketing & Sales Audit
- Learning to play the game: What football can teach us about marketing
- Differentiating your firm in a crowded marketplace
- 25 low- or no-cost ways to grow your business
- 15 Reasons E-mail Still Matters in Sales and Marketing
- Come prepared, dress the part and follow up: 10 dos for exhibiting at MR trade shows
- No rookies, no gum and no Frisbees: 10 don’ts for exhibiting at MR trade shows
- How to see yourself as clients see you
- Marketing 101: It takes Work to make it Work
- Use the 8 Ps of Marketing when Setting Strategy
- Integrate the 4 As of Marketing into Your Planning
- 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)
Got your Marketing Plan for 2015? No?! Now’s a good time to start…
Yeah, it’s that time of year… time to start planning for NEXT year. (Already?!) There are strategic plans, business plans, operational plans, hiring plans – and our favorite – marketing plans.
In the work we do for our clients – and what we do for ourselves – we follow a framework for constructing plans we’ve named the Marketing & Sales Pyramid™. The Pyramid is a step-by-step, logical approach to business development. Here’s how it works…
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 plan, take some time to do a little homework on your company, clients and competitors. This will include things like:
- A SWOT Analysis – get several people from your firm to do this
- Client and Ex-Client surveys – not just about project work, but about why they do/don’t do business with you, where you excel and how you’re unique
- An analysis of your revenue – e.g. revenue by industry, revenue by client type, revenue by service line, top 10 clients, etc.
- A Marketing & Sales Audit – take a critical look at your past plans, your website and social media sites, your sales collateral, proposals, capabilities presentation, advertisements, etc.
- A Competitor Review – even do a little ‘secret shopping’ if you can
Step 2: Make strategic decisions
‘Strategies’ are broad directional statements that define WHAT you will do to achieve your goals. Don’t confuse these with ‘tactics’ – which are the HOW you’ll do it. For example, a strategy might be to ‘position our CEO as an expert on the topic of mobile research.’ A tactic that could help support that strategy could be ‘to have him write an eBook on mobile research.’
Spend some time looking through the information gathered during Step 1. What trends did you see? What opportunities bubbled to the surface? Use what you learned in Step 1 to establish your go-to-market strategies. Consider:
- Define your target market (by industry, company type and buyer persona)
- What are their challenges, issues, pain points?
- Does your product/service mix need to change? How’s your pricing?
- How will you position your firm in the marketplace?
- What are your Points of Differentiation (PODs)… note: doing great work and having great people don’t count.
- What ‘messaging’ will you use?
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. Remember, awareness-building is not only to capture the attention of new prospects, but to stay top-of-mind with existing clients as well. This will include tactics like:
- Your website
- Social media
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Your sales team
Step 4: Generate leads
Your awareness-building activities will help to generate a certain number of inquiries and call-ins, but to go beyond that, additional action is required. Building on Step 3, you need to implement activities that capture contact information from prospective clients for later follow-up. For example…
- Making eBooks or white papers downloadable from your website
- Hosting a webinar
- Exhibiting and networking at conferences
- Connecting on LinkedIn or Twitter
- Re-connecting with all those names in your CRM database that haven’t been contacted in a long time (I’ll bet there are hundreds… maybe even thousands!)
- Reaching out to new or existing clients to make additional contacts inside those firms
- Pay-per-click advertising (try it on LinkedIn)
Step 5: Nurture your leads
Just because you’ve generated a new sales lead doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy right now. It might take some time for them to get to know you/like you/trust you. ‘Lead nurturing’ means implementing a series of on-going activities to help your firm stay top-of-mind, so when your prospects are ready, they think of you. This will include…
- Regular emails
- Sharing useful content (articles, eBooks, etc.)
- An occasional phone call
- Engaging them on social media
- Leave-behind collateral
- Entertaining your larger prospects
Step 6: Create first-time clients
At this point, you’ve walked a prospect through the buying process and now it’s time to ask for the business. What can you do to help them to “take a chance” with you for the first time? To convince them that you are the right alternative (over every other firm)? To mitigate whatever apprehension they have about choosing you? Consider…
- A compelling capabilities presentation
- A clear, concise proposal
- Proof sources, like testimonials and references
- Case studies that showcase your expertise
- Providing quality content that shows off your knowledge
- Favorable pricing
- Some sort of warranty or guarantee
Step 7: Ensure repeat clients
New clients are great! But the key to the long-term success of your business is to develop repeat clientele. To do that, you must first do good work. Beyond that, you need to implement tactics that reinforce your firm as the provider of choice.
- Establish the role of Key Account Manager for your larger clients
- Conduct post-project surveys
- Maintain a strong communications effort
- Regular visits/calls by your sales rep
- Send Thank You notes – handwritten, not emails
- Give volume or frequent-client discounts
- Send unexpected gifts
Putting it all together
In addition to revenue, decide what you need to measure and how you’ll get it done. Some of the basics you’ll want to track include:
- Website activity
- Social media connections and activity
- Email open and click-thru rates
- PPC metrics
- Sales activity
- Bids submitted & won
The last thing you’ll want to do is to condense all of the above into a few usable management sheets. At a minimum, these should include a marketing & sales calendar, budget management sheet and measurement tracking sheet.
One final point… marketing & sales need to have a seat at the grown-up’s table. That is, when you have your weekly management staff meeting, besides reviewing the status of all the projects currently in-house and other company issues, make sure to set aside time to talk about your firm’s marketing & sales efforts – the variety of activities and an overview of the results. The more that marketing & sales are integrated into your firm, the more likely you’ll be able to get the support you need to carry out your plan.
Good luck and good marketing.