Yesterday, I wrote about how to make your marketing more effective. Today, we’re going to talk about spending on sales.
If you’re a small business owner like me, you probably run into this problem pretty often: spending a lot of time and energy, while not bringing in the number of new clients you need. I try to use every resource possible to maximize the investment I put into my sales practices.
See if any of these 10 marketing tips will help you!
- Look to existing customers first. Here’s a hand you can already play! If you serve your customers well, they’ll bring you more business in turn. If you didn’t read my entry on caring for your current clients, check it out!
- Follow up on leads. With every other ball, you have to juggle when running a business, it’s easy to drop the follow-up ball. Go-to-Market Strategies published a market research study showing that most leads go cold within the first 24 hours and that 25% of new leads are never pursued. MAKE THE TIME! If you’re not keeping track of new prospects, you’re losing business.
- Budget your new client spending. Don’t get too generous with your attempts to woo new clients to your company. Calculate the lifetime value = frequency of purchase x duration of loyalty x gross profit. Work out an “acquisition budget” that ensures a return on investment. Think of ways to spend money that are affordable, but don’t appear cheap (like promotional items).
- Spend on tools, not travel. Think of new tools you can utilize to reach potential customers, rather than spending money on travel expenses. Think about applications like InsideView, which discovers sales opportunities for you and sends them via a web-based program to your smartphone or computer. Spend time researching your clients – knowing what they’re looking for will help get more “bang for your buck” when you meet face-to-face.
- Educate! Nowadays, no one wants a straight sales pitch. They are more interested in knowing about your industry – and their competition – than about specifics for your company. Provide resources, like organized informational materials, that teach your client more about your product/service (rather than a dissertation on your specific business). Start a newsletter that will reach a maximum number of people!
- Do your homework. When you’re trying to budget for marketing, gather data so you can be accurate! Consider a 3-point approach: industry standards, marketing planning (use your past & forecasted return-on-investment numbers), and the lifetime value of your customers.
- Meet virtually. It’s harder to coordinate schedules now, with everything that a business owner/manager faces. When faced with a time crunch, you’re much more likely to chat for 10-15 minutes on a phone call or web conference than be able to sit down in person for an hour. And use your time wisely – get to the point, don’t ramble.
- All prospects are good prospects. Even if you don’t close a sale, don’t write off that lead. Miller-Pierce (a marketing firm based in Indianapolis) conducted research which shows that 30% of non-purchasers are ready to buy in the next 6 to 9 months! Which takes us back to #2: follow up!
- Be your industry’s expert! It’s all about being available and accessible to potential customers and peers in your industry. Start a blog or send a press release. Go to networking events and talk to people about current changes in your market. Be visible and vocal – you’ll be the first source they think of when they need more information.
- ABT: Always Be Training. If you’re still basing your sales methods on things you first learned when you entered the marketplace, you could be hurting yourself. Don’t be outdated – you’ll miss out on new ways to generate leads and network with potential clients! Attend a training seminar (or send your staff to one) that showcases new sales techniques. Be sure you work the cost of training into your budget!