|Scott Orlosky has over 25 years of experience in marketing, sales, and application support in a B2B environment. Scott’s career has involved the application of technology solutions to a variety of manufacturing and customer support issues. Scott is passionate about customer service as a strategic core value for business success.|
Grow Your Business Through Regular Communication.
The goal of most business is to increase the customer base over time. More customers mean more revenue and more opportunities for growth. The question to answer is: who are the companies that are good at this and why? Does it take a super salesperson or maybe it’s a powerful marketing campaign to let people know about your product and service? The answer, it turns out, is a little bit of both, plus careful attention to your inbound marketing campaigns.
There are basically three steps to follow, but how you follow them is what makes all the difference. Step one is to secure an initial meeting. This might be harder than you think. Many studies have been run on trying to quantify what it takes to get to the initial meeting and they all come to roughly the same conclusion. It takes about eight encounters or "touches" on average before a prospect is ready to consider a meeting, either in person or remote.
The next step is to qualify the prospect as to whether they could become a bona fide customer. Usually 25% of the prospects after the initial meeting are not worth pursuing. The other 75% are worth nurturing, at least at the onset. This will require some long-term thinking on behalf of the salesperson. Depending on the business cycles in your industry long term could be anything from six months to six years.
The third step is to be asked for a proposal to bid on an opportunity. And to make a winning pitch. This is always easier to say, than to do. Since this article is about regular communication, you’re probably asking, "OK where’s the communication bit?" So far this just sounds like Sales 101.
This is where we have to take a deeper dive into the buyers’ journey.
The marketing arm is the best opportunity that most companies have to create the touches that will eventually lead up to that initial meeting. This is where a lot of companies make a mistake. They believe that the goal of marketing is to promote the product, service, or the company name or mission. For some prospects, this may help, however the real driver of action is a clear articulation of the value proposition or propositions of the company. This is usually thought of as "how we can help you do what you do in a way that saves you time or money", or, "how can we help you to do a new thing that will allow you to grow into new or adjacent markets". This messaging only works if you are 1) consistent with the message and 2) you can actually deliver the results you promise.
Consistency means that all of your social media, your inside and outside sales team, your creative team, the web site, product developers - everyone in the company - uses the same messaging whenever they are talking to someone outside of the company. It is OK if you have several value propositions, just don’t ask your prospect to absorb them all at once on their first encounter with your company. It is best to understand if the prospect is drawn to a specific value proposition and then to go in-depth on that and possibly one more potential solution. More than two topics starts to muddy the waters and create confusion. Confused prospects do not buy.
Delivering the results. This might seem obvious but it is very common for a product or service to be offered for sale well before the testing has finished on the product. It is possible that the product will not meet its design specification and ultimately will have to be sold at a different price point, go through another design iteration, or be completely removed from the sales catalog. People have long memories for this sort of thing. The shorthand takeaway is "underpromise and overdeliver".
Evidence suggests that the companies that do the best at growing their customers have strong value propositions that are communicated repeatedly and consistently to their prospect base. They also have sales teams which are good at matching customer needs closely with those value propositions. Use your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to create a picture of your prospect’s needs. That’s what it’s there for. The ultimate goal is that when your prospect finally can justify the purchase, you are there. You have provided all the information needed to complete the sales pitch and have been in continual and patient contact through both the sales and marketing channels. And that’s a winning proposition.
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