Refinement of the core company principles that will be foundational to the success of your sales and marketing activities.
In a conversation with a gentleman about his business, we were reviewing how he would actually do business. We began with questions about his products and services, pricing and other features, to which he was able to provide answers. However, despite having the pieces and parts in place in theory, the plan was lacking the alignment that a business requires to effectively drive sales and revenue which, of course, is critical to the success of any business.
In the same way, given the recent marketplace changes, it is time to go back and revisit some of the beliefs we have about our companies in order to develop and implement an effective strategy to increase sales and revenue. The nine steps outlined below represent identifying and addressing the core principles upon which a firm can build its sales and marketing program to get the results they are seeking.
Understand who you are selling to. Define them specifically: Who are they? Where are they? What do they want? How does your company uniquely solve their needs? Even if you have been in business for some time without specifically doing a market segmentation study, and even if you don’t have the data with which to do it, you can probably figure out commonalities between your consumers if you stop and think about them to group them together and define how your products and services can meet their needs.
Fully understanding who your consumer is will help you to make sure that your offering can specifically address their need(s). For example, if you make whiteboards for a certain demographic, you want to ensure that it meets their size, mounting, feature and option needs to make their purchase experience easy. In our hyper-competitive world, we must understand that with so much competition, as soon as consumers don’t feel you can serve their needs, they will move on to the next item.
Offer complimentary items. Again, with the example of the whiteboard, ensure that you sell markers, marker holders, erasers, mounting brackets, stands and whatever else your target market might benefit from. The great thing about this is a) it adds on to the sale and b) it extends the sale. Markers aren’t a one-time purchase. Keep them coming back for more. Additionally, you can offer installation and perhaps with a different offering, extended service or add on a warranty. Just as importantly as your primary product, you’ve got to make sure that these items are going to be of value to your target audience.
Messaging is often part of the conversation that is overlooked; or at least, not enough emphasis is put on it. Your consumers are looking for a specific communication that they can connect with, which will cause them to act, and that messaging needs to come over a medium that they are using. Whether using social media, email marketing, cold calling, mass advertising, content marketing or some other means, think through who will be reading it, when they will most likely see it and what you expect them to do as a result of it.
Brand experience – present the company in a way that meets your consumers’ expectations – from soup to nuts. Make the experience memorable. Whether online or offline, the way that your customer or client interacts with your brand is going to dictate whether or not they will be loyal to it. Furthermore, you brand experience is what will create brand ambassadors for you, through simply leaving a raving review about their experience or telling everyone they meet about it, creating raving fans is a sure-fire way to drive more sales and revenue to your business.
Price strategy comes in many different flavors. According to an article in Hubspot, a pricing strategy “is a model or method used to establish the best price for a product or service.” The key is to find the one that works for you, which is the one that generates the most sales and revenue for your business. Do not be tempted to randomly price your offerings as you could easily be pricing yourself out of the market, leaving money on the table, or not leaving enough margin on the table for your company to make money. You will want to consider the price/value relationships to make sure there is an equitable exchange of what they are paying for and what you are offering.
Customer lifecycle is your engagement with a customer over time. For example, if you are a membership organization, you might plan to bring in most members at a certain rate, then sell a certain number of them some sort of membership benefit and eventually upgrade them over time. You could also think about how to extend the sale or make sure that memberships are converting as they approach their ending with a specific process that is done to increase the likelihood of conversion. Don’t take renewal for granted.
Accessibility is a critical factor. If you are brick and mortar business, you know that location, location, location are the three driving factors when making a selection. If you are an online business – or a brick and mortar business that does business online as well – you probably know that coming up on the first page of the search results is critical. According to an article from Junto.com:
- 93% of online experiences start with a search engine
- 81% of consumers perform some type of online research before making a large purchase
- 75% of people never scroll past the first page of the search engine!
What this says is that if your company isn’t showing up on the first page of the search engines, you might as well not exist; or at least plan not to get business through it .Your customers and clients will need to find you where they are going to be looking, which might be one of the other mediums where your messaging is located. Keep in mind that the goal here is to get your product and service in front of people, not simply advertise for the sake of it.
Delivering on your brand promise. If you make a claim, your company needs to be able to deliver it. Plain and simple. This essentially your brand promise, and as Trudy Seeger states in “The Importance of Customer Engagement in Marketing,” it is not enough to communicate your brand promise…it is essential to fulfill it. This is fulfillment of your customer’s expectations. As stated earlier, you want your customers to become ambassadors for your company. Referrals are still the most effective revenue generators, so make sure you’ve done everything you can to garner them from your customers.
Increasing sales and revenue in your company does take a concerted effort of activities before you even get the opportunity to sell Everything that you can do to lower the barriers to sales and increase the lifetime value of your customer are fare game to enhancing your overall sales and marketing effectiveness. While there is some effort required to complete these tasks, the investment will pay off and your company will most likely benefit from the resulting growth in business.