Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business
And - more importantly - to keep them coming in.
You never seem to have enough prospects. You need more customers, but your sales pipeline isn’t loaded with leads.
It’s the number one issue facing businesses owners today. Fresh leads are the lifeblood of business. It’s time to start a new marketing campaign and push the sales team harder.
Or is it?
Finding new prospects can be time consuming -- and expensive. It’s not the hard work that bothers you, just the fear of getting overwhelmed with a high volume of low-quality leads. There’s no better way to waste time and money with little to show for your efforts.
Scouting for new prospects has never been more challenging -- or frustrating. No matter how small or large of a business, the process can be formidable, even discouraging. Think about it, the possibilities are vast -- lead research, new content on your website, buying a list of names, hiring a telemarketing company, exhibiting at trade shows, and cold calling to name a few things you can do.
But what’s really holding you back from finding and connecting with prospects? Please don’t say, "I don't have the time, dollars, or the expertise," because that just won't cut it!
Use the following five tips to generate a constant source of prospects that fit your ideal customer profile.
Communicate and align. Make sure everyone is on the same page. Communication with the entire team is key -- inside your company as well as with strategic partners or with anyone that provides sales and marketing services to your company. This will improve the quality of the leads and can save you a lot of time!
Establish what a hot lead looks like. Create a "lead readiness" profile with a few categories -- discard; further qualification needed; promising but not ready to buy; ideal prospect; ready to buy. Score your leads with a system that grades them based on the factors most important to you. Move a prospect’s score up or down as you follow-up to help determine the next step in the sales process. Now you know where to spend your time."
Be proactive and persistent. This is the weak link for most companies. Once a lead has responded to you in some way, follow-up quickly. Every day that goes by without contact, reduces the odds they’ll purchase from you. Persistence doesn’t mean being aggressive, but it does require multiple touches in multiple ways. Determine how your target market prefers to be contacted, and just as important, what they want to see or hear.
Inbound marketing pull needs a big push. People are looking for solutions, value, and results. When your advertising, blog, social media, website content, and speaking engagements provide value, leads will fill your sales pipeline. That’s what initially pulls leads to you. Now make an offer, a call-to-action, that promises them something of even more value -- a subscription to a newsletter jam packed with tips, free consultation, or a invitation to an educational webinar -- so that they contact you. Here’s where you start scoring your lead for their readiness to buy and begin nurturing them with a regularly scheduled push of value.
Build strategic partnerships. Identify other companies that target people with problems you can solve. This is a great way to help another company create added value for their prospects and customers -- and hands you lots of qualified leads. Put together a special joint offer with your partner, which creates a new level of value for prospects.
Don't forget to track and analyze your leads process. That includes the cost of acquisition, nurturing, turning prospects into customers as well as how quickly, or slowly, they convert. Doing this might be a bit of a pain, but it will help you fine tune your lead readiness profile and improve the entire process of finding, working, and converting leads to revenue."
Ron Stein is the founder and President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He has more than 20 years experience in sales, marketing, and business development, working positions ranging from salesman to vice president of sales and marketing to CEO of startups with industry leaders such as Motorola, VideoServer, Paradyne, and SercoNet. Ron is a member of the advisory team at the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, a nationally recognized entrepreneurial and startup accelerator for the state of Florida. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com