Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business
Four elements of a successful marketing system
It’s really crazy. You have a structure for just about everything you do in your business. Billing. Inventory. Purchasing. Fulfillment. Payroll. And, of course, a customer relationship management process.
Yet, none of these are the most important system you should have in place.
You need every advantage you can get. That edge is marketing. More precisely, you need a marketing framework.
A marketing blueprint is much more than a strategy and associated tactics. It is a way of thinking. Particularly when you “systemize” marketing.
Here’s the best part -- marketing can be simple, affordable, and yet very effective when carried out in a structured way. And, having a marketing system will actually free up your time.
The three pillars of a marketing framework are strategy, action plan, and the systems needed to turn the action plan into reality. In other words, even if you have a dynamite strategy and a cutting-edge action plan you’ll struggle when you don’t have implementation systems in place.
The heart of the framework is a marketing system that powers the customer buying cycle. If you want to make money you’ll need to develop a systematic approach to generating leads, building relationships, closing deals, and creating customer loyalty.
It’s not though to have processes in place and hope for the best. The key is effective implementation. Here are the four elements of a successful marketing system -- make them a routine part of your business.
Visibility and lead generation. Before you can sell your product or service, a lot of workable leads are needed. No leads, no revenue. But how do you make the initial connection? Think like your prospects and put a face on your audience. Define each of the four types of prospect that falls into your ideal customer profile and go where they go, see what they see -- be as specific as you can. Do this for people who have no idea your product or service exists (strangers); prospects that you have some sort of connection with but aren’t very familiar with you (affiliations); people who are acquainted with you, but do not have a real experience of what you can do for them (familiarity); and prospects that have experience with your product or service (experience). What can you do to engage each type of prospect and where?
Develop and nurture. You’ve gotten great visibility and the attention of viable prospects. The conversation has started -- now you’ve got to keep it going. If a prospect is interested but not ready to act, the lead needs to be placed into a nurturing program. Cultivate interest with a systematic approach until the time is right to consider your offering. The key here is to have a process of consistent follow-up that uses targeted information, education, and two-way conversations. High-value content warms up and attracts people, both online or offline. Prospects want to get acquainted with you and your business and feel that you have their best interests in mind. Map out the possible steps and how you’ll handle different scenarios. Create a lead follow-up and nurturing workflow system.
Conversion to a paying customer. Now it’s time to close the deal. Don’t assume your prospects will take the next step, so lend a hand. Get your prospect to say “yes” one step at a time. You’ll increase your conversions when prospects agree to take some type of action. Each meeting, visit to your website, phone call, or email should move you closer to earning the sale. Layout and track commitment objectives for the particular action you'd like the prospect to take that's related to moving the sales process forward. Have it firmly established as part of the closing process you’ve charted. Your conversion system should diagram the steps out and measure what tactics produced the best results.
Retention and Referral. Most companies seem to forget to keep paying customers happy. Don’t leave an opening for competitors to steal customers away. Passionate fans buy again and again -- and promote your brand. Have a process in place that starts the day a prospect buys your product or signs up for your services. Send a welcome email or better yet, a handwritten note. Let them know what they can expect and who to call when they need to contact your business. Communicate with your customers regularly to be relevant and top of mind. But, do more than just say that your company is alive and well, ready to take an order. Surprise your customers by doing the unexpected. They’ll say, “Wow, others we buy from never did that!” Now ask for referrals and testimonials.
Marketing is your most important business system. Having a structure takes the guesswork out of marketing and helps you stand out in a market crowded with competitors.
It’s hard enough for a business to achieve success today. With the right marketing framework and systems your company will lay a solid foundation and have a step-by-step process to follow.
Understand how the game of marketing and sales is played and you’ll fill your lead bucket, get prospects to buy, and keep customers coming back for more.
Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He works with small business owners, helping them to energize their marketing and sell more of their products and services. Ron has developed his own highly successful 7-step approach to winning new customers as a result of his experience as a small business owner, corporate CEO, marketing and business development executive, salesman, and mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.