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December 7, 2019

Sales and Marketing Advice

Is your business predictable?

Ron Stein | 12/2/2019

Starting and leading a business is an adventure. It’s like hiking up a jagged and remote mountain top with many possible trails. You face challenges and uncertainty along the journey, and the path you choose determines the speed and ease of the trek. 

The best way to prepare and avoid the unexpected is to blaze a predictable route. Creating sustainable, predictable revenue growth for your business is no different.

You know that there isn’t a guarantee that the path ahead will be smooth, but your team will take on the uncertainty when they believe the odds are in their favor. So, what can you do to bend the odds?

Having a plan and experience are advantages. And winning products or services, a clear message and story to tell, and a tenacious sales team will help tremendously. These are important elements, but not enough. 

More is required. 

If you’ve hiked more than a few towering granite mountains you’re likely prepared with the right equipment and ready to expect the unexpected. Your success happens because of something other than sheer luck and is "repeatable". 

Easily reproducible processes are a must. Because a sustainable business built on best practices and actions that are successfully deployed again and again at greater scale will grow your business – with less stress, at lower costs and produce greater revenue. 

Repeatable across the entire customer lifecycle. From lead generation and marketing activities to selling activities and customer onboarding, and everything in between, consistency is essential. Having coherent definitions and reliable processes makes life easier for everyone in your company. Using the same playbook throughout the company makes a difference. For instance, when each salesperson does it their own way, it’s hard to track and measure what’s happening in the pipeline. With a repeatable system you’ll know what’s working and which type of prospects are a waste of time. Creating a predictable “blueprint” helps prioritize buyers with the highest potential value and efficiently move them through your sales funnel. As a result, qualified opportunities will skyrocket and the conversion rate will significantly increase. Plus, new marketing and sales people can be brought up to speed faster. This is a key ingredient for big growth. No luck required. 

Continually adapt processes to the needs of your customers. Defining your ideal target audience and “typical” persona is key. However, it is vital to bake into your processes the variables – because a level of personalization is vital. After all, you’re selling to people, not companies or machines. Track and analyze feedback, from the first touch point and through the entire customer lifecycle. Adjust the frequency of follow-ups and the type of value you offer in each communication. Create a measurable sequence of touch points to drive deeper engagement – email, phone, social, one-on-one video, texting, web chat, and even direct mail. Analyzing insights will help fine-tune how you to connect with buyers and existing customers on their preferred channels and prioritize the next steps. Use what you learn to build a library of templates tailored to fit specific personas. Revise as needed, rinse, and repeat. 

Turbocharge your revenue enabling processes with the right tools. There are many possibilities when it comes to building and optimizing your marketing and selling for consistent wins. Whatever you choose to do, keep the process as simple as possible and make sure the tools fit the way you do business. For a small business or startup, a document defining important terms and describing the selling process step-by-step, coupled with an Excel spreadsheet for tracking may be good enough. However, there are great marketing and sales engagement platforms that will take your prospecting and conversions to the next level without necessarily costing you a lot. Some platforms use varying amounts of automation and data science along with machine learning. Plus, they all integrate with other systems you may use such as CRMs and email service providers. Here are four I recommend to clients, in no particular order: Outplay which has special pricing for startups, Outreach, Ohmylead, and SharpSpring. 

You can’t effectively manage a marketing and sales strategy if you don’t measure the performance objectively. Track and use feedback from your outreach to optimize your selling processes across the whole engagement cycle, from lead generation to onboarding and customer satisfaction. 

Doing this will also help you improve messaging, website SEO, email marketing, social media scheduling times, paid search ads, landing pages, and more. Data-driven optimization strategies and tactics designed to further your revenue performance takes work – and is worth it!

 

Ron is the founder of FastPath Marketing and More Customers Academy. He works with tech-enabled companies, helping them find the fastest path to revenue with executive advising, business development coaching and consulting, as well as marketing and selling training. As an accomplished tech industry business leader and entrepreneur, Ron has served in top-level sales, marketing and business development roles ranging from emerging companies to global tech giants, including as the CEO of a venture-backed wireless startup. Ron is on the advisory board of the University of Florida’s two internationally recognized tech business incubators and writes a popular column on how to grow revenue in the award-winning Florida Trend business magazine. Learn more at www.FastPathMarketing.com. Ron can be reached at 727-642-4246 or by email.

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