BARQAR’s owners have been developing marketing strategies for over 20 years.
During the course of those two decades the tools have changed (a lot), but the challenges have pretty much remained the same:
• We need more business.
• The competition charges less.
• It’s getting harder to get to decision makers.
You know the drill.
But today, we had a real “a-ha” moment while working on our own marketing plan: we found a big gap. Honestly, “gap” may not be the correct word. More of a chasm. Actually, more like the Grand Canyon.
And it’s one of the most exciting opportunities we’ve seen in a REALLY LONG time. Better yet, it’s simple to fix!
But before we get to this revelation, let’s take a step back to review some basics.
Marketing 101: Creating a Marketing Strategy
Every company is unique, but the process of building a marketing strategy typically includes:
• Determining company goals
• Defining target audiences
• Developing a positioning strategy, consisting of:
– Positioning message
– Value proposition
– Core story
– Key marketing messages
• Developing lead generation strategies:
– Integrated direct marketing
– Content and inbound marketing
– Search engine marketing
– Event marketing
– Influencer marketing
• Developing lead-nurturing strategies:
– Email newsletters and other content marketing
– Sales calls and drop offs
Once the high level strategy is complete, it’s time to brainstorm specific tactics, develop budgets, and create an implementation plan.
And this is where we found the first big gap.
While evaluating our own content and direct marketing, I drew a picture of the sales funnel on a whiteboard to illustrate our approach. It looked something like this:
And that’s when it hit us.
Our marketing strategy has always centered on giving away our expertise. Just check out our website! And it’s all available for free. We have lots of landing pages for lead conversion, and we have pretty decent direct marketing and search-engine marketing programs.
So where’s the problem?
Look at the diagram above again. You’ll notice that we are very good at the top of the sales funnel. We generate tons of traffic to our content. But look more closely at the middle of the funnel. There’s the gap—a veritable Grand Canyon of marketing opportunity!
And that’s where your business may be able to strengthen its own marketing.
The 1st Big Gap: From Content to Inquiry
Great content should be a cornerstone of most companies’ marketing efforts.
Amazing content can:
• differentiate your products or services
• make it easier to get appointments
• help you to sell higher margin solutions
There’s a big difference, however, between a content consumer and an active prospect. We’ve neglected this difference in our own marketing – don’t make the same mistake!
So how can you convert more of the people reading your blogs and watching your videos into engaged prospects? Here are four ideas to close the gap – and convert readers to prospects:
1. More (effective) calls to action.
– Add product- and service-oriented CTAs (buttons, links and forms) to blog posts and content landing pages.
– Add a CTA image and link to the end of YouTube videos.
– Install flyouts or pop-ups to direct people to take the appropriate next steps.
– Redesign “thank you” pages (where people download your content) to include information about your products or services.
2. Live chat.
– Add live chat to the content pages on your website.
3. Marketing automation.
– Automatically initiate follow up campaigns when online forms are completed.
– Notify your sales team at the right time (when prospects have shown enough interest).
4. Real 1:1 follow-up.
– Once a reader completes an opt-in or download request, follow up with a truly personal email.
– Research each prospect and tie your message to information about their firm.
– Offer additional resources (free content) as well as information about your products or services.
The 2nd Big Gap: From Inquiry to Client
The second gap in our marketing was in helping our sales team to close the sale. Sure, we provided them with a good CRM system, sales collateral, and other tools to help them sell.
But we weren’t doing enough.
We needed to adjust our marketing support to proactively address objections, tackle pricing issues, strengthen your differentiation, and make it easier to stay top-of-mind.
Learn from our mistake, and use these ideas to close the 2nd big gap – and dramatically improve sales conversions:
1. Better sales emails.
– Script initial emails to introduce your products or services clearly and concisely.
– Script follow ups to better address the most common sales objections.
– Send more targeted follow up emails based on specific product interests and business challenges.
2. Improve collateral materials.
– Redesign brochures to educate people about why your organization offers better value.
– Create cost justifications that quantify the higher ROI that your products or services deliver.
– Develop case studies that illustrate the solutions you developed for specific types of clients.
3. Sales training.
– Create call scripts, including sample questions to ask on initial calls.
– Role play initial calls.
– Replace “keeping in touch” calls with ones designed to discuss specific questions or timely issues.
4. Marketing automation.
– Ensure thorough follow-up with every prospect.
– Address common concerns, share relevant sales and educational content, and remind your sales team to call.
5. More educational content.
– Evaluate the kinds of information people need to make a purchase decision, and then find ways to provide educational resources to them – even if they never buy from you!
Close the 2 big gaps by widening the funnel.
A lot of people believe sales is mostly a numbers game. Typically, we’re not a fan of this philosophy. Managers use it like a club to drive sales reps to “make more calls.”
Think about your numbers in a different way. Don’t focus on “more activity”; instead find ways to get “more efficiency!” After all, it’s not about making more calls; it’s about increasing conversions.
Implement strategies to convert more of your content consumers to active prospects. And then convert more of your active prospects to paying clients. By increasing the percentage of conversion at each stage of your sales funnel, you get more ROI from your marketing investment, more productivity from your sales reps, and more profit on your bottom line.
That’s the best way to close the gap – and create a killer marketing strategy!
Need to keep your sales funnel full?
Contact the digital and inbound marketing experts at BARQAR. We offer a full complement of strategic marketing solutions to increase high-quality leads – and close more sales. Give us a call for a free, no-obligation demo.