Look, we’re business people too. Ironically (given the business we’re in), we too have had our fair share of marketing and advertising failures. Over the years, through our own foibles as well as through those of our many clients—we’ve learned that there are no marketing silver bullets. To drive leads and ensuing revenue, success will be found in a carefully crafted and customized combination of marketing and advertising initiatives.
So, what is one to do when it finally does start to work? Let me share with you what we’ve learned to do (and not do) to capitalize on a successful marketing campaign.
Expect it to work
We know some of you have become so jaded about marketing that, deep down, you don’t really believe that your latest initiative—be it AdWords, some slick marketing automation software, or a package of radio spots—will actually drive inquiries, let alone achieve a respectable ROI.
How unfortunate would it be then, that when you finally hit on a winning marketing strategy, you weren’t ready to leverage its success? So first and foremost, be prepared to process those conversions. Have a plan for the following:
- Know who will respond– Everyone in the company should know who will respond to incoming inquiries. Consider whether you need different salespeople for different types of inquiries.
- Know what to say– It’s likely that the customer should do most of the talking and the salesperson should listen intently and ask plenty of questions:
- What problem does your potential customer have?
- What is his/her appetite—in the way of budget—to get this problem solved?
- Who all will be involved in deciding whether you will do business together?
- What information does this lead need to get from your salesperson in order to move to the next step in the buying process?
- Know the steps in your selling cycle– Make sure everyone involved knows what to expect next. Is a presentation in order? An in-person meeting? Is it time to bring a technician into the conversation?
Respond…and be human about it
We’ve seen it time and again: Inquiries come in, leads appear on the radar, yet they inexplicably get ignored. No one follows up, or worse, the lead receives an automated ‘we’ll get back to you’ message that goes into some black hole of a lead queue. All this likely happens because, as you probably guessed…there’s no plan in place (see above).
Remember that an inquiry on your website’s contact form (or an incoming phone call or email) represents an investment of time on the part of the inquirer. There’s a problem to be solved, and some notion that you may be the one to solve it, so be responsive:
- Be timely– This individual has some pain, otherwise, they wouldn’t have reached out. That pain may be fleeting, so strike while the iron is hot. Respond within the same day if at all possible.
- Be human– Respond with a phone call or in-person meeting, whichever is most appropriate. Continue to reach out until you make contact. Use email only as a follow-up and only if you’ve been unsuccessful in initiating a human-to-human conversation.
Keep your promises
In order for your marketing to keep generating leads—and in order for those leads to become new customers—it’s critical that your business lives up to whatever expectations your marketing has put out there. Consider this:
- If your marketing assures that your product or service is superior to that of your competitors, make sure you can back that up.
- If your website touts testimonials from satisfied customers, be prepared to provide references.
- If your campaign indicates that you offer customized solutions, take the time to get to know your prospect’s needs and craft a tailor-made proposal – and whatever you do, do not offer up a standard package.
Nurture the relationship
No matter what type of business you’re in—B2C, B2B, selling products or services—It is highly unlikely that a first inquiry will result in an immediate sale. No matter how great your marketing campaign is, it can’t actually close the deal. Like with any new relationship, expect there to be subsequent interactions between you and your new lead:
- Schedule follow-up– Put it on your calendar, in your CRM, or in your marketing automation software. But make sure it gets done. In this day and age, with so many scheduling tools at our disposal, it’s easy to be reminded when it’s time to move the relationship forward.
- Deepen the relationship over time– Every interaction should build on the previous one. Keep track of what was learned and discussed during previous conversations – including personal and seemingly insignificant info – and use it to make each interaction more meaningful than the last.
We understand…we’re right there with you. Your marketing investment is one of the costliest revenue generation activities you will undertake. So be a smart marketer and prepare your entire team to maximize that investment. Today might just be the day that your marketing actually starts to work.