You have worked hard and spent a lot of money developing your marketing, so can you now sit back and wait for customers to come to you?
If you are a purely an internet retailer your website is your shop window and trading vehicle, so you will put most of your marketing effort into website development and maintenance i.e. optimising the site, merchandising, and keeping your image, product content and the messages fresh. You will no doubt have a digital marketing strategy including blogs, newsletters etc.
For the rest of us life is less straightforward.
Most businesses also need to get out into the world and sell. That is the hard part for a lot of people, but if you don't do it you can be sure that your competitors are doing it. We will look at when and how to be proactive at selling in a future newsletter, but before you get out there let's think for a moment about the potential customer's experience and perceptions of your sales technique, your marketing and your service delivery.
An integrated sales and marketing strategy.
Sounds a bit nerdy, I know.
What it means is that your marketing tools, both digital and hardcopy, should be aimed at grabbing the customers' attention (i.e. help your business to stand out from the crowd) and provide information aimed at increasing potential customers' interest in your product or service so that they are prompted to do something such as:
- Call you;
- Visit you if you have a shop;
- Click on a link on your site for more information;
- Log the information for future reference;
At some point you will need to interact with the prospective customer in order to ultimately close the sale.
Therefore your sales technique and marketing / promotional material and tools all need to be synchronised i.e. they need to send a consistent message about your business and its products and services.
For instance I may read in your leaflet / brochure that you are totally focussed on delighting your customers, and see customer testimonials saying how great your service is. But, if on the strength of that I speak to you or one of your team, and after which I feel disappointed because the reality of the first contact has not met the expectation you built up I will assume that the rest of the service will not be up to scratch either - I won't trust your messages, so I won't buy from you.
Similarly if someone who could potentially be a customer meets you at an event, is impressed by the marketing material but not by you for some reason, again the reality will have failed to live up to the promise.
But it is wider than the initial contact; it covers all of the customer experience from end-to-end from initial enquiry to after-sales.
In previous newsletters we have written much on developing the best marketing tools for your business, but they can't and don't exist in isolation. You have raised an expectation; all of your interactions with customers from sales through service and beyond need to live up to that expectation.
Some questions to consider:
- Does your all of marketing material / promotional tools reflect the brand image and story that you want the world to see and hear?
- Does it hold out a promise of a fantastic customer experience, whether you sell to businesses or to consumers?
- How professional is your process for handling enquiries or following up on sales leads?
- Do you set time deadlines for following up customer enquiries and sales leads, and do you stick to them?
- Does your approach to the sales process and the eventual service delivery match the expectations you have raised in your marketing.
- When you meet prospective customers at say networking events, exhibitions at their premises etc are you confident that your sales technique suits the customer and lives up to the positive message in your marketing?
- What is your sales strategy; do you set targets for the number of sales calls and sales meetings per week / month?
We can provide you with free, impartial, skilled advice, just call us.
That's all for this month.
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