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Category Archives: CRM and lead generation

If 2% of the sales happen at the first meeting, what happens to that other 98%!

By | customer centric marketing, Marketing Automated Technology, Sales Process, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

“2% of sales occur at the first meeting; the other 98% will only happen once a certain level of trust has been established“.

Trust ladderThere has never been a better reason for follow up than

that quote from Robert Clays research.

People in business often hope and expect to do business the first time they meet a prospect. Yet studies reveal that only 2% of sales occur when two parties meet for the first time. This actually makes sense when you think logically about it. The higher the time and dollar value of the investment the greater perceived risk from the buyer’s perspective. So what happens after that first call or meeting?

A recent study in the Harvard Business Review** found that companies take, on average, 42 hours to contact a web lead, and that 23% of companies did not respond at all. Furthermore, they found that leads that got a response in the first hour were seven times more likely to make contact with the decision maker. What is going on? Why aren’t we following up?

Stale-Leads

1. Number of people who buy on the first meeting – done their homework

The 2% who buy at a first meeting tend to be people who have already looked into the subject matter, and already know what they’re looking for. If they meet someone who ticks all the right boxes and they get on well, then business may well be transacted. But that is far from the norm. The other 98% will only buy once a certain level of trust has been built up.” So of those 2% are well informed and have done their homework and are likely to be troubled enough about their problem (thanks Hugh – Leaky Funnel) to want to solve it, if they find something that will fix it.

2. Salesforce should be well-informed

“Anyone who believes they can go into a sales situation armed with “101 sure fire sales closes” and make sales is seriously misinformed … and about 20 years behind the times. Professional sales people get to know their prospects; understand their issues; solve their prospect’s problems; and provide irrefutable proof. They build relationships and trust by engaging in on-going dialogue (otherwise known as follow-up). They don’t just peddle their products and services with an armoury of closing tricks.” These days doing your homework has never been easier. In a B2B sale you can use google, LinkedIn to research at a company and a personal level. At a B2C level you can ask open questions to uncover their need and if you have a database keep a record of their likes and purchases to communicate with them about other purchases they might like to consider in the future. (Amazon model).

4. Why we don’t buy

follow up

There are many reasons why people who could benefit from your product, service or expertise do not buy. At least not without further prodding. Inertia. Lack of time. Too many other things on their mind. Concern about cost. Cashflow. Budget constraints. More pressing matters. Your failure to do enough marketing to establish your name in your field so they’ll buy without question … and more. None of the these, by the way, is a negative. They are just psychological and transactional realities you must become aware of and recognise … which is why follow-ups are SO important. You really have to create a reason for prospects to consider you. Given that we know that our buyers are out there researching sometimes it is providing a helping hand to assist them in their research, education and sometimes it is just being there at the right time in the right place (where they are) using email, social media and collaboration marketing efforts.

5. Follow up just not done

Yet isn’t it amazing how often you express interest in a product or service, but never hear from the person or company again? It happens all the time. I actually say I am busy when a telesales person calls but invite them to ring me back and very rarely do they. Research shows, amazingly, that only 20% of sales leads are ever followed up … in other words 80% of potential opportunities are lost without trace simply due to lack of follow-up

People and companies who don’t

F1103B_A

follow-up; who do nothing to build up that trust and relationship cannot succeed, especially in today’s tough economic climate. People need to be sure they’re making the right decision before they commit to a purchase.

6.Tenacity pays off…

According to Clay, different studies carried out at different times, in different places, by different market research companies over a number of years all reveal that 80% of non-routine sales occur only after at least five follow-ups.

Think about that. It takes at least five continuous follow up efforts after the initial sales contact, before a customer says yes.  FIVE!!

There are some fascinating statistics on this:

  • 44% of sales people give up after one “no”
  • 22% give up after two “no’s”
  • 14% give up after three “no’s”
  • 12% give up after four “no’s”

That tells you that 92% of sales people give up after 4 “no’s”, and only 8% of sales people ask for the order a fifth time.

When you consider that 80% of prospects say “no” four times before they say “yes”, the inference is that 8% of sales people are getting 80% of the sales! Thus it pays to be persistent and consistent. Remember it is all about catching them at the right time.

OffersIntroduce a five “no’s” follow-up strategy

Once you’re aware of these statistics you should stack the odds in your favour by introducing a “Five no’s” strategy, where you maintain contact with prospects until each one of them has said “no”, or “not now”, or “not yet” … at least five times. Every time you’re in contact you have an opportunity to advance and build the relationship.

Businesses with a “five no’s” strategy will always enjoy a conversion rate many times higher than their competitors who have no such strategy.  What strategies do you have in your business right now to ensure that you contact your prospects regularly in a gentle and meaningful way so that you win their business and their loyalty?

8.Seventy-eight percent of consumers say that they only buy from businesses that make it easy for them to deal with, and a third believe convenience is more important than price.They are at the heart of Customer Experience Management (CEM) and staffed by specialists that are charged with providing the best experience throughout the transaction or journey and ultimately, achieving a tangible ROI. As this transformation has evolved, technology has played an increasingly critical role in linking businesses to their customers. However at the end of the day it is all about how you feel during the sales and after sales process. I once bought a car and because the car dealership did not treat me like the person who was making the economic decision to purchase both my and my husband’s car they lost the deal. I now get my car serviced not by the dealer because they made it too hard for me to get in and get out of the service process quickly.
Read more
9. Acknowledge the Impact of Experience
One bad experience might not send your customer fleeing to a competitor. But then again, it might.  On an internal, process level, bt-autonomous-2take a close look at what keeps your business running every day. If these processes aren’t managed efficiently, they’re costing you time, money, accuracy—and customers. Are there repetitive tasks (inventory checks, transaction reconciliation) that you could automate? If so, moving towards automated processes would save staff time and provide better, faster customer service. However be aware that people like to be empowered but not treated like robots. To actually speak to someone on the phone when doing a service call for a product is a competitive advantage these days.
Read more 

10.“Top of Mind Awareness”

There’s also the fact that 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least 3 months … and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy.

Contacting your prospective and existing customers every 1 month or sooner builds trust and professionalism and keeps “top of mind” awareness.  In this context, your customers do not regard contact for orders, payments and appointments, or the obligatory Christmas card as a meaningful communication. It is important to have an integrated sales and marketing campaign. We are ready when you are.

 

“70 percent of the buying process is now complete by the time a prospect is ready to engage with sales.”

By | CRM and lead generation, Marketing Automated Technology, Online Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

In Phil Fernandez’s book Revenue Disruption and CEO of Marketo, Phil espouses with abundant product information available online—such as customer reviews, peer evaluations, independent analysis, social network referrals, user generated content and more—the vast majority of buyers begin their buy cycle in a search engine or online, effectively circumventing sales people, completing the majority of their buying process and and short list have been completed.

Get Found!

What does this mean for us? Well the role of marketing has increased prior to hand over of a lead to a sales team. It means that businesses need to rethink their traditional approach to sales and marketing. This has a spin on effect to how investments are made.

According to SiriusDecisions, Inc., “70 percent of the buying process is now complete by the time a prospect is ready to engage with sales.” Therefore, marketing now owns the majority of the buying cycle and must implement lead acquisition techniques—such as content marketing and inbound marketing—to engage buyers early and in the formative stages of the buying cycle.

Phil explains his approach called the Revenue Performance Management (RPM) in an interview with CRMSearch that  most sales teams spend 20 to 60 percent of their time inefficiently calling prospects who no longer need or want to be contacted by sales people.If marketing can become more efficient in using lead acquisition techniques (such as compelling content, search engine optimization, search marketing, etc.) to be found by early stage buyers, nurture not-yet-ready to buy prospects, and transfer those sales-ready buyers to the sales team at the precise point when they become ready to engage in active buyer discussions, the sales team will avoid inefficient prospecting and allocate their time to selling activities such as demonstrating value, advancing opportunities, and negotiating and closing sales deals.

Marketo has shifted its spend based on the Phils RPM approach, spending as much on marketing as sales. This actually makes sales more efficient by limiting their sales activities to truly qualified buyers.

How much do you spend on marketing V sales? Is it time to review your approach?

Q:Are your customers smarter than you? A: more than likely.

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Automated Technology | No Comments

Smart Customers, Stupid Companies is a must read book. It details how we now as customers have access to more information than ever before, we have a microphone to share it and we know before we enter a conversation with you ten other competitors who we can go to at a click of a button.

We are getting smarter every day too! We download an app to answer or address any number of questions we might have. Our Iphone or Ipad are our communication, shopping, curating, productivity and relationship device. How stressed would we be if we lost it?Smart Customer image

On the company side, many are slow, inflexible, have layers of red tape, inconvenient and a non existent customer centric culture. The old approach to business doesn’t work any more. We are not getting the experience we want and with the world as our shopping trolley we vote with our click! We have access to information at a click of a button but can the same be said for employees?

The book refers to some key disruptive forces:

  • Social influence: our ability to use customer relationships in our buying journey
  • Pervasive memory: the data that is created as a digital footprint of our experiences
  • Digital Senors: devices that see, hear and feel our activities
  • Physical Web – being all encompassing. Connecting everything

Bruce Kasanoff is a speaker, author and business strategist who helps companies profit from disruptive forces, rather than fall victim to them.

Bruce helps companies understand what comes next, and how they can leapfrog their competitors. His entire career has focused on helping companies leverage emerging technologies to better grow revenues and serve their customers. Bruce with co-author  Michael Hinshaw have asserted that our tolerance to mistakes by companies we engage in is reducing. We now have more information before we engage with them.Companies are still slow to recognise this and so rather than leverage the same disruptive forces like:

  • Social influence; how we use our social contacts to check information, get their opinion instantly
  • Persvasive memory: how we leave a digital footprint
  • Digital Senors: how the world is evolving to have digital recordings of our footprint
  • the Physical web: how our world is changing to be a web of inter-related connected, internet based communications.

Companies are not keeping pace with our need to have a better experience with them. Well most anyway.Bruce believes that it is hard and hard to get away with business the old way. Give us money and we will sell you something. Companies need to use these forces to reinvent but also questions are not really are not doing a good enough job and have to do something about this.

A Bain & Company research study showed that while 80% of managers thought their firm was providing a superior customer experience, only 8% of those firms’ customers agreed.Now that seems stupid.

Listen to my Podcast with Bruce Here.

Resources:

Bruce’s website Now Possible

Smart Customers website

 

 

Big data allows us to take create new insights and connections that were not possible even five years ago.

By | Business marketing, Content Marketing, customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Marketing Automated Technology | No Comments

All of the information that the human race has created from the start of time till 2003 is 5x a-bytes now every 2 days we are creating 5 X a-bytes. Every day the average person today processes more data in a single day than a person did in 1500’s in an entire lifetime. We now have real time data. Each of us leave a stream of digital information about us with our texts, GPS, phone calls, browser history, FB chats and now this footprint is being use to make better marketing decisions. Crowd sourcing is one example and the gamification of health another.

wazeWe are getting insight that we didn’t have before. The Human Face of Big Data is a new book by Rick Solman and documents this change in this interesting book.

Big data is changing our whole world in every field and every industry will be changed by this insight.

pebble

Internet, Mobile phone, Social Media has changed our world. Technology has embedded itself into our lives. Don’t believe it is revolutionary? What is your TTS (time to screen – mobile, iPad, laptop) minutes, seconds?

The world is changing to re-using assets that are already available. Big data has changed the relationship we have with information. What if we can embed video in books. Point your phone at a book and it plays a video? The Human Face of  Big Data does this. Download the Human Face of Big Data App.

big data

Our planet is developing a nervous system that has software at its centre. This change is disrupting markets and creating new opportunities.How is big data changing your business?

Note to self: We have to seek away for those moments of solitude, a walk in the park without our iPhone, iPod or heart monitor device. Off to play with my son! (no not minecraft!)

Big data is a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. Wikipedia

Customer-Centric Marketing: Learning from customers helps increase lead quality 130%, Sales-accepted leads 40%

By | Branding, Business marketing, CRM and lead generation, customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Customer Insight, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing, Service Marketing, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Customer-Centricity-Chart-300x300Lead gen is no longer downloading an “e-book” according to Good Technology. Today’s buyer wants to take a self-directed journey that they control. According to Brian Solis new book  The Future of Business, we don’t only want to take the journey, we want to connect and share it and discuss it like we always have, but now are using new  tools and immediate digital forms of Brian Soliscommunication to do this which makes this communication transparent and amplified.

MarketingSherpa recently published a case study about B2B mobile solutions company Good Technology.

Good Technology returned to the heart of its content marketing strategy – the customers – and learned more about buyers’ journeys through the sales funnel. During this process, the company discovered it had lost touch with its customers.

Just taking the time to listen to, and understand, your customer can pay dividends in marketing results. Good Technology already had an annual customer advisory council, but decided to take understanding its customers to the next level.

Julie Gibbs, vice president of marketing and communications at Good Technology, said “We talk about digital, we talk about social, and they are critically important, but nothing replaces sitting down and having a conversation on a regular basis … building the relationship and understanding your customer’s point of view. We, as vendors, wanted to really look at how we are approaching our communications and marketing, including after-market communications, with our customers to improve them and make them more relevant.”

Process

By utilizing a third-party for the more extensive research into its customers’ buying life-cycle, Good Technology was able to gain an unbiased look into how its customers interact with the company and its marketing campaigns. Using a third-party ensured every organization understood the customers’ point of view and created stronger alignment across departments.

Conducted Interviews

The interviews of Good Technology customers used for the primary research included more than 30 global Fortune 100 companies, as well as a number of SMB customers. According to Zhivago, “Whatever you think your customer believes to be important is likely wrong.”

  • Interviewees were asked about the trigger event — what internally caused them to want to find a new solution, or evaluate a new technology
  • Focused on discovering what experience the customer wanted to have with the vendor, and what marketing assets those customers were using in their buying process

A major problem with marketing today is that many of us resort to guessing about our customers’ likes, dislikes and needs. This is a problem. We need to take advantage of the tools at our disposal, such as social media, SEO, and blogs, to learn about the customer.

Analysis

Analysis included reviewing detailed feedback from Good Technology customers and mapping the buyer’s journey, including customer experiences and interactions.

From there, the material was put together in presentation form for what Gibbs described as an “internal road show” to tell the story.

She added that having a third-party as part of the internal presentations was valuable.

Good Technology’s customers were receptive to the interview process, and the company found that the interviews created a sense of relationship, partnership and goodwill.

“It wasn’t someone at the company telling the story and potentially creating friction, it was a third-party,” Gibbs stated. “That’s really important for internal credibility. You don’t want to be the person who says, ‘So-and-so is really unhappy with your product, or services, or support.’ You want to be able to show the data and quotes from your customers.”

The customer feedback analysis uncovered two interesting facts for a B2B marketer with very large enterprise clients.

  • First, even very high-level executives frequently used freemail (such as Gmail and Yahoo!) email accounts when conducting research and interacting with marketing activities and assets. They did this explicitly to avoid talking to Sales before they were ready.
  • Second, while these prospects were interacting with industry and vendor websites, they also heavily took advantage of Gartner, the technology research firm, throughout the buying cycle to determine what vendors to consider.

In light of this learning, Gibbs said Good Technology increased the focus on its relationship with Gartner.

Gap

With the customer interviews analyzed and presented throughout the company, Marketing next performed a gap analysis of its marketing programs and assets.

This analysis was pretty straightforward. Gibbs said the marketing team took a sheet listing the information and assets Good Technology customers were looking for at each stage of the buying cycle, and then listed all of its current marketing resources.

Comparing the two lists, the team gave each marketing resource a rating of red, yellow or green.

She said, “Where does what you are currently doing stand, and where does it fall short? You will often find you have some strengths that you are not looking at the right way and that you tend to focus on the weaknesses.”Four Moments of Truth

Take Action

“Then we asked, ‘How can we change our marketing approach and assets?'” Gibbs said. “What can we do quickly? What’s going to take a little bit longer, and what do we have to build for longer term?”

She said the first step was to eliminate efforts that had no impact on Good Technology’s business. In this case, Marketing stopped producing e-books.

  • The customer interviews found the problem was not the content of the e-books; it was simply calling them “e-books.”
  • Gibbs explained that using the marketing lingo/jargon term did not resonate or have credibility with Good Technology’s B2B audience.

“The asset may have great content the customer is not going to use simply because you are calling it something that they don’t trust,” said Gibbs.

Marketing found its customers trusted white papers, so the e-books were rewritten, reformatted and reproduced as white papers.

She offered more examples of different time-frame activities:

  • Short term — Stop doing things that didn’t have impact; begin using customer-centric terminology
  • Long term — Rebuild the marketing resource infrastructure to more closely match what Good Technology customers need

Gibbs said the final stage was to measure the impact of these changes.

 Continue the process through the entire customer experience

This effort was undertaken with the intent of better understanding the customer to help refine and improve marketing efforts. Internally, customer service and support also became very engaged with the results of the initial customer interviews, and wanted to extend the insight into the post-purchase process.The result of this interest was replicating the process on the post-purchase experience of Good Technology’s customers.

The company is currently in the process of “gluing” these learnings together to create an end-to-end customer experience map, so the company can provide a consistent customer experience over the entire lifetime of the relationship.

Results

Gibbs said the results of just the short-term changes brought on by this effort are impressive:

  • Across-the-board 30% increase in the return on marketing
  • 130%, and more, improvement in lead quality response to certain marketing assets
  • 40% increase in conversion from Marketing-qualified to Sales-accepted leads

She added that pipeline velocity was another key metric, and that lead quality was more important to Marketing than lead quantity.

“If you have big customers, you need to have a face-to-face relationship” said Gibbs, explaining what she learned from this campaign.

Gibbs added, “We talk about digital, we talk about social, and they are critically important. But nothing replaces sitting down and having a conversation on a regular basis. If you don’t have those conversations — and build, really work on building the relationship and understanding your customer’s point of view — you are not going to be successful marketing and selling for the future.

When the company overhauled its collateral and took other steps, such as revamping its post-sales process, it recognized significant improvements in lead generation. Lead quality increased 130 percent and qualified leads that were accepted by sales jumped 40 percent. Overall, the company realized a 30 percent increase in return on marketing.

In today’s world where innovation can be copied, and differentiation is hard to create,  the new advantage for companies is the customer experience.

Ready to make your business customer centric? Learn how.

First steps:

Here are some of the things B2B marketers can do to make the sales and marketing process more customer-centric:

New book: The Future of Business by Brian Solis. A must read.

“But perhaps the real questions to ask are, have you articulated your brand promise and have
you defined the experience you want customers to embrace, feel and endure. And, how does
this experience trigger shared experiences to serve as a benchmark for which to measure
against? Not only can you measure the value of shared experiences but you should also
measure the integrity of the experiences you hoped to deliver.” The Future of Business

 

Learn more about creating ultimate customer experiences at Strategic Service Design.

Not sure about marketing automation? Learn more

By | Content Marketing, CRM and lead generation, Marketing Automated Technology, Small Business Marketing | No Comments
Courtesy of Marketo

Courtesy of Marketo

Before the internet and social networks buyers had limited ways to obtain the information they needed and so the sell controlled the buying process. Today we are more informed and armed with more resources than ever but we still want to learn at our own pace. They want certain information, assurance, evidence, hand holding and explanations at different stages along their journey to invest in a product or a service with you. This trend in buyer behaviour has forced us to change how we market.

This is where marketing automation has found its niche.  Only 1/5 of leads are ready to buy on first touch point, can you nurture them?Marketing automation is a set of steps that are mapped out to strategically provide that ideal lead the next piece of communication be it content, contact or offer that will move them to a purchase.

Marketing automation technology allows you to use software to automate touch points so it can be a repeatable consistent experience. It can provide awesome measurement information, tasks and workflows so that over time you make better marketing decisions.

It use to be that large companies where the only users of Marketing Automation technology but today the vendors providing such software have made it not only more affordable for the small business but easier to use.

What does Marketing Automation software do?

There are a few different modules to most Marketing automation platforms but here are the key ones:

  • Lead Generation – via forms, landing pages, integration to social media
  • Segmentation – via database (CRM integration)
  • Lead nurturing and scoring – ranking leads by criteria
  • Relationship marketing – communicating over time (email marketing social media marketing)
  • Cross sell and up sell – presenting choices along the lead/ buyers journey
  • Retention – communication and offers (campaign management)
  • Measurement and RIO – measuring via criteria (Marketing Analytics)

The key advantage of marketing automation I feel is the opportunity to integrate the touch points to the lead or customer and make their journey purposeful. Being able to measure and use analytics to make better marketing decisions is such a valuable insight and interaction opportunities.

Don’t know which automation software to choose? Stuck. We can help.

Marketing Automation Checklist.

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