(nod to Michael Lewis)
I had a long-time client of mine pose this question to me recently. He went on to say that in looking back over the four years we had worked together we had implemented a lot of change.
We had updated the website and spent a lot of time on SEO, we had put in place a clear content marketing strategy. We were blogging. Doing videos. We were following up on website visitors, we were nurturing the names in his database on a regular basis. We had implemented referral marketing programs and made networking as effective as we could with his current staff and we were regularly participating and leveraging social media.
So his questions went, what should we be doing for 2015?
You know what? It was a darn good question.
So I pondered it for a while. I thought back on all the investment in learning my team did in 2014. We went to the HubSpot inbound conference and collectively attended over 30 sessions. Laura and I both attended the Duct Tape Marketing consultants gathering and spent 3 days networking and sharing ideas with 30 other business marketing consultants. We spoke at conferences all over the country, and when not speaking, attended sessions. And collectively, we all probably read over 1000 blog posts on marketing and sales. What could I synthesize out of all that?
My answer as to what was new to do? Focus on speed.
We are innovating ideas and products faster than ever. And we have less patience than ever before (I see clear evidence of this in my 14 and 15 year old sons who are bored in 5 minutes or less). That computer we carry in our pocket, aka the smart phone, has made us want answers and response immediately. It can't wait for (whatever it is).
Both David Meerman Scott and John Jantsch (and likely others I haven't read) took up this issues in books they published this year.
So what what do I mean when I say focus on speed? Simply the big task of re-imagining the way you communicate everything you do in sales, marketing, and delivery of service.
It has to be accurate. It has to be clear. And it has to be fast (if you want to win).
What's the mean time between when a prospect asks for information and you get it to them? It is a week? A day? I'd suggest that even measuring in hours may be too long; minutes are probably more appropriate.
How long does it take between marketing qualifying a lead and informing that lead that your sales rep will be in touch, and for that rep to actually make contact? How frustrated are you when you have to give exact same information to 3 people? Do you communicate your customer's or prospect's information as fast as you can transfer them to the right person to talk to?
So if you have a solid marketing and lead generation program in place and you want to get to next level, focus on speed. Make the process faster. Take your steps apart. Automate what you can. Remove the extraneous. Build for the 85% rule, not the 15% exception (people who know they're exceptions tend to be more patient). And make speed to interaction the cornerstone of your success.
(And if you need some help with the plan, getting sales and marketing on the same page, or just someone to really push you on these changes, give us a ring.)