“I need more leads”
This is often the principle problem that we are brought in to address.
We all need more leads. But what you really want as the business owner/VP of Sales/President is more sales, and probably more sales from new customers (those are two different things).
This is a different type of post from me. Usually, I am sharing knowledge and experience through stories and experience. This time, I am going to be pretty direct. If you are a small business owner, you need some marketing coaching.
Qualifier: If you started your business by hiring a great manager to run it and your focus is putting systems in place, you probably don’t need marketing coaching. You’ve already read the e-myth and you understand marketing is actually everything your business does. To everyone else, we should talk.
Here’s why. Acquiring profitable new business is the result of all the things your business does – not just the result of a well executed marketing tactic. Yes, the tactic has to be done well, but to do so means you clearly understand and can articulate:
- Your ideal client
- A clear understanding of your ideal client’s issues
- A good sense of your ideal clients buying process and triggers
- Your difference to the ideal client in how you are going to solve those issues
- The various different offers you have for the ideal client depending on the level of their issues
- A crystal clear path on how you are going to get that prospective ideal client to know, like and trust you.
When we start to dig in with you as a prospective client, what we generally find out, pretty quickly, is that you do not have a clear statement of value/differentiation – the “WOW I need this thing from this company!” Your target market (read: ideal customer profile) is pretty fuzzy. Your packaging or offers are vague or made up new for each prospect. The assets you can offer to convert a “looker” into someone you can market to, are few or non-existent and the path that a prospect takes to get to understand who you are and what you can do for them is more like a dirt tract that meanders through the woods.
Sure. You can find lots of “marketing vendors” that are willing to take your money and do lead generation for you. There are scores of telemarketing firms, SEO firms, Pay-per-click management firms and advertising reps who can deliver activity for you. And that activity might give you piece of mind that you are doing something to move your business.
The question you need to really ask yourself is if these vendors are moving your business forward or just around in a circle? These vendors probably asked you questions about your target market and your customers – at least enough so they could do their job. But did they help you put it all together in a repeatable process that you can own?
If you go back into past years and dollars spent, what did you accomplish for all that outlay of money? We just recently finished a conversation with a prospect that has spent over $50,000 a year, for at least two years on telemarketing and tradeshows and they could not find a positive return on that investment. (this is exactly why we say we help companies stop wasting money on marketing).
A great small business marketing consultant is going to resist your initial urging for lead generation programs and help you focus on the following:
- Get the basics of the strategy in place first, before you launch any new program.
- Who is your ideal customer
- What issues are they having that you can solve?
- How are you so awesome that they would be crazy to select someone else?
- Build a marketing calendar of actions and activities that takes into account a balance of what you need to do and what you can actually accomplish.
- This is a week by week calendar of what needs to be done and who is doing it.
- Measuring the results of the programs they put in place with you and in making sure you can track what is going on with every action and activity you undertake.
- Keeping you on track. It’s fine and dandy to do all of the work but if you don’t have someone that is going to make you accountable, the chances of failure are high. Look for someone that is going to be ready for an ongoing relationship as your coach, mentor, and accountability partner when needed.
Finally, a great consultant – marketing or otherwise – is going to be willing to tell you truth. Not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.
Do all the marketing and lead generation programs we build with clients work? Of course not. There are thousands of little points where things can go off track. But many do. From PR to blogging to pay per click to email marketing (and other programs) – we are able to work with clients to help them be more self sufficient and confident in their marketing efforts. And the highest compliment we are paid – very often as a matter of fact – is that “Leading Results has helped me look at my business differently”.
Here’s a very clear call to action: If you’d like some help figuring out where you are wasting money on marketing. And you’d like to consider a process to look at your business development efforts differently, send us an email. Now, while you are still considering it.