Entries Tagged as 'Relationship marketing'

Remind your customers you’re around

I had a client whose marketing was not delivering the same level of sales it had in the past. The company had no direct sales force and no distributors, so their prices were about half their competitors. It sounds like it would be easy to grow your customer base when you can quote such low prices. Even if your company has a sales team or distributors, what they learned can improve your marketing too.

The problem was that their marketing was narrow. They would send out a catalog to anyone who inquired as a response to ads in trade magazines. After years of advertising, you reach a saturation point. The conversion rate was flat, as you can imagine.

They started a new initiative to distribute products by other companies. But how to get their target customers, primarily small businesses, to notice? To improve their marketing, they didn’t want to add cost or layers of labor. They were focused on effiency to keep their costs lower than competitors, after all.

Boost existing customer orders

You can keep the direct-to-client approach simply by reminding customers that you’re there for them. For example, expand existing accounts, do alternative mailings and schedule reminders about new products. It meets a customer’s needs better than just sending a catalog every year as well. And if you don’t keep in touch, customers may go to someone else that does stay top-of-mind.

These tactics can jump-start your sales:

  • Track existing customers for their product preferences
  • Regularly remind them about new products that might interest them
  • Send quarterly communications/newsletters
  • How about periodic free samples of new products?

What’s in it for you?

  • Significantly increase your company’s conversion of prospects to customers
  • Increase sales from existing customers
  • Save money in many areas
  • Then re-invest in additional marketing, boosting results even further
 

Get in your prospect’s comfort zone: The right offer at the right time

“Will you marry me?”

This offer will get you a chilly reception from someone you’ve just met. You’d sound half-crazy popping the question unless you nurture the relationship at the right pace and offer what the other person is looking for.

Same thing goes for B2B marketing. Sure, a salesperson can get lucky with an occasional prospect, but counting on the magic happening instantly isn’t the way to build a stream of sales-ready leads. Build trust by developing the relationship.

“Will you go out with me?”

Here’s the “first date” of the sales cycle. You’ve just identified a prospective customer and you need to provide background information and answer the questions that are important to that specific customer. Offer educational materials such as case studies, white papers, how-to articles and decision-maker kits until they’re ready to go to the next level.

“Here’s what we’re really like.”

In this “middle date” stage, the interest has been shown and you can move into more details. A self-assessment tool, technical white papers and webinars require more participation from potential customers, but they also target the solutions to each prospect’s situation. Show you’ll be there for them to help build a sales-winning relationship.

“So how about it?”

When the prospect gets comfortable with your company, start to make more serious advances: offers or calls-to-action. Although it’s not time to pop the question, smaller commitments move prospects toward choosing your company. For instance:

  • Invite them to all-day seminars delving into implementation details.
  • Offer demos or low-cost or free needs assessments.
  • Ask whether your salespeople can meet with their decision makers to present customized proposals or quotations.
  • Consider making “buy now” deals offering discounts or additional products or services bundled in for a lower cost.

What if you don’t know where prospects are in their buying cycles? In that case, make offers appropriate for every stage and let people find their own comfort zone.

How to propose

What makes a good offer or call-to-action?

  • They must be genuinely enticing.
  • They must move the buying process forward. Satisfy prospects’ key concerns.
  • They should be “self-qualifying.” Don’t offer something anyone would want. Provide what a qualified prospect is looking for.

How do you put them together?

  • Repackage or update the information you already have.
  • See if your suppliers have white papers, evaluation guides or other materials you may use.
  • Join forces with your suppliers to provide combination sales pieces or newsletters.

Prospects must clearly understand what they’ll gain from choosing your company and its products or services. They need to believe that what you’re marketing will help them achieve their goals, and they must trust your company to deliver on its promises.

Getting to that point requires making the right offers or calls-to-action for each stage of your prospect’s buying process, from awareness and inquiry to consideration to purchase. You’ll build strong, valuable relationships with your customers that will last for many years to come.

 
Need help with B2B lead generation, marketing and sales?
For more information, please call Mac McIntosh at +1-401-294-7730, send him email at or visit www.sales-lead-experts.com