Bottlenecks in your business can turn an upswing upside down. If you keep experiencing the same or similar bottleneck in activities, but don’t know whether it comes from sales or marketing, follow these steps to find out and fix it. You can find your way to marketing qualified leads and converted to more efficient sales, but it takes proper marketing and sales.
Start By Documenting Your Business Systems And Processes
Document your business systems by creating a written step-by-step process of each task at your business. This provides leverage, scalability, speed that enables business growth.
You can do this in three easy steps. To document your business systems:
- list all of the roles in your business (including vendors, contractors, etc.),
- list every task each role performs,
- make checklists for properly task completion.
Each role now has a position description and task list that defines duties and how to carry them out. If you hire someone new or outsource a task, you now have a procedural document to hand them that explains what they have to do and precisely how they must do it. This method:
- uncovers bottlenecks
- saves you from having to do everything,
- enables you to spot check work instead of micromanage.
Identify And Document Your Target Audience
You’ll create the bottleneck if you don’t know who your customers are. Conduct audience research and identify:
- new prospective client/customers,
- existing prospective client/customers,
- existing customers.
Identify which of your products or services applies to each. You also need to figure out what situation fits them: cross-sell, up-sell, or renewal opportunities.
Develop And Document Your Marketing Messages
You need a specific marketing message for each target audience segment. Different sales points appeal to different ages, sometimes genders. Focus on what the buyer needs or wants and address their challenges. Show how your product provides an opportunity to address those needs. You do this simply by listening. Your customers tell you what they want on social media, website comments and in e-mails. You give it to them.
Determine the appropriate channels
For your marketing message. Your choices include:
- case studies,
- direct mail,
- social media text posts for Facebook and Twitter,
- white papers.
Align your chosen marketing and sales channels to the following:
- inside and outside sales forces,
- social media,
- partners and resellers.
Design Something They Love
Attract your customers and clients with great design. Make your white paper stand out with great graphics. Attract new customers with exciting design. Graphics in brochures and white papers don’t simply act as window dressing. They communicate information in a graphic manner. Some people learn or understand pictorial data better than written data. You reach both sets with appropriate design.
Use the right customer relationship management app.
Find a customer relationship management application that works for you. Choose a dependable, efficient CRM software that enables the following six key items:
- a repository of organizational knowledge of your company’s goals, processes, products and customer knowledge,
- cross-departmental knowledge and collaboration,
- seamless e-mail integration so every department can contact customers with problem solving opportunities while viewing relevant information,
- integrated follow up tools and the ability to connect helper apps like Yesware and Contactually,
- integrated mobile support/availability that allows sales people receiving a call while out of the office to access the complete system,
- tracking three vital information pieces at a minimum:
- the problem your customer needs to solve,
- why solving their problem is important to them and why it’s urgent for them,
- their measure of success of a solution.
Talk with each department to determine its needs before purchasing. Just like customers won’t buy a product that does not suit their needs, your employees won’t use a CRM that does not fulfill their needs. An unused relationship management app creates a new bottleneck.
Your software should help automate the process of moving from a market qualified lead to a sales qualified lead. The application should, through the keys discussed above, help your staff move potential customers and customers through the sales funnel.
Your chosen app should help nurture the prospect from initial lead (MQL), for example, an e-mail address obtained when they downloaded a white paper, to a sales qualified lead via targeted contact from sales staff and automated methods like e-mail newsletters. These contacts help uncover the customer’s product need that evolves them into a SQL. At that point, your sales department takes over with a customized pitch that explains how your product can solve their problem. Voila! You completed a sale.
Monitor, Analyze, Optimize
Track and measure each activity, post, asset created. Note the response. Optimize your message and campaigns to the response. A good CRM software helps you do this. It also helps you with conversion tracking – determining sales from a post or campaign. Market to the target audience more of what it wants. Doing this ensures you optimize the strategy and campaigns that result in:
- more leads generated,
- more qualified leads,
- lead nurture,
- customer cross-sell/up-sell strategies.
Doing these things takes time and effort, but by documenting your business systems, developing your target audience, marketing strategies and campaigns, and using a quality program for conversion tracking you can increase incremental revenue, move sales more effortlessly through the sales funnel, and decrease the sales cycle. Optimize your marketing and sales processes starting with who does what and how and carrying through to tweaking each campaign.
The most essential keys to avoiding bottlenecks is staying out of your own way and planning ahead. If you try to force a brand or message to suit your tastes, instead of your customer’s, you’ll lose sales. That’s something tennis star Venus Williams learned the hard way with her clothing brand EleVen. In the December 2017 issue of Entrepreneur, she explained how she learned to make room for her customers likes over her own. When she nixed a red top featured in media mock ups, one of the ad staff quoted sales figures of EleVen’s red gear. Williams, learning of the high sales of red items, approved the media as is, recognizing – the customer is always right.