It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, driving new sales is the lifeblood of your company and the goal is really quite simple: build new sales that allows your company to grow so it can continue to invest in its people, products and services. Since we live in a world that transacts information within seconds and can do so easily across the globe, a strong marketing strategy is incredibly important to ensure your organization is headed in the right direction.
While developing the dimensions of a potent market strategy that will achieve the best business results, there are five easy steps that will add new sales and bottom-line profits to your company. These steps can be used to focus your marketing plans and provide for a measurable success as you grow your business marketing program.
Step #1: Target the right audience
There are two major strategic mistakes companies often make while planning their strategic market plan:
A) Including target prospects that are too small to provide meaningful growth. It’s nice to come back from a tradeshow with 500 leads. Sounds like bragging rights doesn’t it? It’s not if there are 50 solid profitable leads among them and now you are going to have to weed through all 500 to find them!
B) Including short-term focused strategies. A lot like example A above, if the prospect will not be the type that will bring consistent lasting results over a long period of time then you need to keep prospecting. The up and down sales cycle of a company can often be pinpointed to too many short-term marketing strategies that feel good because leads are being produced but actually end up hurting the company.
Step #2: Create the right type of leads
Know the value of the type of lead you are looking for before you start your prospecting process. Meaningful programs that offer long-term value for prospects that buy into a one or three year site license versus a try this for free promotion create very different results. There may be fewer prospects in the first instance but those that do sign up will be with you for a much longer time and that will always out-produce short-term promotions.
Step #3: Promote the right offer
There is a saying that I learned from a former boss who told me regarding the management of staff, “You usually end up with the behavior that you reward.” How true I have found this to be! If your company sells its services by reducing its pricing upfront or discounts when a customer complains that the price is too high, this will not build a quality brand in your market. The offer has to be in service to the overall brand strategy and if a discount is offered it should be on a ‘one-time only basis’ couched in an introductory offer; once again, to retain the integrity of your brand’s equity.
Step #4: Set the right price
Do you know the true cost of making a one-time sale? Often companies consider their manufacturing but fail to build in the prospect-to-customer-to engineering costs of servicing the business once it’s closed. There can easily be two times the cost in this support depending on how much is required to get a client up and running. In many businesses it is common to lose money the first six months as you setup a new customer so the question becomes have you factored these costs into your long-term pricing strategy?
Step #5: Build incentives into your program to reward repeat users
The most profitable business is highly retentive business. The less you have to sell a customer the more time you will have to serve your customer. A customer that repeats should be rewarded in tangible ways to affirm their importance to your company and to encourage their continuing relationship with you. Rewards programs, loyalty programs, special club offerings, etc. all go a long way in building a strong and healthy relationship.
With these five steps you are well on your way to building a successful strategic market plan that will serve your company for years and years. Simply cutting your company’s budget, although a quick fix, will not solve the problem of too few sales. When this short-term strategy is used it often produces extremely negative impacts within a company that further deepens the company’s negative sales. Marketers and market planners alike need to be able to pinpoint the true problems for lagging sales and put smart marketing to work to gain new market share and brand strength, and that’s good for your customers and your company alike.