Add another layer to your #Business literacy. We at Serebral360° would love to know if the Forbes – Entrepreneurs article was helpful, leave a comment, like and share. Let’s dive in and discuss the information and put it to use to grow your business. #BusinessStrategy #ContentMarketing #WebDevelopment #BrandStrategy
Info@serebral360.com 762.333.1807 www.serebral360.com
Grap a copy of our NEW Business Stratgety Books #FFSS VOL1 and #FFSS VOL2
I write this column under duress. I’m anxious about offering these insights, as they counter things I have believed in, pontificated and lectured on for the last 15 years.
I’m afraid that our conventional practices for growing a business are deeply flawed. The things they told us to believe in business school no longer apply. The rules of engagement for sales and marketing have completely changed, and it’s time to right the ship.
Consider the quagmire that is e-commerce. Successful e-marketers will tell you they’re happy with a four percent online conversation rate. That is, if an unknowing sort tools around on their website, there is a 96% chance they won’t buy anything at all.
Business-to-business marketers are facing a similar struggle. Their tired playbook has been reduced to endless drip marketing campaigns sent directly to an audience that doesn’t seem to care. They also measure success in terms of click rates of about 3%. A measly 3% click on our highly targeted, thoughtfully crafted emails, and we jump for joy.
We service professionals need to wave the white flag and admit defeat.
We lost our way when we lost our ability to relate to customers. I run a management consulting practice. Time and time again, our clients give us nearly flawless customer satisfaction scores. They tell us how great we are, and that they would refer a friend or colleague more than 90% of the time — and then they don’t. What’s wrong with this picture?
The problem is that we threw away the baby with the bathwater. I’ve been one of those people that believed fancy new technology like marketing automation would replace the old-school salesman whose tie is unraveled, whose belt doesn’t match his shoes and who sports a suspicious stain on his collar. The reality is that these tools don’t replace the practice of selling; they should augment sales with branding and messaging that inspires customers to want to do business with us. If you’re not convinced that traditional marketing messages are failing, consider the prospects of venerable brands such as Sears and Toys R Us.
Here are seven practical approaches to growing your business in the digital era.
1. Build an integrated sales and marketing system.
Sales and marketing teams need to behave more like an ecosystem since they are interrelated and dependent on each other. These departments cannot be managed autonomously. In some cases, it makes sense to have them managed as one department, but in all cases they should have common goals and objectives that measure success in parallel. When the sales department succeeds, the marketing department succeeds. Tie them at the hip, incentive plans and all.
2. Be obsessed with the voice of the customer.
I know you’ve heard this before, and I trust that you really care about your customers. But why can they be so apathetic in their loyalty? If your customers would leave you for a slightly lower price, or because a new offering pops up across the boulevard, then you aren’t doing enough to hear them.
We need to find different ways to listen through interviews, surveys, online ratings, focus groups, etc. Use a multifaceted approach to listen to them in every conceivable way, especially those that glean actionable insights. This almost always includes some form of ethnographic research.
3. Know thy value proposition.
One of my clients is a consumer packaged goods manufacturer. Their business was really strong until it wasn’t. They had prolific consumer data in terms of where and how customers were buying, but poor information on what motivated customers to buy. That caught up to them recently, and they are having to invest heavily to right the ship, including costly package redesign and marketplace positioning.
Always know why customers buy from you and from others. If you aren’t sure, keep digging until you know. You won’t find out sitting behind a desk.
4. Ask for referrals.
Sure, this is stupidly simple. So why don’t more companies track referrals? Make referrals and referral volume a key performance indicator (KPI).
5. View customer service as a revenue stream.
Most companies view customer service as a cost. Yet every call is an opportunity to touch a customer. For example, we have some clients that measure how much time each agent spends on the phone and incentivize them to minimize the duration of each call.
Even a warranty call that could result in an expense for a business is an opportunity to satisfy and upsell. Many customers will be happy relying on bots to answer trivial questions, but look for opportunities to provide white glove service to customers who will value it.
6. Make your customer relationship management (CRM) useful.
CRM has been a four-letter word, but it doesn’t have to be that way. When utilized effectively, a CRM should make selling easier by providing templates, tickler emails and other tools that save a salesperson time. If you implement your CRM in such a way that it takes more time to use, salespeople will balk. Include as many people as possible in the evolution of your CRM so marketing can augment the selling process with communication and other touches that actually serve customers.
7. Humanize your offer.
Look for every opportunity, from website design to the language you use, to promote face-to-face, one-to-one personal attention. Customers may want to see less of us, but that’s because we’re really not that interesting. They want personalized attention, which includes the communications we send, the data we provide and the insights we offer. Make sure yours are truly valuable.
It is time to rethink sales and marketing. Engage with your team in thoughtful debate about how to retool your sales and marketing effort so that you can make a bigger impact with your customers and prospects.
March 12, 2019 at 07:41AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs