A Free Guide on Using Your Marketing Strategy Effectively
The way small business owners think about marketing strategy is broken. Email marketing, sale presentations, websites, advertising, search engine optimization, social media, you know tactics seem to dominate their marketing strategy thoughts. Truth is, for any set of tactics to work they must appeal to someone, which inevitably comes back to strategy.
This post will dive into some of the ways your marketing strategy can solve sales challenges.
If you’re ready to make marketing strategy a real, engaging, and effective tool for your business, keep reading.
For Any Set of Tactics to Work They Must Appeal to Someone
One of the most important elements of a marketing strategy is the development of an ideal target customer profile. Understanding who makes an ideal customer allows you to build your entire business, message, product, services, sales and support around attracting and serving this targeted customer group.
The secret to increasing your ROI isn’t more marketing—it’s targeting. Don’t squander half your marketing budget and hundreds of hours generating leads that go nowhere. Find your ideal customer from the outset, and everyone wins. Learn how to discover your ideal customer here.
Listening is the best way to develop strategy
Everyone knows they should develop a marketing strategy before diving into to every tactical marketing effort they can. The problem is, few can tell you how to do this because any real marketing strategy is highly personal and involves your:
The best way to approach discovering a strategy for your marketing, and perhaps all of your communications, is to listen really, really well.
Customer feedback interviews are one of the greatest listening tools on the planet. Your customers are telling you about what’s truly important, they’re telling about what they like about your products and dislike about the competition, they’re telling you what they wish someone would make — and now you can hear it.
Effective sales decisions
What products and services to offer, how much to charge, where to advertise, what timing triggers to look for, what value from our offering most appeals to our ideal target market — all should be based on customer feedback. After all, you’re not going to boost sales if you don’t offer something customers want to buy and show up in the pathway that they purchase.
Get better and plug gaps
What kind of feedback should you get from customers? There’s no limit — it can be any kind of information that would help you get better and plug sales and marketing gaps. Get started with these 5 questions:
- Why did you decide to hire us or buy from us in the first place?
- What’s one thing we do better than others you do business with?
- What’s one thing we could do to create a better experience for you?
- If you were to refer us what would you say?
- Can you tell me about three other companies that you love?
Far too often businesses create campaigns around irrelevant pain points and features, referral programs that don’t create referral motivation, and optimize their websites around industry specific jargon and terms when their ideal customers really pay attention, engage and respond to other communicating factors.
Remember, asking for feedback is indispensable, but it’s just the first step. To truly help your sales and marketing strategy, make sure you listen to customers’ responses and find ways to implement their suggestions.
Don’t skip this listening (strategy) step for tactics!
Insight into the top sales challenges from a Selling Challenges Study:
- “The ability to identify triggers and sales signals that indicate issues that sales can resolve.”
- “Creating value and insight during client conversations.”
- “Competing against a low-cost provider.”
- “Finding ways to add relevant value.”
These challenges are really symptoms of the same painful problem, which boils down to not clearly defining your marketing strategy. Don’t worry … it’s a fairly common ailment.
Challenge: Ability to identify triggers and sales signals that indicate issues that sales can resolve
Solution: One of the most important elements of a marketing strategy (and getting sales on track) is developing your target market or ideal customer profile. Understanding who makes an ideal customer allows you to build your entire sales efforts around attracting and converting this customer group. Read how to develop your ideal customer profile here.
Once you have a profile of your ideal customer, you should start analyzing the common characteristics they share. Start asking yourself or your sales reps some questions about these people: what industry are they in? where are they located? what size is their organization? what do they read? what do they listen to? what challenges do they face? how do they buy? and most importantly what triggers them to start looking for a solution?
This is the key information needed in order know how to increase sales. Most B2Bs have a need triggered soon by some type of business cycle change, calendar event, budget refresh, office relocation, etc. (Hint: focusing on identifying what these triggers are with your current clients is the best way to immediately grow share of wallet.)
The answers to the questions above are not always available, but thinking about them in correlation to your ideal customer may allow you to narrow your niche and sell aggressively to it.
Challenge: Creating value and insight during client conversations
Solution: So what are the companies that are bringing in new customers and growing their sales doing that’s different?
They’ve infused value creation and insight into the tactical delivery of their marketing and sales strategy. In fact, 74% of B2B buyers choose the salesperson who was first to add value and insight in their buying process.
I believe that any business owner, consultant or sales person that attempts to work with an organization, regardless of size, can greatly increase the value they bring to a conversation by helping a customer or prospect dissect their own customer journey. Provide value and insight by researching every stage of the customer journey an organization uses to interact with and move its prospects to customers.
- What do they do to create awareness?
- What do they do to educate prospects and customers?
- How do they build trust?
- How does someone sample their solution, expertise or offering?
- How do they convert prospects to paying clients, and generate referrals?
Challenge: Competing against a low-cost provider
Solution: The secret to take price out of the equation is to offer a product or service with some remarkable and desirable element that can’t be compared. Until you can firmly offer a solid reason for why a prospect should buy from or hire you over the competition, you’ll compete on price or shall I say a low-cost provider.
When B2B business owners and CEOs solution sell and respond to RFPs they basically make every business look the same and make price the primary issue.
Working with your marketing/sales team or a strategic marketing consultant can help identify what service or product element really nails the buyers pain-point or desire. Working together marketing and sales efforts can communicate a unique way of doing business that will demonstrate a premium pricing value proposition.
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Challenge: Finding ways to add relevant value
Solution: Educate Them on Their Reality – Though modern customers can glean a lot of the information online, they still crave the insight of an expert—someone who knows the territory and stays up on the latest industry news.
Here’s a framework that forces you to get the right answers to questions that will educate prospects and clients on their reality.
- What’s going on inside the company?
- What’s happening with notable parties outside the company — competitors, suppliers, etc.?
- Who do the buyers you’re working with report to, and/or who are the influencers in the company?
- How does this company “keep score” metrics-wise, and how do you help them in what they do?
Small business owners continue to face significant hurdles in the marketplace. This can be a glass-half-empty or glass-half-full scenario. There has never been a better time to adapt, change, and leverage the new selling tools available in today’s digital age. You have unprecedented access to CRM systems, competitive data, social selling tools, web alerts, and real-time analytics. With the right help, business owners can hone their knowledge and skills to help them prepare like never before and truly differentiate themselves to buyers.