Marketing can often take some trial and error. It will take some businesses a lot of time, mistakes and money to get their sales to where they really want it at. Some companies take many years and lose a lot of money exploring different marketing options and don’t see much return on investment due to very simple things that they could have done internally.
They end up unknowingly sabotaging themselves by not including their team in on their marketing and promotions. Business to Business marketing is no different, but some very simple changes in how you go about your efforts can make all the difference.
When it comes to marketing; generating revenue is not the most difficult part; it is getting everyone on board that can be most challenging. As a person hired to manage Marketing for a many companies I ran into this issue a lot. Especially when you’re Marketing for small businesses. A lot of small business owners hear the word “marketing” and think you can perform magic with little to no expense budget. Some might think that they can build a website and invest in little to no marketing and things are kind of just supposed to magically happen for them. What they don’t know and what I often have to explain is that there is a lot of analysis that comes along with the job and it takes some money to get noticed on the web or locally for that matter. But money isn’t everything and there are a lot of free and low cost marketing tactics that local small businesses can do but it will take some time to generate a significant amount of leads.
The very first thing that I noticed is that you shouldn’t just have a marketer or a marketing department handle everything. You need to get everyone on board. It takes a team effort to create leads, close them and keep them coming back. It’s all about reputation, which you really might not have if you’re just starting out and it is difficult for a lot of small business owners to compete with bigger corporations. Close customer relationships are vital to their business and that takes a special marketing skill that only takes something as simple as great personalized customer service. Marketing meetings with the entire staff is a must for every company, including those who aim to market to consumers!
The first thing I say to small business owners that want to generate more leads is “You have to put the work in, coach your team, reach out and grab them.” There is no amount of websites, eCommerce sites, flyers or free t-shirts you can give out that will make someone want to do business with you, not when everyone else is pretty much doing the same thing. You have to be unique in the way you approach a customer and make it a memorable experience. Throwing a flyer at them isn’t one of them. I compiled a list that will help you build a reputation, generate leads and revenue.
1. Friendly Introduction.
First impressions are very important! No sale is too small; treat every single customer like they are important, because they really are. For example: You supply fabric for various clothing lines, you have a warehouse located in a public community and occasionally you have a customer walk in wanted to buy some fabric for their own personal use. If you are able to sell it to them, then sell it to them! Don’t treat them like they are unimportant either. The internet has given everyday people the power to make or break you via online reviews. Besides, this person might have their own successful clothing line by next year and you could have played a big part of that! You never know so don’t be foolish. Try and hire a secret shopper to see if your team is treating your customers fairly and upstanding your reputation. You don’t want anyone on your staff that isn’t a team player.
2. Remember the Details and revisit.
Care about your customers! It’s okay to get a little personal, feel them out , just keep it professional. You have kids? Joke about them; try to mix it in the conversation. Whatever they mention about themselves, remember it. Jot it down or keep a log. When you follow up with them then mention it. “How are the kids, still driving you crazy?” HA! Be personable!
3. Customer Reviews, USE them to your advantage!
Customer reviews are great when they are good and you can gather some of your best reviews and ask the customer for a testimonial and for permission to use them in sales and advertising materials. I know when I receive a sales letter my first glance is at the testimonials, it makes me want to look more into the company and see what they are all about. If you have a bad review online, follow up and try and fix it. If someone reads a bad review about your company but see that you care enough to follow up then that means something and usually they will dismiss the review and concentrate on the positive ones.
4. Trade shows and industry events are your best networking resource!
There is nothing more effective and satisfying (for me anyway) than mingling in a crowd of like minded people that share the same passion for the industry you’re in. Business cards are essential ! Bring plenty and collect plenty, you can even write on the ones you get to make a note of a detail you want to log about them. Bring a hand held notebook or use the note pad app on your smart phone. Whatever works, just try and keep track of the people you meet because they might even be calling you back so be prepared to remember the conversation you had.
5. Get on Social Media!
If you’re business is not on social media then you’re missing out on a very popular and very cheap and/or free way to advertise and even generate leads. Businesses that market to other businesses need to be on Linked In! Most people are there for one thing and one thing only and it’s to do business. You can network and collect leads, even reach out to companies that you would like to work with.
6. Utilize your sales team!
Inside Sales, Outside sales, Door to Door sales, it doesn’t matter everyone should be playing a part in your marketing efforts. If you have an inside sales team they should be making phone calls to potential and existing customers and informing them of current or upcoming promotions, new inventory shipment, and etc. Generate a list of businesses or contacts you would like to link up with and make it happen, give the list to your salesmen, they know how to seal the deal! Even if you have a marketing expert on board you must keep the sales team up to date and have them participate and give feedback. If anyone knows your customers it’s your sales people! Marketing can really use their insight so don’t separate them! Success is a team effort so everyone should be involved. If not then everything you do will be in vain.
7. Be Proactive & manage your time.
If you’re planning on doing something at a specific time then do it. That holiday sale you wanted to do has a time limit! So does your follow up with customers, don’t wait too long because they will forget you! Prioritize your marketing so you can generate more income for your business. Do it now! The saying “Time is Money” is true!
If you’re ready to start Marketing your small business contact Callahan & Toolen Digital Services Today!