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The Most Effective B2B Sales and Marketing Strategies?

Why You Must Increase Sales and Marketing in a Recession

I have often read, and have heard many a pundit declaring that in a recession you must reduce your marketing spend. Based on my experience with previous recessions I have strongly opposed these views. I do have to say, that it is often very difficult for businesses to maintain their sales and marketing spend when times get tough. However, as you will see, the impact of a downturn in the economy plays havoc with established sales and marketing metrics. The effect of this should be to demonstrate clearly that in fact a company needs to increase its sales and marketing activity if it wants to survive a recession.    Philosophically this has always made sense, as for at least as long as we are going on a downward curve, there are more sellers than buyers. Those buyers, because they are short of money, will spend less on purchases to help them balance their reduced income. What I have tried to do is to quantify the effects of a recession on sales activity.

I have made some simple assumptions which are as follows:

1. To continue trading the company needs to achieve three sales in a month.

2. Its success rate from prospects to sales is 33%.

3. To get a meeting with a prospect requires ten cold calls.

So in a normal sales environment our simple model would deliver this: 100 Calls @10% Success Delivers 10 Prospects @33% Gives 3 Sales Essentially what we are saying is that you need to make 100 calls to get 3 sales. Now let’s assume we get some softening of the economy and things get more difficult so instead of getting 3 sales for ten prospects we only get 2. So to keep up our 3 sales per month we now need 15 meeting. Because the conditions are a bit tougher it gets a bit harder to get meetings and we now need to make around 16 calls to get an appointment. Suddenly our model looks like this: 250 Calls @6% Success Delivers 15 Prospects @20% Gives 3 Sales The result is that we now need to make 250 calls for our 3 sales.

Lets now go one step further and accept we’re in a full blown recession rather like we have now. Our success rate is half what it is in normal times (These new metrics based on the evidence from some of my clients and further anecdotal information). You end up with figures that look like this: 400 Calls @5% Success Delivers 20 Prospects @15% Gives 3 Sales You can see that the implication in this simple model is quite devastating. It’s clearly impossible to go from 100 calls per month to 400 overnight if at all or in the longer term find a regular 20 prospects per month. Typically sales will go down; just how far down depends on how well the sales team is managed and the local market (sector) conditions.

Many companies would soon exhaust they’re prospect list at that level of calling, which partly explains why it doesn’t happen. So how do we protect ourselves in these difficult times? Well first of all, don’t panic! Secondly, before you go rushing off to contact people, you need to understand where you are. What I mean by that is you have to have some of information about the current performance of your sales and marketing activities. Your baseline should be to understand what your current sales of metrics are. If you don’t have that information one simple way of creating some is to take the total number of bids, quotes, proposals you have made divided by the number you have won.

Next, make your marketing accountable, critically analyse the return on investment you get from your various marketing activities. In some cases this will be easy, for example if you use yellow pages or Yell.com you have their invoice which tells you the cost and you should be able to work out how much business you got from that investment. In simple terms than if your return is less than your investment, stop it. Stop it now if you can. If you can’t, stop it as soon as you can. With those more fuzzy situations where you spend time and effort rather than cash you must still assess where you get the best or least reward for your effort.

Only now that you have this information in your possession should you go out and up your marketing and sales. Using your new metrics as a guide you’ll need to adjust your activities accordingly. This simple exercise will have done two things; firstly it will have told you what your baseline is which will enable you to understand your effort to sales ratio. Secondly, it will have identified your most productive marketing channels. You now need to go out using those channels and communicate with your best customers, your good customers, and then the rest of your customers to identify sales opportunities. From here you need to move it into new business development.

Choose your best channels first as they are most likely to deliver the quickest results. And set yourself targets for activity to see what your new sales metrics are, and if you can, pursue them relentlessly. It will be tough in the early days, but if you stick at it while others fall by the wayside you will have created a stronger sales and marketing base to take you into the next upswing.

Phantom Poop Sales and Marketing Tips

I have a rather strange (even by my standards) sales and marketing tip today. But, if you take it to heart, I think you’ll find selling your products and services a whole lot easier… and even “routine.”

Anyway, here’s the story:

It tends to rain a LOT in my neck of the woods. And for the longest time, when taking my dog out during long rain stretches, if she didn’t do her “duty” quick, it got really frustrating. Usually, she’d take her time sniffing and looking for a spot until, at last, she’d squat like she was going to do her thing… only to suddenly stop and stand back up again.

Not just once… but several times for 15 or 20 minutes:

Sniff, squat, stand back up.

Sniff, squat, stand back up.

I call ‘em “phantom poops” and, as you can imagine, it can get REALLY annoying out in the cold rain.

And you know what?

This exact same thing happens ALL the time in business, too.

Customers have their credit cards out and are seemingly ready to pull the trigger… ready to buy… only to stop at the last minute and decide NOT to buy until later (or maybe not at all).

It can be extremely frustrating.

Especially if you’ve been trying to land a big client or contract. And if you don’t know how to deal with this, you’ll end up walking around in the rain with people for days and weeks as they sniff around for a good spot, with no guarantee they’ll ever “go.”

Hey, I admit I do the same thing.

I often read and re-read sales letters, email and call with questions, and sometimes “sniff” around for months until I buy. This is especially true before I hire a service provider or buy a high ticket product.

It’s perfectly natural and understandable.

So what’s the solution?

Well, after a few months of my dog pulling this stunt, it dawned on me to simply not take her outside in the rain unless she’s really and TRULY ready to “do the doo.”

That way, she goes IMMEDIATELY.

No dawdling. No hemming and hawing. No sniffing around or “phantom pooping.” She goes out, does her thing, and that’s that. End of story.

And that’s how I approach business, too.

In fact, I once heard Dan Kennedy (I think it was him) say he doesn’t get on the phone with anyone who isn’t already 80% “sold.”

And I’ve done just that ever since with lots of success.

In fact, if you simply ONLY started focusing on those ready to buy, instead of trying to sell those who aren’t ready to buy yet, you’ll find your sales go up, your stress go down, and your entire business getting a lot more fun.

Simple?

Absolutely.

And that’s the reason why it works so well.