Converting a sale . . . . cold, warm or hot?

ChristineDaveyMarketing Converting a Sale

It has been said that to close an average sale you would have to contact a single prospect 8 times.

A typical prospect will normally move through the sales cycle from being cold then to being warm and finally, just when they’re ready to close the deal they’re hot and move into being a client or customer.

Moving through the sales cycle, the prospects in your database will start off in the cold zone – potential customers you’ve identified as a well-qualified contact, but have little or no awareness of your brand or what you do.  You would normally reach these with an initial campaign to introduce your brand and USP – possibly by a telesales campaign or direct mailing push.

Prospects become warm once they’ve been spoken to (or met) and they are familiar with your company and what you have to offer but they are not yet ready to buy. They might require more time or information to process their needs but by consistently maintaining these contacts with ongoing communication, consisting of a series of marketing activities that might include follow-up phone calls, email marketing and social media contact, you’ll have a better chance of successfully moving through to the final stage of the sales cycle.

Your hottest prospects are those who have either come to you as a referral or have been moved through the first two stages of your sales cycle at which point they will become paying customers.

It will take multiple contacts using sales and marketing tactics to move each prospect on to the next stage of your sales cycle. In order to build and maintain a successful business, developing a sales & marketing programme that combines these tactics in all three zones, is imperative to reach and motivate each group in your database.

Have you developed your sales & marketing plan this year?

If you’d like some help on planning your marketing communications, Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 today.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

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5 Pitfalls to Avoid when Starting a New Business

5 Pitfalls to avoid when strting a new businessAs a marketing consultant, I meet many people who are ready to branch out on a new business venture; who want to make a name for themselves by going it alone; bringing a new idea to light and releasing it into the world as a successful venture.

It’s a big step, but with a bit of planning and strategic thinking there’s no reason why your great idea can’t translate into a good business and transform your working life.

5 PITFALLS TO AVOID
1. Going it completely alone
Having a ‘gut feeling’ about the validity of your idea is destined to fail.
Make sure other people also agree that it’s a good idea.
Talk to start-up experts; other people in your industry who have already had great success.
Take some time to test the idea – find out who your target market is then ask them if they like your product; find out how it might be improved.
Make a prototype and use the responses to adapt and adjust your idea. But, bear in mind that the feedback might not be what you anticipate. Whilst you think it’s a brilliant idea, the reality might be quite different and may need a lot of work to make it marketable.
Resist the temptation to give up; learn how to adjust and recalculate the best way to offer your idea to you ideal market.

2. Not having a Marketing Plan
Don’t assume your idea will sell itself.
No matter how brilliant you think your idea is you must pay careful attention to marketing.
Every time you talk about your business you are involved in marketing.
Make sure you have a concrete business plan and make sure you formulate a strategy to make sure you communicate the right messages to the right people at the right time.

3. Not listening to your customers
Keeping your customers happy is the single most important step to keeping your business successful.
Take time to find out what they need from you, and then provide it.
By meeting and exceeding their expectations, the word will soon get out and they’ll keep coming back for more.

4. Lacking Focus
Being creative is great, but chasing one idea after another and never actually bringing one thing to life is the biggest pitfall of all.
Know exactly what your goals and objectives are. Having these clearly defined helps you to evaluate what’s going to work and what’s not – the ideas that don’t work need to be shelved or discarded.

5. Failing to outsource specialist tasks
As an entrepreneur, there is a great temptation to do everything yourself, especially in the start-up period when costs are sometimes prohibitive.
If your idea takes off, you aren’t going to be able to handle everything on your own.
You have a limited set of talents, so by bringing in a team of experts who you can trust, will help to bring your vision to reality.

For every new business that succeeds, there are dozens of others that don’t.
Make sure you are poised for success by avoiding these business pitfalls.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help with your strategic marketing planning Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 for an initial chat over a coffee!

7 elements to creating an effective Marketing Plan

Marketing Planning Christine Davey BrightonWhat is marketing? Why is it important to you as a small business?

In its most basic definition, marketing is everything you do to place your products or services in the hands of potential customers. Every time you speak about your business, you are involved in marketing.
Planning is key to help you identify your ideal target market and a marketing strategy will help you focus on the different ways you can communicate with your customers and target the ones that will create most sales.

You’ll need to look at each of the following areas in order to create a comprehensive framework to develop an effective marketing plan:

Product
Simply, what your business offers: this covers the combination of goods and services that your business offers.
Place
This refers to how your customer accesses your product or service; it should be convenient for the client at all times. This could be your business premises, shop or online presence.
Price
What approach will you take to pricing your product? Price communicates a lot about a brand. It is a key factor in the marketing mix – too low may put off the target market, too high will carry a high client service expectation which may be tough to fulfil.
Promotion
Refers to how you communicate with your customers. The objective of the promotional mix is to communicate what the company does and what it offers, to the right people at the right time, in order to acquire and retain customers.
People
All people who come into contact with a potential customer are part of your marketing; they can have a profound effect on customer satisfaction. Your staff or collaborative partners are ambassadors for your business.
Process
The processes you use in the day-to-day operation of your business ensuring that enquiries and orders are effectively managed.
Physical Evidence
This is the evidence you can provide to show you can do what you claim you can do. Asking for feedback from satisfied customers to underpin your expertise and publishing it for potential customers to refer to.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help with planning your own marketing Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 for an initial chat over a coffee!

7 Steps to creating an effective Press Release

How to write an effective Press ReleaseIncluding PR in your marketing planning can play a key role in boosting your company’s profile by getting coverage in trade journals, magazines, blogs, podcasts, radio and other publications that cover your business sector.

A press release can also help to establish you as an industry expert to help you gain the trust of your customers and also good for media relations; whenever the media needs someone to comment on a story you’ll be the ‘expert’ they will call on.

7 steps to creating an effective press release

  1. Make sure you have a good reason to send a press release.  A grand opening or launch of a new business, an innovative new product, a new location or a special event which might appeal to the medium’s readership are all good reasons to get the press interested.
  2. Content is key, so it needs to be appropriate for the publication or broadcast media – identify target media groups relevant to your ‘story’ and adapt accordingly.  Don’t make the ‘scattergun approach’ mistake and randomly send to media without considering their audience (most media houses publish their readership profiles online).
  3. It should follow the standard format which will ensure readability: typed, double-spaced, with a contact person’s name, title, company, address and phone number within the top third of the release.
  4. Below the contact details an eye-catching headline in bold type: this needs to contain the key message of the story you are telling which will lead the reader to find out more.
  5. The release should be no more than one page covering the 5 W’s – who, what, when, where and why with the first paragraph more or less outlining the main story.  Don’t embellish or hype up the information – you’re not writing the article but demonstrating why the information is relevant to that particular media in the hope that they will want to feature it.  And remember, watch your spelling and grammar – a release full of typos is more likely to get dumped in the bin!
  6. Avoid making it sound like an advertisement for your business –  it’s not a sales pitch!  Any opinion given should be in ‘quotes’ and attributed to whoever said it.
  7. Most important of all, make sure you follow-up any interest which might be shown: ensure the contact indicated on the release is available and willing to give any further information or comments if asked.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on planning your marketing activities Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 for an initial chat over a coffee!

I run a small business, should I be doing market research?

Why should I do Market ResearchIt doesn’t matter how big your business is, market research is an important part of your whole business strategy.

Rather than just a one-off activity, in order to remain successful, conducting research on a continual basis will allow you to keep up with market trends and maintain a competitive edge.

Why should I do market research?

Depending on what kind of business you run and what stage you’re at in your business, market research will not only help you to identify exactly who your target customers are, but it will also enable you to understand how they tick.

For instance, if you’re a new start-up, canvassing passers-by to take part in a trial of a new product or answering specific questions about the service you are offering, will help you to decide whether it’s right for your target market before you take it to market.

If you are a more established business, market research can help you to understand why your customers choose your product/service over competitors and it will enable you to set realistic targets for specific growth areas, introduce new sales tactics and launch new products.

Similarly it will help you to make informed decisions about whether you should be consolidating, diversifying or reducing your business activities.

There might be several different reasons for conducting some form of market research; you may have identified a business problem such as a fall in sales, a competitor may have entered your marketplace or another similar product may have become available.

3 cost-effective research methods for a small business

Desk research – gathering and analyzing information, already available in print or published on the internet.  This can be very cost effective as it relies on existing market data which can provide you with key information about your market size, value and trends.
Together with your own sales data and that of your competitors, this form of research will give you valuable information that can help you to understand sales and geographic and demographic trends.

Online Surveys – a relatively low cost method, which involves respondents signing up to take part in an online survey – sometimes in return for a small reward, or entry into a prize draw.  This method is a great option for smaller businesses taking advantage of some easy online survey tools; the results of which can be used to answer some key questions about your business or to research your target market.
Information is gathered automatically and the response rate can be almost instant.  One of the main benefits of online surveys is that it saves time.  The data is instantly available and can easily be transferred onto a spreadsheet, or other business application, if a more detailed analysis is required. You can design your own survey with one of the many free online survey tools such as SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang.

Hall Tests – designed to get consumers to ‘try out’ specific products.   Respondents are recruited on the street and guided to where the test is taking place and asked to canvass opinion in a public space (often a church hall or similar).
They are invited to try out specific products such as food & drink, magazines, cleaning products etc. so you can identify any strengths and weaknesses before launching the product.  Whilst you could achieve some really useful in-depth comments from respondents, this type of research needs to be carefully planned and executed to be successful.  Respondents are also often given incentives to do this.

So whether you’re a new start-up or you need to find out more about how your customers tick, conducting a piece of research will allow you to keep up with what’s going on in your own market and enable you to continue maintaining a competitive edge!

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on planning your marketing Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 today.

7 questions you need to ask yourself about your Marketing Planning

Davey Marketing Strategic Plannng

The Planning Cycle

If you’re an established small business you are probably doing OK, but you are most likely only doing the bare minimum when it comes to marketing, relying mostly on referrals.

But there are times when you could probably do even better and this is where a boost in marketing your business will help to keep those customers coming back again and again.

It’s more important than ever with new technologies, online marketing and social media impacting the marketplace, to make sure you plan and implement some marketing efforts to continue to grow your business.

How do you know if what you are doing is working? Taking time out to review your marketing can often give you insights that can save you time and money and shed some light on new opportunities you hadn’t considered.

There are some basic questions you need to ask before you can begin to plan some new marketing efforts

  1. Who is your target market?
  2. What unique benefits do you offer your customers – why should they buy from you?
  3. What is your brand, how can you increase your brand awareness?
  4. Are you communicating your brand and core messages to both your customers and prospects?
  5. How have you been doing that?  Is it working?
  6. How can you gain more visibility in your marketplace?
  7. Are you measuring the results and making changes based on these results?

Once you start focusing on your business in this way, you will be able to develop and implement a new marketing plan. Leaving it to chance for too long will almost certainly end up costing you more in the long term.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on planning your marketing communications, Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 today.