Sales are often referred to as the lifeblood of an organization. But, it is impossible to have an effective sales program without a corresponding and effective marketing initiative. Most organizations just start trying things in the hopes that one will generate some leads and resulting sales. Like all facets of your business, you should take a strategic approach. You should have an elaborate and systematic plan of action.
I begin by defining marketing as everything that happens before and after the sale to identify, acquire, magnify, and keep customers. In other words, any activity your company is involved in outside of the moment that the sale is made can be linked to your marketing efforts.
How your receptionist answers the phone will impact your clients, and also affect your marketing program. If the janitor does a good job, your place of business will look great and have a positive impact on your marketing efforts. The manner in which you bill your clients will resonate with them and contribute to your marketing efforts.
If all of these activities are involved in marketing then what does that say about all of the people in your organization? Right! They are all part of the marketing effort. They should be aware of this. They should also be consulted as to how they can best interact your prospects and clients.
Strategic Marketing involves the creative application or organizational resources designed to produce dynamic marketing results. Your organizational resources are valuable assets that when leveraged properly help you reach your goals. The resources you should focus on are:
– Fixed Assets
“Money” is the funds you have in the bank. These are dollars that you can invest to work for you. Anyone can spend more money in an effort to generate a greater marketing impact. A great Strategic Marketer works to use their money wisely.
“People” refers to your team. The people you work with can have a tremendous impact on your success. Most highly successful business people I know attribute their success to the outstanding people they work with.
“Information” refers to product and industry knowledge that you have. I have a marketing philosophy that says, “It’s not what you know that counts, it’s what you help your prospects and clients know that will determine your marketing success.” We will discuss this in more detail later in this article.
“Fixed Assets” are your phone system, your fax machine, your computers, and anything else that you have invested in that is at your disposal. Many companies let their fixed assets only be used for one thing or let them sit idle much of the day. There are some great ideas for leveraging your fixed assets that we will discuss.
“Technology” refers to the technology that is available to you. Some of this technology you may already be taking advantage of, some may be available but you have not taken the time to learn or invested the money to own.
“Clients” are simply those people or organizations who have bought from you before. This includes those currently using your services and those who have in the past but for one reason or another have stopped.
The goal of strategic marketing is to produce greater results from your current resources.
To market any product or service you must be able to answer these three questions for your prospect:
1. Why should I buy?
2. Why should I buy from you?
3. Why should I buy now?
People buy to satisfy a need. It is that straight forward. Look at all of your clients and ask yourself why they bought and the answer is because they had a need. Maybe they needed to be more secure. Maybe they needed to be more comfortable. Maybe they needed to be better equipped. Any way you slice it it always comes down to need fulfillment.
It is important to understand that the need can be real or it can be imagined. Think of a football quarterback going into his local Mercedes Benz car dealer. The sales person walks over and asks which model the quarterback is interested in. The quarterback is looking at the E320. “Very nice automobile,” says the sales associate. “You’re the quarterback of the football team aren’t you?” she confirms. “You know,” she continues, “Last week two of your teammates were in and they invested in new automobiles. They each bought a shinny silver E320. You’re the quarterback. They block for you don’t they? They’re the ones down in the mud? You are the leader of the team. You really deserve the SL600.”
The quarterback could drive to work in a Hyundai. The need for a Mercedes may be real or it may be imagined. It really doesn’t matter as long as you help illustrate the need and make the sale.
It is your job to make sure that your clients all realize they have needs. If you do this then the only logical next step is to fill that need, or sell your products and services!
Clients buy from you for several good reasons. Below is a list of these reasons:
One of them, price, can be misleading. Some people buy from the lowest price supplier. Some people buy from the highest price supplier. And, some people like to do business with someone in the middle. You have to decide where you fit in.
Your goal is to give your clients as many reasons as possible to do business with you.
Clients should be encouraged to buy now. Your time is valuable, and so is theirs. If they do not buy from you now they could end up buying from someone else or their needs could change or disappear. The proper use of sales and incentives will help you make the sale now.
In Part II of Strategic marketing we will look at who do you market to and the four phases to marketing success. Understanding the importance of your Memorable Marketing Message will be important as we move forward. Work on developing as many reasons as possible for someone to do business with you, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz!