Stop your Marketing…A Fresh Approach to Real Growth!
The economy is humming, the signs are good for continued growth, and life is good. If you own a business, this also means that you and your team are meeting all your numbers, your business is growing, and everything is working smoothly, right? Too bad the state and national statistics don’t translate directly into sales and revenue on your books.
In these good times, do business owners still experience problems with lead generation, lead conversion and revenue growth? If growth isn’t a problem, are most businesses performing up to their potential? Are the teams that drive growth performing at their highest level?
I put these questions to my good friend and colleague, Robert Smith, President of Axcelerate, a consulting company that lends its marketing, sales, and business development expertise to produce specific financial results. Robert has created and sold four successful businesses and is a frequent speaker on how to create unique ideas and dominate market niches and business development topics to large audiences across the U.S. and abroad.
Robert says that he often hears business owners complain about lead generation, conversion, and growth, even in today’s booming economy. He doesn’t, however, immediately suggest specific marketing tactics like digital marketing or direct lead generation campaigns. He says that starting such a campaign would be like trying to drive a car with flat tires to Alaska without a GPS or even a map!
Robert proposes, instead, to first identify the problem the business faces, how the problem directly impacts the business, and why solving the problem is important? The “why” is much more important as it requires true and deep examination by the owner.
After defining the problem and why solving the problem is important, the business can design strategy and tactics with the best chance of solving the problem. Robert summed up his approach bluntly, “Starting without a clearly defined destination and a way to get there is a complete waste of time.”
One solution may be to increase the number of leads the marketing program generates. Robert suggests that you should also consider whether the leads are qualified. You may find, for example, that the conversion rate has suffered because the leads you’re starting with are not qualified. What is your conversion rate as a percentage of qualified leads?
Another solution might be to analyze your current client base and classify them as either “A” clients, “B” clients, or “C” clients. Profile each segment and ask, “Who are our “A” clients? How do we attract more of them? And, most importantly, why do we want them?” Profile and ask this question about the other clients too.
Before you file your client list away, ask yourself if you’ve taken the time to tell these clients about other goods and services you offer? They probably don’t know that you can help them in more ways than one. A professional services firm, with Robert’s help, increased revenue by 60% – and margins by 80% – by focusing some of its business development efforts on existing clients.
Robert reminded me that existing customers already know you, like you and trust you and will buy from you again and again. Existing clients also refer others. Top-performing business development programs are intentional about nurturing and growing existing relationships.
Robert also suggests writing your “Unique Value Proposition” – an explanation of how your products or services provide extraordinary value that differentiates you from the competition. Robert helped a home builder develop a Unique Value Proposition that included a promise to buy back the house if the client wasn’t absolutely delighted. The home builder’s business increased by 70% within 6 months after adopting this Unique Value Proposition!
Lead generation, lead conversion, sales, and revenue typically don’t improve without measurement. Robert coaches business owners to define the key performance indicators (KPI’s) that matter and guides them on the path to reaching and exceeding their goals.
KPIs can include the percentage of conversions over the sales life cycle, the cost of acquisition per client, revenue per client, and profit per client. Defining the lifetime value of a client tells how much you can spend to acquire that client. For example, Robert relates the experience of a plumbing repair company that found that an average client paid them $ 900 per year and used the company for an average of 5 years. Using the company’s 30% margin, it had a way to measure how much it could spend to acquire a single new customer.
Robert shared that he enjoys every chance to bring his proven creative talents, and those of his firm, to a client engagement. If you’d like to meet Robert, or if you’d like some ideas about whether your team can experience its own business development successes, please feel free to call me at 303-831-1411.