To heighten an experience you can create expectations and/or you can condition the experience.
It adds to the “sizzle and the steak”.
If a business leader asks his sales manager, “Where should I invest to grow the business another 20 per cent next year?” the likely response is, “Give me 20 per cent more headcount.” If the head of marketing is presented with the same question, a familiar response would be, “Give me 20 per cent more budget for my campaigns.”
But these aren’t necessarily the right solutions for achieving growth. This is where a new strategy comes into play: Revenue Performance Management (RPM). Decisions about how to grow the business should be made by looking at the entire sales funnel — from unknown prospects, right through to closed sale.
Successful companies do not launch new products, open new offices or make new acquisitions without rigorous testing. Yet, historically, sales and marketing have not been subject to the same scientific rigour as other areas of the business. The fastest-growing companies, however, have a “secret.” They have created a “science of growth” by running a high-performance sales and marketing engine that uses data to drive decision-making.
Having a birds-eye view of the point at which a prospect becomes a lead all the way through to the point where the lead becomes a client allows businesses to better understand their previously least understood cost centre – marketing and sales. RPM helps companies manage interactions with buyers all the way through the purchase process to achieve more predictable, rapid, and profitable revenue growth. In other words, it offers “one view of the truth” so that the management team knows exactly where to invest in order to be successful.
For a company to engage in a successful RPM strategy, it must create seamless connections between all of the tools used to engage with prospects — from social media “listening platforms” to CRM — and create common dashboards that give real-time insights into the performance of the sales funnel.
This information must be actionable. Decision-makers must be armed with live data to know what levers to pull to dramatically change revenue performance — whether that decision is to add new sales reps, increase marketing spend or another investment entirely. The solution will vary from company to company. But what doesn’t change is the science of success: Revenue Performance Management.
Stuart Wheldon is the Senior Director of Customer Success & Strategy at marketing automation specialist, Eloqua.
Not content with creating the biggest change in online and arguably offline communication, Twitter co-creater Jack Dorsey has launched his latest venture.
Square, essentially a small piece of plastic that plugs into an iPhone headphone jack, allows a credit card to be swiped and a payment made to anyone who is registered to receive payment through the system.
The application means that a small business can accept payments for their wares on the go or if you have a friend that is slow paying you back the odd £20 you have lent them, you can produce your phone and Square, no more marching to the cash machine!
The last seismic change in online financial transactions came about thanks to Paypal in 1998, the financial transaction service that has helped eBay to flourish and reduced the transaction paper trail significantly. Square could have the same impact, if not a whole lot more.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times newspaper, Jack Dorsey has allayed fears regarding the security of making credit card payments on an iPhone:
“The payment system is secure, Dorsey said. Transactional data is safely encrypted, and the credit card info is never stored on the device, only passed along, he said. Signatures are drawn with a finger on the touch screen.”
Square is likely to cost as little as $1 from the get go and the cost of manufacturing the plastic piece of magic is minimal which means the hardware itself will be made freely available and Blackberry and other handset compatibility is in development.
Square is currently undergoing beta trials in a handful of cafes and shops in Southern California.
Dorsey’s Twitter has taken over the online space in the last year, expect Square to shake up the online financial transaction world ,too, and what is the one thing Square has from the start that Twitter did not? A business model.
The art of selling can be looked at in two ways. Either it’s persuading someone to buy something that they neither need nor want – “selling coal to Newcastle” – or it’s about discovering customer needs and finding the most appropriate way to meet them. Newcastle no longer mines any coal and frankly, the ram-it-down-your-throat sales approach is about as up-to-date as the expression. That said Newcastle in Australia, named after the UK one, is actually the biggest coal exporter in the world.
In contrast to the US, the UK doesn’t see sales as a profession, and popular culture places all sales people into the cowboy pen. This can be seen from the euphemisms used for sales roles here in the UK. Sales people are called account managers, business development executives, consultants, customer service representatives - anything except sales.
In fact, if a prospect ever tells someone they are good at sales, it probably means they’re not. People need to feel that they have a choice in order to buy. If they feel pressured, they react badly.
Selling the right thing means fewer returns. It also means happy customers who buy again, and tell their friends. Alternatively, selling the wrong thing gums up your phone lines with complaints, increases your cost of doing business, and leads to you being denounced on social networks right across the internet.
I don’t know how many people have consciences, and how much they apply them to business. Whatever the answer, it’s good to know that honest sales lead to better profits, even while letting you sleep at night.
In his article 'Why 8% of sales people get 80% of the sales' Donut expert and founder of Marketing Wizdom, Robert Clay reminds us of the importance of good 'follow up'. His research shows that only 2% of sales occur at the first meeting; the other 98% will only happen once a certain level of trust has been established. Incredibly, only 20% of sales leads are ever followed up - that's a shining pile of potential opportunity lost without a trace. For small businesses, what is the best way to keep contact with prospects after sales meetings? What communications strategy can you employ to show customers that your proposed approach is the right one for them? Effective follow up does not mean pushy closing and constant demands for orders or appointments. It's a different mindset: an ongoing dialogue; gently building rapport and proving your expertise, not bashing down doors. At the heart of this approach is good content - meaningful, useful communication that helps to build trust in the eyes of your potential customers, keeping you top-of-mind. Here are 5 examples of useful content you can send to prospects when following up sales meetings:
This is where marketing can really help sales. Produce powerful, customer-focused, helpful content that your sales teams can use to keep contact with customers until they are ready to buy.
If you’re looking for a new pool of customers to target, you might want to consider marketing your product or service overseas. However, people are often deterred from buying products from or selling to other countries due to language barriers and payment security, as well as logistical issues like how a product will be delivered from A to B. These barriers were highlighted by a recent survey on e-commerce by the EU. Although admittedly a challenge, starting out in exporting might not be quite the big headache that you expected it to be. A new website launched by Google in partnership with UK Trade & Investment, Royal Mail, HSBC and translation company Applied Language Solutions aims to help small firms overcome all these perceived issues, giving customers abroad the confidence to buy from them. It’s free for you to register and to work out where in the world you could take your business, how much you should sell your product for, how much profit you could make, and how much it will cost you to market it to those customers online. In short, you can work out whether it’s worth your while before you dive in. Google spokesman Gareth Evans told me: “You just have to put a product into a search box, for example marmalade, and it will tell you where there is a market for marmalade. The tool will then tell you how cheap it is to advertise online relative to the UK – so if it costs you 50 pence per click to advertise marmalade in the UK, it might tell you it costs five pence per click to advertise marmalade in Turkey.” Go to http://www.google.co.uk/intl/en/exportadviser/ to try it. Will this encourage more small firms to take the plunge?