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Tuesday Tech Tip, December 10, 2013 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 14:18


How to use a sales pipeline:  Step 1 Marketing

We have discussed the use of a good application to track contacts, but it’s also great to use for to manage a sales pipeline.  So what is a sales pipeline?

When you track your potential clients as they move through your pre-determined sales process, you have a sales pipeline.  Wikipedia users cited Management of a Sales Force Rich, Spiro and Stanton to explain  a "sales process" consisting of eight steps. These are:

  1. Prospecting / initial contact
  2. Preapproach - planning the sale
  3. Approach
  4. Need assessment
  5. Presentation
  6. Meeting objections
  7. Gaining commitment
  8. Follow-up

Your role is to adapt your sales process to something akin to this and then focus on each step, guiding and tracking your client through each stage and determining which role in your company supports each stage.  The first step obviously belongs to marketing. 

An article I read recently, posted on current360 explained how to avoid common marketing pitfalls:

  1. Premature Advertising – Spending money to get the word out before deciding what the word shouldWhat is your competitive advantage?  How is it delivered to your customer?  How can that best be expressed to your audience?

  2. Media Envy – Placing expensive ads in publications dominated by “the big guys.”  If your media budget isn’t as big as their’s, you’re wasting your money. Chances are you don’t need to cast such a wide netToday’s environment offers many highly targeted, less expensive ways to reach your audience.

  3. Dust Collecting – Creating a 40-page business plan, putting it on a shelf and forgetting aboutA true business plan should focus on maximizing your strengths, minimizing your weaknesses, seizing opportunities, and recognizing threats.  It should have specific action items and should be reviewed on a regular basis.

  4. Marketing Misplacement – Treating marketing as a support function instead of a businessEver hear of guerilla marketing?  It’s a war out there.  Marketing is anything but passive.  What ever happened to Underalls, Coleco Vision, and Brim?

  5. Following the Leader – Modeling yourself after others instead of breaking away from the crowd. Find your competitive advantage and focus all your efforts onDo everything you can to not be like everyone else.

  6. Skeet Shooting – Reacting to whatever is presented without a clear method to gauge its relevance to your plan.A marketing plan will keep you on track to reach your goals through targeted, concentrated efforts.

  7. Playing Doctor – Performing your own surgery, replacing your own fillings, diagnosing your ownAfter all, you know your body better than any health care professional. Don’t try to market your company or product yourself.   Let the experts help while you focus on running your business.

  8. Penny Foolishness – Having no budget to market your product to your audience. “You have to spend it to make it.”  People say it because it’sDon’t rely on luck to market your product or service.  What good is a great product that no one knows about?

  9. Marketing-Phobia – Operating under the belief “that’s the way we’ve always done it” is okay. Be prepared to accept new marketing avenues if the old ones aren’tToday’s ever-hanging world is quickly making traditional forms of marketing such as television, radio, and television obsolete.  What’s your digital marketing plan?  Is your website optimized for search?  What’s your social media strategy?

  10. Introspective Branding – Basing your brand’s identity on what you think itA brand is what and how the buyer thinks and feels about your product.  Product quality isn’t always the determining factor.  It’s often more about brand image and relationship.


Contact Management Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 10:22

Contact Management for Customer Relationships

Customer Relationships are what we all depend on to pay the bills and refer more business.  Managing the relationships we create with them, and the potential clients we could onboard in our future, is an essential part of the health of our business.  We need happy customers to create revenue.  We need happy customers to create good testimonials.  We need happy customers to create fantastic referrals.  We depend on happy customers more than anything else in our business.  It is therefore a wise investment to purchase a perfect tool to help manage such an important task.

First, let’s acknowledge what it takes to build a strong relationship with a client.  The first communication of importance, seems like the least important superficially: marketing.  This is the foundation of all further personal communication with the individual customer.  It sets the expectation of professionalism and level of service.  It establishes what you know and offers that knowledge to the client base.  It prompts the customer to take action in any given situation, be it a sale, a free gift, or just a phone call or email in general.  It demonstrates to the customer when your business can be of service and encourages the customer to reach out.  A good tool should make marketing easier by managing emails and communications, possibly tracking campaigns and certainly tracking emails and phone calls.

Second, it should track the individual interaction with the client.  Emails, appointments, phone calls, should be easily captured against opportunities or activities that support interaction with the client.  Each client will have a variety of needs that they know are important.  Because these activities vary greatly, they need to be easily classified and ranked so that they can be managed and executed properly.

Finally, consider a CMS, or contact manager system, that can store files, documents, jobs and issues. The system should be able to report information about your contact base.  Demographics, market share, return on investment, and so on.  For instance, “for non-profit and membership-based organizations  (they) should help track constituents, fund-raising, demographics, membership levels, membership directories, volunteering and communication with individuals.” Wikipedia

Next week’s tech tip will include a list of tools that you can consider for such an important job!  


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