Coach for Success

Where do you most need to focus your marketing?

Another area on the workshop we looked at was where you most need to focus your marketing attention. Given that many small and medium businesses have limited budgets and perhaps most of all limited time, the answer to this question is of major importance. So how do most businesses allocate their marketing resources? Typically this is done annually as part of an overall business plan, but how often are the decisions simply based relative to the previous year, i.e. we’ll spend 10% more on advertising and 20% more on direct mailings? Alternatively, if there is no plan/budget, it is perhaps easy to be persuaded by those marketing to us – their advertising space, their business directories, telesales, PR campaign proposals, etc.

C.J. Hayden, an author and popular speaker in the USA , talks about what she calls the Universal Marketing Cycle, which is in fact a mixture of marketing and sales steps that businesses typically need to undertake to win business. These steps are: filling the pipeline, follow-up, getting presentations and closing the sale. This is a process that becomes a cycle, as at each stage, if you are unsuccessful (as well as after actually providing the service/product), the prospect/client goes back into your follow-up “pot”, to be contacted again in 1,3 or 6 months’ time, as agreed with them. The point at which you most typically get stuck in this cycle is where you need to focus your marketing attention. Simply speaking, if you don’t have enough leads and people to contact, you need to work on filling your pipeline. If on the other hand you already have lots of contacts on your database that you haven’t spoken to for months, you need to work on follow-up (see October’s Insights – a system for staying in touch). If you’re good at follow-up, but aren’t getting the opportunity to demonstrate your wares, you need to work on getting presentations. And finally, if you’re making lots of presentations, but not winning the business, your attention needs to be on closing the sale.

Hayden goes on to say that once you know where in the marketing cycle you are getting stuck, you then know the impacts you need to make on your market - the three basic impacts being Outreach (what I call Connection), Visibility and Credibility.

If you need to:- The impact you need is (in order of importance):-
Fill the pipeline - Connection
- Visibility
Follow-up - Connection
Get Presentations - Connection
- Visibility
- Credibility
Close Sales - Connection
- Credibility
- Visibility

Not unsurprisingly, most workshop attendees, by a very large margin, needed to work on following up, i.e. increasing the frequency, quality and depth of their relationships with prospects, clients and referral generators. We went on to explore how this and the other required impacts could be made. More of this in next month’s Insights.

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