With 2018 right around the corner, sales managers and marketers everywhere are ready to take action on their sales and marketing plans. I want to pose a question: How did you create your plan? Was it based on what you've always done? Is it based on data and analytics? Can you easily calculate your ROI for the various tactics you plan to deploy? At the risk of hitting a sore spot, here are 8 sales and marketing mistakes that may have been missed in your 2018 plan, but will cost you money.
1. You don’t have a CRM
I’ve seen it all- index cards filed into shoe boxes, excel spread sheets and even notebooks with handwritten information. Sales enablement plays a key role in today’s growing businesses. But how does marketing play a role here? When sales and marketing are aligned, content that supports the sales process once a buyer is working with a sales person can be incorporated into useful email templates within your CRM. Marketing is typically the beholder of your long-tail keyword list and can ensure that email copy is optimized (from subject line to body copy) and increases the likelihood that your email gets opened. Organizations that haven’t invested in a CRM are missing the opportunity for technology to help nurture prospects along, and ensuring sales reps aren’t just sending the “checking in” email.
2. You’re not using email marketing
Let me clarify an important point here- sending email isn’t the same as email marketing. It takes no skill at all to blast an email to a list of customers or potential customers. The fact of the matter is that interruptive marketing strategies just aren’t effective. On the B2B side, I can tell you that I receive mass emails daily from businesses that would love to do business with me and after a brief moment of frustration that I wasted my time even reading their subject line, I don’t hesitate to click delete.
Today’s technology allows you to segment your customers into lists based on common characteristics or traits of that group. The subject line you draft must be compelling enough for the recipient to open it. Subject line strategy and the copy of the email itself must be reliant on segmentation in order to be effective and increase the likelihood your email actually gets opened. An example of segmentation is customers who purchased within the last year versus a segmentation of customers who haven’t purchased anything from you in a year.
3. 3 Words: Website Conversion Optimization
If your website hasn’t been optimized to ensure conversion of visitors to leads, you’re throwing a ton of money down the drain. A website’s purpose begins with attracting visitors, but capturing those visitors as new leads for your business is key.
Most leads aren’t ready to buy the moment they land on your website. To ensure your business stays top of mind throughout the buying process, small businesses need a strategy and process for collecting contact information from those leads. Ideally, that involves giving them a reason to hand over their email addresses, like offering a helpful piece of content. As they become aware that you are resourceful, insightful and an expert in what you do, opportunity to increase leads that convert to sales occurs.
4. Passing a lead to a sales person as soon as contact information is captured
Just like sales needs a tool (CRM), marketing does too. It’s not just marketing’s job to generate leads, it should be marketing’s job to nurture those leads along to the point of sales readiness (ready to speak with a sales person). One of the costliest marketing mistakes is introduction of a lead to a sales person after the first hint of interest. If there is an element of online research in their buying decision, they likely are researching options and not ready for a direct sales conversation (unless they are filling out a contact us form).
5. You don’t know whether your marketing efforts are effective
Marketing truly has become fairly scientific. Unlike traditional marketing (advertising in print, on billboards, and on TV) it’s never been more possible to track the return on your marketing efforts. Thanks to website analytics tools and CRM/marketing automation tools, you can correlate the clicks on websites, emails, and ads to leads and sales.
6. You don’t have an SEO strategy
Search engine optimization is as much art as science. There are over 200 factors google uses to rank websites. The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert in SEO, but you do need to have at least a basic SEO strategy that will help lead potential customers from the Google search bar to your website.
7. You’re not investing in content
According to a survey by Infusionsoft which asked small business owners about the type of content they produce to help get customers, 68 percent said they post on social media—but less than half gave any other answer, like publishing blog posts, sending emails, or creating video.
Content plays a valuable role in every stage of the buyer’s journey. It supports your SEO efforts, allowing prospects to find your business through search results. It also helps you capture leads when you exchange a helpful piece of content for an email address. It helps you convert leads into customers by addressing questions and concerns that prospects have before buying. And it helps them make that final buying decision. Think making quality content is too time-consuming? Re-allocate some of your non-performing or unmeasurable marketing budget to content generation and see what happens.