How to Convert Your Marketing Spend into Sales

How to Convert Your Marketing Spend into Sales

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Sales and marketing used to be like quarreling classmates drawing imaginary lines across the bench. Sometimes they get along but most of the time they want to keep the other off their territory. Yet this does not work in the digital environment. Marketing builds relationships and loyalty while sales bring success.

Digital marketing today aims at building relationships and helping a company’s brand remain relevant in its industry arena. Emphasis is on personalized content experiences. Yes, these can improve the time spent on site stats. Still, the greater goal is to engage the customer while gathering intentional information that helps the marketer provide an even better experience.

The biggest challenge for marketing and sales teams today is penetrating this web of information, such that you are still able to extend your message to your target audience.

The best way to overcome this challenge is to:

Align Marketing with Sales

Any approach or model that hinges on the transaction or the purchasing decision is bound to miss out on the limitless engagements made possible by digital technology. Content is key to these engagements. In fact, it is of utmost importance during that span of time our market has not reached out to our sales team. It is how we penetrate a web full of information and get our message across. And, further down the buyer’s journey, it is what we need to arm our sales teams with: engaging, useful content.

Sales and marketing must work together closely to share their insights into buyer needs, challenges, interests and to better understand what converts a prospect. So, in choosing a framework through which you can align the efforts of your marketing and sales teams, remember these:

  • The path to purchasing is no longer linear. Our customers follow a web of information and go back and forth before making a purchase. The buyer’s journey can takes months at a time or even a few seconds.
  • There are several dimensions to social influence. It is no longer the sole function of your marketing team to build your brand. Keep track of your online reputation. There are several free and paid tools you can use for this.
  • Do not disregard your advocates. Whether or not they are customers, these advocates have social clout that can be to your advantage. When planning your content and video marketing strategies, keep them in mind.
  • Focus on the relationships that you build with those you engage with through your content and video marketing. Do not put the transaction or the purchasing decision as to your end goal; the digital sales landscape does not work that way.
  • Measure your stat and growth. There will be a need to calibrate and re calibrate your approach until you learn the common paths taken by your customers.
Strategy to Build an Effective Sales Plan

Strategy to Build an Effective Sales Plan

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The success of any company is hugely depended on the management and implementation of sales. Therefore, having a simple and clear plan for sales activities is essential. 

If you have never written a sales plan before, the task might seem daunting. Fortunately, it is not complicated. If done right, it can help you take a more strategic, big-picture approach to growing your business

A sales plan can be made effective by understanding 4 key points. 

Goals 

Start by deciding what you want to achieve. The targets can be anything, jot down whatever that comes to your mind. Dream big at this stage. 

It is important when writing a sales plan to have a clear image of where you are as an organization and where you would like to be at the end of the year. 

Allocate resources 

With goals and targets in place, you now need to consider what is feasible. Consider various options and choose the best. Also, take stock of your tools and systems. You need to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system and in other kinds of marketing materials you need to support your sales team. 

Communicating your sales plan 

i)With the sales team 

The success of your sales plan rests on your sales team. Your sales team cannot accomplish your sales plan targets unless they totally understand the plan. Your sales plan ought to describe how you will communicate the plan to your employees and the way you will train them to implement your plan’s actions. 

ii)With the customers and suppliers 

It is also necessary to consider any impacts your tactics can have on your customers or suppliers. Understand the shopping patterns of your customers, supplier’s delivery and production methods and make a plan that helps you in communicating the changes to them.  

Monitoring sales plan 

Your sales plan will assist you to monitor your sales performance and make improvements. List your marketing objectives and establish the results you expect you are promoting to attain. These results are measures will act as indicators of whether you achieved your goals or not. For example: 

After listing your objectives and measures, establish in your sales plan how you’ll monitor sales results, who will record and check results and how frequently. This data will enable you to visualize your sales performance over time and modify your techniques to improve your sales. 

Planning is often an activity that happens on top of regular business. To keep moving forward, spread the planning process across a week or so, focusing on one section of your plan at a time. The key is to just keep working. Start off small and build a concrete plan eventually.  

Tips to Build Good Customer Relationships

Tips to Build Good Customer Relationships

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Building relationships is key to learning your customers’ needs. You can gain more returning customers, referrals and net income in the process. If a business does not know the likes and dislikes of their customers it becomes a tedious task to grow your business. 

Here we will describe a few ways by which you can improve your relationship with your customers

Connect with your customers 

An age-old way of making human contact has been to find a common ground, a shared interest, or anything that shows you can empathize with them in some way. This helps you to build trust with the customers. 

Communicate 

Like any good relationship, communication has a major role in building customer relationships. Communication is not just a series of emails. Try to analyse the customer and understand how you can customize and create a personalized message for your customer. Example: From a bit of analysis from past data you can know what products the customer is interested in and then customize your messages to that. 

Not all of your communication should be about your company trying to sell something. Have communications reminding customers about special features that you have noticed which they are not utilizing. Let them know about developments in your industry. Create a personal relationship. 

Exceed Expectations 

The key to a better and stronger relationship with the customer lies is going above and beyond their expectations. Giving customers more than what they expect will delight them and make them come back to you. Make sure they walk away fully satisfied. Listen to your customers, acknowledge their concerns and resolve any problems they encounter. 

Feedback 

Feedback is a great way to understand your customers. Invite customers for surveys and ask them to share their opinion. You can identify the specific needs of your customer and find the best solutions to their problems.  Offering unique and personalized solutions will ultimately help your business prosper. Always pay attention to the comments and feedback and respond promptly.  

Show appreciation 

Reward loyal customers with special discounts and offers. Retaining customers is the best way to boost revenue. Build a business that offers the best customer service. Make sure that your products and services are always available.  

Customer relationships are more important than ever in today’s digital age. In an era where customers can easily give their views and opinions it becomes highly important that a company maintains a good relationship with its customers. Just like any relationship, strong customer relationships require work but the payoff to your businesses’ bottom line is worth the efforts. 

7 Effective Ways to Handle a Customer Complaint

7 Effective Ways to Handle a Customer Complaint

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No matter how great your business or product is, there is always going to be dissatisfied customers here and there.

The Customer Is Always Right

The customer might be genuinely disappointed or could be displeased with a small issue. Any type of complaint should be handled carefully since every customer is important. If it is not handled carefully, you risk losing a profitable customer and they may leave a negative review on social media where it would influence others to avoid your company.

These are seven ways to effectively handle a customer complaint.

Listen

When a customer is angry with you, it is important to stay calm, not to rebuttal, and listen to what they have to say. Make sure not to admit that something is wrong when in fact it is not. The best to approach this is to recognize their feelings by saying statements such as, “I understand that you are very irritated about that”.

Be Objective

It is natural to feel defensive and offended when someone is attacking you, but try your best to be objective. Do not react emotionally, put your feelings aside and react in a way that is best for your business. The best outcome when it comes to a customer complaint is to wait till they have calmed down and come up with a solution that makes them happy and ensures that they would come back. If anything, use the complaint as feedback and implement it to your business to avoid the same complaint in the future.

Clarify

To understand what has happened, calmly ask the customer open-ended questions. Some examples of these questions are, “Can you explain what happened?” or “When did the problem first occur?”.

Empathise

Even if you think the customer is not right, you have to make them feel that they are validated by empathizing with them. Only when customers feel that they are listened to and understood, then they would open the gate to think about any of the solutions you throw at them.

Take A Break

If you feel that the complaint is stressing you out, you may need to take break from the situation by letting them know that you will look into the situation and get back to them. Breaks allow you to calm down and look at the situation more clearly. A good way to relieve yourself from the stress is to rant about the customer’s complaint to someone else during your break. It is important to remember that you are human and you have emotions too.

Remember its’s Never Too Late to Apologize

When a consumer has sincerely been let down by your product or business, apologize to them by genuinely and respectfully showing you regret what had happened and that you are sorry. This is the chance for you to restate the values of your company and recognizing what happened to them was not okay. An example of an apology would be, “I am truly sorry, you should not have gone through that. This is not the service that we aim to achieve or offer, but I would like to resolve this situation.”

Fix It ASAP

Everybody makes mistakes, and everybody has those days. But it all matters on how you fix the mistake. This would be your opportunity to show how dedicated you are to your customers and that you implement your company values. You can do this by addressing the problem, and letting them know that it will never happen again, or solving the problem and rewarding them something for free as an apology.

Digital and Analytics – Moving forward in Sales

Digital and Analytics – Moving forward in Sales

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Most business leaders are fully aware that in order to keep their sales teams up to date, they need to invest in sales automation and associated software that have become an indispensable part of sales and operations. 

Role of Digital and Analytics

The truth however is that mere automation is not enough. Only by harnessing the power of digital and analytics, it will be possible to identify, drive and even scale meaningful changes that will serve a company well. Companies who implement these changes in a disciplined way undeniably reap benefits, both in the short and long terms. 

Best Practices

It will pay off well, if business leaders bear in mind the following points 
  1. Mere automation is not going to significantly increase sales performance. 
  1. It is important to identify the intelligence that is required. While the market is awash with several cool intelligence and analytics products, not all of them will serve your sales reps. Involve the sales reps in the process, use data to capture the effect of all sales and then use the insights to drive revenue. 
  1. The sales leaders need to focus on capabilities that make a difference. The  parameters that will greatly influence the sales performance is the size of the pipeline and conversion rate, and ideas that are in line with overall transformation vision of the company. 
  1. Deploy the analytics tools in skill management and development. Identify the skills and strengths of your sales personnel. Simultaneously, gaps in skills will become evident.  Relevant and personalised training can be provided to your sales force. 
  2. Beat the drum! Make sure you demonstrate progress to the team and stake holders. Every small win, real-time insights and news about individual contribution will spread a positive feeling about the goal. Further, this kind of communication will make the team feel the progress they are making, motivating them to do more. 
Over all, digital and analytics tools can significantly enhance a sales capacity. However, it is important that there is a clear vision in sight and the tool should be used to achieve the same. The tool must be a significant part of a pragmatic, complete and integrated solution.
The human factor in a digital sales world

The human factor in a digital sales world

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The Human vs. Digital debate has been an ongoing one for years now.  Traditional sales folk vouch by face-to-face conversations, while e-commerce sales units think that everything needs to be made digital. While it would be just outright vacuous to state that digital is not important for sales, it would be equally mindless to dismiss the importance of the human touch in sales.

B2B Sales Scenario

In fact, B2B sales leaders employing effective digital achieve a several fold growth compared to their peers who do not employ the same level of digital in their operations. However, various surveys have highlighted a very interesting fact – Customers love the human touch backed by great digital interactions. It is however a very tricky balance, because the one thing that annoys customers is too much interaction. There are no tried and tested recipes to get the human-digital ratio right in the business. Businesses need to create the right human-digital proportion that works for their customers and operations. Research shows that B2B customers want both human and digital interactions on their buying journey, preferring one over the other at various stages.

Finding the right balance

When researching a new product or service the majority of customers who enjoy digital, still want human interaction. In the evaluation and consideration stages, customers mainly prefer digital tools that provide factual information, like a comparison tool and reviews. Again, post purchase, during renewal, cross-selling and upselling, digital tools remain much preferred. The trick is to identify where human interaction is most wanted and ensure it is provided – either as expertise available via a web chat or simply having a person pick up the phone when a potential customer rings.

Invest wisely

Companies also need to invest in digital where it is most valued and where digital can enable humans to do a better job of interacting with customers when the human touch is required. Digitally enabled tools can help enormously to reduce slow turnaround times, for example by connecting customers with experts via a web chat. By taking stock and analysing the sales performance of the recent past, it will be possible to identify areas of improvement. Sales leaders must then focus on whether they can implement the change digitally or by introducing some human interaction there. Either way, the optimal digital-human balance is a proven factor in boosting sales performance.