Marketing and sales tools you can start using right now!
We all want more revenues. That’s why we spend so much time with our heads down, strategizing how we’re going to nail our numbers each year. But remember, you can’t take the SALE out of SCALE!
This blog has some of the same tools I share in my exclusive Million Dollar Women Masterclass, which puts women on the fast track to $1M in revenues. You don’t have to apply all of these at once, but pick a couple and try them out. You’ll be happy you did!
- If you are selling to everyone, you are selling to no one
Many companies suffer from what is called “generic marketing” and while you may be able to have initial success with non-specific marketing, it simply won’t ever get you the volume of sales you are seeking. In order to scale you need to focus on one or two products or services you can best at and be known for. You don’t have to be big or spend big to find and win your market. Think about Tom’s Shoes or Zappos or Honest Tea. All these brands have a huge following without having spent on marketing like the dominant brands in their space. It’s more important to be smart than big, which means only marketing to the people who are most likely to buy your products. Easier said than done, right? The first questions I encourage my Masterclass students to tackle in the Sales & Marketing class are:
- What is the problem your company is solving?
- How can you consistently find more people with that problem and solve it for them?
If you can answer these two questions, then you will be able to come up with much more targeted copy and campaigns.
Sometimes you have to convince people that they have a problem to show them how your product or service fixes it. With Little Pim, for example, my language teaching for kids company, we had to first point out to parents that learning a second language was a huge brain booster for their children. Only then could we could address the “problem” they had – that they didn’t know how or where to get their kids this benefit, or didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive classes. And voilà, Little Pim was there to solve the problem with an affordable way for their kids to learn at home or on the go. If your company needs to show the problem before it can solve it, you’ll need to make sure that is part of your messaging.
Here are tools you can use to avoid generic marketing and hone in on your ideal customers:
- Build a customer avatar: This is a composite of characteristics that your ideal customer has. Demographics, what this person reads, where they shop, what other brands they like, what pains, fears and desires they have, etc. If you have several ideal customers, you can definitely have multiple avatars but more than three gets confusing. Once you have this avatar, hang it up in your office and use it as a guide to figure out where you should be advertising, what other brands are on your customer’s radar (for possible cross marketing) and how to pop up everywhere she or he goes, online and offline. Here is a free template for building a Customer Avatar.
- Write a customer service vision statement: How do you want customers to feel after they interact with your company? Your customer service vision statement sets guidelines for how everyone on your team will interact with customers. Here is a free template I created for building a customer service vision statement. This is a great exercise to do with your team, even if your team is still small. It really creates alignment.
At Little Pim our customer vision statement was:
- Spark Inspiration
- Remove Obstacles
- Encourage Exploration
These three principles summed up how we wanted our customers to feel when they interacted with us, whether it was shopping on our site, reading our blog or speaking to a customer service person on the phone. We liked it so much that we painted it on the wall in bright blue! Having your customer service vision statement in plain view will help remind everyone who works with you to hold to that standard. If you have a virtual staff, be sure to send them the vision statement and ask them to keep it within sight.
- ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)
This simple formula allows you to determine how much gross revenue is captured for every marketing dollar you spend. It’s the amount of revenue generated divided by amount of dollars spent.
It works like this: if you spend $1,000 on Facebook ads and they generated $5,000 in sales for the month, your ROAS is $5,000/$1,000 = 5:1 or 500%.
It’s essential to track this number for each of your main marketing campaigns, not only to see what is working and what isn’t, but when you go to raise capital, it’s an important number to be able to share. Investors will want to see that your ROAS is improving over time as you get savvier about reaching your customers spending fewer and fewer marketing dollars.
And even though you may have certain campaigns you love, the numbers don’t lie! So be sure to tweak your marketing spend according to which campaigns are working. When it comes to Search Engine Marketing, outsource to an SEM firm if this is not one of your natural skills and learn from them how to make your marketing dollars provide a strong return.
- The 75/25 Rule
At Little Pim, we used the “75/25 Rule” which I made up after too many nights up wondering if I should try this or that new marketing idea with our precious dollars. It works like this: we spent 75% of our marketing dollars on only tried and true marketing tactics that we knew worked because they had a positive ROAS (3:1 or above). The remaining 25% was reserved for new and experimental ideas. That way, we were still on track to hit our sales numbers (thanks to that 75% at work), but could also try new ideas like making videos or retargeting with the other 25% and make sure we were not missing out on great new ways to get our message out and find a 5:1 ROAS tactic.
- Check your Net Promoter Score
The best marketing money can’t buy is word of mouth! How do you know what your customers are saying, other than the not always reliable way of eves-dropping on them on social media? A great tool for this is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is a simple, two-question survey you can use right away that asks your customers if they are saying positive things about your company in their circles. You can send it to your entire customer base or a just portion, and you can do it a few times a year, which will give you insight into how satisfied your customers are with what you are doing and whether that is changing over time. You can find templates for NPS on Survey Monkey or Typeform, and up to a certain number of questions, it’s free to use.
Once you have your NPS score, you can then do other surveys to find out what’s not working or to identify new opportunities where your customers have an unfulfilled need that you can serve. Your NPS will help you drill down on what people are looking for that you’re not providing and give you insights as to whether your word of mouth is where you want it to be or needs attention.
- Document your sales process and delegate sales tasks
Start delegating sales tasks as soon as possible. Selling is incredibly time consuming and often not the part that the founder loves to do – even though he or she is usually best at it in the company. Delegating parts of the sales cycle (i.e. research, creating contracts, following up to collect payment) to a trusted expert or team frees up your time to do what all CEOs should focus on: hire the right people, set the strategy and keep the money in the bank (from this blog post). If you are still working on your delegation skills, check out my prior blog Delegate your Way to the Top.
If you are looking for help with your sales script and training new sales team members, check out my DIY sales program, The Sales CURE. In less than five hours you or your team member will have the right mindset, tools and approach for becoming a killer closer.
- Hire the right sales team
When you are ready to make your first sales hire it’s so important you hire slow! The cost of a bad sales hire is high. You can’t afford to have sales people ruining your hard-earned leads or misrepresenting the company in any variety of ways. You not only have to find the right people, you may have to also sell them on working for you since good sales people are often highly sought after by larger companies with bigger purses. How are you going to make sure you attract and keep the right talent? This book can help.
Who is a book by Geoff Smartt and Randy Street that’s based on more than 1,300 hours of interviews with more than 20 billionaires and 300 CEOs.
The A Method they discuss focuses on The 5 F’s of interviewing and has a 90 percent success rate.
The 5 F’s are:
- Fit: The work, the culture, how they will fit with the company?
- Family: Ask them about their family, are they in line with the culture you created?
- Fortune: Tell them how much the job pays and be specific. Have sales incentives baked in.
- Freedom: Talk about the entrepreneurial environment and benefits of working for a start up.
- Fun: Share what’s fun about your company culture.
I also recommend you always be on the lookout for good sales people – even before you are ready to hire them. One entrepreneur I interviewed for Million Dollar Women Masterclass, Loren Brill of Sweet Loren, met her first VP of Sales at an industry event ONE YEAR before she hired her. She intentionally befriended her and kept in touch and when she saw the timing was right, invited her to leave the large company she was at in the food industry and come work for Loren’s cookie start up. That was a sweet plan that paid off – they were able to get Lauren’s line of organic frozen cookie dough into several national food chains and take the company into the multi-millions.
I hope you will try out one or two of these tips and techniques that have helped thousands of CEOs to find more customers and close more deals. If you are interested in learning more shortcuts that successful CEOs use in other areas like Strategy, Finance and Execution, check out Masterclass. If you want additional sales training, check out my DIY sales program, The Sales CURE.
P.S. To set up a free 45-minute Accelerate Session, click here. We will take a deep dive into your business during this free coaching session, help you figure out next steps and see if any of our programs are right for you.