|Posted by: Robert Marshall on Wednesday, June 22|
In a perfect world, you would have an unlimited budget to market your business in order to find new customers and increase sales. You could buy lots of online and offline advertising, run promotions to build traffic, and launch a proactive public relations campaign to increase your product or brand’s visibility and awareness. But this isn’t a perfect world, so where do you start if you are looking for more customers? Learning to generate new sales leads is an essential skill for an entrepreneur.
Here are some essential steps that should be taken before starting any B2B marketing campaign:
- Understand Your Target Audience – Before you can find new customers and increase sales, you need to understand who your customer is, what value proposition you offer to customers, and what your competition is currently offering in the market and if and where there are gaps for a new entrant. In other words, you need to do some market research, whether that means hiring an outside firm to do the legwork or trying to do it yourself. There’s an underlying disconnect between your motivation to increase sales and your customer’s motivation to solve their problems.
- Find Out Who Your Current Customers Are – In order to develop a marketing plan to reach new customers, you need to better understand who you’re already selling to. “If I’m trying to expand sales, I have to find out who my existing customers are” says Jerry Osteryoung, director of outreach for the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at Florida State University. “That means doing market research.”Certain products and services may appeal to one audience but not to another, so understanding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in your target market is critical.
- Defining the Market for Your Product - Use the information about your existing customers to develop a target audience for your business in its drive to win new customers and increase sales. “While there are core customers you are trying to reach, often there are other markets that are also important to address,” says Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls, a strategic-marketing consulting firm. Determine which key messages, features and benefits matter to each potential market. You must tell these customers how your business can help them solve their problems. In order to have a customer buy your product or service, the value proposition has to be spelled out clearly
- Decide on who you want to target - based on specialty, geographic area, size of the company, etc.
- Create database of companies that match your criteria - collect information such as address, phone number, web site.
- Find out who the decision makers are within those companies – in order to be affective and not waste your time with the middle men, you have to go right to the source a.k.a. decision maker.
- Make initial contact with that decision maker by means of mail or e-mail – that will put you and your company into their memory bank. Cold calling does not work.
- Make a secondary contact by phone- even though you may have to jump over many hurdles to get through, your persistence will pay off and you will get to have a conversation with the person or people that have the power and ability to buy your goods or services
- Schedule a face to face meeting with them and make your presentation – this is your chance to create chemistry, build a relationship, and, ultimately, make a sale.