Timing is Everything with Marketing

A new baby.  A wedding. A new house. A college graduation.

The new budget/line of credit.  A new CEO.  A technology breakthrough.  A relocation.

In both the consumer market and the B-B market, change equals opportunity.  Many purchases, happen in anticipation of the change and many more happen just after the change. 

Although change can be uncomfortable for many, planning for change can be a win/win for your marketing program.  Think about when your customer is most likely to need your product or service?  How can you find out when they may be ready to learn about your offer?  What do they read, listen to, attend?  Who do they consult with before making a choice?

Timing is very important in marketing, but it doesn’t have to be a surprise.

Plan Marketing Efforts to Support the 3 Types of Sales

When you’re developing your marketing program, is all of it focused toward obtaining new business?

According to Ralph Zuponcic, owner of Accel Sales Partners, most business has three types of sales for their company:

A common mistake that companies make is considering all sales situations equal. There are three types of sales for almost any company. They are developmental sales, maintenance sales and fulfillment sales.

Developmental sales is the creation of new customers and is by far the most difficult. A sound marketing program can really help to open doors here. Don’t expect salespeople to manage the entire commercialization processes. Keep them focused on closing sales while marketing helps to create qualified leads and nurtures those leads until there is an immediate need.

Maintenance sales addresses the daily needs of existing customers. This is often the easiest sales activity, and, sometimes, the most fun. Don’t be misled by sales candidates who have spent most of their time maintaining when you need developmental sales.

Fulfillment sales are sales that find you through website, advertising, listings and the like. While some effort and cost is expended in creating these vehicles the sales reps effort is usually minimal thanks to the help of fullfilment companies such as https://www.aerofulfillment.com/shipping-fulfillment-services providing ample support.

The key to effectively managing sales is to understand the different types of sales and applying the appropriate resources. Segment your business into these three types of sales and organize you sales resources accordingly. You will improve sales volume and reduce sales costs at the same time.

Do you plan your marketing efforts and budget to create results in each of the sales areas? What is the ratio of your marketing: 60%, 10%, 30%?

Isn’t it easier to sell to an existing customer? What percent of your budget to you spend on building awareness? Do you spend time promoting your brand via offline methods, such as through promotional clothing? On conversion? On selling product/service as opposed to branding/image?

Most times the marketing budget is a list of projects with costs/estimates assigned to each. Have you tried assigning the purpose next to each project? Just add one more column in your excel spreadsheet and type in the reason you’re doing the project. Is it developmental? Maintenance? Fulfillment?

Raising Prices, but Keeping Customers

Of the 4 P’s of marketing (product, price, place & promotion), I usually spend the most time on promotion, but today want to share some of the “price” insights and techniques of Ralph Zuponcic of Price Point Partners.

Ralph and I have worked on several projects together and I’ve come to gain respect for his knowlege and ability with pricing.

When he mentioned to me that he was intervied by Fortune Small Business about raising prices and keeping customers, I asked him about what he considered the hardest thing about getting a price increase through the system. This is what he shared with me:

Price increase initiatives have a multitude of potential roadblocks to success. The most difficult hurdle for most companies is gaining the support of the sales organization. Sales is challenged with the task of communicating increases to their biggest and best customers. Make sure that sales is well prepared for those discussions.

Equip them with the facts surrounding the increase including the reason for the increase and any supporting evidence like competitive price increases.

Next, make sure that the sales team has a back-up plan supported by a decision tree in case the customer is resistant to the increase. Deferring or reducing the increase may be suitable plans. Avoid withdrawing the increase at all costs.

Finally, install an incentive plan that rewards sales reps for better pricing habits and achieving price increases. A reward system will go a long way to changing and sustaining pricing habits.

Have you ever tried to get a price increase implemented? What factors made it more difficult? What worked for you?

How do Branding and Sales Relate?

When a client asks me how branding can influence sales… or sales influence branding, I think about the goals:

1) the goal for branding is to become identified and stand for something.

2) the goal for sales is to exchange the product/service for money.

Where branding helps sales is at the intermediate steps of marketing and leading up to the sale. Sometimes people will want the product specifically because of the brand… or would never buy the product because of the brand.

For example:
If you hate McDonald’s food, will you every bother even trying their new salads? That’s how strong the Mickey D’s brand is.)

If MP3 players with 2 Gig only cost X, why would you spend 2X to get an iPod with 1 Gig? It’s the brand.

Same reason there is a market for the Hyundai, the Honda and the Hummer. All 3 vehicles get you to work on time… but it’s a whole different ride!

When you have weak branding, it can take much longer to generate a sale. “Who are you? Oh, I thought you only sold products. Oh, you provide services too? I thought your products were only for old people.”

Or worse. “I don’t know, never heard of it before.”

If these are some of the comments ~ or similar ~ that your target market has said about your company, it’s time to REBRAND!! There are lots of benefits. And a shorter sales cycle is only one of them.

Technorati Tags: Marketing, Branding, Sales Strategy, Rebranding

Client Spotlight: Accel Sales Partners

It’s been a while since I’ve featured one of our clients here in the Branding & Marketing Blog, so it’s time to make that happen. Accel Sales Partners is an outsourced sales and marketing firm that assumes your sales and marketing activities in whole or in part.

What sets this Sales Consultancy firm apart from the rest?

First of all, they aren’t sales reps. They work through the sales strategy with their clients. They work on staffing, market share and developing the portfolio of potential customers. Their other division, PricePoint Partners, offers pricing advice, including how to get a price increase through. Ralph Zuponcic, one of the principles, has some great stories to tell about the effectiveness of the price increases and improving margins for his clients.
Where does Marketing Resources & Results fit in the picture?

You know, when Sales and Marketing talents meet and move an account in the same direction, the results can grow beyond outstanding.
As a result of working with us on the branding, web, print and direct mail database development, Ralph and his team have been able to establish a strong foothold for his start-up entrepreneur client. The entrepreneur is simply “delighted” with the results. They’ve got many companies requesting samples, testing the new product and ready to place PO’s. Ralph’s happy too, because he’s able to do what he does best: developing the sales strategy & executing it for his clients.
That’s what I love: Happy clients and a win/win/win for everyone.