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Your company sells to other businesses. You are a B2B business and business has been okay, lately. You’ve had your head down working hard when all of a sudden you realize that your pipeline is empty! You have no quotes out, there are no sales meetings scheduled, and you don’t have any prospects. Yup, it’s panic time!
The first impulse is to ramp up marketing, fast. The problem with this is that if you’ve not been marketing consistently, probably the reason for your empty pipeline, then there are few things that you’re going to be able to do that will turn on the lead generation “switch”.
This is a scenario that every small business owner has found themselves in. Some go through it only a couple of times. While others go through this on a regular basis.
Generally, this scenario of sales pipelines drying up come from 1 or 2 possibilities:
Then, one day you look up from your work and realize you’ve got a huge problem on your hands.
Marketing campaigns do not provide an immediate response. Regardless of whether you’re marketing online or offline, marketing takes time to produce results. And, if your marketing planning is done only around these moments of crisis, it’s going to take even longer to realize the results that you need.
The first thing to eliminating this circle of crisis is to put together a marketing plan that will promote your products or services consistently. As you’re putting together this plan you’ll want to make sure that the tactics of your marketing plan (the ads) are focused on your customer’s interests at the different stages of the sales cycle.
To keep your sales funnel full you have to make sure that you’re marketing messages are in front of your prospective customers all the way through the sales funnel.
Your marketing message will change at the different stages of the funnel. At the top of the funnel, you’re trying to build a relationship. At the bottom of the funnel you’re trying to close the deal. What you have to say to these prospects has to be different from the top to the bottom.
All too often, marketing messages have no consideration for who the customer is, or where they are in the sales funnel. Generic messages like “free quote” or “call us today” are the heart of ads that people see from the top of the funnel to the bottom. If someone is at the top of the funnel and they’ve just become aware of a situation that they are facing that calls for a service or product that you provide, they are not going to call you and they sure are not ready for a “free quote”.
By putting together a plan, based on the sales funnel, you’ll have better engagement across all of the stages of the sales funnel. You’ll be building relationships with prospective customers who are in the top stage of the funnel, the Awareness stage. You’ll be able to educate them at the second stage of the funnel, the Research stage. In the third stage of the funnel you’ll give them demonstrable evidence as to why your product or service is superior to your competitors, the Decision stage. And, in the final stage, the Purchase stage, you’ll make the value of doing business with you so crystal clear that these prospects wouldn’t consider purchasing anywhere else.
By developing a plan that will address customers at every stage of this sales funnel you’ll be nurturing your leads from the beginning all the way through to the end. No longer will you have to wait for them to progress to the decision stage before they ever hear about you, your product, or your services. You’ll be continually talking with prospective customers base on where they are in the funnel with a message that they want to hear. And, you’ll eliminate the “crisis cycle” that you’ve been living in for far too long.
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