How Many Calls Does it Take to Make a Sale?

May 31, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

770_3980835-phone

We’re all focused on generating more leads these days, but I find it ironic that most companies don’t do much with them once they get them. Simply fulfilling a request is not the answer, but yet many companies do just that.

According to a recent survey of people who have requested info suggests that 80% of all sales are made on or after the third contact. The survey conducted by Marketing Best Practices, Inc. polled over 700 respondents with only 8% buying after the first call.

David Frey, the senior content editor and author of several marketing books advises, “An educated prospect is your best prospect, and if they haven’t become a customer it’s because you haven’t fully educated them on the value of your product and developed a relationship of trust.”

Why do many businesses have a problem following up with their prospective customers? Mr. Frey explained, “The problem is not that small businesses don’t have the capacity to follow up with prospects, it’s that they don’t have the systems in place to do it well.” In his recent newsletter, “Follow-Up Marketing: How To Win More Sales With Less Effort,” Mr. Frey advised, A good follow-up marketing system should have three attributes:”
1. It should be systematic.
2. It should generate consistent, predictable results.
3. It should require minimal physical interaction to make it run.

This leads to a more pressing issue and that is, what is the difference between sales lead management and a CRM tool? According to Russ Hill, President of Ultimate Lead Systems:

Sales lead management is a sub-function within an overall CRM strategy. Traditional CRM programs like Salesforce.com, SalesLogix, ACT, Goldmine, Maximizer and others focus on the sales person entering and managing his own data and pushing it “up” to management.

Sales lead management starts with management generating and capturing leads from all sources, fulfilling information requests and delivering them to the sales channel and tracking follow-up and sales results to measure marketing return-on-investment.

Here are some other interesting facts:

INQUIRIES MEAN NEW BUSINESS!
67% of all inquiries are from legitimate prospects with real needs.
34% have current needs that must be satisfied within 6 months!
70% did not know the company made the product before seeing their ad. . . making them NEW PROSPECTS!

A six-year study* of nearly 60,000 inquiries conducted by Penton Media Company also found that:
43% of inquirers receive literature and information too late to be of use.
72% of inquirers are NEVER CONTACTED by a salesman.
25% of sales contacts are made at the inquirer’s request.
40% of inquirers purchase the advertised product, a competitive product or change their suppliers.
* NED Reader Action Reports

The key is to get a lead management system in place that can help your CRM convert those leads into sales.

If you like this post, you may want to read:

B-to-B Marketers: Why it Takes More than 3 Calls to Make a Sale

B-to-B Marketers: What are Your Most Effective Sales Channels?

10 Engagement Tactics That Will Help B-to-B Marketers 


Climbing the Steel Ladder: It’s Never Been a Better Time for Women to Enter the Trades

May 25, 2016

Today we have a guest post from Kathy Jackson on behalf of the Tulsa Welding School.

It’s never been a better time to crash that glass ceiling. Increasing numbers of women are climbing the steel ladder to a successful career in the skilled trades. While many of these jobs have traditionally been viewed as mostly male oriented, employers seeking welders, construction workers, and electrical technicians have been reaching out to women.

Industry Growth

Jobs in many skilled trades will likely be plentiful in the coming years thanks to growth in these industries. For example, jobs for electricians are expected to increase by 14 percent through 2024. The HVAC field is also expected to expand by 14 percent, notes the below data from Tulsa Welding School.

Higher Earning Potential

Women who wish to switch from female-dominated fields may find their earnings significantly higher: the average annual wage in childcare is $21,710 versus an average of $40,040 for welders. Or administrative assistants average $34,500 versus HVAC technicians, who average $46,880.

Faster, Less Expensive Training

Women looking to enter these fields won’t need a four-year university degree either. Most jobs only require a high school diploma and training at an accredited trade school, many of which can have graduates up and running in less than a year. Additionally, the savings in tuition will add up. The difference between a trade school and a four-year degree can be as much as $94,000, and university tuition will likely not be getting any more affordable in the near future. Plus, the Department of Labor announced $1.9 million total in grants as a part of the Women in Apprenticeships and Nontraditional Occupations program.

If you’re a woman looking to climb that steel ladder even further, you can work towards positions in management and engineering in the HVAC and electrical fields, respectively.

So, if you have an eye for precision, patience, and attention to detail, try your hand at the skilled trades. They are looking for women just like you!

women-skilled-trades-success

About Tulsa Welding School

Tulsa Welding School was founded in 1949 by two welders who recognized a strong demand for skilled tradesman in their industry. More than 60 years later, TWS has evolved into an educational institution that prepares students for various skilled trade careers with a multitude of specialties and applications. We train our graduates for the skills, knowledge, and the workplace attitudes that are essential when entering the professional world. Graduates who put forth the dedication, commitment to excel, and workplace experience in their welding, HVAC/R or electrical education, have the potential to obtain a lasting and rewarding welding career.


8 Tips on How to Connect with Contractors

May 24, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

Building relationships with contractors is no different from building them with your friends. You build relationships with friends over time, but once they know, like and trust you, then they will do anything for you.

Building relationships with contractors is no different. It can’t be a one-way street when everything you talk about is trying to sell them something. You’d get a lot farther if you were looking out for their best interest and helping them solve problems or do things better so they can make more money.

609_3676925-electricianstalking

A friend of mine once told me “contractors buy stories before they buy stuff.” Anyone who has spent time with contractors knows how true this is. Know what’s bothering them and keeping them up at night. So how are you going to find those things out? By talking with them and starting to build a relationship.

So if you’re a manufacturer looking to spend more meaningful time with contractors, I’ve written 8 tips on how to connect with contractors that you can get HERE.

8 Tips

The paper gives you tips on how to use relationship marketing and storytelling when dealing with contractors. You’ll also learn how to use training modules and mobile to stay connected and help them train their staffs.


7 Key Findings from Plant Engineering’s 2016 Maintenance Study

May 18, 2016

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter

235_2737719Every year Plant Engineering conducts their Maintenance Study. The objective of this research is to better understand maintenance practices and strategies currently in place in North American manufacturing facilities and the effects of maintenance on productivity and profitability.

The 2016 study identified seven important high-level findings impacting the manufacturing industry:

  • Maintenance Strategies – facilities utilize multiple maintenance strategies on the plant floor, with preventive maintenance (76%), “run-to-failure” (61%) and computerized maintenance management system (60%) being the top three
  • Shutdown Schedule – on average, all systems are shutdown three times each year
  • Maintenance Support – 6 in 10 facilities dedicate a significant amount of maintenance support to their rotating equipment
  • Unscheduled Downtime – aging equipment (50%) and operator errors (15%) remain the leading causes
  • Training – more than half of respondents’ maintenance personnel receives training in safety; basic mechanical skills; basic electrical skills; motors, gearboxes, bearings; and lubrication
  • Technologies – 62% of respondents’ facilities use a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS)
  • Outsourcing – the average facility outsources 22% of their maintenance operations, up from 17% in 2015

Diving deeper into the research findings, I was surprised at some of antiquated and simplistic practices still used for maintenance, especially given this age of technology and the Industrial-Internet-of-Things (IIoT). For example the second highest maintenance strategy was Reactive Maintenance also known as “run-to-failure.” And the leading cause for unscheduled downtime is Aging Equipment at 50%, while Lack of Time to Perform Maintenance or Lack of Maintenance make up 25%. And even though 83% of maintenance personnel receive training in safety, only 3 in 5 respondents indicate that their maintenance teams receive basic mechanical and electrical skills. How can we expect these people to maintain equipment if they are not properly trained? And the ultimate technology dichotomy, “clipboards and paper records” at 39% was ranked third highest for the technology used to monitor and manage maintenance!

See the 7 key findings here.

Download the full report here.


Emails are in for 2016

May 17, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

A recent study by email on acid reported that email marketing is going to remain a top priority for companies in 2016. Though we could have predicted this was the case, nearly three out of four companies (71.8 percent) say they are planning to spend more time on email production and more than four out of five (86.7 percent) report that they will increase email marketing budgets this year.

Here’s their interesting infographic.

 

2016_EmailMarketingInsights_EmailOnAcid_Final

 

To see the infographic clearly, please click here and download a copy.


Custom E-blasts…Direct Messages…touch the people you want to reach

May 11, 2016

By Sandy Bucher, Media Engineer, Sonnhalter

Many of our clients use the custom e-blast, or direct message tactic, to deliver their message to prospective customers. The definition of an e-blast (email blast) is a single sending of an electronic message to many people. The best type is the custom, targeted or direct e-blast sent to an opt-in list that you specify.

mortar net eblast

Here are some benefits of utilizing this type of marketing:

  1. The message is yours, and yours only; you’re not fighting for attention with other advertisers.
  2. You choose who will receive your message – selecting by job title, business or industry, geographic area, etc.
  3. The message can be varied; it can introduce a new product, or talk about several products, or announce a special offer.
  4. The message can direct the reader to a specific place like your website or specifically to a dedicated landing page on your website, where they can sign up for valuable content you could offer them, such as a white paper or an e-book.
  5. The contact information gathered from those interested parties could then be added to your database for follow-up action, building up your database.
  6. Using the opt-in email lists of specific trade publications is beneficial as opt-ins have agreed to receive marketing messages and promotions through email, and they will be more likely to read your message.
  7. Metrics – After your message is sent, the reporting will show you how many people opened and viewed the e-blast and how many people clicked on a particular link in your message.
  8. The cost is usually less expensive than sending out a printed direct mail piece, as you don’t have the cost of printing and postage to factor in.

So if you have a special offer or new product you want to tout, utilizing targeted, custom e-blasts with an opt-in email list is one way to accomplish your mission.


Are you Considered a “Trusted Authority” in Contractors’ Minds?

May 10, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

We all want to be recognized as leaders in our respective fields and in today’s world the current mantra is to be that “Trusted Authority.” To be a recognized leader in your field is not an overnight sensation. It takes time and you need to deliver more than bells and whistles.

I recently read an article by Mark Buckshon from Construction Marketing Ideas where he discusses this very topic. He gave the example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s role in leading architecture to a new level in his day. He truly was considered a trusted authority, and if you wanted a second opinion, you’d just have to ask him. Not everyone agreed with him, but they respected him.

 Frank Lloyd Wright's Darwin D. Martin House, in Buffalo, NY. Courtesy of Dave Pape.


Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House, in Buffalo, NY. Courtesy of Dave Pape.

Time is one thing we have little of, yet it’s what it will take to position yourself and your company as the industry expert. Wisdom comes from experience and experience is gained over time. Lots of your credentialing will come from the school of hard knocks. But that’s OK. We should learn from our failures and missteps.

Learn to share your expertise and solve problems instead of trying to sell contractors stuff. With the advent of social media, we no longer control the message or where or when it will be delivered. You need to learn to share your experiences via story telling as opposed to a sales pitch. Show your expertise by telling contractors how you helped others solve a problem or gave them a better way of doing a job that resulted in them making more money.

To become a true authority you need to deliver results beyond the ordinary. If you do this, you’ll be able to grow your business through referrals and repeat business. Contractors are very loyal and they do talk among themselves, so let’s make sure what they are saying about your company is good.

It’s a never-ending battle. You need to keep being ahead of the curve and continue to wow contractors. Remember, everything you do at the contractor level should answer this one simple question, “What’s in it for me?”


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 798 other followers