How Many Calls Does it Take to Make a Sale?

May 31, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

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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 


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.


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?”


E-Commerce: Why is the Independent Distributor Missing a Great Opportunity?

May 3, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

We’ve had conversations here before about independent industrial distributors missing sales opportunities by not keeping up with the latest technology available.

I see that Industrial Distribution magazine is doing a webinar on this very subject on May 18th; you may want to sign up for it or suggest some of your independent distributors who are still lagging behind get in the game. Jon Eames from NH Bragg and Jack Templin from Affiliated Distributors will be contributors. Here’s what they will be covering:

Industrial customers are asking suppliers of all sizes to offer a highly functional e-commerce-enabled website. So how do smaller, independent distributorships take the first steps:
  • Review ways independents can get in the game of e-commerce without breaking the bank.
  • Hold true to their business objectives while developing an e-commerce strategy.

According to Forrester Consulting, a 2014 study shows that 52% of business buyers expect at least 50% of their purchases to be made online in 3 years’ time. This should be an eye opener for distribution, but some are ignoring the facts. The big boys like Grainger (40% of their sales are from the internet) and MSC Industrial (over 50% of their sales come from online) are certainly taking advantage. Shouldn’t that set the tone for the independents? Forrester forecasts that B-to-B e-commerce will exceed $1.1 trillion and comprise 12% of all B-to-B sales by 2020.

I’ve said in the past that for smaller industrial distributors to survive, they need to use the internet. They can’t count on the business model of contractors coming in at 7 in the morning or around lunch time to pick up what they need. Time is money, especially for them.

Industrial Distribution magazine recently released some research on The state of B2B e-commerce in Industrial Distribution. Here are some highlights:

  • Independent distributors are slow-moving in implementing e-commerce programs.
  • Technical challenges are making sites user-friendly, making it aesthetically appealing and staying ahead of the competition.
  • Primary reasons of not engaging online was lack of demand, technical obstacles and lack of marketing/promotional resources.

Customer satisfaction and the customer experience are the key factors in developing an online presence. Ironically, that’s how the independent distributor built their business in the first place. Now they just need to transfer that to a different platform not only to keep existing business, but to grow additional revenue.

Figure 4

Source: Industrial Distribution

My worse fear is that the Amazons and the Alibabas of the world are going to make the independent extinct in a few years. I understand that the AD buying group has just instituted a new program to help members deal with some of these issues. It’s too early to tell if it’s making an impact, but at least they recognize the issue and are trying to help.

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

What’s the future of small independent industrial distributors?

Are independent industrial distributors helping Amazon to succeed?

Distributor Strategy: What’s yours?


Most Effective Ways to Reach the Right B-to-B Decision Makers

March 1, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

We’re all looking for the best, most effective way to get in front of our prospects. According to a recent survey by eMarketer.com conferences, trade shows and webinars are the three best venues to do that.

Trades shows, although expensive, can be an effective tool in getting in front of the right audience. The big problem for most of us who can’t afford a 100 x 100 foot booth is getting folks to notice you.

Types of Events that US B2B Marketers* Have Hosted or Attended, Sep 2015 (% of respondents)

 

What’s often overlooked are industry conferences where you may either not attend or send only a few of your team. Typically, these are the kinds of events that C-suite folks go to, and most conferences allow plenty of time for networking opportunities. Ideally, it would be nice to be able to present to the group as an industry leader.

Webinars are another great way to get the attention of your target audiences. The best part of webinars is that you’re not competing for their attention, you have 100% of it. The key to a great webinar is having content that users need. This is especially true when talking with engineers (both design and mechanical).

The biggest challenge is getting people to sign up and attend. You naturally want to include existing customers, but ideally, you want to attract new potentials. There are media companies out there like WTWH Media that will help identify and get folks to participate, but will also act as moderators and promote the event both before and after.

The key is to try some of these other activities to aid in your thought leadership.


B-to-B Email Marketing – Still the Best for ROI

February 23, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

I keep harping on building your own internal customer database. One of the reasons is that if you’re selling online, that list could be gold for you. 90% of the marketers surveyed by Accenture and the Blackstone Group said email marketing was what they used to promote their commerce activities.

Another interesting stat is that of these marketing executives, 23% said that email marketing drove at least 25% of overall revenues. Some say that email marketing accounts for more sales than all other digital advertising.

If you want accountability, consider this:

Heidi Cohen gives us several reasons why email trumps social media:

  • Email provides directly measurable ROI – You know immediately how many opened and read your message.
  • Email is content format agnostic  It’s user-friendly and you can use text, images, videos, audio, PDFs.
  • Email can deliver both long and short content – Content can vary from a link to several pages in length.
  • Emails – you can control delivery – Whether it’s now or delayed.
  • Emails can be read on anything – Smart phones, tablets, laptops, no apps required.
  • Emails build customer relationships – Once someone allows you to communicate with them, it represents a certain level of trust.

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

Email Marketing-Still a Top Performer.

Email Marketing-Is this the Best Way to Reach Professional Tradesman?


Don’t Miss the Marketing Summit for Building Material Manufacturers

February 16, 2016

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

I’ll be one of the guest speakers at the Whizard Summit in Boulder, Colorado in April. Mark Mitchell, CEO of Whizard Strategy, has put together a jam-packed, 2-day conference for manufacturers of building materials on ways to address issues with architects, builders and contractors.

WhizardEvent

Here is a taste of what you’ll learn step-by-step in this two-day event packed with insights and strategies you can use immediately to generate sales:

  • Find out what builders REALLY want along with 3 simple ways to make sure you give it to them.
  • The #1 reason architects keep ignoring you – and a simple shift you can make to get specified.
  • The biggest challenge facing most contractors and a proven strategy that will make them WANT to do business with you.
  • The secret to selling Commercial Building Facilities Managers and Design Build Contractors – an often-missed step that stops the sales process dead in its tracks.
  • A growth blueprint you can share with lumber and specialty dealers that will make you a welcome visitor any time.
  • How to take the intimidation out of “Big Box” selling and finally get your products and services the respect they deserve.

Guest speakers include building materials experts in market research, SEO, online content and video, marketing automation, builder and contractor sales.

To register, visit http://seethewhizard.com/summit/. You’ll receive an additional $200 discount if you use the code “Sonnhalterclient” before March 1st.


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