I spend a lot of time out in the industry participating at conferences. I am just off a recent run that included NSCA’s Pivot to Profit, Channel Partners Cloud Evolution Conference and the Technology Economic Legislative and Policy Summit.
During these conferences I like to ask interesting questions. At the last three conferences I asked participants, “If I gave you $500,000 that could only be spent on investing in your business and enabling you to scale and grow your revenue, what would you spend it on?”
Many answers were what you may expect: hire two sales people, hire two engineers, hire a project manager, purchase a new quoting system, and other responses that I consider tactical investments.
However, there were a few responses that stuck out and I have witnessed the success of these types of investments personally in the past. These focused on making a significant investment in marketing: hiring a full-time marketing manager, implementing a marketing automation platform, implementing a search engine marketing program and building a new website with a client portal. A few of the people I talked to had begun this journey and were already starting to see the benefits of their investment.
So why is it that so many solution providers don’t seem to invest in marketing? My own thoughts are that they have difficulty understanding the ROI and it takes too long for them to qualify the investment and return. When they hire an engineer they start billing the person and see the return on their labor in a matter of months. Implementing a marketing strategy is a long-term play. It takes two years to really see the full return of the investment and as business leaders we need to stay the course. You will see a major impact on sales over time, but it will start slowly.
The days of letting the sales people do “all of the blocking and tackling” are over. Clients have access to too many ways of finding providers and buying what they think they need. The only way for us to attract new clients is for us to become top of mind with those that we want to sell to. Marketing is the way to accomplish this and to also expand your brand. Below are some of the campaigns that a marketing department runs consistently to help increase revenue and add new clients:
- Generate and qualify new leads by ranking them so that you can segment them and follow up based on the timeframe and their likelihood of buying.
- Nurture existing leads through consistent communication to leads that are in the pipeline but may not be ready to buy or take the next step.
- Direct sales campaigns focus on closing deals within a short period — a campaign to encourage people to “buy now.”
- Branding campaigns increase awareness of your company’s products, services and leadership. They communicate the value you provide, what you stand for and why they should buy from you or work for you.
- Cross-selling campaigns target existing customers and serve as a means of educating them on all of your solutions.
- Up-sell existing campaigns to existing customers and encourage them to upgrade their existing product to increase the quantity or frequency of their purchases.
These are just some of the many marketing touch points that help influence clients and accelerate the sales cycle. I feel the best responses I received included an investment in marketing. Hire a manager of marketing, invest in a market automation platform, refresh the website and start running campaigns.
If you would like a copy of a job description for a Marketing Manager connect with me on LinkedIn or contact me at Paul@cronincorp.com and I would be happy to share.