Long suspected, now confirmed. This picture is the trench where it was found. If you put on those cheap movie 3D glasses you can see it in 3D. Really.
We talk about inbound marketing, outbound marketing, relationship marketing, blogging, twitter, and the list goes on and on. But many of us have very limited time and resources. So where to we put our efforts?
A good approach is to figure out where your customers hang out and group. And make sure you have a presence there either electronically or physically. If you start mapping this out, you will start to see patterns and concentrations in these patterns. So you will get more leverage in your marketing by being involved in these "nexus". But beware, these patterns flow.
I happen to live in a physical nexus. It's a little town in a small county in Utah (less than 30,000 people). However it's a world wide destination for outdoor activities. So not only do I constantly run into interesting visitors, a lot of people have vacation homes / condos here from all over the world.
I had a discussion about this at lunch yesterday with some locals and people from California. And we got to talking about emerging economies. You see everyone chases after the known areas, be it Silicon Valley, New York, Atlanta, Chicago. But the entry barriers are very high. However if you can spot an emerging area, the barriers are much lower and you can get so much more done. Let's face it, we would all like to buy a house in an "up and coming" neighborhood just before it's discovered.
And that is a great way to leverage your marketing. And for those of you wondering what is the next up and coming economy? It's New Mexico.
In most companies the sales function carefully scrutinizes its success, which is generally determined by driving the sales number—revenue. Unfortunately, these companies view the path to sales success in the same singular, formulaic fashion. Sometimes we need to look at some other aspects of customer acquisition to improve the success rate.
It is unusual to find a company that hasn’t figured out their sales formula. The formula simply starts with a total number of suspects, of which some will translate into prospects and with a subset of the prospects converting to customers. It’s not uncommon to hear things such as 10 suspects will lead to 6 prospects and result in 2 customers. Unfortunately, once developed, companies focus almost exclusively on increasing the suspect number and let the rest flow through the process to achieve the desired results.
Companies need to focus on other areas in the sales process. First, we need to investigate the suspects that are dumped into the sales funnel. How can that number be increased, but more importantly, how we increase their quality? Do we need different or better lead generation programs? Next, we must look at the conversion rates, from both suspect to prospect and prospect to customer. Careful investigation at these conversion rates can yield important information, such as poor product-market alignment, feature deficiencies, poor product messaging, inadequate sales training, and a variety of other issues.
Sales is a numbers based business, but let’s not fall into the formula trap. Incisive analysis can drive revenue numbers skyward.
Easy objectives, difficult task. The first place I like to start is with their portfolio or resume. While skill sets are nice, I'm more concerned about accomplishments. If I see something which is 80% "My duties were....", Bam it goes into the trash. Results count. Show me what you did for whom. And why I should care.
The second criteria is even more important. Just because they may be the "best" in your field may still get you tossed. Do they play well with others? Here is where old written recommendation blurbs are great (love them on LinkedIn). Get to know them and talk to them. If unsure, start with a small project and see how it goes. I also look for people who are willing to call my baby ugly and then tell me how to make it better.
The final deciding point is the answer to this question:
It's 10:00 at night and the phone rings. Their caller ID comes up. Do you:
a) Smile because this will be a great call
b) Cringe and send it to voicemail
Think hard, talk much and you will build great teams.
Our credit union offered a new product last month and I was talking to the person rolling it out. I recommended they have a simple calculator to compare products. He said they already did. Which was great. I then tried to find it. With him on the phone we went through 6 pages before we came to the calculator.
Now I'm a persistent guy, but 7 clicks? So make sure you create scenarios representing your different customers and what they may want to do. Then do it yourself and count the clicks. For all the important things they should never be more than 2 clicks away. Otherwise you will lose them.
And don't get me started on this *simple* calculator where I gave up after 6 pages of information I had to enter. But that's the subject for a future post.