Dave wanted to increase sales. And the first step was to attract more prospects. So he asked for my help to review a list of potential marketing tactics he had created and to focus his marketing message.
Although Dave had been proactive in creating the list of potential activities, there was a missing link.
Before I could review the potential tactics I asked Dave to give me in writing a definition of who his clients are. This should be easy for Dave to do as he has been successful in his field as a business coach for many years. But it wasn’t. It was a real struggle for him.
This helped clarify Dave”s main problem, his missing link:
Dave was not crystal clear on who he wanted as clients. Therefore he didn’t know who to market to.
Dave was not stupid. But he was confused because he had the ability to assist a wide variety of clients and had not narrowed down his focus when it came to thinking about his marketing.
So as a starting point I asked Dave to define his prospects by whichever criteria he thought was most suitable.
You can define business-to-business prospects by one or more of a number of criteria, such as:
- Type of industry
- Turnover of the business (revenue)
- Number of employees
- Location or region
- Psychographics of the decision maker (what are their values; what are they thinking; what are they feeling)
- The role of the decision maker (e.g. CEO, Financial Controller, Sales Manager)
- Type of culture within the business
- The problems or challenges the company is facing
But that is just the start.
To be successful with your marketing you need to identify the stepping stones a prospect will use to move through the process of knowing, liking and trusting you – so they become comfortable with buying from you, or engaging your services.
These stepping stones are the points at which you target your marketing message and marketing activities.
In modern marketing language this process could be called ‘content marketing’. That is, you create ‘content’ (written, video, audio) that is available online that attracts prospects and creates engagement with your business.
Stepping stones for prospects could include:
- Reading industry journals
- Asking a business colleague for ideas
- Asking a professional advisor for a referral
- Responding to advertisements
- Searching for reports, articles or white papers (to become better educated on the decision and related issues)
- Meeting people at business events, seminars, or networking
- Attending trade shows or exhibitions (looking for ideas and suitable providers)
- Reading case studies (to learn how others have solved same/similar problems)
- Listening to audio recordings (including podcasts and interviews)
- Watching video on the topic or problem
- Attending a training seminar
- … and the list goes on
How many of these stepping stones are you providing for your prospects?
If you don’t create a path for your prospects, it is unrealistic to expect to attract and win new business. It just won’t happen, at least not on a regular basis.
The solution is to create your marketing materials (your ‘content’) to address the steps you expect your prospects to take throughout their buying process.
If you don’t know what your prospects are likely to do when they are making a decision to buy your type of service or product, undertake some research and find out. Ignorance is no excuse!