As human beings, we continually strive to improve every aspect of our lives year by year.
Running a business or being a marketing manager is no different – you always want to do better than the year before; it’s how we are wired.
In this article, I will list seven important tips you need to follow to increase your sales strategy in 2017.
1. Remap your customer journey
The customer journey includes all the stages a customer experiences when dealing with your business. It starts at awareness and finishes at customer support.
For example, a customer may have first heard about your business on social media (awareness), clicked on a link to your website, and opted in to your email list. You then sent them emails (nurturing) and eventually they bought from your business (transactional). After receiving their item, they contacted customer support because they were unsure on how some features work (support). A few weeks later they referred a friend to your business and ordered again (loyalty).
The steps mentioned above are the typical journey a customer takes with most businesses from start to finish.
With the advancement of technology and consumer needs changing all the time, your customers’ buying journey may have changed significantly in 2016.
For example, you may be allocating the lion’s share of your ad budget on social media when most of your customers are using search engines to find your business.
By remapping your customer journey, you can:
- place your business on the right online mediums; and
- better understand your customer needs.
By mapping the customer journey each year, you’ll be able to better predict your customers’ next move.
2. Identify bottlenecks in your sales funnel
Did your website drive a lot of traffic in 2016 but didn’t generate enough leads?
Or maybe your website generated thousands of leads but not enough of them turned into customers?
Or perhaps your adverts drove tons of traffic to landing pages but you didn’t sell in the quantity you hoped?
Something as simple as targeting the wrong keywords, audience, or having a poor lead magnet can result in your sales funnel underperforming.
It’s quite common for businesses to drive thousands of people to their website each month but only generate a handful of leads. There can be a number of reasons for this, and more times than not, it’s a simple fix once you identify the problem.
You don’t have to spend more on marketing to win more customers – spending more should actually be your last resort. Focus on refining every step of your sales funnel; it will be cheaper and much more effective in the long run.
3. Don’t focus too much on acquisition
A huge problem I see businesses and marketing departments make is focusing too heavily on customer acquisition. They think that if they can get 200 new customers per month, it will grow their business, but this is not necessarily the case if you cannot keep hold of them.
Focusing solely on acquisition has become a disease in the business world. Wells Fargo has been all over the news in recent months for creating fraudulent accounts since 2005 to beef up their acquisition KPIs.
Econsultancy surveyed companies and agencies and asked what their main marketing objective was. Forty percent said they were more focused on acquisition while only 16% were more focused on retention.
It’s much easier to get a customer to buy your products than it is to get a new customer to buy for the first time. Customer acquisition is important to grow your business, but if you’re not focusing on retention, much of your acquisition marketing will be done in vain.
Eighty percent of your sales come from 20% of your customers. Create loyalty programs, upsells, and provide them incentives to use your business even more; this is how you will grow your sales numbers in 2017.
4. Try a new marketing medium
Every business needs a minimum of three traffic sources that provide them with a steady amount of leads and sales.
How many traffic sources does your business use to achieve this? If you don’t have three, you could be in for a rude awakening when one of them fails to perform.
You should be using at least one form of search marketing (SEO, AdWords, or local search), one social media network, and email marketing.
2017 is not the year to make excuses and say:
“I don’t have the time to run AdWords campaigns.”
“SEO takes too long. My team is too busy.”
“I’m not sure if Facebook is suited for my business. I don’t want to waste time trying it.”
These excuses stunt sales growth.
Instead of making excuses, take action and test new mediums to drive more sales in 2017.
Not sure where to start? Check your competitors and see with which channels they are having success.
5. Study your competitors
A great way to get ahead in 2017 is by checking up on your competitors and seeing what they have learned in 2016. Jump into their email list and see what type of emails you receive. Read the comments on their social media accounts and search for key search terms on Google to see whether they are using AdWords, Bing Ads, or local search.
If your competitors are marketing orientated, they’ve probably learned a lot in 2016. Instead of going through your own trial and error process, which is costly and time consuming, spend some time on Google looking for mentions and press releases, and see how their presence compares to yours.
6. Do less PR…
…and more content marketing.
When was the last time you talked to someone about how awesome a business was because you read a press release?
The future is not PR (and it hasn’t been for a long time) – it’s content marketing.
Talk to customers to identify their needs and what they want from your business, then use content as the medium to position your business exactly how they envisioned it.
Content is the ultimate tool to generate more sales, build a stronger community, increase customer lifetime value, generate more traffic, and build a powerful brand.
Don’t justify spending a good chunk of your marketing budget on PR just because you’ve done it for years before.
If it’s not working, stop and do something that is.
7. Hold a long-table meeting
You can read articles like this and kind of guess what you need to do in 2017 to drive sales, but the best data and advice you can get is from your current team.
Bring your sales and marketing team together and ask them what parts of their job they are finding difficult and in which areas they think processes could be simplified or improved.
For too long, C-level executives have let their egos get in the way, thinking they know best and planning their business’s strategy without the guidance of those in the trenches. This is also why you’re seeing established businesses lose their market share to companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon – businesses that apply a more modern and employee-oriented company culture.
Checking in with your customer service department will also help identify areas where your business may not be doing things so well. One food delivery service I know were getting emails weekly from prospects who were confused about how their food delivery worked.
After the CEO talked to various customer service agents, they completely revamped their marketing material, making their entire service easier to understand through content.
Overnight, their customer enquiries halved and their sales increased once they rectified the issue.
With the rapid increase in online media, it’s actually getting easier to increase your sales in 2017. You have more knowledge and data than the year before, dozens more mediums to promote your business, and more Internet users to target.
The reason businesses will struggle to improve their sales strategy in 2017 is not because there is more competition, but because they are doing marketing wrong.
It’s been proven that SEO, when done right, drives more sales; that Facebook will generate greater brand awareness; and website optimization will lead to more conversions.
The reason specific strategies are not working for your business is because you’re simply not optimizing the processes.
What do you think will be the factors to your 2017 sales strategy success?
Jon began at Boostability as a part-time sales agent and quickly became their top performer. His achievements landed him the Director of Sales position. As Director of Sales, Jon managed 25 sales agents and implemented sales practices and trainings that resulted in millions of dollars in revenue. Now Jon works with top Boostability partners and launched a “sales support” initiative which enables Boostability partners to sell more online services.
Through Jon’s career he has trained hundred of sales agents across the country. He specialises in online marketing sales, especially SEO, Social Media and Websites. A significant contribution to digital sales is his ability to teach “traditional marketing” sales reps how to sell digital marketing.
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