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John Rowe

Why Your Business Marketing Might Not Be Working

Business owners would do well to look closely if their marketing is proving ineffective and is not generating the leads and conversions they desire. It may not be entirely the marketing's fault. In fact, it may not be the marketing's fault at all.  

I'm going tell you about something that happened to me recently. I'm sure this is not a one-off story.

I had heard a series of radio ads which seemed to offer the perfect solution for a problem I have at my house. My house gets very hot, and I wanted to install some means of shade - exactly what this company was selling. So I called them and made an appointment for a sales rep to come to my home. 

The rep turned up, her shiny car full of fabric swatches, but she didn't really listen to me or try to find out exactly what I needed. She then proceeded to send me a quote for many thousands of dollars more than I was expecting, for retractable awnings that were much larger than I was wanting. She hadn't even asked me what colour I would like, assuming, incorrectly, that I'd most certainly go with white. I took one look at the quote, and after recovering from the initial shock, screwed it up and threw it in the bin.  

Here comes the amazing part. The rep has not once followed up. She didn't check  that I'd received the quote, that it was for the right thing, whether I was happy with the price, or if I had any questions. She had a lead, and let it slip right through her hands. With a little effort, she might have been able to convert me into a sale. 

What happened next made me laugh, though I know the situation can't have been remotely funny for the awning company. Not long after my underwhelming experience with the sales rep, I met a person who is something of a marketing guru in New Zealand. He told me he'd been approached by this very company because their expensive advertising wasn't generating enough leads that resulted in sales. The awning company was perplexed - but I could have told them exactly what the problem was, and it wasn't the marketing. 

Their marketing had turned me from an audience into a genuine lead because I made an enquiry. In other words, it had worked. But apart from driving to my house, there was no effort whatsoever to convert my enquiry into a sale. The lack of follow-up was a wasted opportunity that potentially lost them a few thousand dollars. The company was spending all this money on advertising, but nobody was looking to see what was happening with those leads and why they weren't being converted.  Essentially they were just acting like a shotgun, randomly firing and hoping some pellets would hit the mark, without actually checking that their salespeople were doing the right thing. Accurately targeted snipers are far more effective than random shotguns. 

The first lesson to be learned here for any business that is spending money on marketing, is to follow up on leads! It is a huge step to convert someone from an audience to a lead - you're already half way to a sale. Don't waste it. Advertising is expensive, so it's important to maximise opportunities. 

The second lesson is to realise that you are paying your salespeople and this needs to be managed in light of how much is invoiced to customers. Are your salespeople actually selling during the time they are working for you? It's vital that the time your salespeople are paid for converts into profit for your business. Find out, and if not, train them so they know what to do and how to do it effectively. 

Take a step back and ascertain what's really going on. Ask:
  • What are we doing? 
  • Are we doing it well?
  • Are we getting the best dollar for what we spend out of it?  
Then you can move forward. If you don't know what's going on, you're flying blind, and chances are you'll end up going nowhere. 

John Rowe
John Rowe
Business Accounting Services
© Gilligan Rowe & Associates LP

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Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide only a summary of the issues associated with the topics covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive nor to provide specific advice. No person should act in reliance on any statement contained within this article without first obtaining specific professional advice. If you require any further information or advice on any matter covered within this article, please contact the author.
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