I see dead people. The journey of marketing without sales.

Much like the soft faced, teary eyed little lamb like child in the sixth sense, I too have a gift that is both bothersome and helpful. While I can't claim to be able to interact with people who don't know they are ghosts, my meercat-like senses can feel disaster coming a good 20 kms off. A sort of hyper-vigilance I guess.

This is the opposite to mindfulness which is a key to happiness. So this year I am trying to be less like a small, darty mongoose and more like a calm, mindful, slightly sleepy cow. Sleepy cows aside, there is however, an upside to constantly being in and out of the nest, looking left and right scanning the world for danger. That is, I have always been able to predict quite accurately where and when a project is going to fall apart and the consequences. This means that with the right actions put in place it can be prevented.

So far the biggest preventable marketing disaster I’ve predicted and then seen in small to mid sized businesses is marketing without a fully thought through back-end sales process.

Imagine this.......the media is thoughtfully planned, the creative painstakingly crafted, the launch button is pushed and leads start coming in. If the sales process has been thought through, the beautiful song of sales and the upbeat tempo of ‘money well spent’ rings in our ears.  On the dark side however, the side of ‘let’s just get this stuff on the road and hope for the best’ those gorgeous leads can, in the extreme, be left just to wither and die or less dramatically, be simply not fully optimised. This can mean a heart breaking amount of marketing dollars are wasted and even worse, potential customers have had a bad experience and are never to return.

Depressing, right?

So, you say, what’s a thought through sales process anyway? It's mapping out the journey the customer takes from contacting you to buying your product or service.

Here are some of the basics to include in your sales process

  1. Brief all staff that answer the phones on the campaign and ensure they are fully across what their response should be to calls.
  2. Ensure that email enquiries are being picked up and returned within 2 hours.
  3. Often people enquiring would like more information sent to them. Have a brochure or a pack ready to send out.
  4. Make it easy for people to buy from you. The purchase process should be as quick and as simple as possible.
  5. If potential customers are downloading something that's been created, say a white paper, ensure you have a follow up process in place. For example will you send out a follow up email thanking them for downloading the paper with some more valuable information.  After the email will you follow up with a phone call to try and arrange an appointment. The important thing to remember is that people who have engaged with you are warm leads, they have put up their hand to say I’m interested in you, so don’t feel shy about contacting them.
  6. No matter which channel you are marketing in, try and obtain email addresses and permission to email. This means that even if potential customers don’t buy from you the first time you can send them blogs, newsletters or offers that they may be interested in for next time.

Marketing without a sales process is like Bert without Ernie,  a sunny day without a weekend or Vegemite without toast. They are just not so great apart.

So before you lay down your hard earned cash on marketing, stick your head out, smell the wind and see if its safe. All safe? Then feel free to moo and eat grass.

 

Image via Flickr CC/Darren Tunnicliff