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Lead, Sales, and Marketing Tracking

Tracking among salespeople has sometimes been given a bad rap. It really does not have to be that way! Remember, the main purpose in tracking lead, sales and marketing is to increase business revenues. In order to do that, you need to be able to help boost the sales of your salespeople, and in so doing the individual salesperson’s revenues will be boosted as well. This is a win-win situation for any business!

In tracking sales, here is one of seven numbers any salesperson or sales manager or business owner should know:

Individual salesperson closing or conversion ratio per lead source. This includes all paid and non-pain advertising, whether it be a referral, previous customer, television ad, radio ad, internet ad, newspaper, trade show or any other advertising. Your system should allow you an easy way to see where every lead came from, the leads that were closed by lead source, and the number of leads closed cumulative of all the lead sources.

You may wonder why per lead source? Many reasons, but one of the main reasons is so that you can see who is closing what. Everyone has strong and weak points, and when you start tracking the history of closes by lead source, you will definitely see that some salespeople close certain sources better than others.

For example, one company has a man who absolutely loves any lead from a certain radio station. In his mind, anyone who listens to that particular station thinks like him. In his mind, he has already made a connection with the caller. Connections start to build relationships, and relationships sell. He is well on the way to forming that connection.

On the same token, there is someone else who never listens to that station, does not necessarily agree with the hosts of that station and probably would not have that natural beginning connection with those people. He does not get those leads because history has shown he does not or cannot sell them! On the other hand, he is very good at networking events. He likes to talk with people at shows and rotary clubs. He is more the mingler-type person.

And then there is someone else who loves the calls from a certain magazine whose demographics are the people with incredible amounts of money. In fact, the more money they have, the more he enjoys selling to them. The man who is very successful in radio ads is very intimidated by the people with big money, and just has not been able to sell to them yet.

Why not assign leads to your salesperson’s strong points? If you want all your salespeople to be able to close effectively on a certain lead source, look at who is selling it already and see what he/she is doing. Use this information in your sales training. When you see weak points among any of them or all of them, adjust your training. If no one from your company ever sells leads from a certain lead source, then you need to examine whether or not that advertising works for you. If not, cut that advertising and put the money to advertising that works! If you are expecting a certain number of sales from self-generated leads and referrals, your system should show you that, too.

When you have all these lead sources laid out nicely and each representative’s leads and closes next to it, then you are able to quickly see how they compare with each other, industry standards, and your own standards. Once you see that, you are able to assign and train (and even, at times, let go) based on those standards.

One thing is certain, though, and that is that you cannot know where you are unless you have it tracked and laid out. Until you have that, you cannot even plan to grow your business.

It has been said, and we always say again, “Winners Know Their Numbers”.

Watch for Part 2 coming.

The World’s Oldest Profession: Sales and Marketing

I’d like to focus on the world’s oldest profession: sales and marketing. Now some people might disagree with my theory, but I think even Heidi Fleiss would have to admit that nothing happens until a sale is made.

Today, sales and marketing are merely a civilized form of warfare in which most battles are won with words, ideas, and disciplined thinking. They are critically important because generating new sales is the key to success in any business. Experts estimate that with the current rate of business failures and consolidation we need to replace about 15% of our accounts each year, just to stay even.

So how do you properly market your business? Here’s a four point plan that can dramatically increase your sales:

Step One:

The first step to increasing your sales is understanding who your customers really are. It amazes me that most business owners I ask really don’t know their customers. They get so busy running the business that they don’t understand who buys their products and services. I like to ask, “If the “Perfect Prospect” was the next person through the door, what would they be like?”

If your answer sounds something like 55-65, conservative white collar professional male working in downtown Phoenix with an income above $100,000 and a minimum net worth of $250,000 you probably have this step mastered. If not, here are a few questions to help you identify your perfect prospect.

Look at your existing customer list. Pick out your top 25 accounts and identify what they have in common. What are the demographics? Are they young, old, male, female? Are they located in a particular area of town? Are they in similar or related industries? Are they big companies or small companies? Many times our clients get stuck at this point in the process. If that should happen, I suggest they start with a different question, who isn’t your customer. Once this is clearly established it will be easier to identify who is.

Step Two:

The next step is to ask yourself why these individuals or businesses chose your company? Why do your top customers buy from you? A few questions here are key.

Walmart sells price, Nordstrom’s sells service and Tiffany’s sells quality. Each are successful, what do you sell?

In one sentence, what distinguishes you from your competitors?

How is your product or service different or better than your competition?

What problem does your company solve for the consumer?

These questions will help you discover what your competitive advantages are. To illustrate the concept of competitive advantage, let’s pretend for a moment that you are an NFL coach.

If you had just taken over the coaching position and looking down the team roster you noticed that you had a horrible quarterback, huge linemen and and 2 MVP running backs, you wouldn’t spend all your time developing passing plays. You’d want to run the ball. And run it, and run it and run it until they stop it. And when they do, it’s time to run the ball in a different direction. Likewise in other businesses, you need to play to your strengths; you don’t have the time, money or energy to be all things to all people.

Incorporate these competitive advantages into every part of your marketing. Put it in every ad, on every delivery vehicle, brochure, business card, website or other marketing tool you have. And run it and run it and run it.

Educate your employees, every one of them, about your advantages. Every person in your business must be a salesperson in some way and understand why customers chose your company.

Step Three:

The third step is to integrate your marketing across a variety of mediums. Try not to rely on just one form of advertising. The most effective vehicles for marketing most businesses are:

The yellow pages – both printed and electronic forms

Direct Mail – postcards, letters, doorhangers and flyers produce cost effective results

The internet – your own website and other referring sites. How well does your company rank in Google. How many search terms list you on the first page? What is the competition for those words?

And the best of all sources, referrals from existing clients

Develop a written marketing plan for the next 12 months to do this. It should be a rolling 12 month calendar that allows you to be prepared to hit your promotions at the peak times. It should also include specific goals include total sales or a percentage of growth over the previous year.

The Final Step, Just Do It:

The last and final step is just do it. Take the time to work through the program I have outlined and make adjustments as you go. I think General Patton got it right when he said that a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. Yes, sales and marketing is where it all starts, but just like a health club membership it only works if you do.

Sales and Marketing Discipline For Insurance Agencies

Every great company has a key defining concept. Something that is woven into the fabric of people, products and culture. For example, 3M strives to use innovative technology and imagination to improve the daily lives of people. This concept becomes obvious when reviewing their history and how the company operates each day. The immense challenge for businesses, or in this case insurance agents, who want to achieve tremendous success like 3M, is to define that key concept – and then to make all decisions in alignment with that concept.

Successful insurance agency sales and marketing cultures should be built the same way. A truly honest assessment of how your insurance agent sales time is spent, and the associated results, can be a very enlightening exercise for both agent and agency alike. What is your agency’s defining concept, and how is this conveyed to your agents? Who is your best client or customer? How did you find them? How much of your time are you spending trying to repeat that same process? How much time are you wasting with less productive initiatives or people who are less likely to buy?

Here are a few steps to help you complete this exercise:

  1. Define your Ideal Insurance Agency Sales Prospect – Use your best customer as an example. Who are they? How big are they? What does their industry and client base look like?
  2. Determine your Most Effective Marketing Tools – What marketing initiatives provide the best results? Where do your closes come from? What is producing the right kind of prospects?
  3. Refine your Marketing Plan- Once the above two items are clearly and honestly defined, make sure your marketing plan is directed at repeating the process. Refine the plan so that it is accurately aligned with your findings.
  4. Stop doing Everything Else – This is a hard one. But to achieve the 3M type of success mentioned earlier, it is required. Throw away everything else that does not fit, and only spend time pursuing your best prospects and executing your most effective marketing campaigns.

It sounds simple, but if it was easy everyone would already be doing it – maintain focus on your best prospects and best marketing channels. As your agency discipline increases, your results will improve dramatically. Your insurance agents will focus on ideal prospect profiles and carry your defining message to these prospects. This discipline will result in an improved agency pipeline, with better insurance agency leads and prospects.