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How To Increase B2B Sales Without Increasing Your Marketing Budget

Nov 4, 2007
Increase sales and save some money by staying in contact with leads that are already "warm."

A business can boost sales without having to spend more money, simply by working with the leads that are already active. Instead of spending additional time and money on yet another lead-generation campaign, why not go through the current database, to make the most of what's already there? Like the majority of companies, there are probably a number of "warm" leads from previous marketing campaigns. People at these companies have expressed interest in your offered product or service, but for some unknown reason, they weren't ready to buy at that very moment. They are most likely just lying idle in your database. If you need motivation to act on these leads, just consider that when this prospective customer is ready to buy, your competition may instead have a good chance at swooping in and closing the sale instead of you.

Unfortunately, it seems that most business-to-business companies who sell products or services spend about 90% to 95% of their marketing and communications budgets on enhancing their company profile or searching for new sales leads, while only 5% to 10% of their budgets are allocated for efforts to turn known prospects into customers. This is not the right approach to take.

We recently worked with a company that was successful in increasing its annual sales by 43%, all without spending a penny more than the allocated budget which they used before we implemented our recommendations. How were they able to achieve this?

First, we recommended specific advertising, public relations, direct mail, trade shows, database and Internet marketing techniques, all of which helped the company generate more high-quality sales leads per dollar of investment. Next, we allocated the money that was saved into programs which are designed to foster sales-winning relationships with existing and known prospects.

We also urged that the company consider targeting customers who had purchased in the past, but not recently. Sometimes it only takes a bit of follow-up to get these inactive customers back. It's often a good idea to send a message thanking them for being a valued customer, while acknowledging that they haven't purchased recently - this is a good opportunity to ask if they experienced some kind of problem or if some corrective action needs to be taken to bring them back. It may also be wise to consider making a special offer or discount on their next purchase.

To put it in another way: we were able to cultivate the sales leads which the company already had. Nurturing leads is simply the practice of keeping in good contact with "warm" prospects by hosting events such as webinars or seminars, sending direct-mail and e-mail business offers including white papers and reports, e-newsletters, and other marketing activities, until the prospect is finally ready to buy. For complex B2B products which have multiple influencers in the equation, this process can take months. However, the end result is well worth it, more sales and an ongoing, growing business to business relationship.

In the case of the company which we helped to implement the lead-developing and nurturing process, the salespeople and service representatives now spend far more time following up on existing sales leads with high-quality, ready-to-buy prospects who are in effect some what pre-sold on the company and its products. This is exactly how they have been able to turn more of these prospects into lasting customers.
About the Author
Mac MacIntosh is president of Mac McIntosh Incorporated, a sales and marketing consulting firm specializing in helping companies get more high-quality sales leads and turn them into sales. See: http://www.sales-leads-experts.com
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