it’s a vital first step to build a customer-centric marketing strategy.
Early on in my career, I became enamored with contact management software. The first software I purchased was ACT. ACT was marketed to B2B sales managers to help their sales people do a better job of selling.
I used ACT with my B2B customers for their marketing by segmenting customers and prospects in the ACT program. Eventually, we used it for direct mail, with a relevant message to the customer or prospect.
ACT became a good software product for sales managers to help their people sell better and acquirer more customers. I developed a direct mail process titled, ProspectationSM. It was coined from “the art of prospecting and customer acquisition.”
Working with a tech firm in Atlanta, I provided target marketing methods to their software package for optometrists. We added such marketing terms such as customer profiles, customer segments and life styles in their software package.
As you can imagine, health care practices besides optometrists, such as dentists, plastic cosmetic surgeons, chiropractic, just naming a few healthcare practices that engaged our marketing services.
The one area of similarity in any healthcare practice is good data. Most patients were willing to share information, and even update their records when asked.
Some practitioners were wary about getting on the wrong side of HIPAA or their marketplace. However, the data I used for marketing was simple. For example, age, male, female, children, hobbies, local events with other firms in their area, and the local chamber of commerce. I mostly worked with the practice office manager.
Simple is good.
First, a contact management system is not difficult to implement. For example, it is no secret that if an optometrist offers special reading glasses known as bifocals, to people who recently turned 50 years of age, who do not have a current prescription, a high percentage of people will purchase them.
In a nutshell, a relevant marketing message can be that simple if you use a system or process to understand your market and use that information to sell to one segment.
Analyzing data can be difficult for some people, but start simple, using a data map.
You will need to build a plan based on customer segments and customer profiles. For example, suppose you send a direct mail package to 1000 prospective firms in your database. Look at each prospect. Can you find a way to segment each firm? Look for similarities in each prospective firm you mailed to. Once you find that key, can you see any similarities in your customer list?
This is not good.
However, most firms have what I call a jungle of leads. This is a database that the organization tried to start, once or twice or many attempts that went awry. If so, there is a lot of work to do. Determine what must be taken out of the jungle, such as customers, past customers, prospects and leave the rest behind.
Or if it’s worse, pull all your present customers and start a new list. Look for customer similarities and if possible, search for a list based on the analysis of customer information. Finding the right leads in any new list to become a potential customer requires a process. Some call it vertical marketing, others say it is market segmentation. Whatever it is called, the process must be easy, affordable, and profitable.
In my 20+ years working in direct marketing mail, the “jungle of leads” is the leading single source of poor results in a B2B customer acquisition program. That alone, will doom any campaign. When small businesses do clean and update their list, they may neglect the next step of categorizing and segmenting their list. If the list is that valuable, why not update it?
Here is a factoid
A B2B marketing list changes approximately 20% each year. That usually gets a marketing person to stop and think. To help B2B companies take that next step, is why i created my own process Prospectation.SM It’s all about using painless prospecting methods to get more sales presentation opportunities by simply using contact categorization.
For instance, I know:
- Organizations that harness the power of customer information improve their customer service performance and increase their chance for long-term profitability.
- Organizations that also segment their list into clients, customers, and prospects proportionately increase the likelihood of a sale.
- High quality, usable data fuels the success of targeted customer relationship management and direct marketing campaigns. This is the first step you need to take toward becoming a customer-centric marketing organization.
- Effective targeting enables you to increase sales by first identifying, then targeting smaller, more profitable customer groups within the total market.
If a B2B company use direct marketing, solution selling tools, grade contact contacts or lead a sales team, its strongly recommend, use a lead processing system, like Prospectation,SM to see good marketing and sale results.
What is the difference between a client or a customer?
In the second bullet point above, I consider a client provides a consistent revenue stream and relies solely on your services and products. A customer uses your services or products occasionally, but you may not get all their business. A prospect has been known as a potential customer or a client.
A lead processing system can show you how to uncover the most important details about your clients, customers, and prospects. The preparation of probing questions and making them a part of your business communication with contacts and recording this data is the secret to success. Good contact management is vital for sales success.
In the next post, our lead processing system ProspectationSM guides you and shows you how to weave your way through the lead jungle and nurture the right lead out of the jungle and into a customer acquisition.
Thanks for reading.
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Thanks again for reading. Questions?
Mike Deuerling, aka MarketingDoc
Marketing Communications Group, Inc.