A New Way To Budget For Marketing In 2016

“I know that half my advertising dollars are wasted, but I don’t know which half”

make your marketing dollars work harderSound familiar?

For decades, companies have tried to make their marketing dollars work harder. They have used concepts such as target marketing, niche marketing and positioning to help build sales by generating leads, reaching decision-makers and even asking for the order. But a problem remains: marketing and sales have never been completely coordinated.

The result is that money is allocated to marketing because everyone knows marketing is necessary. And sales people are told go out and sell because most B2B products and services are sold that way.

This approach has worked in the past, but the changing business climate will continue to force companies to re-evaluate the entire process. To borrow a buzz-phrase, tomorrow’s marketing will have to work − not harder − but smarter.

Instead of basing the marketing budget on projected sales, the sales requirements can be used to establish a zero-based approach

In this way, the actual point when the sale is closed determines what materials and how much should be spent to make the direct selling effort as cost-effective as possible.

Cost Effectiveness of Direct Selling Worksheet

The first step is to determine the total cost for your entire sales force, and then the average cost-per-call and cost-per-sale. (At this stage, do not factor out individual salespeople). The chart to the left will help you calculate this.

The resulting numbers are a measure of your current marketing efficiency, arid will serve as a gauge of the cost-effectiveness of your total future program.

Next, using the chart below, break out your new accounts and those you have had for at least one re-order. Depending upon market factors, you may also want to break out the accounts by region, season, or some other criterion.

Cost Breakdown by Account TypeWhat you are measuring here is the cost-effectiveness of your existing direct-selling effort, looking for the types of accounts which are most profitable and those which are least profitable.
As a general rule, your marketing depends upon the profitability level of each category. Those categories where direct selling is very profitable should have programs designed to support the sales person, helping to either increase the dollar volume per account or lower the average cost-per-sale.

Those categories where the profitability level is low should have programs designed to replace the sales person as much as possible.  This can be accomplished effectively with programs such as automated marketing to lower the cost of pre-qualification inquiry fulfillment.

Once you have determined the coA New Way To Budget For Marketingst-per-sale for each category, you should establish sales objectives. The first is to maximize a sales person’s productivity and to do that requires establishing the prime job function:

  • Developing new business leads
  • Making presentations
  • Maintaining face-to–face contact at existing accounts
  • Trouble-shooting problem accounts

Obviously, some or all of these functions could be present in all categories, but by assigning the sales person a prime function, you are taking the first step in determining:

  1. Better way to budget marketingThe type of program (support vs. replacement) that will result in a lower overall cost-per-sale
  2. The message that each component in the program should carry
  3. The amount to be spent to deliver the message(s)

Given this information, you are now in a position to correlate all your marketing, advertising, promotion and direct selling expenses to sales.

Program effectiveness can now be tracked. And you can begin to consider your marketing spend in terms of its contribution to profits…instead of just cost of sales.

Good Selling!

Squirrel! Use Sales Planning To Avoid The Shiny Objects Syndrome

Are you missing out on sales because you’re running from idea to idea to see what works? Are you dashing from one shiny thing to another?

Then you need to slow down and put down on paper all the ideas you have to drive sales. This simple exercise will help you clarify your thinking, give the team a vision, and create realistic goals that you can benchmark against.

Simply put, creating and implementing a well-thought-out plan greatly improves your chance of success.

Stop fighting it and write your sales goals down

frustrated-with-salesStop resisting it. Writing brings clarity. Even the best sales team will become directionless if they don’t have goals.

Success comes in many forms. People in sales are naturally competitive. Persistence and hard work, many times are wasted, when there is no clear direction, strategy, or metrics to mark the milestones that will lead to success.

Don’t cop out and use the financial plan as a sales plan

Your Financial Plan Is Not A Sales PlanWhat it isn’t a Excel spreadsheet with sales targets or monthly budgets that the finance team developed. Nor, does not have to be some long multi-page document that is impossible to follow-up. 2-3 pages with goals, strategies, and actions that will be reviewed regularly and easily is more than enough.

Field salespeople have a unique aspect to their jobs – they have the ability to decide what to do every moment of every day. The need to make this decision – where to go, who to see, who to call, what to do – distinguishes the sales profession from most others.

The quality of this decision, more than any other single thing, dictates the quality of the sales person’s results. Consistently make effective decisions and your results will improve. Make thoughtless, habitual or reactive decisions and your results will be sub-par.

Create focus for your sales team and you’ll help create success

get results-keep score-winOne of the ways to make sure that you make good decisions about your selling time is to create a comprehensive sales plan.

Many companies are missing out on sales because they don’t have a sales plan. Or the one they’re using isn’t performing like it should. Sure, they might have quarterly sales targets or end of year goals, but they don’t have a strategic plan for reaching them. A well thought-out sales plan is a roadmap that helps you gain new accounts and grow existing ones.

5 tips to help you effectively tackle sales planning

5 Tips to Sell In to Home Depot and Lowe'sDeveloping an effective sales plan isn’t easy, but the payoff could be substantial. As you prepare your sales plan, keep these tips in mind.

  • Be patient. It takes time to fully develop your sales plan, so schedule accordingly and be patient. It’s helpful to schedule time to work on your plan, just like you would schedule time for a meeting. Working on your plan in several phases over a time is the best approach.
  • Establish reasonable goals. High expectations are great, but you’re setting yourself up for failure if you set goals that are unobtainable.
  • Post it. Posting your sales plan where you can see it will help you stay on track and gives the team a sense of where the business is headed.
  • Revisit and revise. Don’t shelve your plan and forget it. Your sales plan is a living document that should be revisited regularly and revised when necessary.
  • Keep it simple. Your sales plan should be as short and as simple as possible while still fully exploring each element. Reframe from regurgitating your business plan or marketing plan and use bullets, headings and subheadings to break your sales plan into an easy to read format.

An effective sales plan provides you with strategies to acquire new business as well as strategies that expand business with your current accounts. Start drafting your sales plan today and create a plan of action that takes your business to new heights.

Good Selling!

 
Active Search Results (ASR) is an independent Internet Search Engine using a proprietary page ranking technology with Millions of popular Web sites indexed.

3 Ways to Grow Your Online Sales

e-commerce is a growth machineE-commerce is a growth machine for many manufacturers. It’s considered organic growth and many worry it’s ultimately undermining the traditional channels of distribution.

But for now, it is opportunity that you need to leverage.

Is E-commerce your fastest growing channel?

Is ecommerce your fastest growing channel?There are basic three ways that you can use to grow your ecommerce business. Granted, this is an oversimplification, but it will help you focus your efforts and drive your tactics for sales growth.

  1. Add more online customers
  2. Add more products to the customers you already have
  3. Promote your online listings

Adding more online retailers really means building a Direct to Consumer business model

ecommerce(1)Once you develop the capacity to handle online sales the process is fairly easy to expand. The exception is if you have a warehouse program (with Amazon.com, for example) and you are shifting gears over to a Direct to Consumer shipping model.

D2C is the foundation that most etailers are looking for. It shifts the cost structure to you (your team warehousing and shipping) but it makes doing business with those etailers as simple as establishing your skus on their website.

More products will help build sales but not overnight

Overwhelmed onlineIt makes sense that as you add more products you will increase your sales with an online retailer. The problem is that those sales take time to build into any real volume.

There are so many products for sale online now that it’s hard to get new products noticed. And the websites they are on are looking for consumer views, sales and recommendations before they are going to get much visibility.

Getting attention online means spending money to make money

How do you gain visibility in an online marketplace? Really the answer is site dependent but the ideas are the same for almost any site.

  1. Use key search terms
  2. Make it visual
  3. Pay attention to reviews

Getting attention online means spending money to make moneyAvoid “salesy” marketing copy and use everyday search terms that will drive viewers to your listings. Consumers are rarely search for your brand names. Your familiarity with your products is likely clouding your judgment about how consumers will search for your product category.

Many sites allow for extensive use of rich marketing content like photography, 360 degree views, video, instructions sheets, FAQ’s, and the like. Consumers look at the pictures first to narrow down what they are looking for – they are not reading your features and benefits so make those picture count.

Success is also dependent on the reviews your product has. You may think you are in great shape – 5 stars all the way – but if you have only a few reviews, consumers will be suspicious and the site algorithms won’t push your product to the top of the search results. On the other hand, a composite four-star rating or better with 75 or so reviews will help you gain critical placement in site searches, allowing you to gain more sales with less traffic. Had a negative review come through? Respond to it online in a positive manner to show you are engaged with the customer.

Good Selling!

Active Search Results (ASR) is an independent Internet Search Engine using a proprietary page ranking technology with Millions of popular Web sites indexed.