Marketing is what you do to put your product/service in front of potential customers.
Sales is what you do to close the deal and get the piece of work.
Marketing brings people into your shop/cafe and sales gets them to buy a cake with their coffee whilst they are there. Marketing brings traffic to your website, sales closes the deal and helps them to make a buying decision. We think about our sales and marketing as a funnel. Your marketing efforts pour people into the top of your funnel and eventually sales drops out of the bottom! The funnel is a numbers game and it shows the steps your potential customers will take on their way to an order:
At the top of the funnel are the handful of methods you’re going to choose to promote your business, the middle of the funnel is about once you’ve got them hooked in what more information do they need to make a decision and at the bottom is the close.
More on sales and closing in STEP 8: SALES, SALES AND SELLING (& THE SALES FUNNEL)
To bring this to life let me run through how we sell PopUp Business Schools and what our marketing funnel looks like.
Below is a sketch of our funnel:
How we sell PopUp
We have three primary methods we use to market PopUp Business School; Tweets, Emails and sending Alan to speak at conferences. The more we do of these activities the more people we engage with the more potential business leads we find.
For example if we send 427 email to CEOs of Housing associations what do you think happens? We get 30 instant out of office replies, we get a few don't email me ever again replies (this really hurt the first time it happened) and we get a few this is interesting give me a call replies. This normally leads to 6- 8 calls with interested people, If the call goes really well then this normally leads to 4 – 5 meetings at their offices. If the meeting goes really well it leads to us sending them a proposal and possible business coming out the other end!
So 427 emails leads to 1 – 2 possible deals! Can you see the size of the action we have to take to get business? The more effort we put in at the top of the funnel and then better we have got at following through all the way down the funnel the more business we get and the more people we can help.
Let's have a look at the top things I want you to take away from this:
1. Focus on the customer
Here is one thing we know: If you try and sell to everybody you’ll end up selling to nobody.
How do I describe the customer who is MOST LIKELY to buy your product or service? You need to know very, very clearly exactly who you are targeting. The clearer you are the easier it is to choose the best marketing methods to fill your funnel
2. Choosing the marketing methods to use
Once you’re clear on who your target customer is, you then need to explore these questions:
This will help you make some choices about the best marketing tools you can use to reach your customers. There is one single answer to every question you’ll ever ask about marketing:
Which social media platform should I use?
Who’s your customer?
Should I email people?
Who’s your customer?
Should I print flyers?
Who’s your customer?
Exploring your marketing decisions in this way will help you make your decisions. (By the way, we’ve worked with companies like British Airways, Home Retail Group and Sainsbury's who have invested MILLIONS in knowing their customers, and ensuring their businesses remain customer-centric – why would they do that?).
Then you can decide on the marketing methods that you will use to fill your funnel.
3. The size of the action
When we first started PopUp we sent 35 letters. It led to three phone calls, two meetings and one sale (we were lucky). We should’ve sent 500. If we send out 500 emails to our potential customers here’s what happens:
Out of the ‘interesting, tell me more phone calls,’ we’ll get 4-5 face to face meetings and secure 3-4 sales. In the early days we can be paralysed by fear of failure and only send one or two emails, then get depressed when there’s no reply. Don’t send five emails send FIVE HUNDRED. Don’t make one call make ONE HUNDRED. Don’t send ten tweets, send ONE THOUSAND! If you're not filling your funnel you're not filling your pockets. If only I had realised this at the start of running PopUp we would have got so much further so much faster. It is all about the size of the action you take
In a nutshell: