Contact info: phone: 847-991-1294 email: howard@larsonassociates.ws
Jun

12

Secret To Avoid Sales Slump

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson
We all have slumps: Those times when you just can’t quite find or maintain your rhythm.  No matter how good you are or how long you have been in sales, sooner or later you're going to hit a sales slump.  Mandscratches head looking at down sales arrow

  That time when you can’t seem to close the sale despite your best effort.  When each call or conversation that you do get seems that much harder than it ever was before.  The pressure is on, the volume is down and you just can’t get that deal to click.

Understanding that we can influence this cycle, spot problems, change behaviors and avoid repeating mistakes that lead to slumps in sales is key. Wouldn’t it be nice to know when a slump was about to happen? 

Larson & Associates we usually don’t like to brag, but we have a secret where we can successfully predict when a sales slump is going to happen, well, nearly 95% of the time that is. After all, no one is perfect, right?

sales secret manila envelope

So do you want to know our secret to avoiding sales slumps? It really is quite simple, it all comes down to: Prospecting. Yes prospecting. Sales prospecting is one of the most important aspects of an organization, let alone a sales process.

All companies (startups especially) have to fill their pipeline with good leads in order to acquire customers. Helping you understand prospecting and what it means for your sales is a big part of how our secret can work for you, the other thing you need to know is predicting when the slump will happen.

The crystal ball to that answer is identifying the length of your sales cycle, is it 1 day, 1 week, 1 month 1 year?    Once you pinpoint that then you are in the driver’s seat. Knowing this will not only help you predict when you are heading for a slump but also how long you can expect it will take to get out of it. Sales slumps have a way of self-perpetuating, with the lack of sales eroding our confidence and expectations of positive results, which in turn makes it even more difficult to return to the good form we have lost along the way.  In sales the natural reaction is to fight off the pressure and panic with a quick fix, by ‘digging’ for more sales. Digging in places where you know the sales were, looking for that next pot of gold. This is what went wrong in the first place, stop ‘digging’ where the sales were, trying to work that same ‘claim’ endlessly and move on to new ground.  If there is a trick to prospecting it’s doing the work to make it ‘work’. The only real way is to get back out there and start making the calls,   working the leads. Initiating conversations with cold f2f sales calls and going to the events where your prospects will be, these are still the ‘nuts and bolts’ that hold the process together. Opportunity is out there, your job is to find it, through prospecting.

At Larson & Associates we can fill in the potholes and help you be where you need to be, as your guide and as your partner in success. We can work with you to avoid mistakes and plan for the future. 

So when you find yourself in a slump take a deep breath, a real, fill your lungs and hold it for a second, deep breath, acknowledge that you are in one and get rid of all that emotional baggage. Make the commitment and set aside a daily time for prospecting.
Invest your time, energy and emotion into actions that you can control.
Sales success is a process, do the basics and the rest will follow. Prospecting is less about luck and more about effort, hard work and perseverance, searching for that new ‘strike’ and being ready to move onto the next.
So go on now. Sit down and pick up the phone. Go knock on some doors. Send out some e-mails. Work your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook social network and groups. Start asking for referrals. Talk to any and everyone about what you do.

 At Larson & Associates we are always ready to put forth that extra effort, to work hard and persevere in everything that we do for you. We can help you avoid the dreaded sales slumps, overcome marketing anxiety and map out new places to ‘dig’. When prospecting for gold or for sales, remember that your success is directly proportionate to your effort. If you do only the minimum, your payback will be minimal. The more you do, the more you get. It really is that simple.

 Larson & Associates
leaders in providing today's marketing for tomorrows success.
847-991-1294

Tags: · · ·


Mood: Music: Location:

Jun

06

Become Familiar To Your Prosp

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson
Success in getting new customers is the engine that drives your business, the engine that powers your dreams, energizes your ideas and delivers your expectations. A well-tuned engine delivers powerful results, it takes you where you want to be, and beyond.
 
Starting that engine and running it at peak performance is the priority and end goal of every business. In the B2B arena, this becomes an even greater challenge, where customers are clients, individuals who have been in the trenches and know the drill, what to anticipate when you knock on their door. Often the engine is already built and just needs to be tuned up, sometimes it needs to be rebuilt.

This subtle recognition is about making your presence known without all the obnoxious baggage. It’s about being seen and remembered, but for all of the right reasons. When the time comes and your potential client, after recognizing their need, contemplates where to go, what to do and who to call, you want their decision maker to say “Eureka! The answer is right here, call **Insert your organization's name here** immediately!” This is where ideas begin to become a success, where cold calls become clients, this is conversion.
 
At Larson & Associates, we firmly believe that the success of the campaign is not measured by leads, referrals, or clicks and likes on your social sites, but when the conversion is made. This is when potential becomes a client, where the rubber meets the road, driving your bottom line, creating success.  Everything else is just fluff and puff.

Here are the cold, hard statistics of lead generation. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Starting that engine and running it at peak performance is the priority and end goal of every business.
 
  • It takes 1 to 3 touches to re-engage an inactive customer
  • It takes 1 to 5 touches to engage a prospect who is high in the buying cycle
  • It takes 5 to 12 touches to engage a warm inbound lead to buy
  • It takes 5 to 20 touches to engage a prospect who has only a minimal familiarity with you or your company
  • It takes 20 to 50 touches to engage a cold prospect who does not know you or your company

Now ask yourself how are you going to to that?

If you have done your research and have begun focusing on the names of companies that are a good fit for you, then you are ready for another cold, hard fact, it’s likely that many of these companies do not care about you or have even ever heard of you or your organization. Your name brings a blank stare and holds no value for them. So, what do you do?

Plan to become familiar to them.   This plan might include office visits, phone calls, voice mail, e-mail, social media, trade shows, and industry conferences. Most importantly, establishing and maintaining contact with them, brand yourself and then integrating yourself into their business world. A word of caution, do not focus solely on building the relationship, do your work, use your product and professionalism in action, this will leave a
lasting impression.

  • Each time you leave a voice mail they hear your name and your company name
  • Each time they read an email they see your name, e-mail address, company name and your product/service line and how it fits with they’re pain/pleasure needs.
  • Connect on social media and familiarity increases
  • If you “like,” comment or share something they posted you become more familiar (and important).
  • When you meet and talk at industry events and conferences a name is put together with a face and you are even more familiar.
  • While building your relationship learn all you can about their business.
  • Be aware of any recent changes and any talks of upcoming changes.
  • Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile, the clients will remember you.
  • Respond quickly, never make them wait.
  • Be More than an email address. Create an online presence. 

Even with the most finely tuned engine, you’re like the man out driving, who is hopelessly lost but making excellent time. Yet when you build around a plan, with a focused list, clear objectives, aimed at a niched based prospect channel it becomes easier, faster and brings greater results. Invest your time, your efforts and your resources wisely.
 
If you don’t have a clear plan, if you haven’t identified your objectives or have nothing in particular in mind, then that is what you can expect, nothing, or even worse, a glimpse of success and the knowledge of preventable loss.
 
At Larson & Associates that is our plan, that is what we do, we sit down with you and create the roadmap to your success. We find the tools to help fine-tune your engine, to reach a peak performance that will put you in the fast lane to success. We offer the services and solutions to assist you in building your business, we ready, willing and able to step in at any part of the process, from creation to fine-tuning, repair, rebuilding or management, we have the right solution for you.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!
 
Call or email
Larson & Associates
847-991-1294
howard@larsonassociates.ws

Tags: · · ·


Mood: Music: Location:

May

23

A Better Way To Get Real Sales

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson
Generate Real Sales Leads
Direct Mail
Email Marketing
Teleprospecting

The key to successfully implementing any Lead Generation system is to discover the balance between too much and too little in other words quantity vs. quality. Prospects will only schedule a “are we a fit” call very judicially. Finding that elusive ‘sweet spot’ where the planets align and the angels sing is challenging at best, screwing it up is easy, Knowing some of the basics is instrumental in understanding which way to go with any marketing campaign decisions.  Larson & Associates offers valuable advice and powerful assistance in understanding and implementing your important marketing strategies, building your brand and making success your new normal!

Generating real sales leads is essential in developing a market base for your product or service. Today we explore three tried & truemethods for building the up sale and marketing your success; the venerable ‘go-to’ direct mail, its digital cousins target email marketing or email blast and teleprospecting

Direct mail encompasses a wide variety of marketing materials, including brochures, catalogs, postcards, newsletters and sales letters. Major corporations know that direct-mail advertising is one of the most effective and profitable ways to reach out to new and existing clients.

What's the advantage? Unlike other forms of advertising, in which you're never sure just who's getting your message, direct mail lets you communicate one-on-one with your target audience. That allows you to control who receives your message, when it's delivered, what's in the envelope and how many people you reach.

Email marketing is the targeting of consumers through electronic mail (email). Often associated with data mining, email marketing can be used to impact consumers in a variety of ways. In general, email marketing is a more evolved, digital form of traditional direct mail marketing. In a typical email marketing scenario, an organization builds an email list to reach or inform established and prospective customers. An email list may be complemented by a marketing database that allows for customization, data mining, precise targeting or other purposes. However, ubiquitous and unsolicited email, also known as spam, has made it difficult for ethical email marketers. Most email and Internet service providers (ISP) have significant filters to block spam, so getting legitimate messages across is easier said than done. Given this, email marketing has evolved into a specialized niche in digital marketing.

Teleprospecting is a complex function which uses a business-to-business selling practice. The point of the teleprospector’s job is to qualify a potential opportunity. In layman’s terms, teleprospectors, or inside sales reps, determine if a company is the right fit for their product.

Ideally, teleprospectors know who to call because marketing has strategically amassed a targeted list of business who potentially want or need the product being sold. Teleprospecting consists of some cold calling, but mostly warm calling, where the prospect already expects a call and is open for discussion. An effective call process includes multiple “touches” to key decision-makers and strategic assessment of the target businesses. It also usually includes setting  up  a meeting or call with an outside sales executive and a key decision maker for later in the week, or later in the year, to circle back at a more appropriate time in their buying cycle.

Despite the misleading name, teleprospectors aren’t only using the telephone; they’re also using email and in some cases direct mail to drive prospects to interact before engaging them in a telephone call.

Now that we can begin to appreciate the inner workings of these strategic marketing elements there are a few things to consider about your potential clients & customers list before you begin…

In any raw, unfiltered list of potential company prospects, on average, at least…

3 are actively looking for a solution to the problem that you can solve

7 are willing to hear about what you have to offer to reduce their ‘pain’

30 have no idea if your product or services is relevant to their business

30 are not aware that they may even have a need for your product or services.

At Larson & Associates, we cannot predict guaranteed trends, deal in ‘sure-fire’ methodologies or peddle winning insider tricks to tell you what will and will not work 100% of the time. No one can. What we can tell you is this, that statistically when you hit people with your message in multiple formats, at multiple times in quick, consistent succession that you will increase your odds of success and lower your risk of ever crossing over the line and becoming a pest and earning a place on the ‘no-call list’.

So the question now is, are you looking for tools that just create lead activity? Or are you in the market for a system that works for you, building leads and generating possibilities?

At Larson & Associates, we offer two primary platforms for building that system. Two options for creating real sales leads utilizing the three methodologies whose effectiveness speaks for themselves.

These two lead generation platforms are a place to begin or to build upon established successes:

Platform plan A
Plan A combines the basic effectiveness of digital direct email marketing and the comprehensive coverage and immediacy of telemarketing. It’s a quick and effective basic solution. When you need good results and you need them now this plan can provide 4 times the results in lead generation that cold-call alone.

 

Platform Plan B
Plan B combines the basic effectiveness of email marketing and the immediacy of telemarketing and encompasses the personalized global reach of the venerable marketing veteran of direct mailing. When you’re after the best results and looking for long-term, comprehensive solutions then the established reliability of the trifecta of marketing power is your call. Providing upwards of 15 times, or close to 50%, of all possible successful ‘hits’ in a given prospect list.

Using fundamental approaches of marketing principles these plans can help you capitalize on our experience and years of insight. With all of the moving parts involved in modern marketing strategies lead generation is a basic yet vital element of market success.

Like the Swiss watchmaker, Larson & Associates assembles the finest parts of your business with the most effective and functional elements of marketing principle to keep your business running smoothly and on time.

If you want to find out how we can do this for you today, contact or call us at 847-991-1294



 


Tags: · · · ·


Mood: Music: Location:

Apr

26

Is Email Marketing Right For M

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson


Email Marketing…is it for Me?

Let’s look at the numbers…

It’s 4x more effective than direct mail...

It gets 6x more conversions than Twitter...

It gets 40x more engagement than Facebook...

Is Email Still a Relevant Medium…is it “Cool” ?


With Email Marketing YOU target YOUR list and with YOUR message, creating customers, retaining clients, addressing the people who want to hear from you!

Is Email a Good Marketing Investment?

A proven marketing technique with the largest, lasting impact on your ROI



Howdoes Email Marketing Work for Me?

With Email Marketing, it’s easy to see how your email campaigns relate to the rest of your marketing strategy, test ideas, generate reports, define performance and quickly make adjustments as needed.


Putting Email Marketing to Work for YOU!

When you make the decision to put email to work for you and come to rely on email marketing as your primary channel to drive conversions, profits, and customer relationships you will need a simple AND effective way to manage it. Which is why I’m excited to introduce our newest feature...


Email Marketing from Larson & Associates

When Larson & Associates takes control of your Email Marketing, you can:

Seamlessly integrate with your *favorite* email marketing platform. You already have a kick-a$$ email platform you know and love, so why give it up? With Email Marketing, you can easily connect your preferred email platform to CoSchedule with just a couple clicks.

Get click-ready subject lines...every time. With Larson & Associate’s Email Marketing, we do a check to make sure your subject line is rated for how it will be viewed to you get more opens. Email Subject Line Testing is essential to higher email penetration.  And a perfect subject line is the key to drive more opens, more clicks, and more conversions.

Get full visibility and consistency throughout your ENTIRE marketing strategy.

No more disjointed or ‘orphaned’ marketing content appearing from channel to channel.

Every concept, every idea, every message, everything in one place.

Employing a comprehensive and coordinated follow-up strategy to maintain your momentum is essential. Integrating this within your existing Email Marketing strategy is all part of our plan. Sealing the deal and making it work from start to finish, that’s how we roll!



Tags: · · · ·


Mood: Music: Location:

Apr

13

Exploring The Benefits Of A We

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson
Email marketing strategies have seen many changes over the past two decades. In the ever-changing, ever-evolving world of business and marketing strategies must change and evolve as well, growth is essential. Exploring opportunities and understanding strategy are key concepts to build on.
Keeping up with these ever-evolving strategies can be challenging but the basic concept of using email as a comprehensive, all-inclusive tool to reach large groups quickly remains a sound principle. Without question, Email marketing has gotten more sophisticated. Technological advancements change the playing field constantly. The tools to monitor delivery, track usage and provide real-time feedback on your emails are far more diverse than they were even 6 months ago. New possibilities abound with in-depth statistical monitoring, real-time strategy modification and effectiveness calculations being delivered to your ‘doorstep’ every second! While seemingly daunting and maybe even just a little confusing understanding some of these basic strategy principles and email marketing concepts can help you make ‘cents’ of it all.

The first step on our journey of exploration begins with understanding that there are five types of electronic mail (email) that as an email marketer you should be familiar with:

  1. Prospecting emails: These are similar to outbound calls, only they’re sent out into inboxes instead of phones. A good prospecting email is targeted and personalized, rather than a message sent out en masse. But more importantly, it’s relevant to the prospect – referring to a recent success, perhaps a meeting, showing how you have common goals. Relevance plus personalization leads to trust, which then fuels a relationship, which then turns into a sale.
 
  1. Promotional emails: You probably receive a bunch of these per day, and chances are, they’ve worked (at least sometimes.) In your promotional email tout a specific product or service, typically with a discount or trial offer. They can be particularly effective for bringing in customers who are still ‘on the fence’ about your product.
 
  1. Newsletters: Email newsletters look more and more like brand magazines. As with any form of content, you want your newsletters to be targeted and chock-full of usable information and insights. You might find it helpful to base your newsletter strategy around a real industry trade magazine Each of these speaks directly on topics that are important to the niche or industry they represent.
 
  1. Lead nurturing emails: Also known as trigger campaigns, lead nurturing emails are generated from a specific action on the reader’s end. We’ll talk about this more later, but a great way to build your lead nurturing email list is through gated content (landing pages). This means users have to exchange some information – names and email addresses at the bare minimum – to gain access to the content usually a white paper.
 
  1. Drip campaigns: These are automated email campaigns that I personally think are the coolest of the bunch. That’s because the content sent out is all based on the recipient’s action or lack thereof. For example, a reader could receive an email containing a link to a white paper. Whether or not she clicks that call to action dictates what email she’ll receive next, and so on and so forth.
 
Each type of campaign should complement and work with the others in a coordinated action, so it’s to your benefit to mix and match them within your strategy. This way, you can capture as many leads as possible while having enough variety to keep people’s interest.

How to create an email database

A B2B email marketing strategy is nothing if you don’t have addresses to send it to.
 
Building a database of opt-in email addresses is the best way to go about developing your audience. Then, you can segment and optimize that list for better results. It takes time and diligence but it can be done. An excellent source is any Chambers or Networking Groups you are in, Trade Shows you go to or (golly gee) past and present customers.
 

Boost your email list by creating:

  1. Email newsletters: You need to be consistent with it. Same time every month, fortnight or week. Ideally, a newsletter supplements your blog posts, news alerts, and other content. At the same time, it makes life easier and better for the reader, either by showcasing special content or any company or industry information or getting your best thoughts together to make it easy for your readers.
  2. Shareable email campaigns: Remember, your existing customers and contacts are a great source of new leads and prospects. Create email campaigns with calls to action encouraging readers to share the information with their colleagues, clients, and friends by forwarding or on social media. If these additional contacts like what they see, they’ll subscribe to future content you put out.
  3. Free tools: If you provide a web-based service, creating free tools is a great way to build an interested audience. Think of CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. I don’t have to pay to use it; all I did was give CoSchedule my email address and I can analyze the titles of any content I write. In exchange, I get added to one of their marketing lists, which means I also receive helpful tips on creating better content. Two benefits all for a simple address!
  4. You’re not done once you’ve created your list, however. You have to be diligent about continuously update it with fresh names and new addresses. Your database will disappear by around 23 percent every year as contacts switch addresses, switch companies or opt out of your email communications. So keep your list full and up to date so your messaging reaches as many targeted people as possible
     
    As a last resort though, not my favorite but sometimes you must buy or rent an email list. The latter option might make prospecting hard, however, so make your choice wisely!
  5. Gated assets: I brought this up earlier, and it’s time for more detail. Gated content gives readers a reason to give you their contact information. They fill out a form, then receive a downloadable asset like a white paper. Best practice is to include a disclaimer on the form specifying that, by submitting their information and downloading the asset, the reader agrees to receive additional content via email.

    You’re not done once you’ve created your list, however. You have to be diligent about continuously update it with fresh names and new addresses. Your database will disappear by around 23 percent every year as contacts switch addresses, switch companies or opt out of your email communications. So keep your list full and up to date so your messaging reaches as many targeted people as possible
     
    As a last resort though, not my favorite but sometimes you must buy or rent an email list. The latter option might make prospecting hard, however, so make your choice wisely!

    Segmenting your list
    Remember: Content marketing is all about effectively collecting and using data. How does this apply to B2B email? Well, not everyone on your list will be interested in all the content you provide, and flooding a prospect with emails they don’t want is a surefire way to lose their engagement. You’re much better off using data to segment your audience into different categories and sending targeted emails to each group. And the payoff is great. When MailChimp compared users who segmented their emails versus those who did not, they found that the former saw:
     
    • 9.4 percent fewer canceled subscriptions.
    • 3.9 percent fewer abuse reports.
    • 14.3 percent higher open rate.
    • 10.6 percent higher unique open rate.
    • 101 percent higher clickthrough rate
     
     
     
     
    A lot of work, but clearly worth it. You can segment your email list by:
     
    Location: The needs of a Midwest customer might be different than those of one living in New York, so structure your emails accordingly. You can also construct your list of time zones for best open times so pay attention to time zones when sending emails.
     
    Demographics: Most people think of demographics in terms of age and gender, which are both more suited more for B2C. However, B2B businesses can demographically segment their email lists by company position, industry or other categories. A chief financial officer is probably interested in different information than the marketing manager.
     
    Content interests: If your lists span a variety of topics, segment your list in terms of who downloads what.
     
    Engagement: Who opens your emails? Who reads and comments on each of your blog posts or LinkedIn articles? People who are more engaged with your business likely want longer or more detailed emails than those who aren’t.
     
    Purchases: Customers who bought the same product should have similar needs, so it stands to reason they’ll be interested in the same kind of email content. You can also use this same list to upsell on similar services and products.
     
    These are just a few examples, and the data you have may tell you to segment your database differently.
     
    Tips for creating a strong B2B email campaign
    Alright, now that you know what you’re sending and who you’re sending it to, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. How do you write an email that is opened, read and leads to conversions?
     
    Every section of the email matters, from your subject line to your signature.

    Start with a compelling subject

    A great subject is creative, informative and interesting, but doesn’t give anything away. It intrigues readers by offering a sense of what’s to come, grabbing their interest and not letting go. Make them need to open and read.
     
    That said, it should also be brief. Most email clients can only display up to 50 characters; anything extra gets cut off. If you must write a lengthy subject line, make sure your readers get the details they need in the first 50.
     
    Subject line
    Your subject line is a call to action all on its own, and the only action is to click it open. To spur readers into doing so, focus on:
     
    Urgency: Make your audience feel like they’re missing out if they don’t read your email immediately. If they don’t read it when they get it they probably will not read it.
     
    Relevance: Your audience needs to know the content inside is worth their while.
     
    Pain points: Everyone’s looking for a better solution to solve their problems or make them feel better.
    Numbers: Including numbers in a subject is a quick, short way to provide context on whatever you’re talking about.
     
    Choose a proper sender and address
    A lot of mass emails are sent from noreply@companyname.com. It’s an efficient address, but not one that’s good for building trust or humanizing your business. Just imagine if this blog were written by No Reply. Make it real. Choose a real person from your company to be the sender. Many companies select one or more members of their marketing teams.
     
    Writing content
    Like headlines, your content should be concise. People are busy, and they want to get to the point as fast as possible.
     
    That said, just because your content is on the brief side doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Break up chunks of text with interesting visuals: CTAs, captions, images, colorful headlines, etc. Just don’t go overboard; use plenty of white space so your email isn’t overwhelming.
     
    Also, make sure the colors you use are close to your core visual color branding. Everything about your email should scream your company.
     
    Keep in mind that many people read emails on phones, tablets, and smartwatches. Make sure your emails are designed to display well on these devices.
     
    Finally, optimize any landing pages linked in your email so you don’t lose conversions at the last second. Slow loading times and poor navigation can all cost you a crucial sale.
     
    Keep in mind, your email campaign isn’t something you build once and forget about. You need to constantly revisit your email database, segments and messaging to make sure they stay optimized.
     

    So what are you going to do?

    Email when done right email is the most cost effective kind of marketing you can have. But if you don't have the people to do your own email, Larson & Associates can help you. We are able to address content development, creative, list creation and/or procurement, tracking and the key to what we I feel makes any marketing program work, a follow up phone call to everyone who opens your email up 3 or more times and your results will more than double. Give me a call today at 847-991-1294 and we can talk on how you can take advantage of this powerful marketing tool.




Tags: · · ·


Mood: Music: Location:

Text size preference:

Tags