We take for granted that the sun comes up in the morning and sets at night. We may not be able to predict the weather, but we are not surprised when there's a sunrise.
In business we expect certain fundamental activities to happen everyday, as well. For example:
Prospects will visit our website
Sales calls will turn into proposal opportunities
Good collegues and customers will give us referrals
We may not know who these opportunities will be with, but we’re not surprised when they happen. In fact, we expect them to happen frequently.
What many companies are not prepared for, however, is what to do with these leads once initial contact is made. Only 13% of all sales leads represent prospects who are ready to buy now. Without a follow-up system, business owners and salespeople unintentionally allow the remaining 87% to disappear into a black hole. In fact, more than 48% of all companies never follow up!
I have identified nine must-have drip marketing campaigns that every business needs to plug up the holes in their sales follow-up. These campaigns are templates that contain the messages you yourself would send—if you had the time. When a prospect or customer hits a trigger-point in your sales process, you simply add them to the ready-to-launch drip marketing campaign. Now you've built-in an extra insurance policy: Prospects won’t be forgotten when you move on to your next high-priority activity.
The nine must-have drip marketing campaigns are:
Stay in Touch
You'll notice that campaigns 1-7 support your prospecting—when people first discover you or your company. Campaigns 8 and 9 focus on keeping clients you already have or reviving customers you used to have.
All of these campaigns are critical to building an air-tight follow-up marketing machine. But I see more businesses focusing on the prospecting side rather than on the customer retention side of their companies. They say, "I already have that customer, I need new customers." That way of thinking is very dangerous. Here's why.
Everyone has heard the adage, "It's seven times easier to sell an existing customer than to find a new one." In practice, I see companies investing all their time and resources into prospecting and pooping out before they get around to communicating with customers. In other words, they’re taking their customers for granted. I believe for every prospecting activity, you must have at least seven customer "touches."
Setting up a drip marketing campaign takes a commitment of time initially. But according to Forrester, companies that excel at drip marketing raise their win rates by 7% and have sales representatives who make quota 9% more often. Additionally, prospects and customers who receive drip marketing messages buy more, require less discounting, and have shorter sales cycles than contacts who were not dripped on. Isn’t that a worthwhile competitive edge in this business climate? Let’s get started.
How To Prioritize the 9 Must-Haves
#8. Stay in Touch Campaign. No one talks to customers enough. Additionally, your customers are your competitors’ prospects. So if you're not talking to them, guess who is? My recommendation is to start with a stay-in-touch drip marketing campaign because it validates your customer’s excellent decision to choose you as his vendor. By staying in touch, I do not mean sending out sales pitches designed to sell more of your product. Instead, share helpful tips, cheat sheets, success stories and webinars to show you are committed to your customer’s success after the sale.
#7 First-Time Customers present a unique challenge. While we are popping open the champagne bottles celebrating the inking of a new contract, our new customer is going through buyer’s remorse. He wants the deal, he needs the deal. It's nothing against us personally, but he just knows had he shopped just a little bit longer and asked just a few more people who they used for this service, he could've gotten a better deal than the one we gave him.
That's a disconnect. And the only way to fix it is to overload a new customer with personalized attention through an automated onboarding process. Beyond the hand-written thank you card, this customer should receive a personal thank you letter from the president of the company, an introduction to everyone who will service his account (accounting, customer service) and a follow-up call from his salesperson within five days of contract signing.
These are a lot of steps to integrate into your sales process, but they're hazardous to overlook with a new customer. You might describe a first-time customer as a "tryer buyer," because, until he makes a second purchase from you, your relationship with him is “guilty until proven innocent.” You can't be sure of his continuing loyalty. (As a bonus however, direct marketing statistics show a new buyer is 10 times more likely to make a second purchase within 30-90 days versus a customer who hasn't bought anything in over a year. So it does pay to pamper a new customer.) #2 Website Lead. Once your customer drips are in place, the next highest priority on the 9 must-have drip marketing campaigns list is following up with website leads. Studies show people who find you online are significantly more valuable prospects because they found you, and you have less than 4 hours to do so.
When visitors to your website opt in to receive your newsletter, download information or fill out a Contact Us page, your web form must do 3 things.
Send an auto-responder message thanking them for their visit
Add them to your contact management database for follow-up by a salesperson
Launch a drip marketing campaign for each web form based on the visitor's interests
As Bob Dylan said, "you don't need a weathervane to see which way the wind blows," and you don't need to wait for a prospect to make the first contact before you craft a follow-up plan. Invest time now to get your responses ready to go, and your company will profit all year. In my next article, I'll explain the importance of the other 6 must-have drip marketing campaigns.
Good stuff, thanks Lori!
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