We’ve all worked hard quoting “golden” sales opportunities where we genuinely know our solution is the absolute best fit for the buyer only to find that they chose another supplier. Is there anything that stings more? How about when you find out about “golden” projects like these that you never even had the chance to bid on?! As much as we hate to lose a quote, it’s downright depressing when we never get the chance to quote them at all.
What can we do to get more golden sales opportunities to fill our pipelines? One word, MARKETING. I didn’t invent the multi-billion dollar Internet marketing industry I work in, it exists because there is genuine value in Internet marketing. But, like anything else, there is a right way and a wrong way to get the most value from it.
Marketing has ALWAYS been about one thing, capturing more of the opportunities that we are currently missing. That’s it. Marketing is a fundamentally progressive business strategy that is always about capturing the NEXT opportunity. The hard, cold fact is that NO ONE knows when and where that next opportunity will come from. There’s no scientific formula to marketing, no magic bullet, but there is one fundamental strategy that has remained a constant throughout the history of marketing: Promote your company (i.e. advertise) in the places where buyers in your industry go to find suppliers and keep yourself there. Remember, you can NEVER predict when that next opportunity will come. Media formats may change with time, but this strategy has remained constant since cavemen were advertising on stone tablets.
The rapid growth of the Internet as a marketing tool has been so important and so dramatic that many companies have fallen into an unfortunate state of confusion as to how to get the most value from it. Many companies have drifted away from the fundamentals of marketing outlined above in favor of alternative strategies that promise a perfection of an imperfect science. Below are a few pitfalls that are just too good to be true:
- “We can provide the names of every visitor to your Website!”–Tell me something, is it realistic to think that every visitor to your Website is a sales lead that just happens to prefer to have you follow up with them than contact you themselves? Remeber, we market for the NEXT opportunity, not to waste time trying to chase down people who already decided we don’t have what they need.
- “Don’t market full time. Pay as you go. Turn the ad off, turn it on, put the ad here today and there tomorrow. You’re in control.” The pay-per-click model is very attractive because of the fluidity and control it provides, but are we now to assume that we know EXACTLY when and where the next sales opportunity will come from? Last time I checked, the meetings I have are in office buildings with people trying to figure out how to increase sales, not on the beach in Hawaii with people who count the money coming in from a magical computer program that somehow figured out how to pinpoint where and when every business decision is being made.
Don’t stray from marketing fundamentals and get caught up with new and improved offers that promise marketing magic. Take it from someone who sees both sides of the equation as a salesman and an Internet marketer–straying from the fundamentals will generate less leads and more time invested in chasing dead-ends.
The 2 most common objections I hear about ThomasNet are: 1) “ThomasNet doesn’t provide the names of people that already chose not to contact us”, and 2) “ThomasNet requires me to run my program for a year and doesn’t let me turn it off right before the next big sales opportunity comes down the pike”. It’s important to understand that ThomasNet’s decision to stick with tried-and-true proven marketing strategies is for the benefit of our clients. More important is that we see the results from programs that offer marketing gimmicks and they are less effective than the results from ThomasNet. Ask yourself, “Do you want a marketing strategy that puts you in the best position to capture that next sales opportunity or one that leaves the door open for failure?” If you want the former give me a call.
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