In the software industry you often hear about sales and marketing being compared to machines or factories. Executives like this analogy because it suggests that sales and marketing is able to consistently produce outputs in a predictable, repeatable way – like a machine or factory would. Executives and investors want to remove the uncertainty that often accompanies sales and marketing.
Tradeshows don’t generate many leads. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do any marketing at tradeshows. The great thing about these events is that they gather a large number of people with similar interests in the same place at the same time. Face-to-face meetings are a critical part of building relationships with customers. If you are going to invest travel dollars in face-to-face meetings you will gain much higher ROI from meeting 10 prospects at the October show in Vegas than you would traveling to 10 different cities to meet each one individually.
In my experience, tradeshows rarely generate many new leads. Not because the sales team is hoarding all the business cards they collected at the show (marketing conspiracy theory #35). But because buying patterns have shifted. Anyone that wants to learn about a new technology doesn’t have to wait to visit you a booth at tradeshow (like they did back in the 1980s). They can go online to self-educate and discover vendors.
Over the past year I have been hearing more and more criticism of Salesforce.com and other Salesforce Automation applications. Experts are challenging the value proposition of today’s SFA – questioning whether it really helps sales reps to sell more. Or whether SFA is really designed to help management track rep activity, sales pipeline and deal status.
Imagine you are 65 and approaching retirement. As you look back on your career, what list of accomplishments would want to list for yourself? Hopefully you have made the types of money that you wanted. And hopefully you have built hundreds of relationships some of which continue as friendships after retirement. But what are the things you would want your CEO to mention when he/she speaks at your retirement dinner?
It’s simple. Make a list of the questions your customers ask you during sales appointments. These are the topics they are most interested in. These are the topics they are most likely to do a Google search upon. And these are the topics that they will click through in your email newsletters.
Suppose you had 100 inquiries on your website today. In other words, 100 visitors registered to watch a webinar; download a white paper; or take a free trial of your product. Which ones do you call back? And which ones do you discard?