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Strengthen Your Customer Value Proposition and Win More Customers
The best sales and marketing strategies speak directly to your most valuable customers. Here are four powerful tactics to help you boost your revenue.
When we think ‘marketing’ or ‘advertising’ we generally think of the hundreds of thousands – or even millions – that big brands spend. The best sales and marketing strategies don’t need to cost an arm and a leg though. They just need you to be the innovative, action-orientated hustler that you are.
This guide will help you figure out who your best customers are, and what to say that will convince them to buy from you, instead of your competitors.
Build a Strong Customer Value Proposition
Know your target market: Who are you marketing to?
Today’s buyers expect solutions that specifically address their businesses, their needs, and their personal interests.
This means that if you want customers to listen to you, you need to know who they are, what they care about and what challenges they’re facing.
- Divide your customer base into niche markets and sub-segments
- Who is your broad market? (anyone who needs to host an event?)
- What sub-sets exist within this broad market? (Will the event be for business people or consumers – i.e. B2B versus a retailer)
- Where are your niches within the sub-sets? (for example, will you have a different conversation with a company targeting farmers, to a high-end city-based boutique hosting the launch of a new store)
- Understand the different challenges and needs in each sub-set.
- Match solutions to needs: Which of your products and services meet the needs of your various customer sets?
Creating your target customers
To find your ideal customer, you need to first know who they are as individuals.
List the following to create your different target customer groups:
- Their demographic profile (include age, race and gender)
- Their interests
- Their needs and challenges
- What they do
- Where they live
- Where they are interacting with other people and consuming media (both online and offline)
Build buyer personas
Once you know who your target customers are, you can create buyer personas. A buyer persona is a person that you invent and give a name to in order to represent each ideal customer that you’ve recognised.
Your buying personas:
Are important because they take the details of your target customers and fleshes them out
Gives each of your ‘ideal customers’ a name, face, habits, likes and dislikes, in other words, a human identity that you can use as a benchmark for all of your messaging
Considers demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations and goals – the more detailed the better.
Once you have your buyer personas, you can then benchmark your campaigns against them.
For example, a persona you create, who we will call Elizabeth, represents an urban, female customer who is 28 years old. She lives in a townhouse, drives a BMW 3-series and loves her two cats. She starts each morning with a Caffe Latte, is health conscious and eats gluten-free food. She follows the local urban art scene, listens to African jazz, and knows who all of her local politicians are. She has a mid-level management position but has a five-year plan to become the head of her division.
Now that you know exactly who Elizabeth is, you can view everything you do through her lens. For example, how will Elizabeth respond to this email, advert, radio segment? What will it mean to her life or career?
Here are three reasons why personalisation is so important:
Personalised messages speak directly to key, high-value customers, taking their specific needs, challenges and preferences into account. You’re essentially telling your customer: “I know you, I understand what you need, and I’m able to provide a tailored solution for you.”
Knowing your customer better means you service them better, leading to repeat business and referrals.
Speaking the same language builds trust, which is essential in B2B selling.
Don’t waste money going to a broad market
Old ‘spray and pray’ marketing techniques that tried to appeal to the broadest audience possible no longer work.
The key reason for this is the Internet:
- Between the radio, TV, your smartphone, billboards, your laptop and tablet, social media and emails, there are thousands of messages competing for your attention.
- This means you can be selective about what you want to watch, read, listen to and engage with. You’ll choose messaging that is relevant and relatable.
- Your customers feel the same way. If you’re going to invest valuable resources in marketing, make sure you’re being as targeted and strategic as possible.
Identify your ideal customers
Your best customers fall into two, connected categories:
- Customers who need the services and solutions you offer
- Customers that are valuable to your business.
Determining your niche markets and sub-sectors, target customers and buying personas will help you determine which customers are your ‘Best Opportunities to Win’ (BOTWs).
“Our entire existence hinges on our ability to generate the highest output with the lowest input. This infers that we need to know where to focus and what to invest in.” Vusi Thembekwayo, venture capitalist and international speaker.
Your BOTWs are your most profitable (and by extension most valuable) customers. Most importantly you can win them – and keep them – at a low cost.
You need to know these two key numbers:
- What it’s worth to invest in and grow customer relationships over time
- What resources it will take to deliver on the potential of each customer.
To work this out, you need to determine your customer’s lifetime value. There are three ways to do this:
- Determine current value and cost to win
- What is each customer currently worth to your business?
- How much has it cost your company to-date to get them there?
- If it’s costing you more to service a customer than they are paying you then terminate or renegotiate the account.
- Look after the accounts that are happy with your product or service and worth more than it costs to service them.
- Full future potential
- Look at each customer through a lens of what they could potentially buy from you over the course of being a customer.
- Take your customer’s size, needs and potential for growth into account. For example, if it’s a business in an industry under huge strain, full future potential is probably low.
- Is there alignment between their needs and what you offer? You might only currently be servicing one need.
- Likely outcomes and timelines
- This is your reality check. You’re not only looking at your customers, but other businesses similar to them in their industries.
- Evaluate what those businesses are spending in services like yours – if this figure is high, you have future business. If it’s low, you need to figure out why – is the industry changing? Has something been automated? Is there a new way of doing things?
- Target your ideal customers
Once you’ve determined:
- Which customers are your ideal customers
- Who your top spenders are
- Which areas you are most successful in (for example, there might be one industry that responds more to your product than another)
- Then you can determine who you should be concentrating your marketing messaging and budget on.
Your marketing plan should address these key questions:
- Who you should be speaking to
- What they care about
- The language they respond to
- How much it will cost to service them
- What other needs they have – ie. Can you up-sell or cross-sell to them?
Create Customer-Centric Messaging
Focus on ‘what’s in it for your customer’
If your messaging is customer-centric, your customers immediately become aware of a few key things:
- You understand who they are and what their world looks like
- You speak the same language as they do, and understand what challenges they are facing
- You’ve taken the time to get to know them
- You have solutions that will help them solve their challenges.
Customers are more than willing to spend money on products and services that they want and need, but they’re looking for providers who understand their world and what they care about. How well do you know your customers?
Understand the role of features and benefits
This does not mean that the features and benefits of your product are not important – they are. Your features and benefits unpack key things for your customer:
- How the solution works
- What added value you bring to their businesses
- Exactly what they are paying for
- The various other things your product offers or solves.
The key to remember though, is that you should only be having the features and benefits discussion once you’ve attracted your customer’s attention – and this is achieved with a customer-centric approach.
Use Effective Advertising Channels
Take advantage of free (or nearly free) marketing
There are many free – or nearly free – ways to get your prospects to notice you:
- Word-of-mouth marketing: When you give your customers incredible service, they’ll talk about it. The key is to make sure your customers are always delighted with you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for
- Ask satisfied customers for
- Create direct drops to target customers: it’s often difficult to connect with prospects for meetings. Use personalised direct drops which include your brochure, a cover letter and testimonials of people in a similar industry or vertical who have benefited from your solution.
- Join Business Networking groups (such as local BNI chapters) to meet other business owners. Often, start-ups and entrepreneurial businesses can benefit from each other’s services, and connecting fellow members to customers who might require their solutions.
Use targeted marketing channels
There are a number of ways to target your audience:
The good news is that there are tools and algorithms to help you target your ideal customer. Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Youtube enable you to define your exact audiences based on interests, demographics, industries, age, similar buying patterns, geographic location and much more. Because your campaigns are so targeted, they are also much more cost effective.
- Expos and niche publications
Go where your audience is. This could be expos and trade shows, industry publications, industry websites and even social media groups. Your goal is to connect with your niche audience and collect leads.
- Local advertising
If you are a local business that caters to a specific geographic location, pamphlets and street pole advertising are both good ways to let your local market know who you are, where you are and what you can do for them. If you have offices or a reception, you can also provide local businesses the opportunity to leave their pamphlets with you in exchange for them carrying your pamphlets.
Leverage Traditional Sales Channels
Obtain testimonials and referrals
Ask satisfied customers for referrals and testimonials.
- If you know a customer is happy with your service and/or product, ask them if they are willing to provide you with a testimonial
- Let them know you will be using it in marketing and sales presentations, on your website and on your social media channels
- Save them time by providing them with a template they can complete. They can comment on:
- How long they have worked with you
- Your company’s professionalism and reliability
- Quality of product and/or service
- The level of customer service they received
- Turnaround times
- If they have saved time, increased productivity and efficiency, or saved costs as a result of working with you.
- Ask your LinkedIn connections for referrals
- Reciprocate the gesture where appropriate
Referrals and testimonials are powerful tools that reduce the perceived risk your potential customer may be facing, because you’re introducing them to similar customers who have had a positive experience.
Build a sales process designed to win deals
Most sales engagement processes look like this:
- Qualification of leads
- Pre-call research
- Sales call
- Meeting to diagnose the problem and understand the prospect’s world
- A second meeting to present a proposal or build a solution together
- The deal will either be signed in the second meeting, or in a third meeting.
Qualify your leads
Many companies make the mistake of failing to qualify the contacts they call, with two results:
- They waste time connecting with poor prospects who don’t need their product or service
- They become discouraged by the amount of ‘nos’ they receive
To identify the prospects that represent your Best Opportunity To Win (BOTW), you need to qualify your leads.
This means measuring them against set criteria that you have developed based around your ideal customer.
This narrowed focus allows you to have the right conversations with the right people – people who need your solution.
Conquer the cold call
Most sales begin with a call. If you get your call script right, you are far more likely to secure meetings. Make sure your customer is front and centre – what’s in it for them to meet with you?
Test out a few different scripts to see what works best and include your testimonials and customer stories where you can. For example, “I have a client, Bob from Bob’s Computing, who has a similar problem. We helped him by doing x, y and z, and saved him time and money as a result.”
Master your sales meetings
When you meet with a customer, don’t present too soon
- First establish your company’s credibility (do this as briefly as possible, but make sure you mention any big brands you have worked with, any awards you have won or anything that establishes you as an expert in your field)
- Conduct a basic needs analysis to understand what pain-points the customer is experiencing concerning your area of expertise
- Once you’ve established their pain-points, tell them about your service
- Don’t leave the meeting without a firm commitment for next steps, whether that is a follow-up meeting or a proposal.