The Often-Untapped Revenue Stream
You already have the best salespeople you could ever ask for – Your Customers! Assuming you provide outstanding products and services, your customers can refer others to you… but they must be ‘recruited’.
If you have been in business for any length of time, you know that your best customers came to you as results of referrals. And like most other business owners and managers, you want to have more of this sweet-sweet flow of incoming stream of leads.
Although referrals can just ‘happen’ on occasion, those who truly reap the benefits of this often-neglected resource of revenue do so by making it a marketing priority. If you want to tap this revenue stream, here are some things that will help you do it better than most:
- Plan: Like most other marketing tactics, invest time in putting a plan in place for your referral program that includes goals and a budget.
- Brand: Give your referral program a good and memorable name and consider a logo, an icon, or some other graphic representation.
- Two-Sided: Good referral programs reward those who refer and those who are referred. Give your customer a gift, a free offer, a discount, etc. for referring new customers, and give something to the new customer for following through too.
- Make It Simple: Make your program easy to remember and simple to follow. Don’t put too many restrictions on it, and don’t make your customer jump through hoops to communicate the referral to you and collect their reward.
- Compelling Rewards: The two-sided rewards should be worth remembering and useful. Don’t offer something they don’t need or might never use.
- Top-of-Mind: Promote-promote-and promote your referral program again. Your customers should be reminded of the referral program often. Tell them about it and remind them of it with every ‘touch-point’. If you don’t ask for referrals, you will not get referrals.
- Open It Up: Consider offering referral rewards to non-customers, as well as customers. Colleagues and other non-customers might refer others to you if they can earn a reward.
- Brag: Let the world know how well your referral program works. You can advertise the fact that, for example, more than half of your new customers were referred by others. You may want to feature the name and picture of a customer who received a handsome reward (with their permission, of course) for referring others to you.
- Monitor and Optimize: Track results and solicit feedback on you program, and then modify what needs to be modified to make it even better.If you need our help, Fractional CMO is always here to answer questions and help you with anything marketing-related.
At Fractional CMO, we have worked on referral programs with many of our clients, and we continue to be surprised by the great results. Our clients often tell us that the programs exceed their expectations, and how they wish they had launched them even earlier. If you are curious about how a referral program could work for your business, give us a call or click here to have a no-obligation conversation about it.
Duke Merhavy, MBA, Ph.D.
President & Chief Marketing Officer
Hiring a full-time CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is often not cost-effective for most small-to-mid-sized businesses (SMBs). We offer SMBs senior-level expertise, experience, and a holistic marketing approach, on a part-time basis for a fraction of the cost.
Fractional CMO is dedicated to your success, and our mission is to turn your vision into reality. Click on the short explainer video to the right for a quick explanation.
The following article was written by Mike Roberts, founder and CEO of Optimum Sales (read more about Mike Roberts below)
Use Sales Training as a Tool, Not as a Quick Solution to Sales Woes
When sales are struggling and revenue is far from reach, you start looking for answers. What happened to your leads? What is your sales team doing all day? Where did the customers go? And then you start looking for solutions. All too often, sales training is viewed as a quick fix for flailing sales. But sales training alone is neither a short or long-term solution to a building a successful sales foundation.
It’s easy to see why you might initially turn to sales training to solve your sales problem. Many sales training programs convince you that minor changes will translate into major sales gains. They may even show you examples of other companies resolving their sales issues through the training. But your company is unique, and thus what worked for another company will probably not work for you. Not to mention how you sell could be a crucial differentiation between your company and the competition.
Then there’s the idea of getting your salespeople on the same page. I mean, if you teach your salespeople how to sell your product or services, they’ll take it and run with it, right? Wrong. Of course, they may initially be excited by the prospect and you might see a small bump in sales, but then the energy and drive dissolve and you’re back where you started. In fact, research shows that 86% of skill training does NOT transfer into the workplace. Then the remaining 14% that does actually work fades away within four months.
Unfortunately, sales training is just a superficial solution to deeper issues. You need to first look at your sales foundation and all the reasons why your sales are slipping, including your team and your sales process. At this point, you’ll probably quickly discover that you don’t have a sales foundation, and that means there is nothing for the sales training to stick to.
Sales Start with People
- First, look at who’s doing the selling. Have you hired the right people and do you have a good onboarding process? Onboarding helps set your team up for success by outlining their expectations, goals and your company’s sales process. Are more senior individuals in your sales team meeting their goals, or are other members of the team carrying them? It’s important to recognize good leaders and help them to help other salespeople through mentorship.
- It’s also critical to have a sales leader and manager. You need someone in place to direct and review the sales team, sales process and the overall sales foundation. With just sales training, this can often fall to the Human Resources Department. What does Human Resources know about sales? Without someone to execute and manage the sales strategy, the sales training will be dead in the water. Managers are also responsible for measuring sales effectiveness and providing feedback to salespeople, another area that sales training can’t touch.
- Part of a solid sales foundation is the compensation and commission structure. Salespeople get hung up when they aren’t motivated. Do your compensation packages align with the level of sales you’d like your salespeople to bring in? Is it competitive and does it motivate them to improve and sell more? A well-structured compensation package is one that benefits both the employee and the company. An imbalance in that structure makes sales goals even harder to achieve (let alone exceed).
The Cycle of a Sale
- What’s your sales process and cycle? Even if you have a good team, they can’t work efficiently without a sales process in place. And what does your sales cycle look like? Is it clearly defined, perhaps resembling a circle, or is it more of a zig zag maze with no clear beginning or end? It’s important to recognize each stage in the sales process and be aware of your sales cycle at all times. How else will you know if a cog in the sales wheel is broken or needs a little WD40?
- Your sales cycle should also closely mimic the buying cycle of your ideal, or even average, customer. That means researching the demographics of your customers and making sure you’re meeting their needs. It also means keeping current on industry trends and product knowledge and revising the sales process when necessary. This ongoing assessment and evaluation needs to be performed on a consistent basis, and continued after sales training takes place.
The good news: sales training works when it is part of a comprehensive, customized sales strategy. The bad news: there’s no quick fix for poor sales. Sales training is an important tool in the success of your sales team, but it really needs a solid sales foundation to work. Once the people, strategy, process, execution and management are in place, your team and your products or services will move steadily.
Mike Roberts, founder and CEO of Optimum Sales, is an executive sales leader with a 30+ year track record of successful business development and revenue growth. Mike has extensive experience in creating and driving multi-faceted sales strategies. His expertise includes building and training sales teams and their leaders, managing product introductions, developing sales and distribution channels, licensing, and negotiating strategic partnerships. Utilizing the proven Sales Xceleration platform, Mike’s distinct approach begins with thoroughly understanding his clients’ challenges and goals, then implementing sound fundamentals that align people, compensation plans, and processes to achieve and exceed sales objectives.
Wondering how to build a sales foundation and make sales training a strong element that actually works for you? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815.222.3452, or start with my free assessment and see how you’re doing.
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