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Customer Acquisition

The Print Coach, Nick Devine, sets out a four-point plan to help print companies bring in new customers and secure profitable work

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Before establishing a new sales strategy, consider exactly what you want to achieve from this plan

A system for winning new accounts

According to a research study conducted by the TAS Group, 67 percent of B2B salespeople fail to make quota. In a research study by Forrester, 54 percent of sales reps admitted they were unable to get meetings with decision-makers. Another Forrester research study found 75 percent of potential buyers stated they would not accept a second meeting with a salesperson. The primary reason provided was that the rep did not understand enough about the prospects business to add any value.

If you are an owner or manager of a print-related business, this data should truly frighten you. If you are like the majority of companies, it means you can deliver a great product or service, but cannot acquire enough new accounts. Everyone agrees new business is the lifeblood of your business, so if you cannot consistently and predictably add profitable new clients to your business, you will not be in business for long.

Using a low-pressure consultative selling approach can help you understand exactly what the customer wants and allow you to offer the relevant services

Here, I reveal a four-part customer acquisition system that is proven, predictable, and scalable. It will give your business a step-by-step method to acquire new customers on demand.

Step 1: Create

Create a simple sales strategy that attracts your ideal clients at premium pricing.

Create a simple sales strategy that attracts your ideal clients at premium pricing

In the world of B2B selling, strategy always trumps tactics. The following three items should form the foundation of your sales strategy:

Business outcome: You need to define what success looks like before you begin your customer acquisition journey.

How many new customers do you want? How many large accounts do you want to acquire?  What selling margin are you targeting? Are the accounts direct or indirect? What is the product/service mix? What are the revenue targets over the next one to three years? How many sales people will you need?

Ideal 100 client list: Every new business salesperson should work from a written list of target prospects.  Depending on your market and sales process, this target list can range between 50 and 500 names. A good starting point is to consider the characteristics of your current best clients and begin building your list based on that criteria.

Difference maker: This is how you differentiate yourself from your competition. This should serve the dual purpose of helping you win sales while protecting your profit margin. While this can be a complex topic to cover, try brainstorming with your team to find out how you are different to your competition.

Step 2: Connect

Consistently generate new sales leads and prospect appointments using multi-channel messaging. Now that you have your strategy in place, you can begin making a connection with your target prospect list. There are three primary drivers in the ‘connect’ step.

1)    Content marketing: Combination of your own blog and Linked In. Use curated content 80 percent of the time to speed this process up and remain consistent.

2)    Multichannel messaging: Use scripted messaging to connect with your prospects across multiple channels including; Linked In, warm e-mail, print, and telephone.

3)    Fast 4:  Use one or more of these sales tactics to get quick wins. Referrals, reactivate lapsed clients, joint venture opportunities, or existing client upgrades.

When you are building out your messaging system, keep the following in mind.
Different people respond to different messages in different media, which is why you need variety in your campaign. It takes between seven and ten messages to break through the clutter and become front of mind, so personalisation and good manners really matter. Add value first before asking for something in return.
Here is part of a messaging sequence you could use on Linked In. Done correctly, you can expect about a 40 percent response rate. Also, avoid using the standard Linked In connection request because most people simply ignore it.

Connection request
“Hi X, I came across your profile recently and it looks like we have mutual connections across the <<market sector>> Milton Keynes business sector. Given that we have a common interest in the local business community, does it make sense to connect here on Linked In?”

Thanks for connecting
“Mike, thanks for connecting with me on Linked In and allowing me to be a part of your network. I believe one of the most important assets we have in business is the network of contacts we develop.  If I can ever introduce you to any of my connections or provide networking support, let me know. Nick.”

Generic message to article content
“Hi Andrew, I read this article a few days ago and thought you might find it valuable.  It provides a very good update on some of the important changes happening in [topic of client interest]. Link to article. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts after you’ve read it.  Nick.”

Specific call to action— immediately after an invitation is accepted
“Hi John, thanks for accepting my Linked In invitation. As much as I love all this social media stuff, I still really like to get to know my connections so that they can directly benefit from knowing me.
“Just a quick bit of background on me, I have been working with (target market) in London for the last 17 years.  I help them with XYZ.  I have helped <<target market>> in firms such as company one, company two, and company three.

‘I would love to line up a call to see how we can both benefit from being connected and learn more about the work you are doing. How does your diary look for a 15-minute phone call, maybe on Thursday or Friday?”

Step 3: Convert

Improve your sales conversion rates, boost your selling margins, and help your clients succeed.

Improve your sales conversion rates, boost your selling margins, and help your clients succeed

By this stage, you are beginning to engage in conversations with your ideal client. Your goal now is to use a low-pressure consultative selling approach to move the conversation forward. This is done using a three-step selling system.

Destination: Your customer is trying to achieve some desired result with your product or service; this is the ‘Destination’ they are trying to get to. If a customer has a POS project, they probably have a goal to increase footfall in the store. You need to understand more about the business goal before talking about the product specs. You can ask questions like ‘What do you hope to accomplish in this area?’ ‘In which specific areas of this project are you hoping to get a better result?’ ‘Where would success show up first in a project like this?’

Discover: You need to discover the issues they are encountering in pursuit of that goal. You can think of these as the pains or problems that are hindering their progress. To discover their primary issues, you can ask questions like ‘What are your biggest concerns as they relate to X?’ ‘What is stopping you from getting the results you currently want?’ ‘What have you tried previously to solve this issue, and what happened?’

Demonstrate: It is now time to connect the dots for your customer by explaining how you can help them achieve their outcome and resolve their issues. For example, if you are proposing a crossmedia campaign to a B2C client, you might say something like this:

(Issues) E-mail response rates have been in decline recently because people have too much junk in their inbox. (Benefits of your system) The personalised crossmedia campaign we are proposing should increase your response rates by 20 percent and lead to a significant increase in the lifetime value of your clients.

Step 4: Conduct

Proactively manage your business development system so you achieve your business goals fast and cost-effectively. Now that you have set up your customer acquisition system correctly, you need to manage it effectively.  Here are some areas to consider.
Outsource: Every company should be looking at outsourcing as part of their virtual teambuilding strategy. Once you set up your customer acquisition process as a system, you can outsource the legwork to third-parties. You can get some phenomenally talented people in the Philippines for less than £4 per hour.

Dashboard: Create a simple dashboard in Excel tracking the most important numbers in your process. For example; messages sent, leads generated, and qualified prospects.  My recommendation is that you track weekly in 90-day cycles.

Sales pipeline: Manage your active sales pipeline so you can forecast accurately. You can do this in your CRM system or use a simple Excel tool.

What to do next?

You can request a free Customer Acquisition Strategy Session with me. I  am offering a number of free sessions to qualifying companies. You must apply within 28 days of the magazine publishing date. After the strategy session you will know how to apply the Formula 4 Customer Acquisition System to your individual company situation, so you can find and win more new ideal clients.

To learn more, send an email to Nick@theprintcoach.com and put the words ‘Customer Acquisition System’ in the subject line.

Nick Devine is the founder of The Print Coach. He helps print and packaging companies win new high margin accounts with guaranteed results.
Visit www.theprintcoach.com for more information. 

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