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One of the most powerful strategic planning tools your business can possess is a marketing plan designed to generate leads. Actionable marketing gets prospects, customers and the public to engage with your brand and buy from your company in a transparent way that builds trust and relationships.
To celebrate, here’s the basic seven step framework of an actionable marketing strategy where your ultimate goal as a marketer or business owner is to get prospects, customers and the public to engage with you and to develop a profitable relationship over time. What does the customer get in addition to the item, sometimes referred to as an augmented product?
A combination of distribution and promotion are needed to ensure that your content or promotion reaches its maximum potential audience in a format that they find easy-to-consume including text, photographs, video, audio or PDFs.
You must assess your results to determine your marketing’s effectiveness in achieving your intended goals.
Understand that each of these seven elements must be adapted to your specific goals to ensure that you’re focused on accomplishing your business objectives. To celebrate, our 1,000th blog post, we’re running a contest where participants must leave a comment on today’s blog post with a suggestion for future content. BTW-we’re offering a similar drawing for people who sign up for the Actionable Marketing Newsletter from now until Sunday, July 14, 2013, at midnight EST. Learn how the process of developing buyer personas and mapping the customer journey will go a long way toward designing an improved customer experience.
The complex nature of today's buyer journey, with more touch points across multiple channels, can make enhancing the experience challenging. Discover how customer journey maps and buyer persona marketing can facilitate your contacts' purchase decisions and improve the customer experience.
Tags actionable marketing, Brand, Call-to-action, marketing framework, marketing persona, Marketing Strategy, Metric. Couldn't make it to Social Media Marketing World 2016?Get all the sessions with the SMMW16 Virtual Pass.
The Actionable Marketing Guide participates in the following affiliate marketing programs to bring you great products and services. This article covers the seven steps of the author's Marketing & Sales Pyramid, a system used help companies develop a marketing and sales plan and engage with clients and sales prospects.
Many (many) years ago, when I was an upstart corporate executive, one of my colleagues recommended a book to me on finance and accounting for non-financial managers.
Coincidentally, since opening Harpeth Marketing, most of my client contacts have been non-marketing and sales professionals and I’ve looked for plain-English resources to help them better understand concepts and processes surrounding business development.
So I looked at the MR marketing and sales activities and created a model that lays out a step-by-step process for growing revenue. Before you can decide where you want to go, you need to understand where you’ve been and where you are right now.
Now, based on your strategic direction, decide how and where you will build awareness for your firm and services. Reminder: Awareness-building is not only to capture the attention of new prospects but to stay top-of-mind with existing clients as well.
Consider regular and consistent e-mails, sharing articles, connecting on social media and occasional phone calls or in-person visits.
Consider a compelling capabilities presentation, free trial offer, effective proposals, competitive pricing, first-time client deals, etc.
Beyond that, consider post-project surveys, thank-you notes, post-project calls and debriefings, client-specific communications, gifts, efficient and accurate billing, etc.
The planning, collection, and analysis of data relevant to marketing decision making, and the communication of the results of this analysis to management. TechMedia will hold its Digital Summit Charlotte on May 4-5 at Le Meridien in Charlotte, N.C. RIVA Training Institute will hold a course, themed 'Qualitative Project Management and Screener Development' on May 9 in Rockville, Md.
Choosing the correct qualitative research facility is a key decision when planning market research.
Lou Roth, president of The Wats Room, a data collection firm, provides 10 guidelines for selecting and working with data collection companies. The researchers used a sample of their mailed survey respondents to a “Get Paid for Your Opinions” direct mail effort to explore the makeup of study recruits.
Who should attend this seminar: international sales and marketing executives and managers, technical and accounting professionals, export support staff. In the same way, almost all sellinga€”regardless of the product thata€™s being solda€”follows a particular sequence of steps. Each step of the seven-step process is covered thoroughly in this and the next six chapters so that you can learn the details of each step and how to apply them in various selling situations.
As you learned in ChapterA 3, The Power of Building Relationships: Putting Adaptive Selling to Work, the sales process is adaptive, which means that each situation may be different and salespeople have to adapt and understand what is important to each customer and where each is in the buying process. While the basics of the selling process have remained the same over the years, the methods of communication and the way people interact are quickly evolving with the use of the interactive capabilities on the Internet by customers and salespeople alike. If youa€™re satisfied with his responses, and the price and product meet your needs, you will probably decide to sign a contract. Whether youa€™re buying a gym membership or a car, cell phone service or a new computer, the situation may be different, but the steps in the selling process will follow the same pattern.
The process isna€™t only limited to business-to-consumer sales; ita€™s also the process that IBM will use to sell servers to a corporation, that Accenture will use to sell consulting services to a technology company, or that the Coffee Brewers Company will use to sell espresso machines to coffee shops.
Since you need a solution for your current ovens, you agree to set up an appointment with the salesperson.
After two months, the salesperson calls to ask if youa€™ve been satisfied with the product so far, and she offers you a discount if you sign a contract to purchase two ovens in the next ten days. As in the gym membership example above, this B2B selling situation follows the seven-step framework.
Before planning a sale, a salesperson conducts research to identify the people or companies that might be interested in her product.
Undoubtedly, when the salesperson called the target customer to discuss his ovens (in the example, you were the customer), she asked some questions to qualifyqualifyingDetermining whether a lead has the desire and ability to buy your product or service. The preapproachpreapproachThe preparation and research a salesperson does before making the sales call.
The approach may be on the phone, in person, or via e-mail or other online method such as a social network. Therea€™s a good deal of preparation involved before a salesperson ever makes her pitch or presentationpresentationThe part of the sales call when the salesperson offers her solution for the prospect., but the presentation is where the research pays off and her idea for the prospect comes alive. After youa€™ve made your sales presentation, ita€™s natural for your customer to have some hesitations or concerns called objectionsobjectionsHesitations or concerns a prospect might have about the product or purchasing process.. Eventually, if your customer is convinced your product will meet her needs, you closeclose (or closing)Agreeing on the terms of the sale and finalizing the transaction. OK, so youa€™ve completed a landscaping job for your customer or sold him a car or installed the software that meets his needs.
The seven-step selling process refers to the sequence of steps salespeople follow each time they make a sale.
The first step of the selling process, prospecting and qualifying, involves searching for potential customers and deciding whether they have the ability and desire to make a purchase.
Before making a sales call, it is important to a€?do your homeworka€? by researching your customer and planning what you are going to say; this is the preapproach.
The approach is your chance to make a first impression by introducing yourself, explaining the purpose of your call or visit, and establishing a rapport with your prospect. Your research and preparation pays off during the presentation, when you propose your sales solution to your prospect. Your prospect will naturally have objections, which you should look at as opportunities to better understand and respond to his or her needs. Once you overcome objections, you close the sale by agreeing on the terms and finalizing the transaction.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the first 2 months of 2013 working with suppliers and their territory reps.
As retailing has become more competitive retail owners have cut costs,  and the major costs are staff-related.
Meanwhile there seems to be an obsession amongst smaller specialty retailers to try to compete with the big discounters and e-commerce sites on price. To do this well requires personal instore selling form a retail sales professional who displays some expertise in their product area. Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Since implementing RPM Retail our gross margin has improved +4%, the proportion of dead stock at each store has fallen by -$20K and the frequency of out-of-stocks on best-sellers has fallen dramatically. RPM Retail has now replaced all our manual systems for monitoring results and providing feedback to store managers. Sign up to our mailing list to receive the latest white papers, articles and retail research documents.

I’m not talking about the traditional marketing approach including the large document you used to get funding or request a loan. Try to describe your ideal customer in the narrowest and most detailed terms possible, as though you’re describing him or her to another client. Review all your marketing materials, including your website, revise them by page and marketing piece to focus on education and the results the reader gets. Create a list of journalists who focus on your industry or community, and build relationships with each by becoming a reliable resource of information. Create a referral marketing engine that systematically turns each client and referral network into a kind of unpaid sales pro.
Create a communications calendar that sets the monthly plan of topics and educational material you will communicate out to your audience including the press releases or media articles. It works across different platforms and devices to create value for the company and the customer. While it may take multiple steps to grow your bottom line, each sale should contribute its share. This requires developing a marketing persona and a social media persona so that you can tailor your marketing to meet the needs of your audience.
These focus on customers’ interests and help marketers understand where their audience will make purchase tradeoffs.
This goes beyond the basic offering and encompasses related information, branding and pricing that sets your offering apart from competitors and near substitutes.
How your organization’s branding is incorporated into your content, advertising, social media or other promotional piece? Since media-format specifics influence creative presentation, you must consider where the promotion is going to be distributed or shared.
The media used should be aligned with your business goals to reach the appropriate target audience.
It also known as paid media and refers to aggregated audiences owned by other media entities or companies.
Think holistically across the entire marketing process in terms of the four moments of truth. The winner will be selected at random by our webmaster from the list of comments left on this post until Sunday, July 14, 2013, at midnight EST.
I've just returned from San Diego where I presented a workshop session on Blogging at Social Media Marketing World 2016. I liked it because it took fairly complicated concepts and processes and explained them in plain, simple English – perfect for a marketing and sales guy like me! And while there a lot of good resources available, I needed one that was specific to the B2B services industry. Your awareness-building will help generate a certain number of inquiries but to go beyond that, additional action is required.
Often, your success with a big client hinges on a relationship with one person, but what if that person leaves? As you get into it, spend some time brainstorming about what else you can do to maximize your efforts. Mark D'Alessio, the managing director of Focus Plus, outlines many of the essential criteria to think about.
Clearly, Hollywood has come to learn that this particular structure is the secret to keeping the audiencea€™s attention, earning positive reviews, and selling movies. Ita€™s a simple but logical framework that has been the accepted model for almost a hundred years.[434] Salespeople have adapted the specifics of the process as culture and technology have changed, but the fact that theya€™ve followed the same basic model has for so long testifies to its effectiveness. But in order for a salesperson to use adaptive selling, he or she must thoroughly understand the steps in the selling process and how each works to can use them effectively.
Each step now includes much more collaboration between customers and salespeople (and even between customers) with the use of social networking, consumer reviews, wikis, and other community-based tools. Maybe you received a promotional offer in the mail, your friends on Facebook have had good things to say about a particular gym, or you picked this club because ita€™s close to home.
Once youa€™ve signed, someone from the club will probably follow up with a call in a few weeks to see if youa€™re satisfied with your experience at their gym, or you may get an e-mail from them with a membership satisfaction survey or a text message about an upcoming event. Although you may not have realized it while you were reading it, the situation follows the seven-step selling process. Since you have been happy with the leased oven and checked out the companya€™s service record online from other current customers, you make the purchase.
Now, take a minute to review this selling situation in the box below to see exactly how the steps are implemented.
In the B2B example, before the salesperson called the company, she had to find the companya€™s information somewherea€”probably in a local business directory.
Similarly, as a professional salesperson, you would almost never make a pitch right away; instead, youa€™d work to establish a rapport with the customer first.
By the time she presents her product, she will understand her customera€™s needs well enough to be sure shea€™s offering a solution the customer could use. Good salespeople look at objections as opportunities to further understand and respond to customersa€™ needs.[441] For instance, maybe youa€™re trying to convince a friend to come camping with you. While it might seem like youa€™ve accomplished your goal, the customer relationship has only begun. After you present the product to your prospects, a middle-aged married couple, they tell you they are very interested but are concerned they might be out of town on some of the weekends when there are home games, and they dona€™t want their tickets to go to waste. These are the people who help retailers keep exciting, fresh, saleable products on their shelves. So most retailers are finding ways to make do with fewer staff – or with less expensive (lower skilled) staff. At RPM we believe it is about satisfying the needs of customers with selected products and services that can’t be found elsewhere.
While this sounds simple – it appears that modern retailers are seriously neglecting their staff selling skills. They recognize that many stores are now spending more time on buying goods than they do on selling them – and because of that there is little point-of-difference between specialty stores and their bigger competitors. I use RPM Retail every day to track the group’s KPIs by store, by category and by supplier.
Make certain every word in your marketing materials speaks of your core messages and talks to your target market. Also, profitable customers become less profitable so that it’s necessary for businesses to continually acquire new customers, retain their current customers and hopefully reactivate former customers.
Be aware that only relying on this data may cause you to overlook other factors that cause individuals to make purchase tradeoffs.
Use the following questions organized around the traditional four P’s of marketing to help develop your offering. They generally reach your prospects and past customers since you have a way to contact them. Make an effort to connect with new people at multiple levels inside every large client organization. Once you’ve done that, put together a timeline, assign responsibility, look at the budget and measure everything!
Integrating the company's computers has helped ensure quality, eliminate errors and lower costs. This study is one of the first to combine information about lifetime experience in focus groups with reasons for wanting to participate in them, as well as demographic data. The selling processseven-step selling processA sequence of steps that builds a framework for selling. Whatever the reason, you wander in and ask to speak to the membership director who seems to know a lot about the club and what you might be looking for.
You get a call from a salesperson who compliments you on the roasted chicken she had at your restaurant last weekend. She visited your restaurant, reviewed your menu, spoke with some of the wait staff, read reviews on the city magazine Web site, and even had some conversations with some of your patrons on Chefa€™s Blog. The salesperson says you can lease an oven for a trial period at no obligation, and she shows you reviews from other customers on her companya€™s Web site and on some restaurant industry blogs.
Although the products and customers were quite different, both salespeople adapted to the situation and the customera€™s needs, but followed the same seven steps to successfully complete their sales. This step is called prospectingprospectingIdentifying potential buyers for a product or service., and ita€™s the foundational step for the rest of the sales process.
A good salesperson researches his prospect, familiarizing himself with the customera€™s needs and learning all the relevant background info he can about the individual or business.[437] Remember that in the B2B example, the salesperson knew important information about the restaurant beforehand. If youa€™re a real estate agent selling a house and your customers are an older, retired couple, you wona€™t take them to see a house with many bedrooms, several flights of stairs to climb, and a huge yard to keep upa€”nor will you show them around a trendy loft in a busy part of town. The follow-upfollow-upThe final step of the process in which the salesperson assures customer satisfaction and maintains customer relationships.
Marshall, a€?The Evolution of the Seven Steps of Selling,a€? Industrial Market Management 34, no.

Develop a deep knowledge of the folks who are likely to buy your product or service — what’s important to them, how do they live their lives, in B2B you need to also understand who is involved in buying and what the process looks like.Then, segment your target market into subgroups — segments — if appropriate. It is really important to select the right products so that customers are viewing a carefully curated range that does the job. Our promotional activity and negotiations with suppliers is significantly improved now that we have real time visibility on the performance of our products.
This document is used to show a clear path of how warm leads will be created for the sales team to follow up with and may include the high level sales goals you plan to achieve with each of your marketing campaigns. Craft a core message (short paragraph, summary tag line, mission statement) that quickly differentiates your business. Your target market needs to know how you provide value in a way that makes them want to pay a premium for your services or products. Further, run tests more than once to ensure results aren’t flukes and understand that factors may change over time. The winner will receive an autographed copy of Social Media Engagement for Dummies by Aliza Sherman and Danielle Elliott Smith. After some small talk about the fact that you both live in the same apartment complex, he tells you about the gyma€™s amenities and gives you a tour of the facility. You feel like this might help you solve your problem, so you agree to lease the machine for four months.
In fact, youa€™ve probably used a version of these seven steps yourself before without even realizing it. What happens if the customer is not interested in the salespersona€™s product, or hea€™s interested but his business is struggling financially and doesna€™t have the resources for a big purchase? She came prepared with a specific idea as to how her service could help the prospect and gave a tailored presentation.
The presentation should be tailored to the customer, explaining how the product meets that person or companya€™s needs. The importanta€”and sometimes challenginga€”part of closing is that the seller has to actually ask if the potential customer is willing to make the purchase.[444] When the close is successful, this step clearly aligns with the purchase step in the buying process. While it is possible that an instore price offer might lead to an impulse purchase – this really is only a fringe opportunity for smaller stores – not core business.
But more importantly -  the service side of retailing is surely about matching this product range to the customers’ needs.
The short bits of information in an ad, social media post, landing page, tradeshow flier will not be able to have enough information. Capture every contact, use a Client Relations Management (CRM)  Database and build a process that focuses on referrals. Attendees can generate new sales to China by carrying out the tasks in a seven-step program designed by James Chan of Asia Marketing and Management. You have been having some problems with them and have been doing some casual research online.
She gives you an estimate of your annual savings on energy costs if you switched over to her product line.
Take a look at some real-world selling examples below and how of each of the steps is used.
Perhaps he is only an employee, not the manager, and he doesna€™t have the authority to make the purchasing decision.
It might involve a tour (as in this real estate example), a product demonstration, videos, PowerPoint presentations, or letting the customer actually look at or interact with the product.
This might mean sending a thank-you note, calling the customer to make sure a product was received in satisfactory condition, or checking in to make sure a service is meeting the customera€™s expectations.
But, do you know how to optimize content marketing strategy to reach your goals?I ran across this infographic the other day and thought it made a good start on how to optimize content marketing strategy and it’s only 7 steps!7 steps to optimize content marketing strategyStep 1. You know that her company is rated as one of the best oven manufacturers, so you tell her: the ovens are over ten years old, they take a long time to heat up, and they sometimes cook things unevenly. A prospectprospectA potential buyer for a product or service; also referred to as a qualified lead. In this case, he is no longer a prospect, and the salesperson will move on to another lead.
At this point, the customer is using the information that is being shared as part of his evaluation of possible solutions. GoalsAny marketing strategy revolves around your goals so your first step is creating goals — preferably SMART goals. Is there usually a long wait to use one?a€? or a€?Why arena€™t there any kickboxing classes on your class schedule?a€?), the membership director will attempt to address those. Salespeople qualify their prospects so they can focus their sales efforts on the people who are most likely to buy. Ita€™s Amazona€™s invitation to a€?rate your transactiona€? after you receive your Amazon order.
You need goals related to market performance, such as leads and sales, but you also need goals related to your marketing funnel. His target is primarily teens and young adults, so we create content they’ll find interesting and using language that resonates with them. Give them a way to connect with you so you can help them along the sales process to understand the value you bring.
Maybe he will tell you there is occasionally a wait to use the tennis courts at peak times, but you can reserve a spot up to a week in advance, in which case you can get right in. The prospecting and qualifying step relates to the needs awareness step in the buying process described in ChapterA 6, Why and How People Buy: The Power of Understanding the Customer.
After all, spending an hour discussing the capabilities of your companya€™s ovens with a lead that is about to go out of business would be a waste of time. Follow-up also includes logistical details like signing contracts, setting up delivery or installation dates, and drawing up a timeline.
Or maybe hea€™ll say that while they dona€™t have kickboxing classes, they offer Zumba, which is a fun aerobic alternative. In other words, in a perfect world, you are identifying customers who are in the process of or have already identified a need. Ita€™s much more fruitful to invest your time with a qualified prospectqualified prospectA prospect a salesperson has determined has the desire and ability to buy the product or service., one who has the desire or ability to buy the product or service. From the buyera€™s perspective, the follow-up is the implementation step in the buying process. Obviously, this content is different.You’ll also want to research what others are talking about in this space, as this helps in creating content. Good follow-up helps ensure additional sales, customer referrals, and positive reviews[445] and actually leads you back to the first step in the selling process because it provides the opportunity to learn about new needs for this customer or new customers through referrals. Note, this research is an ongoing part of an optimized content marketing strategy because you’ll want content that’s topical. Use keywords that represent users searches to optimize your organic search traffic and even help with paid search.Step 3. PlanI find a content marketing calendar invaluable in creating consistently high quality content on a frequent basis — normally 2-3 times per week.
The more detail contained in your content marketing calendar, the easier you’ll find the next step — creating content. I like to include a working title (which may change before publication), keywords optimized, target market, desired actions and outcomes, and images I’ll use in creating content.A good content marketing calendar ensures you don’t face a blank screen, which often creates writers’ block and makes content creation harder. Create contentValue should be the overarching goal in your content marketing strategy — value for your audience. I use Instagram to host videos I’ll upload to other social networks as part of my content creation strategy.Curating content is equally important.
Plus, content curation helps build a network of folks you can use to help amplify your content.Step 5. Ensure you optimize content marketing for each social platform and don’t over share your content, which just looks spammy.Step 6. PromoteCarefully promote your posts using email marketing, paid promotion on social networks, and PR.A more successful strategy involves energizing your social network to amplify your content.
Often, this involves a tit-for-tat after you’ve shared their content or provided some other service.
Keep doing things that work and tweak things that DON’T work or get rid of them.Need help?Do you need help to optimize content marketing strategy for your business?
Whether you need a complete content marketing strategy, some help with Adwords, or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel.
We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.

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