I had a discussion with a client the other day. We had already built them a website, and designed a set of integrated, cross-pollenating autoresponder series to offer different whitepapers to his visitors. (Cross-Pollenating means that when someone joins one autoresponder series, they'll eventually get a promotion to the other autoresponder series. They all promote the others.)
They spent a considerable amount of time and money developing the whitepapers that are given away in the series, and the subsequent autoresponder messages that dive deeper into the points made in the white papers. It's really an excellent piece of marketing.
The goal of the autoresponders is to
attract good prospects for their manufacturing software systems. So, the plan is to use the autoresponders to build a list we can market teleseminars and webinars to. That would give my client the opportunity to eventually talk about and demonstrate their software.
But what I discovered in this recent chat with my client was that every time they received a new optin to their list, they'd call them on the phone.
And we didn't even ask for a company name or phone number.
The sales people were researching the people, discovering who they were and where they worked, and asking if they wanted a demo of the software, or some other information.
My client, as forward thinking as they usually are, didn't understand the difference between a suspect and a prospect. And they don't understand that their autoresponder series is an automated sales force.
The whole point of an autoresponder series is to fill the top of the sales funnel. All those people who you suspect might be good prospects — and who themselves suspect they might be good clients — are "suspects". They are the very top of the sales funnel. But they aren't yet prospects.
In a normal sales organization, you've got to treat everyone as a prospect. And all of those prospects need to be dealt with by a live human on your sales force. That's because prospects are few and far between, and you don't want to risk losing even one because he might represent a sale.
But in this new web-enabled economy, you have the ability to reach so many more people — so many thousands or tens of thousands more people coming from so many dozens or hundreds of sources — that you can't afford to have your sales force contacting each and every one.
But my client does.
It's hard to divorce yourself from your old sales habits for fear that you might miss out on a sale, but that is what you have to do. The web allows you to reach so many more people, and to create an environment where your potential clients seek you out, instead of you seeking them out.
And an environment like that demands you operate differently.
Here are four steps to help your adjustment to marketing on the web.
1) Plan on attracting suspects from many different sources. And plan on getting thousands of them. Marketing using Pay Per Click Search Engine Optimization, Articles, Blogs, and PR. The people you attract are suspects.
2) Create autoresponder series that allow suspects to self-qualify themselves as good prospects. Your autoresponders should market your free teleseminars and printed materials delivered only by mail.
3) Conduct teleseminars and other one-to-many activities. Not only do events like this serve to educate your prospects, but they also put you on a pedestal. After all, if all these other people are also here to listen to you, you must be important. (Social proof is a powerful thing.)
4) Provide methods for your clients to also request they be contacted by a sales rep.
The prospects that come out of this system will be better qualified, and are deserving of your time.
Your sales will show it.