One of the most challenging aspects of growing new business can be finding interested, relevant people to sell to. When someone makes an enquiry about your company and its products/services, the enquiry represents an interested person – on a plate! But often people will miss the chance to make the most of the opportunity. For many businesses, responding to an enquiry can mean little more than sending out some literature. In fact, a joined-up approach to marketing which is fully integrated into your business is a key to success.
Let’s get some data…
We undertook a research project. We made enquiries to 185 businesses offering a wide range of products and services across the UK all of which were relevant to our business. We then sat back and waited for their response. The results were interesting:
- 44% of companies failed to respond at all within 4 weeks.
- Only 12% responded within 7 days and of these only half responded with a high quality, professional package with a personalised letter/email and specific information relating directly to our enquiry.
- Less than 1 in 5 of companies who responded at all followed up our enquiry with a phone call.
An enquiry certainly represents a business opportunity but you have to put some effort in to make the most of it. Another study revealed that an average enquiry can take 5 follow-up contacts before you make any progress while most people give up after 2.
A measure of marketing cost-effectiveness
So far, I have looked at individual enquiries but enquiries also offer another opportunity – analysis of the cost-effectiveness of your spend on marketing. Not making the most of enquiries not only represents missed business opportunity, it also reduces the benefit gained from marketing. Is it worth spending money to generate enquiries if they are not going to be used? Marketing has 2 main objectives:
- Building Company Awareness & Profile.
- Generating Enquiries.
Which of these objectives is the priority will depend upon individual circumstances and goals. In this post, I am primarily concerned with enquiries. Growth in company profile is certainly measurable through Market Awareness Research and analysis of email marketing logs but here we are focussed on direct Business Development. Monitoring where enquiries come from, and following them through to a positive (or negative) conclusion allows easy analysis of the direct benefits that come from the marketing. If the marketing is not giving you what you want (assuming you have given it enough time to develop) then perhaps it would be appropriate to review your approach and make some changes?
What to do…
Making the most of enquiries requires 3 key elements:
- An efective Marketing Database to record and track progress with enquiries. (The database can be anything from a simple spreadsheet to a dedicated marketing management system – as long as it suits you and it works!)
- A consistent approach to enquiries; a Website and/or Literature that effectively set out your offering, personalised letters and email, direct mail, email marketing and direct contact (by telephone and/or face to face) combine to ensure effective qualification of the enquiry and then to develop it through to a conclusion.
- Regular review and analysis of results to check:
- The consistent approach to individual enquiries is being effectively applied to make the most of each enquiry.
- Which marketing activity is giving you what you want, and which isn’t.
With this information, the effectiveness of future budgets can be improved. Making the most of enquiries is a process, not an event. If you want to see how BSA marketing can help you make sure your marketing is joined-up, give us a call