7 Reasons Your Enquiries Are Declining
Many businesses that embark on inbound marketing are pleasantly surprised by their initial results. Web traffic increases, leads start flowing, email nurturing works, and soon you see an increase in sales linked to your website and marketing efforts. Great! But then the leads start drying up, decreasing or stopping altogether. What are the main reasons for this, and how can small business owners reverse the trend and start making sales online again?
1) Outdated lead generation methods
Many lead generation strategies have been around a long time, but the ways in which they are conducted often change, new ones emerge, and others lose their effectiveness as they are superseded by more convenient means. Your online enquiries may be declining due to outdated lead generation methods, and the only way to know for certain is by analysing your data. By not analysing and monitoring data, you never fully understand what’s working and what’s not, and if you could be doing something better.
Take full advantage of the inbuilt analytics capabilities in the platforms you use and consider investing in an advanced toolkit such as HubSpot, which allows you to monitor your returns from different marketing strategies over time and make targeted improvements to increase your ROI.
2) Not understanding your target customers
Business people make purchases because they are aware of an issue that needs to be fixed. This could be an inefficiency in their processes, the need to save time on admin, reduce production time etc. To sell your product or service effectively, you need to know – accurately – how it fits within your client’s day-to-day work, how it makes their lives easier, how it saves them money, makes them money, and so on. Maintaining a well-rounded understanding of who your prospective buyers are and what they need ensures that your content is targeted and relevant – and that it addresses the questions they need answered to make a purchase. You also need to know where they hang out online. There’s no point investing in a big Facebook Ads strategy if your prospects mostly use LinkedIn.
3) Failing to give your product or service a clear USP
What differentiates your product or service from that of your competitors, really? Many sales fall flat because businesses fail to give their products a clear unique selling point (USP). What’s yours? In a world where everyone aims to have competitive prices, or wide stock availability, these aren’t usually sufficient to grab people’s attention in marketing content.
Focus on what makes you different as a business and what you can bring to the table that other people can’t. It may be your experience, or level of accreditation that sets you apart, or you may have a genuinely unique product for your sector, or a unique take on a solution that isn’t offered by your competitors. Read your competitor’s websites. If they are all saying we do this or that, then it isn’t a USP. Find out what your USP is, understand how it helps your customers in a way that your competitors don’t, and make this the basis of your marketing and sales messages.
4) Inconsistent messages
Inconsistent messages deter sales enquiries because prospects end up with a muddy impression of what your business actually does. A classic example is different product or price information on your Facebook page and your website because your website content is out of date. Some people may call you up for clarification, but most won’t. Avoid this trap by making sure all your content on social media, email marketing, your website, printed sales materials – and in your sales pitches – is consistent and aligned. In other words, make sure you are all singing from the same hymn sheet, with the same core messages, benefits, objection-responses, and so on.
5) Not getting feedback from your customers and team
If something isn’t working in your sales strategy, the best people to get feedback from are your customers and your sales and marketing teams. Don’t be shy in requesting honest feedback from your customers through email surveys (perhaps in return for some free incentive content) and chat to your team about what they feel works during sales meetings, and what they find difficult to deal with.
What are the pinch points that break sales – price, delivery window, availability? Do any awkward questions keep coming up about your service or are prospects continually asking for services that you don’t provide. Finding out empowers you to make targeted improvements and increase your sales closure rate.
6) Your marketing and sales functions are not aligned
For too long, marketing and sales teams have eyed each other suspiciously from either ends of the office and never really appreciated what the other team does. This comes from the mistaken belief that marketing and sales are distinct from each other. In reality, they are two aspects of the same process, nurturing prospects from complete strangers to devoted customers. Neither sales nor marketing teams can fulfil their full potential if their functions are not aligned.
7) The business relies too heavily on the business owner to make sales
Many successful SMEs are built on the reputation and contacts of a charismatic founder/owner, who remains heavily involved with sales as the business grows. An experienced and knowledgeable business owner is an asset to sales but relying too heavily on him or her to close deals or generate leads closes the doors to other sales opportunities. This isn’t to detract from the business owner’s enthusiasm and abilities as a salesperson, simply to recognise that they are only one person and can’t be everywhere at once. By increasing the number of people involved with sales and marketing, you can generate more leads and close more deals – and take the pressure off the business owner a bit!
Stop the rot – start rebuilding your business today.
As we have seen, the reasons for declining sales leads are many and there is often more than one cause at play. Understanding the root cause of decline doesn’t itself give businesses the tools to stop the rot and start rebuilding their sales base. The way to get more sales enquiries and start your business moving again is to take a hard look at your sales and marketing strategies, assessing what works and what doesn’t, and then to reinvest in inbound marketing.
Digital inbound marketing is the key to getting more customers to come to your door, already armed with the information they need to make informed purchase decisions. To find out more about how digital marketing works for small businesses and how you can benefit, please give us a call today.
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