Most companies are looking at the end of June as the halfway mark for their fiscal year, and as they approach Q3 (July 1) their execs are probably wondering if they are going to “make their number” for the year. This is especially true for companies that have a longer sales cycle, such as 6-18 months. By now they pretty much know whether they have a fair chance of meeting their revenue goals.
For companies with a shorter sales cycle, say under 6 months, the good news is that even if your first half was lack-luster there are plenty of things you can do now to influence your year-end numbers. Let’s start with things that cost only time, not money. After all, your budget probably is not something that will increase on the fly, mid-year, especially if sales revenue is below expectations.
Sharpen sales skills – Can your direct sales or indirect sales team members learn a better approach that will increase their close rate? Can they do a better job of up-selling or cross-selling among their current clients?
Use your marketing technology resources – If you have an email database of prospects and customers, are you sending out emails to your members in addition to the monthly or quarterly newsletter? Maybe you can send out that latest white paper, now instead of waiting until the next scheduled newsletter. (Unless you are sending out weekly emails don’t think your prospects will be annoyed, as long as your list is CAN-SPAM compliant.) Use your email service provider (such as MailChimp or MyEmma or Constant Contact) or marketing automation system (such as SilverPop, HubSpot or Marketo) to nurture leads by announcing news, past or future conference presentations, upcoming webinars, etc.
Leverage existing content – Someone in your company recently presented a PowerPoint at a conference but it’s sitting there on your hard drive; would a particular prospect like to see it (as an email attachment in PDF form)? Or can you post it in your social media? Here’s another idea; that blog post that you published last week might really resonate with one of your prospects, so send it along in a personal email.
Write new content – Content marketing feeds your newsletter, website (think in terms of a landing page that has a call to action to ask web visitors to download the content) and your social media channels. Sure, it takes time and expertise, but most companies have both of those assets. And think about the different ways that people like to digest content; not everyone prefers the written word, and people learn in different ways; make an infographic, or a YouTube/Vimeo, or a video product demo.
I could list more ways, but that would make this blog into an eBook. For now let’s switch gears and look at ways to drive revenue by effectively spending your marketing budget…
Advertise online – Print advertising usually takes too long to turnaround, that’s why for short-term results I suggest online ads. That doesn’t mean I recommend you start using Google AdWords; that’s something that can’t be done at the flip of a switch, even though it looks simple. Google AdWords are relatively expensive, and adjusting your campaign keywords and budget can often require constant vigilance. Instead, advertise in a targeted trade publication to offer a white paper, complimentary consultation or free trial of your service.
Find a trade show – Sometimes you stumble across a trade show you never heard of before, and it would be just right for your company in the next 3 months. Or you re-assess one that you had dismissed in the past, and you find it is just the right fit now, because it has more attendees than before, or perhaps because in the past year your company has expanded its product or service offerings that now match the needs of that conference audience. I do not mean to suggest that one can whip up a trade show booth or travel budget on the fly. But if you already have a booth sitting in the storage closet it’s not doing you any good; get it out there on a relevant trade show conference floor so your sales colleagues can get leads.
Boost your SEO – Sometimes we don’t know what we’re missing because it’s behind the scenes, buried in the meta-data of our webpages. Especially if your business is local, find an SEO company that can quickly boost your local organic search results to put your company at or near the top of search engine results.
The above ideas are just a few ways to drive leads (and hopefully revenue) to help the sales team make their year-end number, which will help ensure that all the company stakeholders—from board members to the front desk receptionist—can celebrate a successful 2015 on December 31st!