There are quality, speed and efficiency benefits available from doing something 100 times rather than twice.
What marketing and sales activities do you do on a repeat basis?
At the start and end of each day, do you commute to work? And then do you…
- Go through your elevator pitch with prospects and at networking meetings?
- Write essentially the same things to many people, in letters and emails?
- Have a selection of phone messages and stock phrases to use for fairly similar situations?
- Run through a fact-find agenda or checklist with new prospects, to gather key information?
- Have a fairly standard way to pitch, propose or quote for work, for consistency?
And have a similar way to deliver what’s been sold, whether a product or a service, to contain costs?
These regular tasks become familiar, habitual, reducing mental effort and stress. Consistency is good for quality and for keeping costs down. Incremental improvement is good for business, for customers, staff and profitability.
Repetition does have some down-sides
However, repetition can also become monotonous, and lead to a loss of concentration and human errors and it can be de-motivating. Friends of mine who are solicitors and dentists have become tired of the same old routines, but then their level of pay is a big compensation.
There is a danger that customer needs and the market may move on, and not be spotted, or reacted to. It can be hard to change, and more comfortable to stick with the familiar. There is also a cost involved with change, certainly in terms of time to identify select and learn or adapt to new things.
There is also a danger that there may be a disruptive change that moves the goal-posts. The catalyst can come from several sources, such as legislation, from technology, or from a competitor entering the market with a different business model and customer value proposition. The Internet and more recently Social Networks are big catalysts for disruptive change.
Marketing and sales opportunities
So, what can be done to get the best of both worlds, repetition and new potential? Let’s consider three levels:
Strategic opportunities for Repetition and Specialisation:
Internet and Social Media open up new areas for market research and for product sourcing and distribution, creating new business models, while challenging some current ones. For example, economies of scale could be achieved through expanding into a larger geographic area for a specific niche market.
Strategic opportunities to consider:
- What’s the pain that people are feeling?
- Are there lots of people in the same situation?
- Are they prepared to spend money on pain relief?
- What can you offer, where lots of them will buy basically the same thing?
- Supply a product or service that will still be in demand in several years’ time.
- Or define a set of customers who will have other needs you can service over time.
Operational improvements for repetition in marketing and sales processes
New applications for Marketing and Sales delivered as cloud based solutions are being brought to market at a phenomenal pace. Checking periodically for new and innovative ways to do things better, or do better things, can benefit your business. In particular, take a look at the tasks you and your business do on a repeat basis, to see if they could be done in ways that are better, fast or cheaper.
Process improvements to consider:
- Define the tasks and roles to do the core activities frequently and get better at them
- Delete those tasks that add no value to your customers and are not essential to running your business
- Automate and computerise those tasks where there is limited opportunity for human value add
- Delegate those tasks that a junior could perform under supervision
- Outsource those tasks where others have achieved specialisation or economies of scale
Tactical opportunities for repetition and cost reduction
In marketing and sales, publishing information online and initial contact with people are two areas where big improvements are possible. Publishing to the web makes information available 24/7 for people to find when they are looking, rather than when you are pushing it out to people. This is a way to attract people to you. At the later stages of the buying cycle there is value in human contact. At the early stages when self-service is probably what the other party wants anyway, and a well thought-through follow-up process online can win them over.
Tactical tips to consider:
- Define a long-lasting or evergreen message or customer value proposition that is compelling for your target audience.
- Use different media formats, such as text, documents, graphics (infographics) audio, video, diagnostic tools and so on, to get your message across, depending on your objectives and budget.
- Repeat the message through as many channels and media as you can afford, and balance high impact with regular visibility, depending on your market and message
- Offer something attractive to website visitors to encourage them to register and give you their email and permission to follow-up to them.
- Create a sequence of emails with additional valuable information, such as hints and tips. Set this up so it is sent automatically (referred to as an auto-responder, follow-up sequence, drip marketing or email marketing automation). The benefit of automating this repetitive activity is it reduces the human error of failing to send out the follow-up.
Repetition is a loyal friend, but don’t be blinkered
To develop a healthy relationship with repetition, Marketing and Sales activities should be reviewed regularly. Look for and identify opportunities to maximise value-add to your customers and prospects and reduce time, effort and cost.