Now that I work in the online marketing industry the irony of my story is not lost on me. I have had a career for the last 25 years managing SME type businesses based in Sydney. I have managed in varying different product and service sectors but essentially business management crosses all borders.
One of the roles I had was in the home improvement industry and I had noticed over time that lead generating techniques that originally built the business had lost effectiveness and had become outdated. In times past, print media,local newspapers, home shows, television, letter box drops etc used to be super effective in generating leads that we turned into quotes and quotes that we turned into purchase orders - our return on investment (ROI) was fantastic. As time wore on, these old strategies stopped working and failed to deliver the leads needed to our support business growth targets. I needed to evolve to keep up....................................
I started researching and gathering facts and statistics made claims such as '47% of email is opened on mobile', so this encouraged me to investigate online strategies. As I sat in my car driving to work, I satrted to look at people in traffic and noticed how many people were scrolling on thier mobiles and tablets searching for information and content. Over time I had a massive mind shift - the power of a purchase was now in the buyer's hands. I took me some time to realise that even my own buying habits had changed too.
Referring back to my work within the home improvement industry, we started to utilise the services of Ian Jacob at Search & Be Found to implement some strategies for lead generation. It started simply by optimising our website to better cater to our clients, some SEO work and invested in Google Adwords advertising online. Wow...............relatively quickly we started to generate leads!
I started to track these leads separately from all other leads that were being generated by other methods e.g. referrals. I was really starting to get some worthwhile results from this newfound marketing strategy but from my tracking had noticed that I wasn't getting the same conversion rates from our leads that were generated from our online efforts and I started to question not only my ROI but as to why. Discussing this with Ian, he was as curious as I was as to why we weren't converting. I started to communicate this with my team and drilled down to understand the poor results - after all, my background is in operations. Upon investigation, I had collated that I had lots of operational opportunities and cultural practices that I needed to work on before I started to truly realise the sales potential of our efforts.
I was frustrated to find out that my team, culturally, had a poor opinion of online leads stating that they were hard to contact by phone, they weren't as interested in purchasing as a lead that had phoned directly and many leads were deemed 'tyre kickers'. Through training, coaching and an intense operational focus on nurturing each and every lead, we started to realise the value of online leads and converting them into sales - one by one. My team understood that we needed to treat all leads as being the most important touch point of our business. Within a short span of time we were starting to convert these online leads into purchase orders and truly justify the ROI. That year we achieved a sales increase of approximately 30% which equated to $2 million in topline sales - a great result and one that I am proud of..........the business owner was fairly happy too! My embracement of online marketing strategies has been strong ever since and in fact, I must admit that I have evolved.
After moving on to new roles in other sectors, I kept in contact with Ian and formed a relationship that ultimately culminated in him asking whether I was interested in working in the online marketing industry. After much deliberation, I now work at Search & Be Found and enjoy working with many different businesses helping them achieve their business goals and targets. Although I had a lot to learn in the marketing sense my operational background has been beneficial in the sales enablement component that some people struggle with. The relationship between marketing and sales teams has been difficult for a long time - the personalities on either team are so different. Until a true closed loop sales and marketing approach is adopted then many sales opportunites will not be realised.
If you can relate to my story or would like to learn more about what online marketing strategies or sales enablement opportunites exist in your business then I am eager to provide a free marketing review and consultation to hopefully provide some worthwhile solutions that are available.