Sales and Marketing Strategies Session Recap: Boosting Sales, Online and Off

By Nathan Denny and Scott Axelrod

SESSION RECAP: Sales & Marketing. Making that important transition from traditional to online sales and marketing is talked about a lot — but that doesn’t necessarily make it easy.


How can I move Fortune 500 prospects through the sales cycle more quickly?

Why It’s Important

Creating a strategy to “pull” in these accounts faster — and also engaging the client and inspire loyalty — is important for building sales revenue, and the business as a whole.

Currently, the team is relying on “push” sales techniques in the form of e-mail and telemarketing campaigns, as well as online marketing essentials like PR, newsletters, and social media channels.

Clarifying Questions

  • Do you network through trade shows?
  • Have you tried offering free trials of your product?
  • Have you determined what sets your product apart from the major competition?
  • Have you articulated the ROI difference between using your firm as compared to another?
  • What is the process for signing off with your clients?
  • Is this a big ticket item for your clients?
  • How do you profile your “A” client list?
  • Can you explain, from their perspective, the differences your services will make for your clients?

Suggestions / Solutions

  • Utilize customer testimonials
  • Incentivize customers to sign a deal earlier on (e.g., expiring discounts)
  • Showcase on the front end what makes you different — your expertise
  • Do your best to work with decision makers and/or make sure you are known to the individuals that are most involved in decision making

Action Plan

Aaaand … action! This leader’s immediate action plan includes the following:

  • Put a discount in place to incentivize sales early in the sales cycle
  • Work on new case studies with clients
  • Obtain testimonials from Fortune 500 companies


How can I best transition my traditional, B2B direct-mail business into a stronger e-commerce platform?

Why It’s Important

This company has a very small team, and is falling short of its aggressive sales goals. Ideally, a way could be found to drive results with a limited budget, time, and resources.

Furthermore, the company has accrued debt because of the unfavorable retail environment over the past few years, and needs to prove to the bank (and its employees) that it can still improve and succeed.

Also, mailing catalogs can get expensive; online sales are clearly the future. The existing website has been in place since 2000 (and revamped a few times since then) but accounts for less than 10 percent of sales. Online marketing efforts have already focused on PPC advertising, re-marketing ads, Google catalogs, comparison shopping networks, social media, e-mail strategy, and more.

Clarifying Questions

  • Do you have a good sense as to who is taking to the web, versus who is dealing with the catalog?
  • Do you offer customers any instruction on how to use the website?
  • Do you use Twitter or text messages to send out offers?
  • Do your members purchase the same products over and over, or do their purchases vary?
  • What do you think is causing site visitors to bounce without a transaction?
  • Do you know where your customers are coming from?

Suggestions / Solutions

  • Seek out companies that will perform usability tests on your website, and determine what’s failing — traffic, search engine performance, conversions, etc.
  • Landing pages: Set up online promotions to a specially created page that lives only through the campaign and not within the site. If members call in with questions you can more easily hone in on their issues.
  • Offer a solid FAQ section on website
  • Offer discounts online; tweet them out to followers
  • Sequence customer touches: direct Mail followed up by a phone call, etc.
  • Incentivize customers — offer discounts if they act quickly
  • Focus on how you solve your customers needs, more so than the depth of your catalog
  • Reward your Facebook customers
  • Leverage Groupon
  • Reward referrals

Action Plan

How’s it all coming together? At the end of the session, this leader resolved to:

  • Create a better landing page
  • Create customer survey tied to a discount
  • Video tutorial on how to use the site
  • Build a FAQ area
  • Will experiment with an expiring discount
  • Focus on customer needs, not our supply

Session date: Jun 22, 2012
Originally published: Jun 25, 2012

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