This back-to-basics look at how marketing teams drive sales can help energize your team and start winning at the only metric that ultimately matters, revenue.
4 min read
Shaking things up
At some point, every marketing leader hits a slump.
It may be that the frenetic execution of projects has forced you into the weeds too much and you need to step back and regain perspective. Or, you might find yourself in the doldrums where, for whatever reason, things just don’t seem to be moving and the right direction feels hidden for you.
Sometimes these obstacles are too stubborn to be dislodged by short-term fixes like
- getting exposed to new ideas in a book or podcast
- listening to the music that pumps you up
- talking to an old friend or mentor
- finding a way to intersect with new people
- going for a walk or a workout.
If you’re like me, these scenarios give me a full-blown feeling of imposter syndrome. I feel an urgency to find new focus and a renewed uptick in my contribution to the organization.
A reliable technique I’ve used is taking basic frameworks and overlaying them on where the company is now. Since the company is always moving, it’s unlikely to look the same in this light as it did even just a few months ago.
Here are three of my favorites.
1. Three levers for growing sales
There are three, and only three, things that grow sales. They are,
Increase the number of new customers. The key to growth is growing the number of people who buy from you. The earlier your company is, the more that awareness is the key marketing goal from which all other objectives spring.
Increase the size of transactions. This could be a pricing adjustment, add-ons, up-sells, and cross-sells, or reconfiguring your product. Consider what does it take to make your customer happily part with more money each time they transact with you. In the B2B SaaS setting a good example of this is creating negative churn.
Increase the frequency of transactions. Is there something that would make customers return more often? In a retail or e‑commerce B2C setting, you can create incentives for repeat buying and loyalty. In B2B SaaS this is about attacking customer churn (increasing the frequency from zero repeat transactions).
Think through the three levers and see if an idea for increasing sales numbers doesn’t stand out to you.The three levers for growing sales are, 1. increase number of new customers, 2. increase size of transactions, and 3. increase transaction frequency. #sales #revenue Click To Tweet
2. Articulate your customer acquisition model
It can be common for marketing KPIs to focus on customer acquisition costs (CAC). What does it cost to acquire one more customer? But CAC lives within a larger picture of the customer acquisition model (CAM). The CAM is all the steps that occur to produce a transaction. It includes
- physical steps taken by the buyer—the Buyer’s Journey
- psychological steps taken by the buyer—such as the Lavidge Steiner Hierarchy of Effects upon which most marketing and sales funnel stages are based. (e.g., Awareness, Consideration, Decision, Purchase)
- communication steps taken by the seller (i.e., marketing channels)
- how the customer actually receives the product (i.e., distribution channels)
- interactions with the product itself (i.e., product marketing and UX)
Ask yourself 1. are these steps articulated? and 2. are there steps that can be improved?
3. Purchase volume grows when…
I saw this framework illustrated by well-known VC and blogger David Skok and immediately loved it. There are so many times that this is the mental model I need to get back to the essentials.
The idea here is that purchase volume boils down to, how much greater is the motivation to purchase than the friction in the purchase process plus customer concerns about whether the product will actually deliver what they need?
Friction. How difficult is it to buy from you? Great online companies like Amazon or brick and mortar companies like McDonalds know how to move customers through the purchase process with as little friction as possible.
Concerns. Are your buyers getting the information they need at the right time and right place? Is some fear holding them back? Are they still unsure that your product will deliver on the brand promise that they really want to be true?
A good example of addressing concerns is when you have a testimonial right next to the CTA, or reviews next to the Add to Cart button. If the buyer needs a little nudge to quiet their fears, the third-party trust of another person’s positive experience may be just what they need.
Do your sales scripts or automated messages include key information to address common concerns?
Motivation. This feels more purely marketing-related and less about the process than the other two. I mean isn’t the demand in demand gen all about motivation, desire, or want?
This is a chance to ask myself if we have properly set the hook with our buyers. Are they convinced that our product will make their pain go away or deliver the promised land of value where they need it the most? Motivation is at the root of the painkillers vs. vitamins strategic question.
If your strategic vision has begun to resemble a deer in the headlights, pull out one of these trusty frameworks and do the thought exercise of holding it up against your company. I’m certain this Immodium-for-the-mind will dislodge the clogs of your imagination and unleash potent new creative problem-solving powers. You’ll be back to marketing nirvana in no time.
If not, there’s always a new audiobook on Audible.
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@cmo_zen is a blog of micro meditations for marketing managers, designed to help them find clarity and peace in the marketing maelstrom.