Over the last 10 to 15 years, I have consulted with, and or made presentations to 100’s of suppliers ranging in size from small start ups of 15-20 people, to larger Tier 1 and 2 manufacturing plants with more than 1000 full time employees.
Typically I am introduced to these companies when I receive a phone call from the owner or CEO. Invariably these calls follow a remarkably similar pattern. The conversation revolves around the caller’s “lack of new business”, or their “declining sales revenue”. I then will ask them about their marketing or sales strategy and learn that these four actions are almost always present:
1. They’ve hired more sales people. Generally without much training or experience.
2. They’ve attended more “industry shows”, but have no “post-show” follow up plan.
3. They’ve started a Facebook Page, without any content mechanism nor analytics.
4. They’ve started doing some print advertising in their industry magazines.
I then inquire about the results of these actions and in 99% of the cases, the results are negligible.
Although I have written about this before, the telephone calls continue to come from these befuddled leaders, asking “WHY”?
A little deeper into these calls I learn that these companies:
1. Have no CRM system, or a very limited one (outlook) for measuring their efforts.
2. Have no formal Marketing and Sales strategy; and in most cases have not formalized any Strategic Plan for the company. So they are managing their business by “flying blind”, “seat of the pants”.
3. Have not formalized any sales or marketing processes, nor do they feel the need to formalize them.
4. Have not implemented but 1 or 2 digital tools available.
5. Have no analytics to help them tailor their efforts for success.
6. Have not queried their customers with a survey or opinion poll, so they have no objective information about their customers.
7. Have no capture mechanism for learning who visits their website.
8. Have not done any studies of their competition.
9. Do not maintain a current customer list of buyers with emails and phone numbers.
In essence, they are operating without a plan, without any tools, and waiting for the phone to ring.
Perhaps that’s the problem. Do you continue to “fiddle”, or do you embrace a strategy to change. The challenge is yours.