Contact info: phone: 847-991-1294 email: howard@larsonassociates.ws
Aug

01

Maximizing Trade Show ROI

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson
 
Are you a Powerball player? With Powerball, the odds of winning are approximately 1 / 175,000,000. You can go out and buy 1000 unique tickets, your odds of winning are about 1000 / 175,000,000. Nice odds, huh?  Just buying a ticket is no guarantee of success. So how does this apply to us and trade shows and Trade Show ROI?
At Larson & Associates, we often hear Companies complain that after exhibiting at trade shows that the ROI was not worth the effort or investment. The first question I ask is, “How many appointments with prospects did you have set up before the show?” Usually, the answer is none.

Yep, ZERO, zilch, nada. They pay for a booth, their salespeople, inventory etc. and sit, waiting for the clients to roll in, just hoping that all these wonderful prospects with a need will drop by the booth during the show. Betting that the old “Build it and they will come” principle can work magic, whether or not they are familiar with your company beforehand, is just plain stupid. You are spending thousands of dollars to get lucky. Just like shooting for that Powerball, you might improve your odds a little but if you’re not committed and truly engaged with a working strategy beforehand then dumb luck is all you have. Not sure what the odds of success are with that, but I will bet that they’re not good.
When our skilled strategists at Larson & Associates ask these same  companies what sales goals have they set for themselves during the show, the response is a mixture of “What are we supposed to be measuring?” and “We were more focused on our booth design and collateral.” Again they spent thousands of dollars without a plan.
 
What follows is an outline of a pre-trade show strategy that we here at Larson & Associates have designed and developed after many trade shows and demonstrations. Strategies which have resulted in our completely booking all open time slots for sales appointments (averaging 38 appointments over a 3 day show). These appointments are invaluable in the acquisition of highly qualified leads for both team members where they are able to sit down and discuss strategy.
 
 
The key to any strategy is being prepared, knowing what to expect and how to react, planning for outcomes and positioning yourself in the best possible place to benefit and succeed. Here is what we do…
 
1. Make a wish list (12 weeks before show)
Go through the conference exhibitor list and highlight the companies that you would like to connect with at the show, regardless of whether you know someone there or not. Select companies that you think are a good fit to work with (yes power partners), that match your target audience, or that you simply want to understand better.
2. Research (10 weeks out)
For each wish list company, identify a contact from that company to reach out to for an appointment. First look within your CRM to see if you have any existing contracts with that company. If not, an option may be to peruse professional sites such as LinkedIn, although they are making it so you might need to have the premium account to do any real research as prospecting tool. Find companies that match your target by searching the company name and looking for employees with the correct job titles. You’re probably thinking, great, but how do I get their email and phone number?
 
First, see if you have any mutual connections with the lead that you can ask to make an introduction. If there are no mutual connections, you can always find general phone numbers listed on the company website.  For email, you can look in a few places – the company’s contact page, career page, or news page/press releases – to uncover if not the contact’s exact email address, then the common email format used by the company. (For example, if marketing director Joe Smith’s email is listed as joe.smith@abccompanyinc.com, then you can pretty safely assume that product manager Mary Thomas’s email will bemary.thomas@abccompanyinc.com.)
 
Research requires you to invest a bit of time (if you don’t have the time Larson & Associates have people dedicated to doing research just like this) for finding contact information. But it will pay off greatly. Fact is, 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers, while it is a tool to help, Social Media will never be a replacement for Salesmanship. It’s not (note to self, write a paper on what Social Media is good for) LinkedIn, specifically, is responsible for more than 80% of a business’ social media leads.
 
3. Email outreach (beginning 7 weeks out)
Here is where we start to hit on the entire show attendance list. Today 80% of leads take 20-40 “touches” to close if started from scratch, less if at a targeted industry trade show. There is no guarantee that you will reach your lead with every email, so repetition and careful timing are important.
 Here are a few tips for emailing leads pre-show:
Timing: The best times to email are weekdays from 9:30-11:00 a.m. That lets them clean out the night time senders.
 
Keep on track: and on target, for the upcoming show. Talk about your product or service, and why you should get together. This may require research beforehand about their strengths and areas of opportunity.
 
Follow the data: Prioritize your follow-up emails using data from the previous email. With most emailing systems like the one we use, you can view open rates, click-through rates, and site revisits. This has made our sales process much more data-driven, strategic and very cost effective.
 
Track your opens: Keep a record of how many times you reach out to a lead. Some leads may have more touches because of their responsiveness, so it’s important to manage multiple sales cycles as organized a manner as possible.
4. Cold calling (beginning 6 weeks out)
Cold calling can be intimidating for salespeople. In 2007, it took 3.7 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8. Now there’s much more opportunity to practice this skill!
Here are a few tips for cold calling leads pre-show:
Refer to your emails: Beginning your sales outreach with email is a great tactic because you can use the email as a talking point in your call. The lead will have at least some awareness of your company or product ahead of time, which can help move the discussion forward.
 
Say what you need to say: Be direct in telling the lead why you are calling. It’s important for them to know what you’d like to meet about. The last thing you want to do is waist any ones time.
 
Have a plan B: You can’t win every time, but you don’t have to just throw your hands up and go. If they are not interested in having an appointment at the show, let them know you will be walking around and might just stop by their booth to say hello. If they are not attending the show at all, ask if there’s someone else from their company attending to meet with.
5. Setting appointments (ongoing as you reach leads)
Depending on how long you will be at the show and how sales people are attending, you can determine how many appointments per day you can schedule
Here are a few tips for pre-show appointment setting:
Make scheduling easy: If you think a lead is interested in your company, whether they have responded to you or not, list three time slots to meet with them and suggest a location. This skips a few steps in the back-and-forth of scheduling.
Consider time zones: Make sure to note the correct time zone (the one the show is in) on your calendar invitation to avoid double booking by mistake.
6. Send out postcard mailer 2 weeks out)
You want to put something in their hands and have it with a coupon for a special show gift if they come in with the card. To get better booth traffic you need to give them an incentive. Send out a mailer.

 
There is no real magic in making a trade show successful. What it does take is hard work and planning, lots of planning, and commitment to strategy and the will to succeed. Without a doubt, the strategizing and the hard work can be very time-consuming. Time is not always an easy commodity to come by with business to run and obligations to meet you have to make the most and invest your resources wisely. Luck alone will always guarantee you a lousy ROI.


 
Indeed planning and strategizing can be accomplished ‘in-house’ but for the times or projects when this is just simply not an option, remember Larson & Associates, we are here to help!
Larson & Associates 847-991-1294 or just email me athoward@larsonassociates.ws
 

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Jul

19

Increase Multi-Channel Results

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson

The Numbers Are in:
Multi-channel Campaigns Are 37% More Effective
 

The average adult is connected to the internet via 4.5 devices, and with the advancement of the IoT, that number is growing. For those of us in marketing reaching our target audience through one channel or one device just doesn’t make sense, or money. Relying on a single channel approach is simply not the way the business world works anymore. This means that with each channel you don’t use you’re losing a lot of touch points. But just how many?
 

A multi-channel campaign enables you to promote offers to a wider spectrum of the prospect ’s in all sorts of ways from e-mail, direct mail, blog, websites, mobile, social, and call centers. At Larson & Associates, we have researched over 5,000 campaigns across a variety of verticals, using this knowledge we have come to recognize the true power of multi-channel campaigns. Of the campaigns we researched, 16% were multi-channel campaigns, engaging prospects through two or more of the most widely utilized channels: email, SMS, Facebook Custom Audiences, Google Display and phone.
Multi-channel Campaigns vs. Single-channel Campaigns
 
Multi-channel campaigns received a 14% response rate. Meanwhile, single-channel campaigns received a response rate of only 10.2%. The results show a 37% increase in response when using a multi-channel campaign compared to a single-channel campaign.
Next, we looked at response rates to specific channels of single and multi-channel campaigns. All single channel campaigns received a single digit response rate compared to the multi-channel: both only-SMS and only-email campaigns had an 8% response rate, while only-push campaigns came in at a mere 2% response rate.
 
Within our research when we looked at multi-channel campaigns we initially focused on channels that combined either email and SMS, or only utilized email. Campaigns combining email and SMS had a 15% response rate (compared to the control group). This is a substantial gain compared to the 8% response rate garnered by email or SMS alone. In fact, this multi-channel strategy almost doubles the efficacy of the campaign, improving it by 88%.

Now lets add in a telemarketing channel!
 
Our next research focused on the multi-channel combination, primarily involving email and phone. Here, the results were even more striking. The response rate for email and phone campaign came in at 14%, a 600% improvement over phone-only campaigns, which returned only a 2% response rate.

Multi-channel campaigns are critical in today’s multifaceted, multi-device world. Reaction and receptiveness vary with the individual creating appeal and interest via multiple communicative channels increase market reach and effect. Likewise, specific messages can be tailored for specific channels or mediums, creating a customized, unique approach more in line with clients expectations and desires. Varied channels offer multiple points of ‘attack’ or access points to your clients on different levels, at different times, in different ways, all while delivering the same message. 
Three Key Concepts for Successful Multi-channel Campaigns
So what does it take to do multichannel marketing right?
Larson & Associates has developed a multi-channel approach ‘three keys to success’ method:
 
1. Create and maintain a single prospect’s view
Customers and prospects often interact with your brand in a variety of ways that involve more than one touch point. Creating a single customer/ prospect view requires a centralized marketing CRM that consolidates all data in one place regardless of source. In order to stay on pace with the changing nature of your customers and business, this data has to be dynamic and constantly refreshed and updated.
 
2. Establish a multi-channel marketing platform
Multi-channel campaigns involve synchronizing your messaging across different channels. By establishing a multi-channel marketing platform, you will greatly simplify the creation and execution of cross-channel campaigns. The technology will enable you to reach the right person with the right message through the right channel at the right time while reducing costs and improving the effectiveness and performance of your marketing efforts
Here are the capabilities you’re looking for:
Campaign management, including capabilities for segmentation, workflow creation and campaign execution
Analytics and campaign optimization
Execution, including capabilities for event triggering, real-time messaging and full multi-channel support
 
3. Create consistent customer experiences across all channels
The prospect’s experience is one of your most powerful competitive differentiators, but the quality of the prospect’s experience is influenced more by its consistency. By managing campaigns across multiple channels you’re creating a presence for your brand for your prospect. If you treat each channel separately you will fail to deliver consistency, and harm the prospect’s experience.
 
Gone are the days when a single message through a single channel sufficed to reach your complete prospect and customer base.
The days of crowded inboxes and stuffy offices cooled by oscillating desk fans are gone, relying on ringing phones and suit and tie clients over cocktails is no longer enough to get you a seat at the ‘table’. It’s a whole new world out there. Advances in technology, changes in culture, society and the world economy have forever altered the way we ‘play the game’ and unless you are ready to adapt and grow your brand then you are in real danger of being left behind. The good news is that there are new tools and attitudes designed expressly to help you win, tools such as specialized technologies and multi-channel marketing systems. Your prospect base is still out there, waiting to hear from you. The right technological platforms will make your brand’s voice loud and clear.
 
 
At Larson & Associates, we can help you create and maintain a presence for your brand, through cooperative planning, business, and marketing strategies and through the supportive management of marketing campaigns across multiple channels.

Our goal is your goal, successful marketing, brand recognition, market share and exponential growth. When you win, we win, we’re in this together.

So just pick up the phone and call us at 847-991-1294 or email me at howard@larsonassociates.ws Your marketing and lead generation can be that simple.


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Jul

11

14 Touches To Convert Lead to

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson
14 Touches To Convert Lead to Client

A trade show investment requires intelligence and diligence.  Not only do we need to understand what we are getting ourselves into, but we also have to commit to spending the time andmoney in trash can effort to make sure that what we are doing is right for us.
So, throwing your money without really knowing how to get a good return on your investment realistically or financially is not the smartest thing you should be doing.

The same holds true for a business investment in a tradeshow, and in the world of tradeshows where knowing how to promote your brand and your investment wisely, efficiently and quickly is key to having a successful show.
Amazingly we see this type of reflexive spending behavior in business, especially at tradeshows, where buying the spot on the floor is far as some organizations seem to plan. On average a 20x20 spot at a trade show starts around ,000 then add in your investment on display etc. these run -60,000. This is serious numbers time for up and coming business and no laughing matter for established organizations either, so it only makes sense to not only invest wisely but to take the intelligent and diligent perspective of understanding what to do and to follow through with whats next.trade show booths
Which brings us to another key point, anyone can buy floor space at a trade show or convention center set up a table and hand out brochures but without follow up the time at the trade show is as productive as that pile of lumber without the blueprints, potentially a great investment but without proper follow through just a waste of time and resources.
In a recent Linkden poll it was revealed that a staggering 69% or trade show attendees are frustrated with the lack of follow up at trade shows. The poll asked, “As a trade show attendee, what is your reaction when an exhibitor fails to follow up with you?” Of the 337 respondents, the majority said they were left with negative feelings after an exhibitor failed to follow up with them post show. That is a staggering 69% of potentially alienated clients. While a larger, established organization might absorb this potential loss for most small to medium organizations, (and even some large), this number could make or break the business for the year.
So, the time and resource investment for trade shows alone can be seriously daunting. It is just as important to understand how your investment works at a trade show as it is for having that set of blueprints for your house, you cannot build successfully without a plan or direction.
 
I think we can all agree the focus of any trade show should be effectively following your leads to convert them to clients. Regardless if it is the 0 Chamber of Commerce Expo or a ,000 Major Trade Show Expositions.  Money is money. After the trade show has ended it is time to start following up on ALL your leads. A very small percentage of sales are made at the trade show itself, so if you do not follow up on leads it is like building a house with no plans. It is not going to work!
 
At Larson & Associates our team members have spent most of their lives working in the marketing business in one form or another. Doing so has given us the opportunity to try several approaches. We have identified methods which have consistently worked through the years regardless of economy or marketing medium. We have taken these lessons we learned and the proven methods to formulate a working trade show strategy plan for a moderate budget, we refer to as Larson’s Larson’s Fast Track Multi-Touch Approach. It is the speed, the quality and quantity of your touches that make the conversion.
Larson’s Fast Track Multi-Touch trade show plan look like?
 
Touch 1 Day 1: Each day your staff either has scanned in visitor information or entered visitor information in by hand.
 
Touch 2 Day 1: Email a thank you and specific show requested information. We want to get in front of them ASAP and send out any requested information with a link to a show landing page on show specials.
 
Touch 3 Day 5: Thank you cards (hand signed) are sent USPS with business card thanking each one for stopping by
 
Touch 4 Day 5:  Email is sent as a reminder to any show specials and ending date of specials with a link to a show landing page on show specials
 
Touch 5 Day 7: See who opened the email 2 or more times and start call each one on the phone with voice mail
 
Touch 6 Day 10: Call team is set up to call EVERYONE who stopped by the booth to reconnect
 
Touch 7 Day 14: Email is sent out to everyone who stopped by
 
Touch 8 Day 16: See who opened the email 2 or more times and start call each one on the phone with voice mail
 
Touch 9 Day 20: call each one who has not responded again on the phone without voice mail

Touch 10 Day 30: Email fort nightly

Touch 11 Day 30: Send out quarterly postcard or newsletter
 
Touch 12 Day 32 Call each person who opened the email 3 or more times
 
Touch 13 Day 44: Email fortnightly

Touch 14 Day 46 Call each person who opened the email 3 or more times

If you don’t follow up on your leads  then you are as  good as 69% of your competition. But if you want to be in the top 31% category make some kind of follow up. But only 11% did a superior job of following up. And those are the ones who make a profit off their trade show appearance. With those figures in your head, think what a difference a little bit of planning ahead to implement a series of quality touches could make.
 
 
With all the time spent on planning and the money you are investing ask yourself what the fastest way is to get a return on my investment. You can remain focused on business and leave the trade show details for the experienced team at
Larson & Associates
847-991-1294
howard@larsonassociates.ws

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Jun

12

Secret To Avoid Sales Slump

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson
We all have slumps: Those times when you just can’t quite find or maintain your rhythm.  No matter how good you are or how long you have been in sales, sooner or later you're going to hit a sales slump.  Mandscratches head looking at down sales arrow

  That time when you can’t seem to close the sale despite your best effort.  When each call or conversation that you do get seems that much harder than it ever was before.  The pressure is on, the volume is down and you just can’t get that deal to click.

Understanding that we can influence this cycle, spot problems, change behaviors and avoid repeating mistakes that lead to slumps in sales is key. Wouldn’t it be nice to know when a slump was about to happen? 

Larson & Associates we usually don’t like to brag, but we have a secret where we can successfully predict when a sales slump is going to happen, well, nearly 95% of the time that is. After all, no one is perfect, right?

sales secret manila envelope

So do you want to know our secret to avoiding sales slumps? It really is quite simple, it all comes down to: Prospecting. Yes prospecting. Sales prospecting is one of the most important aspects of an organization, let alone a sales process.

All companies (startups especially) have to fill their pipeline with good leads in order to acquire customers. Helping you understand prospecting and what it means for your sales is a big part of how our secret can work for you, the other thing you need to know is predicting when the slump will happen.

The crystal ball to that answer is identifying the length of your sales cycle, is it 1 day, 1 week, 1 month 1 year?    Once you pinpoint that then you are in the driver’s seat. Knowing this will not only help you predict when you are heading for a slump but also how long you can expect it will take to get out of it. Sales slumps have a way of self-perpetuating, with the lack of sales eroding our confidence and expectations of positive results, which in turn makes it even more difficult to return to the good form we have lost along the way.  In sales the natural reaction is to fight off the pressure and panic with a quick fix, by ‘digging’ for more sales. Digging in places where you know the sales were, looking for that next pot of gold. This is what went wrong in the first place, stop ‘digging’ where the sales were, trying to work that same ‘claim’ endlessly and move on to new ground.  If there is a trick to prospecting it’s doing the work to make it ‘work’. The only real way is to get back out there and start making the calls,   working the leads. Initiating conversations with cold f2f sales calls and going to the events where your prospects will be, these are still the ‘nuts and bolts’ that hold the process together. Opportunity is out there, your job is to find it, through prospecting.

At Larson & Associates we can fill in the potholes and help you be where you need to be, as your guide and as your partner in success. We can work with you to avoid mistakes and plan for the future. 

So when you find yourself in a slump take a deep breath, a real, fill your lungs and hold it for a second, deep breath, acknowledge that you are in one and get rid of all that emotional baggage. Make the commitment and set aside a daily time for prospecting.
Invest your time, energy and emotion into actions that you can control.
Sales success is a process, do the basics and the rest will follow. Prospecting is less about luck and more about effort, hard work and perseverance, searching for that new ‘strike’ and being ready to move onto the next.
So go on now. Sit down and pick up the phone. Go knock on some doors. Send out some e-mails. Work your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook social network and groups. Start asking for referrals. Talk to any and everyone about what you do.

 At Larson & Associates we are always ready to put forth that extra effort, to work hard and persevere in everything that we do for you. We can help you avoid the dreaded sales slumps, overcome marketing anxiety and map out new places to ‘dig’. When prospecting for gold or for sales, remember that your success is directly proportionate to your effort. If you do only the minimum, your payback will be minimal. The more you do, the more you get. It really is that simple.

 Larson & Associates
leaders in providing today's marketing for tomorrows success.
847-991-1294

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Jun

06

Become Familiar To Your Prosp

No comments · Posted by Howard Larson
Success in getting new customers is the engine that drives your business, the engine that powers your dreams, energizes your ideas and delivers your expectations. A well-tuned engine delivers powerful results, it takes you where you want to be, and beyond.
 
Starting that engine and running it at peak performance is the priority and end goal of every business. In the B2B arena, this becomes an even greater challenge, where customers are clients, individuals who have been in the trenches and know the drill, what to anticipate when you knock on their door. Often the engine is already built and just needs to be tuned up, sometimes it needs to be rebuilt.

This subtle recognition is about making your presence known without all the obnoxious baggage. It’s about being seen and remembered, but for all of the right reasons. When the time comes and your potential client, after recognizing their need, contemplates where to go, what to do and who to call, you want their decision maker to say “Eureka! The answer is right here, call **Insert your organization's name here** immediately!” This is where ideas begin to become a success, where cold calls become clients, this is conversion.
 
At Larson & Associates, we firmly believe that the success of the campaign is not measured by leads, referrals, or clicks and likes on your social sites, but when the conversion is made. This is when potential becomes a client, where the rubber meets the road, driving your bottom line, creating success.  Everything else is just fluff and puff.

Here are the cold, hard statistics of lead generation. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Starting that engine and running it at peak performance is the priority and end goal of every business.
 
  • It takes 1 to 3 touches to re-engage an inactive customer
  • It takes 1 to 5 touches to engage a prospect who is high in the buying cycle
  • It takes 5 to 12 touches to engage a warm inbound lead to buy
  • It takes 5 to 20 touches to engage a prospect who has only a minimal familiarity with you or your company
  • It takes 20 to 50 touches to engage a cold prospect who does not know you or your company

Now ask yourself how are you going to to that?

If you have done your research and have begun focusing on the names of companies that are a good fit for you, then you are ready for another cold, hard fact, it’s likely that many of these companies do not care about you or have even ever heard of you or your organization. Your name brings a blank stare and holds no value for them. So, what do you do?

Plan to become familiar to them.   This plan might include office visits, phone calls, voice mail, e-mail, social media, trade shows, and industry conferences. Most importantly, establishing and maintaining contact with them, brand yourself and then integrating yourself into their business world. A word of caution, do not focus solely on building the relationship, do your work, use your product and professionalism in action, this will leave a
lasting impression.

  • Each time you leave a voice mail they hear your name and your company name
  • Each time they read an email they see your name, e-mail address, company name and your product/service line and how it fits with they’re pain/pleasure needs.
  • Connect on social media and familiarity increases
  • If you “like,” comment or share something they posted you become more familiar (and important).
  • When you meet and talk at industry events and conferences a name is put together with a face and you are even more familiar.
  • While building your relationship learn all you can about their business.
  • Be aware of any recent changes and any talks of upcoming changes.
  • Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile, the clients will remember you.
  • Respond quickly, never make them wait.
  • Be More than an email address. Create an online presence. 

Even with the most finely tuned engine, you’re like the man out driving, who is hopelessly lost but making excellent time. Yet when you build around a plan, with a focused list, clear objectives, aimed at a niched based prospect channel it becomes easier, faster and brings greater results. Invest your time, your efforts and your resources wisely.
 
If you don’t have a clear plan, if you haven’t identified your objectives or have nothing in particular in mind, then that is what you can expect, nothing, or even worse, a glimpse of success and the knowledge of preventable loss.
 
At Larson & Associates that is our plan, that is what we do, we sit down with you and create the roadmap to your success. We find the tools to help fine-tune your engine, to reach a peak performance that will put you in the fast lane to success. We offer the services and solutions to assist you in building your business, we ready, willing and able to step in at any part of the process, from creation to fine-tuning, repair, rebuilding or management, we have the right solution for you.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!
 
Call or email
Larson & Associates
847-991-1294
howard@larsonassociates.ws

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