Consistent sales success is a must for any business. Making the statement is easy – putting that plan into action is the hard part. That’s where TRACKFARE comes into play. Over the coming weeks we’ll discuss how optimising and improving your business with our fine-tuned method gives you the foundations you need to give you profit, productive sales techniques and above all, prospects.
TRACKFARE cuts through all the waffle-y words and marketing fluff, and gets straight the point of what your business needs. An easy to implement, clear method to build up your business to be a long-term success. The first step in a three-part model system designed to enhance your business practices, TRACKFARE explores 9 core foundations that you need to utilise to improve your business; bringing in more prospects, converting them to fantastic leads and ultimately increasing existing customer satisfaction.
We’ve passed the mid-way point with flying colours, and we’re well on our way to completing our full analysis of the TRACKFARE methodology. This week we’ll be looking at a ‘K’ in TRACKFARE, and why it’s so important for your business and prospects to have good Knowledge of your industry, your products and the needs of your customers.
A good grasp of all the major aspects of your business’ products or services will boost you above your competition; allowing you to give informed answers, insightful advice and above all be able to support and impart knowledge to your prospects in as many ways as possible. What’s not to like about that?
Take a good look at our advice and actions below, and you’ll soon have a clear picture of how a firm base of knowledge can help your business grow, increase profits and impress new prospects.
What’s so important about knowledge?
It’s all in the word – if we don’t have the knowledge, we don’t know anything. Could you imagine buying a car from someone who had no idea about what they were selling, or subscribing to software based on nothing more than a vague understanding of what the service does? If you don’t know about your industry, your services and more besides, you’re not worth as much to your prospects.
Knowledge in any industry earns respect – and respect helps to increase leads. We’re not saying you have to become a super genius overnight, and selling a product doesn’t mean you need to know every tiny detail about it, but having a good grasp of what you’re trying to pitch is essential. Equally, knowledge on prospects – whether that’s demographics or even a knowledge of a particular potential customer – is hugely valuable, allowing you to tailor their experience to exactly what they require.
A knowledge of your industry is also a fantastic way to get your name out there. What starts out as a bit of research or keeping up to date with the latest trade publications can quickly morph into a new way to advertise your business to those who actively want to know more. From expert comments to in-depth tutorials, a knowledge of your subject can open up a lot of doors for both yourself and your business.
Of course, it’s not just about taking that knowledge and locking it away never to be seen again. According to an article by McKinsey, “Of the many habits that undermine the sales experience, two that are relatively easy to fix accounted for 55 percent of the behaviour customers described as “most destructive”: failing to have adequate product knowledge and contacting customers too frequently”. Clearly, product knowledge, and the use of this in attracting prospects is an important part of the sales process; and a lack of knowledge can cause real issues for sales.
So now you know the basics of why knowledge is important for your business practices; now let’s get into the specifics of what you can do to expand your knowledge, be more informed and ultimately gain more prospects.
Be in the Know
It’s not enough to know all the ins and outs of your product if you don’t know anything about the market it’s sat in. A mistake many businesses make is being very insular within their industries – when realistically getting stuck in is a much better way to find more prospects. It can be daunting to talk openly about the state and feel of your industry without the basics, so start with silent participation. Read up on the latest facts and trends, keep an eye on industry news and subscribe to relevant publications.
Once you’ve got the basics down and a good understanding of the functionality of how your industry ticks, you can start getting out there. Contribute to discussions on relevant technology, get involved in exciting news and support complementary products within your industry space. Having a clearer insight into how your industry functions also provides you with an additional way to find out what your competitors are up to, and how they’re advertising their products.
If your industry is less niche and on the bigger side, active participation can be a bit more challenging – but often there are so much more ways to soak up that knowledge. Networking events, guest speakers, published books and even podcasts are great, passive ways to gain information and insight and cost very little for the privilege.
Though outside knowledge of your industry is essential to have a great understanding of where your business stands and how you can gain more prospects, tapping into internal knowledge is also crucial. Even small businesses are sitting on a goldmine of knowledge that, when shared among staff members, allows for a more well-rounded and unified team.
Another McKinsey report has suggested that “employees spend 1.8 hours every day—9.3 hours per week, on average—searching and gathering information. Put another way, businesses hire five employees, but only four show up to work; the fifth is off searching for answers, but not contributing any value.” – That’s a scary figure! It also shows just how important it is that knowledge doesn’t just come into your business through one person; that knowledge is then shared to make the most out of it.
Internal briefings or update meetings are a handy way to pass around knowledge and ensure everyone is in the loop. The idea is that anyone could pick up a phone, no matter what department, and answer any basic questions that come through from prospects. You can’t expect everyone to be experts, but a little goes a long way and will always impress.
Getting to know you
So, we’ve seen why both external and internal business and industry knowledge is necessary, but that’s not always enough to turn that promising prospect into a hot lead. You don’t just want your prospects to know about your products and the knowledge you have of them – they want to know they’re getting an experience designed to match their needs.
The secret to good customer service and good knowledge of your prospects is a well-run CRM system. It’s all in the data. An article on MarketingLand suggests that a well-fed and well-maintained CRM system is of vital importance to know your customer, stating that “you need to have a central hub where all customer data is stored and organised”. This central hub allows you to gain knowledge on your prospects, and as such offer them a better experience.
There are lots of ways you can get to know your prospects, but the easiest and most friendly way is just to have a chat. Find out what they need, and how you can facilitate their requirements. Prospects will appreciate your openness, and you gain more data for your CRM that can be utilised at a later date, whether it’s for targeted marketing or a catch-up further down the sales line.
Keep up with the Competition
It’s not just your customers you’ll want to keep an eye on – your competitors are there too, attempting to attract the same prospects you have your eye on. A study by Conductor of almost 500 marketers found that 74% of those surveyed felt that competitor analysis was incredibly important; nearly three-quarters of those who took part. Those statistics don’t lie, and if you’re having any doubts about finding out more about your competitors, remember they’re probably already doing the same to you!
There are many different ways to do competitive analysis, from hiring external agencies to keeping tabs on their press coverage. It’s best to start out simply though, so you should always know what services and products they’re currently offering, how it differs from what you are offering, and their prices.
This gives you an idea of where you’re sitting in the market and how you can improve your prospects by using this in future advertising or discussions with potential customers. More expensive than your competitors? Focus on the quality and longevity of your product. Cheaper? Focus on value. Smaller in size? Concentrate on the cost of space.
No doubt your competitors will be marketing in similar ways, but also taking a look at their available marketing will give you an idea of their Unique Selling Points, and give you a chance to adjust your strategies. Another interesting statistic from the Conductor survey tells us that 44% of respondents with high growth were those that engaged in competitor analysis, showing that taking the time to gain knowledge on your competition does work.
I need to know more!
Now you’ve seen how valuable knowledge is to your business. We hope you’re ready to get studying! There are so many different ways that knowledge can enrich your business, help you gain prospects, please return customers and position you as a team player within your industry. Companies across the globe utilise their unique knowledge on a daily basis to further grow, attract new prospects and gain insight into anything from industry trends to the latest products – so why not get stuck in?
Don’t forget that internally knowledge is made to be shared; whether that’s via your CRM system, for a quick meeting or just via email. Make sure your team have the same knowledge as you, and the confidence to talk about it with any prospects, and you’ll be set. We hope you’ve got your smart cap on and you’re raring to get some reading done!
Can’t wait a whole week for more? If you want to give TRACKFARE a go, we’ve launched a video series covering all eight steps of the model; including invaluable strategies and innovative methods to further develop your prospects and bring you even more profit. There are over 3 hours of content included, stuffed full of tips and tricks to get your business on ‘TRACK’ (get it?). As we always like to remind you, TRACKFARE is what you need to increase your prospects – we’ll help you make sure you’re giving the right message, give you the correct mind set and give your profits a boost in the long term.
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