Over the years I’ve done strategic advisory work with dozens of fast growing companies, in fact, 6 of them are on this years Inc 500|5000 list. In my current role as Chief Strategy Officer at Power Digital Marketing I’ve also had the opportunity to view under the hood of over 100 companies’ marketing strategies and tactics. I’ve seen it all from national brands, Shark Tank start-ups to some of the fastest growing companies in the country. Yet, when to comes to companies who aren’t growing at the rate they want, there is one common mistake I see. Companies can’t grow quickly if they aren’t crystal clear on what I call the Marketing Lowest Common Denominator (MLCD).
MLCD = One Message to One Prospect Not Actively Seeking Your Solution that Generates One Qualified Sales Opportunity
The key is it has to resonate with people not actively looking for your solution. If you walk into a room filled with your ideal targets, could you generate a sales opportunity even if they aren’t currently looking for your solution? What message or information would you convey? If you can’t crack this code, marketing becomes a crapshoot and growth becomes less of a plan… instead it becomes hope. Too many companies are throwing money into marketing hoping it gets significant results and it’s not working. Why? It’s hard to grow quickly without the MLCD dialed in. Without the MLCD you are not able to grow quickly because:
#1 Your Marketing will Target Less than 20% of the Market
In any market, generally 20% of the market is open or actively looking for a solution, while 80% are not actively searching. In my experience, most marketers’ approach is to target the 20% of people actively looking for a solution. So 4x that many, or 80% of the market is satisfied enough with their current solution and your messaging doesn’t work. Without targeting 100% of the market, you’re very limited in your ability to scale your business. So how do you know if your marketing strategy is crafted to target the entire market?
#2 To Target the 100% of the Market you need a different Approach
When it comes to marketing, Active Buyers & Not Looking are different people (personas) and respond to different messages. The primary marketing connection of the Active Buyer is the User Persona. This persona has specific features, requirements and personal goals that they want the software, product, or service to solve. They have been tasked with finding the solution and usually represent that they will be making the “final decision”. But 9 out of 10 times they have to make their recommendation to the Economic Persona who has the final say. This is why you often get interest or a “verbal” on a deal but end up losing it, scratching your head as to what happened. Your User Persona was not able to convince the Economic Persona, who opted to go a different direction. The Economic Persona is the one who ultimately ‘signs the check’ and is harder to target. This is why so many marketers become satisfied with the User Persona. Sadly User Persona marketing leaves the close rate to chance by not building out the necessary Economic Persona marketing.
More critical to growing quickly is targeting the 80% Not Looking Prospect. To do this you need to target the Economic Persona. To engage them, the Economic Persona needs to see a clear business opportunity or enough pain to get involved or delegate it to the User Persona to evaluate. The typical User Persona marketing won’t work with them because they aren’t moved by the features and demo messaging you put out. So regardless, to make the 20% Active Buyer close rate not left to chance and to target the 80% of those Not Looking, you need a message that resonates with these “cold” not-looking Economic Personas.
#3 You need to Break through the Noise to Target Cold Economic Personas
Economic Personas are too busy to waste their time with your offer to show them a demo or learn about it’s features. Those emails, ads and messages are white noise, easily ignored. So how do you craft a message that breaks through the white noise? Create a 1-1 targeted, personalized, believable, and relevant opportunity that speaks to their pain points and offers a solution to get their attention. And the best thing I’ve ever seen do that is Cold Outbound Email (You could cold-call but I haven’t seen that work as well or scale easily). Sure more and more people doing this but if you have the goods, it still works. A couple keys to this working:
First, you need the right Outbound 1-1 threaded email software to sequence 4-5 messages. No, it can’t come from your CRM (SalesForce, Zoho, Hubspot, InfusionSoft, whatever). Why? Because it has to be sent from your email account (eg. Gmail/Outlook) and the messages need to be threaded. We find the 2nd or 3rd email are the top performers in terms of response rate.
Second, you need to be hyper-targeted, relevant and personalized. This means you build out very specific target lists (eg. CEO’s at Construction Companies with 50-200 employees). Lastly, your message has to be personalized, believable, have value, and be a relevant opportunity and/or a pain and it’s solution to get their attention. And there has to be a clear ROI for the Economic Persona to engage. Something like (First step only and simplified for the sake of brevity):
I’m reaching out because a friend told me about your company, Construction Accounting Software. We ran a campaign for an HVAC accounting software company similar to yours and they are generating 25% more high quality leads within 2-months. Their business is focused on a different vertical, but the lead generation formula we’re using for them will work perfectly for you. I’m happy to share this lead gen formula with you, do you have 30-minutes to discuss?
If you read this and you aren’t the right person, this is white noise and may even be annoying. But, if you are the Founder/CEO of a Construction Accounting Software company and need more quality leads, double-digit response rates are common. You won’t get 100% of the people responding to say yes, but we do see quality leads daily and the opportunity to move many people into nurturing sequences because they aren’t ready today. Bottom line, it’s the best ROI I’ve seen. But, and even more important to some degree is that :
#4 If you Crack this Code you can Reverse Engineer the Whole Marketing Funnel and Automate It.
This is where the fun begins. This Cold Outbound approach is the best marketing research because you test one message to one prospect and see it’s results in real time. When you are able to send emails and consistently get quality leads that you land, you can take this messaging and apply it to all sorts of other marketing efforts (PPC, SEO, Social, etc). It allows you to get more Not Looking people into the top of funnel and to arm the User Persona with material for them to better present the ROI to the Economic Persona so you close more Active Buyers. All-in-all a marketing win across the board.
…and once you crack the code, you are off to the races!