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February 20, 2013

You’re a researcher… so do some for yourself to gain a competitive advantage!

Every day… you get up, go to the office, collect some data for your clients, interpret that data and give them some feedback to help them do their jobs better.  Yeah, a little over-simplified, but you get my drift.

So, here’s the question… are you doing that same thing for yourself?  Particularly with your marketing & sales as a way to help you do it better?

Here are 5 easy-to-implement internal research ideas to help you do a better job at marketing & sales:

  1. Email: many firms send out a monthly email to their database.  Two things… One, regularly run an A/B test on the subject line – always looking for the subject line that maximizes open rate.  Also, use a platform that provides great analytics (# sent, # opened, #clicked-thru, and who did those things).
  2. Pipeline: key an eye on your sales pipeline every day, regardless of how you define it.  Maybe it’s something like: Leads > Prospects > Presentations > Bids > 1st Projects > Repeat Clients.  Not only do you want to see progress through the pipeline, but you also want to make sure the overall number continues to grow.
  3. Use Google Analytics to monitor activity on your website and blog.  Find out what website pages and blog posts are most popular.  See how visitors are finding you – referring sites and keywords.
  4. I’m sure you have some sort of customer satisfaction process immediately following each project… and you should.  But once or twice a year, try another kind of customer survey.  Ask them why they do business with you, why they came to you the first time, what (if anything) if unique about you, who else they do business with, etc.  This kind of information provides a foundation for future marketing and positioning.
  5. Conduct a marketing & sales audit… with help from an outsider, take an objective look at your marketing & sales plans (if you have them), your website and blog, your social media sites, presentations and bid packets, email templates and sales collateral and anything else that ever touches a client.  Look at them through the eyes of your clients.  If it’s been more than a couple of years – it’s probably time for some tweaking.

Finally, as you monitor and collect all of the data above… create a simple dashboard (an Excel spreadsheet will do just fine!) for recording it and as the basis for follow-up discussion.

Take a look inside, learn from it and get better… and your competitive advantage will get stronger and stronger.

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