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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.
Measure Relationship Marketing Efforts
1/22/2018 at 7:39 PM ET
I am in a business development development role for a construction firm. As some of you may know, they key to winnings jobs in our industry are relationships. As such, I try to organise numerous client events per year, generally book a table of 10 at relevant functions, or have a guest at a lunch function etc.
One of the questions I keep getting asked by directors is "what do we get out of this", "how do we know this works"? My response is that I am trying to nurture solid long-term relationships, rather than having transaction-only type of relationships, that is one tender opportunity and good bye. Whilst the directors agree and see my point, they still ask, how do we know we are not wasting our money?
Are there any analytical tools that I can use to somewhat quantify this...or are you able with coming up with a response or reason that will keep my bosses happy? I really don't want their way of thinking to negatively impact on the relationships I have built.
1/23/2018 at 8:34 AM
At your events, what do you do to convey your unique services/abilities to your guests?
Let's say your directors choose to stop doing all of these events. What other actions does your company currently do to market your services to the community? What are other firms doing in your region to market themselves?
Another approach: When people hire your services, do you ask them why they chose to work with you? If you have an incredible portfolio of award-winning designs or top relationships with architects, then you might not need to do so many events (for example).
1/23/2018 at 9:21 AM
Thanks for asking a great question.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of technology oriented marketers who claim that they can be extremely accurate in tracking results from advertising expenditures. And it is a good thing to track results. But in my opinion, such tracking is not as accurate as many claim.
Maybe you might consider a two-pronged approach. On the one hand, let management know that lead source tracking is not as accurate as many people say. And on the other hand, take some action which will prove that your approach works.
Regarding lead tracking, family buys quite a bit using Amazon.com. After searching on Amazon.com, I simply start giving advertisements for that item. And I keep receiving the advertisements after we have bought the item. The collective marketing geniuses who claim 100% tractability apparently are able to identify Gifts from other people or purchases by other family members. It is not possible to be 100% accurate in tracking lead sources. Yet, Internet marketing people are most likely promising a very high level of lead tracking, at a lower cost than your current program.
(If you're not doing so already, you might want to add some online advertising to your marketing mix. This is not my specialty, but there are a number of people on this forum can help you with Internet marketing.)
Regarding providing evidence that your approach works, one technique would be to take a geographical area which is relatively close, from which you have never gotten any business. Implement your approach in that remote marketplace. Hopefully you will get some results, which will prove that your tactic is effective in generating business.
1/23/2018 at 11:10 PM
Some anecdotal evidence might help your case enough to get management off your back. "Salesperson Sid just closed the River Street project. The influencer in that account attended our meet-and-greet 12 months ago and Sid stayed in touch. He credits that relationship for the deal."
Could you find two or three stories like that? How many deals are needed to justify the program cost?
There is a technique borrowed from medical diagnosis that would answer the question, but with the long sales cycles in D/B it would take a long time and risk losing a lot of business in the process.
1/24/2018 at 6:03 PM
If you're lucky, you have a company-wide CRM or ERP where you can track contact with key targets. If you have that, you'll be able to track how much interaction you have with each company, including things like how deep and wide within the organization do your relationships run, how often you have contact with each of those individuals, if they ask you to bid on jobs or contact you for information.
I'd set up an outreach program that includes measurable outreach tools like emails, newsletters, invitations to events, etc. I'd ask the prospects what they'd like to see at an event, then make sure you give it to them. Then, you could ask for feedback on the event, what they found useful or not useful. If the prospects attend your events, and like what they get, then that should prove that your relationship building is working.
It's true that with a long sales cycle item like construction, you won't be able to track the number of orders each month. But, if you accept the fact that the business runs on relationships and you can show how you're building those relationships, then tracking that activity until actual business results should satisfy the bosses. If they're reasonable.
At the end of the year, if you can't show any solid results - like revenue - from the companies you're building relationships with, then you may need to drop the more expensive outreach programs like events. At some point, you do need a measurable ROI.
1/24/2018 at 6:24 PM
Besides that, you can't build relationships all by yourself, so get management involved. Maybe your president sends a personal invite to a developer's president inviting them to an event. You host the business development folks at the event and your project managers host their counterparts - architects? Not sure, but you get the drift.
1/25/2018 at 8:01 PM
Your networking efforts are running smoothly and you're confident they work, you just need to convince some directors that it's worth it. I suggested getting a couple of success stories from Sales. Also I like the idea of testing it in a new market if you can, as in the last paragraph of @telemoxie's reply. With all the various players involved in a tender, you still would need Sales to connect the dots.
The solution might be as simple as having Sales tell your directors that they want more networking event opportunities because they work.
Sometimes the best answer is a question. You get about 20 hours of sales contact time by buying a 10-top at an event. How would your directors suggest replacing that face time, and what would it cost?
2/6/2018 at 4:42 PM
I am closing this question since there hasn't been much recent activity.
Thanks for participating!
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