Plenty of column inches and numerous posts are devoted daily and weekly to explaining the value of marketing. However, there was an article I read this week that cuts to the chase.
The nub of the article is that marketing is the lifeblood of a business. However, there are several steps a financial planning outfit must take first.
This week, we’ll focus on two aspects of lead generation that are important precursors to any marketing activities – namely knowledge of your client and understanding your lead processes.
Knowing your client
Knowing your client might sound like obvious advice. Not appreciating who your clients are, however, is more commonplace among small businesses than you’d probably realise.
So, what does knowing a client mean? For starters, it implies more than knowing their mobile phone number. For a financial planner, considering your target client to be anyone 50+ approaching retirement is probably imprecise. You need to consider the real target client. So, it might start with something like this:
- Retirees aged 55 and over
- With more than $5m in assets
- Located in Sydney
- Not currently using a financial planner
This doesn’t mean you exclude other clients over 55+ if they come to you. It means you’re not specifically going to target them.
Once you have a target nailed down, engagement is the next factor. Engagement could stem from understanding your client’s interests – and their preferred engagement channels whether it’s social, digital, online or print?
Client personas are a valuable way of initiating engagement, and it helps if you map a picture of the client and their general characteristics.
Knowing your process
We’re not talking here about significant process automation. Instead we mean the core processes concerning your client. Take a few examples. If you capture a lead, what’s your sales process to engage them? Who’s going to talk to them first? If they’re not ready to talk, how are you going to nurture them along the length of the buying journey? What’s your unique selling proposition?
Alternatively, once you’ve won a client, what happens next? How do you onboard them? What process is the client going to follow/expect? It’s a classic mistake made by plenty of SMEs – winning a client and then dropping the ball once they’ve signed up.
Before firing the marketing gun at potential targets, think about the whole journey: before, during, and post-sale. I’m not suggesting a weighty tome of information, as factors will change – and you should always be looking to learn and adapt your sales processes as situations alter.
My suggestion is to map out the entire sales process. Think about the experience you want your client to have, and then determine what you need to do to ensure it happens.
To me, it doesn’t matter if you’re a lone ranger or have a team of 50 planners. Making sure the process is understood – and works – is crucial to success. Only then should you start marketing.