Word Of Mouth Just Doesn't Cut it!
We look at channels in a very simple way; there are two types:
- Your traditional marketing channels [and we include digital in that]
- Strategic partnerships
In our world, Channel [third of our boxes in our 9 Boxes framework] is how your business sources new business. You should be able to track how revenue that comes into your business and it will be through a channel. When we ask businesses ‘where does your revenue come from’ and they say ‘word of mouth’ we know businesses should know more.
From a business to business marketing perspective we do believe referral or ‘word of mouth’ is how revenue comes to your business. However, we want our clients to be more specific and have a greater understanding of those strategic partners, how to work better with them.
Building relationships with referrers can be both a fruitful and a disappointing experience, we do know they can take time. We often see our clients take time building those relationships and they could be built better and quicker by asking a few simple questions.
Here are three starter questions you may want to ask of the referral relationships you have or are about to embark on:
- Do they have access to the type of customers you want?
- Do they have enough of them?
- Do they know how to refer you properly?
Type of Customer
If your business has worked out its ideal customer [see Position] you should be looking for partners that have the same clients or access to the same clients as you.
Depending on the number of new clients you need your business is likely to need multiple referral partners. So, check out how many clients do they have and/or have access to. It’s often better to have several partners – one supplying all of your referrals is risky for your business.
Help Them Refer You
This sounds really simple but help them refer you – tell them about your business, give them examples of the work you do, show them how the clients you work with benefit from working with you.
These relationships are such an important source of revenue to your business and we often see them left open-ended without management or expectations around them. When the agreements are ad hoc, this doesn’t allow your business to manage its pipeline and workflow.
After coming out of a long corporate career I looked and saw that marketing as a sector is woefully underservicing our stakeholders. My posts and content are all about giving businesses some hints and tips as to how corporate businesses use marketing strategies for growth. I am the translator – running a small business myself, I offer these tips to you in a simple language that you can apply to your business.
I developed the structured formula 9 Boxes from a passion to help small and mid-tier businesses get access to corporate marketing thinking. I want to raise the marketing bar, changing the way businesses engage with marketing.
Watch this space – we are opening the doors on Marketing Camp [our online subscription service] in early 2018.