“I’m not saying your company isn’t good. Your services may be great for many businesses out there. But when you’re failing to use your own service on yourself for your own means, it shows something’s up.” Mark had nothing to reply with. Another potential customer out the door. Mark knew full well how ironic the situation was. His home-grown advertising agency, Influencial Advertising, wasn’t even successfully promoting itself. Influencial Advertising Inc. is a 5 person marketing firm based in New York, specializing in online promotion and social media reputation management.
“How did it go?” Asked Roy, one of Influencial’s employees. “It’s not easy to make progress on a lead when they immediately compare you with others.” Mark replied. “This market is saturated. You can’t expect them to fall into your lap anymore. We need to revamp our own marketing campaign and show what we’re capable of doing; don’t forget about all our successful accounts.” Mark agreed, as he wanted to prove to himself and his staff that he was capable of keeping things afloat.
“Have you checked WORK[etc]?” Asked Jean, a member of the sales team. “Another inquiry sent through our website has been filtered into the lead pool. Check it out.” It was from Lightgrain, a cereal producer based in Chicago. They need a flashy new campaign to promote their cereal to health-conscious types online. Influencial Advertising has had similar customers before, and Mark saw this as a great opportunity to impress Lightgrain during the initial pitch.
Mark creates a new project in WORK[etc] titled ‘Total Overhaul.’ It reads as follows: “Roy, while I’m working on our new Lightgrain lead, I need you to start a new advertising campaign for us. Do what you do best. We need to increase our online presence while also revamping our website. We need a better sales funnel, more examples, more testimonials, and a social media presence. Let’s prove we can use our own service on ourselves.” While stated simply, this was no simple task – and Mark was delegating one of his finest to work on a project that wasn’t relevant to an important lead underway. Mark also assigned the project to Kent, who specializes in social media reputation management. Mark then got to work on producing a sales pitch for Lightgrain.
Mark was researching like mad. He knew he had to make this one count. He spent four hours collecting screen grabs and links with Evernote, and sync’d them with the Lightgrain lead in WORK[etc]. With everything now in front of him, he detailed his services and experience in a cleanly written pitch. He sent it off to Lightgrain and headed home for some much needed family time.
The next day, Mark received a reply from Lightgrain. They were impressed, but still compared Influencial Advertising with Step-up Marketing, a known competitor who had taken sales from them before. Mark replied to the email, asking for a chance to put together a proper proposal. Lightgrain agreed, requesting a Skype meeting the following Tuesday. Mark found himself stressed; Influencial had five days to put together something compelling.
Roy had already begun revamping the company website with a marketer’s approach, and Kent had advertising campaigns in the works. They were doing this from home, both merely an hour from New York – but Mark was monitoring the progress through WORK[etc]’s G Suite business app. Mark sent Jean a message, “We need to get Chris to help design this proposal. He’s the best design contractor I’ve worked with. Despite him being located in L.A. it won’t be hard to communicate.” Jean replied, “I agree, but unfortunately we can’t afford it. I’m looking at WORK[etc] right now, and we just don’t have enough to even put it on credit. We are still waiting for payments from Fanco; it’s been merely two months since we finished services for them.” Fanco, an old client that had used Influencial’s services before, was dodging on final payments. “I need you to chase them down. Call them. This is getting ridiculous. Also, I want you to help with the design aspect of this proposal. You’ve helped with this type of stuff before – I know you’re good at it.” Jean was surprised. “I’m not nearly as good as hiring someone like Chris.” Mark knew this, but replied, “Impress me. Let’s see what you can do – I’ll email you the details right now, we need this finished by the end of the week.” Mark was disheartened by the state of his business, but improvising in the best way he could.
It had been four days, and the Skype meeting with Lightgrain was set to take place tomorrow. Mark had pinpointed exactly where his advantage over Step-up Marketing lies: experience. In his now detailed proposal, Mark devoted an entire page to proving how Influencial Advertising’s services could do more for Lightgrain than Step-up Marketing’s services, among other competitors. The proposal gave attention to previous projects and successful accounts with observable results even today. Mark and Jean laid out a marketing strategy catered to the needs of Lightgrain – and even spent Saturday collaborating online about how to target health-conscious individuals on the web. They took special note of Lightgrain’s current efforts. Mark also had another weapon at hand: he was ready to cut pricing if need be.
“I see you’re confident enough in your Lightgrain proposal that you’ve marked the lead as ‘hot’ in our CRM workflow.” Said Roy. “Have you taken a look at our proposal? Jean and I just finished it and all the while I was able to keep you and Kent on revising our image, while keeping our other marketer, Phil, on our current projects.” Roy was optimistic, “It’s been a busy week, but we’ve got some additional good news. A twitter feedback sub-project that Kent launched has brought us a ton of testimonials and the site is looking fantastic.” Mark replied with, “And results are showing. We’ve already got more leads filtering through.” “Great. I have some more good news. I noticed one of Lightgrain’s executives sent out a tweet asking for feedback on our company VS Step-up, and a lot of people pulled through with good testimonials. We had more positive remarks than Step-up.” Mark was ecstatic. His website was looking much better, his own company’s promotional campaign was showing to be a success after only a week, and he knew that the answers to Lightgrain’s twitter question would make a difference.
Jean logged onto WORK[etc] the next day, without having yet heard from Mark. She tried to find the lead but it wasn’t there. Worried, she went back to the dashboard – only to notice the lead had been converted to a project. Mark had won the sale. An email attached to the project showed how excited Lightgrain was with Mark’s proposal. The project also read: “Thanks to our new website, our own promotional campaign by Roy and Kent, and our superb customer feedback, we blew Lightgrain out of the water – I didn’t even have to make price changes. They said our twitter presence made a great difference, and they loved some of our previous work. Jean, could you create a recurring invoice for Lightgrain? All billing information you can find within this project. Also, Roy and Kent need to get started on Lightgrain, let’s drop the amount of time spent on self-promotion and the website maintenance to two hours a day. Follow the plan carried out by the proposal. I’ll be back in the office in a few hours. Do what you do best!” Everyone had received the message and was ready to get started.
Within a month Influencial had already made noticeable progress with Lightgrain. Lightgrain was using their own business G Suite account to communicate additional scope change requests, and collaboration was simple and effective through WORK[etc]. Mark was even able to hire his favorite designer, Chris, for a short period of time and collaborate on some new ‘Influencial’ designs. Influencial was able to deliver on par with what Lightgrain wanted, while being able to continue to promote themselves online. Mark was able to monitor all developments as they occurred, when on the road and in the office. Mark had the satisfaction he needed. He had proved his business could use its own services to successfully promote themselves, while increasing sales and restoring the confidence needed to compete with other professionals.
Now he just needed to get Fanco to answer their phone calls and pay what they owe.
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