CLARE TUCKER: MARKETING BASICS
IF YOU SET YOURSELF only one marketing resolution this year, here’s my recommendation: Introduce an effective pipeline management system.
A pipeline management system is a mechanism that enables you to record, monitor, follow
up and measure all leads that are generated as a
result of your marketing activity. It is one of the
most important aspects of successful marketing,
yet all too often it is overlooked.
Whether you are organizing an event, con-
ducting telemarketing, driving traf;c to your
website or simply tweeting, all of these market-
ing activities are being conducted for one simple
reason: to generate leads for your business. So
if you fail to capture, follow up and measure
where those leads come from—and determine
how credible they wound up being and ultimately
how much revenue they generated—you have
to ask: What was the point of carrying out the
marketing activity in the ;rst place?
Another mistake companies tend to make
is failing to follow up possible future leads. For
example, you might conduct 10 days of telemarketing that generates 10 business appointments
for you. However, you might have also uncovered
a further 20 possible future prospects,
people who are interested in your offering
but can’t consider it until the start of their
new ;nancial year, or who need to wait until
their current arrangement expires. These are
valuable marketing assets. Therefore, you should
start a process of nurturing them and set reminders to follow up according to the information you
There are many tools to help you manage
your pipeline effectively, from simple spread-sheets, reminders and diaries to sophisticated
customer relationship management systems
(I recommend Sage ACT for smaller businesses).
If you undertake only one marketing-related
activity this month, plan to set up your company
with a pipeline management system. It will form
the basis of effective marketing for the rest of
the year. C
Clare Tucker is managing
director of The Vocational
which specializes in
teaching the basics of
marketing through short
“I VERY RARELY will go
into a business because
I think I’m going to make
money out of it,” says Sir
Richard Branson, founder
and chairman of Virgin
Group ( www.virgin.com), in
a recent Inc.com interview.
“What I [usually] see is a
situation where I think we
can really make a difference
to other people’s lives.”
“I sometimes think in
life you’ve got to dream big
by setting yourself seem-
ingly impossible challenges,”
Branson says. “You then
have to catch up with them.
You can make what people
believe is impossible pos-
sible if you set a big enough
target. If you don’t dream,
nothing happens. And we
like to dream big.”
If these brief quotes
speak to the entrepreneur in
you, you can watch the entire
interview (about two and half
minutes). Just visit www.
inc.com and type “Richard
Branson” in the search tool,
then click “Richard Branson:
Knight of Big Business Ideas”
from the list.—Will Fifield
How to maintain
a healthy pipeline
YOU’RE BUSY. VERY BUSY. There are always
distractions that demand your attention, so
it’s easy to get diverted away from your goals.
Costco member Andrew Lock, presenter of
a weekly Web TV show—available at www.
helpmybusiness.com—advises that you need
a MAP. Not a road map, but a MAP.
MAP stands for “massive
action plan,” and it’s
one of the most
important keys to
of running a
business is a bit
like running a
marathon,” says Lock.
If you start out sprinting,
you’ll get so worn out that you
won’t ;nish. That’s pointless. Similarly, in
business it’s much better to take action
consistently, doing something every day to
advance toward the ;nish line of your goals.
Without action, Lock advises, nothing will
happen. You’ll stay still, and after a while you
may even go backward in your business.
Don’t underestimate the value of action. It’s
more important than skills, quali;cations or
any other factor in business. Action makes
everything else happen. Without it, you don’t
even have a business.
“To create a good MAP, you may have to
get tough with yourself,” Lock says. Discipline
yourself during working days to ensure
that you get things done.
Schedule a start and end
time for all appoint-
what’s to stop
running on far
If you frequently get
irritated with how little
you’ve accomplished during a
day, get an accountability partner to help
you. Start each day with the predetermined
action that will make the most difference in your
business. Don’t start with mundane, busy tasks
such as checking email and so on; instead, begin
by bringing in some money.
Decide today what your MAP will be for this
week, for this month and in the new year. C
Do you have a MAP?