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Fine Tune Your ‘Commercial Engine’ to Retain and Attract Customers

Chip Burnham
By Chip Burnham Co-Founder, Fairmont Concepts

Shouldn’t developing great products and providing great service be enough to retain and attract customers? Well, it often is enough to retain customers, but not enough to attract them.

Attracting new customers requires focusing on the commercial side of the business, a focus that doesn’t come naturally to some otherwise skilled manufacturing leaders.

The result? Manufacturing companies consistently underspend on marketing and sales.

To make matters worse, once manufacturers decide to focus on their commercial engine, rapid change in the world of marketing makes it hard to know what to do.

How has Google changed its search algorithms and how do I adjust my website search engine optimization (SEO) to match? Should I hire a marketing agency to help me generate more leads? What’s “Remarketing;” isn’t once enough? Should I add marketing automation software to improve lead nurturing? Many of you may wonder, “Where do I start?”

Don’t buy the latest software or hire a lead-generation company until you have objectively analyzed your commercial engine (which spans all the way from generating leads through earning customer loyalty).

Identify what’s working and what needs work. You have limited resources, so be sure your initiatives will deliver a rapid ROI.

Ten key areas shown to have significant impact on commercial engine performance are:

  • Finding your best end markets
  • Uncovering the customer’s voice
  • Creating great messaging
  • Generating more leads
  • Nurturing your existing leads
  • Building a great sales team
  • Creating customer loyalty
  • Rightsizing the marketing budget
  • Making your current offerings more attractive
  • Hitting your profit goals

If you get an accurate, realistic assessment of your company’s performance in these ten areas, you can focus on your biggest weaknesses and avoid pouring limited resources into improvement projects that deliver less-than-optimal benefits.

The topics are not about techniques or technology. They are about fundamental performance. Technology can be employed if appropriate.

Identifying the weaknesses in your commercial engine before investing in improvements makes sense, but there is another unexpected benefit. When it comes time to launch an improvement program, your peers and leaders will have greater buy-in. They will see that you analyzed the entire commercial system first, and that your actions are focused on the areas with the best potential ROI.

There are several ways to assess your commercial engine on these ten topics. One is to gather your team, discuss your performance in each area, and prioritize them from weakest to strongest performance. This approach has drawbacks, the most significant being the possibility that the loudest or highest-ranking voice might dominate.

Another approach is to bring in outside resources to conduct an independent analysis, but you often find they will regurgitate what you already know (or worse, side with the opinions of the one cutting the check).

Another way is to take an online survey, such as the “Business Health Checkup” available on our website Fairmont Concepts. It is a free self-assessment tool that works best if at least three people from a company take the checkup—the more participants the more accurate the results.

Whatever approach you choose, analyzing your commercial engine on the ten key areas before investing in improvements will position your company to move ahead on the right issues.

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