Why Free Trials increase Sales & Customer Loyalty

Free or Low-Cost Trials

When creating a new offering, I would offer a free or low-cost trial of your product to the end-users and industry experts. Consumers look for social proof before they buy a product. Now if the product is new, none exists. To lower buyer resistance, you need to make it low risk and feel safe.

In addition to market research and product testing; the free or low-cost trial is a great way to build trust and get feedback. Surveys can be created to ask potential customers about their experience.

If your product helps to solve a customer’s problem they will be more than happy to share it with others; converting to paying users! The product will earn testimonials and endorsements. Testimonials and endorsements will address product reliability creating: loyalty, brand recognition, and Sales for your product.

Loss Leaders

In place of a free or low-cost trial, a loss leader can be an option. A loss leader is when you offer a product at a loss or break-even point to gain business in the future. Supermarkets do this all of the time when a new product is rolled out.

Another place I saw loss leaders was when I was in Field Sales. I was selling Dental equipment at the time. Certain customers were loyal to certain types of equipment. When I ask why they stated that these were the tools that they had used in school. When I called on Dental schools and Hospitals, I found they were locked up with large contacts. My larger competitors sold the equipment at cost practically giving it away. Why would they do this? My competitors were creating life-long customers who were trained on certain tools and refused to switch.

Connection, trust, and advocacy are essential for customer acquisition. It is your job as a brand to turn your customer base into evangelists.

The decision on developing and implementing offering free, low-cost trials and/or loss leaders will be different for each product.

Free, low-cost trials and loss leaders help to Increase Sales and Customer Loyalty.

How have you used free, low-cost trials and loss leaders to create Sales and Customer Loyalty?

Comment and share.

How to be a CMO & Create the Marketing Function of an Organization

EY-the-average-cmo.JPG

image via http://www.ey.com/gl/en/services/advisory/ey-dna-of-sales-and-marketing-leaders-reinvention-of-the-cmo#.WCsll-YrLIU

The role of CMO needs to focus on more than just marketing to increase sales as seen in this chart.

Image via http://blog.marketo.com/2007/04/are_you_a_cmo_o.html

To have success in the CMO role, you need to: get executive buy in on authority and the ability to make changes, otherwise you are doomed to fail.

Brand Message and Content Marketing

From a brand stand point, the brand messaging need to be in alignment. It should not take a genius to understand what your product does and how it will help the customer. To achieve this goal, you need to do the following: Audit, understand and improve Brand message, voice, sales, marketing collateral, print and digital properties.

Do the above before starting a content marketing program if the organization sells products because you will need to build and create a content tilt to be found by customers in search.

Developing Sales Processes and Shortening the Sales Cycle

Sales Managers hired; should train sales staff properly and hold Reps accountable to hit Revenue Goals. If you are tasked with creating/building out the marketing function of the organization, make sure that support staff are trained by the Sales Manager to handle inbound leads. Sales staff should be trained on objection handling, prospecting, product knowledge, making Sales, post Sales follow up and obtaining repeat business.

SMarketing

Have marketing partner with Sales. Go on Sales calls to understand customer objections /pain points to improve messaging and product. The goal of any Sales and Marketing program is to shorten sales cycles and increase Revenue.

Defining Your Target Market and Sales Channels

Audit, understand, and improve the sales structure of the organization, sales operations and sales processes. Define Sales Rep territories, compensations and commission structure using analysis that includes data from customer acquisition costs and ROI.

Decide if you will sell your product directly to customers or through re-sellers. Some companies do both.

Sales Management/Sales Reps

Hopefully if there is Sales Leadership at the company when you arrive, this will be handled. If no Sales people are present, start this process yourself and hire a seasoned rep or Manager from a larger competitor. If Sales leadership is there but has not done the above, give them a Sales Leadership improvement plan, look for a seasoned replacement and fire them. This applies to Sales Reps as well.

Market Research

Understand customers and buyer behaviors.

Share buyer personas and research with the sales staff.

image via smartdraw.com

Have sales staff complete a competitive analysis on how your company stacks up against your competition in the marketplace.

Product Development

Use Market Research to collaborate with product to come up with ideas for new products, features, promotions and pricing strategy.

Crossing the Chasm and Selling into New Markets

image via http://4.bp.blogspot.com/

Identify new markets to sell into. If Sales are stagnant, find a way to get in front of your customers before they become customers by using pricing in a crossing the chasm style analysis.

Proving you’re a CMO

Position marketing a source of revenue rather than a cost by putting marketing at the center of the organization. Showing how marketing can make an impact on the income statement beyond increasing sales. Show how marketing makes the organization run better.

Talent Branding

Improve the talent brand by creating a job site with employee stories. This job site will increase the amount of applicants and reduce recruitment advertising costs. Write more appealing job descriptions.

Attempt to make the organization the company of tomorrow by making it cross functional.

Company Revenue and Financials

Ask about the financial health of the company i.e. Churn rate, burn rate, Profitably, funding etc…

image via pinterest.com/explore/churn-rate

Ask the CEO about cash flow and if they can commit large amounts of cash to developing/executing marketing programs.

image via http://www.accountingcoach.com/financial-ratios/explanation/4

Data Driven Decisions

Above all, CMO’s need to use Data from Financials, Sales, Revenue and Analytics to make marketing decisions. The Data needs to be used continuously to justify marketing decisions and to pivot when marketing programs are not working.

The duties of the CMO will vary by industry and company size but these are the basics that a CMO must do to be successful.

What do you think makes a successful CMO? Comment and Share.

About the Author

Dan is passionate about using Marketing to help businesses drive sales. HubSpot Certified in Inbound Marketing, Dan has worked on various marketing assignments including Start Ups, a Political Campaign & a Digital Marketing Conference.

Prior to teaching, Dan served customers as an Outside Sales & Marketing Rep in NYC. In this role, he taught & trained Dentists on the company’s products & services using a consultative selling approach combined with direct marketing. He also supported the company’s marketing efforts at industry trade shows.

He writes & publishes a business blog on the topics of Sales, Marketing & Social Media entitled Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today; which has grown to over 16,000 followers on LinkedIn & over 11,000 on WordPress.

Dan is seeking a full-time marketing role in Direct, Inbound, Digital, Content & Social Media Marketing. He is willing to be a CMO to create and build out the Marketing function of your organization if it does not exist. If your company is hiring for roles in these areas, contact him directly via a free LinkedIn Message or email him at Dan@DanGalante.com to set up interviews.

2016 NY Auto Show Press Preview

Image via http://www.logo-designer.co/new-york-auto-show-unveils-new-logo-design-brand-strategy/

There are countless exhibits at the New York Auto Show that were integrated with cutting edge technology, Hybrids and Virtual Reality or VR for short. After two days of coverage on the press preview days, I am going to share my favorite product unveils and displays.

 

Nissan’s GTR unveil and press announcement

 

Hyundai’s IconiQ unveils and press announcement

 

Mazda’s MX-5RF press conference

 

Acura’s MDX unveil

 

Chevrolet Camero  ZL1 Press Announcement

 

Dodge Viper ACR

Lexus

 

Lexus VR

Honda Hatchback Prototype

 

The Ford Display

 

 

To see more pictures, press announcements & videos, go to my Facebook/Twitter pages @DanGalante.

If you are in the New York area, I suggest that you check it out! The New York International Auto Show is open to the public from Friday, March 25th to Sunday, April 3rd, 2016. Tickets cost $16 for Adults, $7  for Children & $14 for groups. For more information go to  http://www.autoshowny.com.

What cars & trucks do you want to see at the show? Comment below.