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Improving your 2012 marketing results without spending more marketing $$.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… 2012 planning season. You’re looking back at your firm’s 2011 results, trying to figure out what went well and how to drive better results (clients and revenue, of course) in 2012.

Before you let visions of social media strategies dance in your head, think about ways that you can improve results without spending more marketing money or even change your marketing strategy. Look no further than your current flow of prospective clients, also called your prospect pipeline to use a sales term. You’ve already “paid” for these prospects through your marketing, networking, or other lead generating activities.

Is your firm doing its absolute best to convert as many prospects as possible to clients? If your answer is yes, time to go back to your eggnog. If not, here are four steps to analyze results and identify areas of improvement. As you’ll see on the example chart below, even a small improvement can have a big impact.

Step 1. Quantify some of the key short-term indicators of longer term success. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Visitors – to your website, advertising, seminars, or front door
  • Contacts – phone calls, email messages, chat sessions
  • Consultations or Preliminary Meetings – initial meetings with your associates
  • New Clients – number of clients, as well as average client value

Step 2.
Chart out your 2011 results, using a spreadsheet to calculate percentages (ratios) at every stage like in the example below. Don’t let missing data be a roadblock. Use what you have, extrapolate where you can, and ask your ad vendors for help. It’s more important to have a starting point for 2012 planning, even if it is not 100% perfect.

Step 3. Think about how you can improve your ability to move prospective clients through each of the stages. Here are some ideas:

  • Improve your contact rate by adding more timely and educational content to your website.
  • Improve your meeting/consult rate by responding to all calls and messages within one hour, rather than one day.
  • Hold associate meetings to share best practices on building rapport and steering the preliminary meeting/consultation toward a signed contract.

Step 4.
Adjust your ratios based on where you think improvements can be made. This will improve the quantity of prospects moving through the pipeline, ultimately improving revenue.

Sample Data:

In the example above, just improving the way you manage you current flow of new business prospects by 10% will improve your overall revenue by 30%. It will also lower your acquisition cost, making your marketing $$ more effective. So before you throw more money at marketing efforts, make sure you’re doing absolutely everything you can to convert your current prospects into clients.

If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.

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