Back in my salad days, I managed the office of a small manufacturing business for seven years, and during that time I discovered the secret to tracking which marketing methods worked.
Are you sitting down? It’s pretty revolutionary.
I simply asked, “How did you hear about us?”
Because I answered the telephone (in those days we didn’t have voice mail or email), I got to speak one-on-one with everyone who called inquiring about the company’s technical sewing services.
I kept a piece of paper by the telephone and each time someone new called, I always made sure to ask how he/she found us. Because these were pre-Internet days, the answers were usually, “The Thomas Register,” “the Yellow Pages,” or “You were referred to us.”
I’d then put a tick mark next to the appropriate answer on the piece of paper.
At the end of each quarter, I added up the tick marks — and that’s how we knew to keep advertising in the Yellow Pages (including which cities and categories) and the Thomas Register.
Low-tech I know, but it worked.
It still works today, too. I know, because with all the high-tech tools available for tracking marketing ROI, I still use this same exact method. (I also recommend it to the small business owners who work with me through my Annual Marketing Consulting Program.)
When someone new calls or emails me, I add this person’s name to a simple spreadsheet I keep in my desktop. I record Name, Company, How Found, Reason for Calling, Qualified Prospect, (Potential) Sale Amount, and Day Closed.
This simple spreadsheet helps me see at a glance how many inquiries I get each month, where they come from, and how long it can take to close a sale.
When I ask new clients this information, few if any know where their inquiries come from or even how long it can take from inquiry to sale. Knowing all this information is good because it helps you make better informed business decisions.
Granted, this method won’t work for all companies. But for small B2B manufacturers where one person is responsible for tracking sales (usually the VP of Business Development or the owner) it’s a quick and easy method for determining your marketing ROI.
Best of all, it’s free.
If you’re a small manufacturer, do you have other low-cost, low-tech methods for tracking marketing ROI? Please share them!