A different type of marketing math

Yesterday, I suggested that the “marketing calculus” appropriate for generating new consulting engagements is a different one altogether than that of a more standardized, high-volume business.

Here’s what I mean:

Figuring out how to sell more ugly sweaters is one thing (not a diss, this is big business).

Like mosquito eradication, it’s clear cut.

Did we sell 500 more sweaters than we would have otherwise?

Do we have 15% more mosquito-blasting accounts signed up than we did this time last year?

Yes? Let’s do more of that.

No? Let’s try something else.

But with consulting services, this math doesn’t apply.

Instead, it’s more about:

  1. The aggregate improvement in lead flow, closed business, and profitability over, let’s say, a 6-12 month period (depending on the length of your sales cycle), and…
  2. The qualitative evaluation of how sales conversations and new client engagements are going, with an eye toward the specifics.

Are more people willing to speak with us?

Do more of those conversations “get serious?”

How do they react to the pricing we present?

How do they think about incorporating us into their budget?

Are we an essential part of the team they wouldn’t think of not using?

Or are we an expendable nice-to-have and have to claw our way in, tooth and nail, only to be dropped at the first sign of a budget crackdown?

The Point: The more niche, strategic, and “upmarket” you go, the less likely it is that “numbers game” marketing math is a useful framework to use…

And the more likely it is that a granular, long-time-horizon, qualitative approach is what’s needed.

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