24 Sales and Marketing Questions Every OEM and Dealer Needs to Ask in 2021

Written by: equipmentfx

August 8, 2021

24 Digital Marketing Questions to Accelerate Success in an Online World

Answer THESE Questions and Own Your Digital Future Today!

Most OEMs and dealers focus the majority of their marketing energy on traffic generation. The question most ask and address is “how much traffic do we get to our website” per month, per year and what are the associated trends; time on site, contact forms completed (leads) and other KPIs a company decides are meaningful.

Traffic Source Questions

A different set of questions should be:

  1. How many different and consistent sources of traffic do you have?
  2. How much traffic do you get from each source per month?
  3. How qualified is each source of traffic measured by sales and/or leads?

The main takeaway from this set of questions is how to address the diversification and quality of traffic you are generating, not total volume numbers, like time on site, or overall visitors. If you don’t diversify your traffic sources, and Google makes a change to its algorithm, your plan might be cooked overnight. And there are tons of great traffic sources and strategies besides Google.

The rule is quality over quantity. Always test new traffic sources and conversion optimization in your sales funnel to truly know what works and delivers a solid return on investment.

Lead Capture Questions

How you capture information and follow up on inquiries is critical to any online campaign. The most common way to capture traffic is with a creative headline that addresses a pain or emotion the customer or prospect has and then give them something for free to make that pain go away.

Common items are downloads, safety checklists, something to save money or time, but always with a low-risk offer they feel is worth trying, so they give you their contact information in exchange for what you are offering.


The first question any OEM or dealer can ask is whether you have an understanding of this process, and if you have an offer of value, or solid company value proposition you can promote. If you don’t have this, you need to set it up as soon as possible, or the prospects won’t give you their contact information and permission to follow up via email for continuing promotions.

For any lead capture program, the three questions to ask are:

  1. How many lead capture mechanisms or channels do you have for each product or service?
  2. What is your opt-in rate for each lead capture system?
  3. What is your sales conversion rate for each lead capture system?

The first question addresses the opportunity to capture leads for every product or service you offer. In most cases, you need several offers and processes for different types of prospects who may buy your product or service. Examples of what prospects like to see range from case studies, checklists and “how to” guides to avoid costly or common mistakes.

The two other questions in this set are really just KPI-related questions to measure effectiveness. The goal should ALWAYS be how to double sales without increasing traffic by measuring these critical indicators.

Prospect Follow-up Questions

The buying cycles in the equipment industry are often long and painful. The prospects educate themselves, route information to others, seek input, get a quote, wait some more, and some more and… well, it just happens this way.

Studies across multiple industries show about 50% of leads will buy within 18 months, and 85% of those buyers will make the purchase three to 18 months after expressing initial interest. It doesn’t matter what product it is. It’s a universal truth that needs to be addressed, so you stay on the prospect’s radar.

The same study and statistics show if you don’t have a consistent follow-up system in place, you’re missing out on at least 42% of your potential sales. Setting up and optimizing your follow-up system is not only critical, it’s urprisingly easy! And this helps immediately by leveraging leads with no additional cost.

To optimize your follow-up system, ask these questions:

  1. What is your prospect sales conversion rate after opting into your lead capture?
  2. What is the average length of time on your prospect list before purchasing?
  3. What is the average purchase price and associated gross profit?

More often than not, clients I work with don’t understand the full lifetime value of creating new customers. What do you have to invest to create a customer who spends $X per year, on average, at %X of gross profit by product or service, over a time horizon of two, three, five years or longer in many cases.

This is all critical in evaluating the “cost per lead” and “value per lead.” I have a matrix and worksheet I use with clients that help us plug in different scenarios to gauge investment against outcomes. A positive return on investment is very easy to obtain with good strategy and implementation.

Sales

OEMs love production throughput at the factories, followed by distribution to dealers, and the resulting sales and margins that come from each whole goods sale. After evaluating many client “systems” over the years, most fail to create a system to test and optimize the sales process.

Investments are made in online and offline promotional efforts, trade shows and literature, but scant little attention is paid to a process that tracks the flow from the first phone call to the closing call. Sales calls can and should be scripted, tested, and edited to optimize conversion rates. This is an area where you can double your business without any increase in traffic or investment.

The questions you should ask are:

  1. What is your scripted sales process for each type of lead who contacts you?
  2. What is your conversion rate by lead source?
  3. What is your average sales cycle?
  4. Where is this information being recorded?
  5. How easy is it to record this information into a CRM system?

Once you have your sales script and you’re measuring your conversion rates and sales cycles, then you systematically test to make improvements each month.

Product and Service Delivery Questions

The sale is really just the beginning in your customer life cycle. Now it’s aftermarket time to sell high-margin items and create long-term customers and lifetime customer value.

Creating memorable customer experiences in the equipment industry isn’t generally at the top of our priority list, but it’s an easy system to install and manage.

At this stage of your marketing evaluation, ask the following three questions:

  1. What is your system to WOW your customers?
  2. What is your system to get testimonials?
  3. What is your system to develop “before and after” case studies?
  4. What is your system for ratings, reviews, and promotion of these reviews?

Addressing question 1 is a thought-provoking and often a resource-challenging question. What SHOULD our system look like? What will it cost? Who is going to do this stuff? Is it effective and sustainable? In another post, I address the importance of questions 2 and 3, but they are critical to obtain consistently. For question 4, customers and prospects simply buy more from a company with more and higher ratings and reviews.

Investments like these are important to make. Referral marketing is still alive and well, and creating customer champions who tell others is still one of the best ways to grow your business. But there must be a “system” installed for predictive success.

Upsell and Cross-Sell Questions

McDonald’s built an entire business around a hamburger people knew to be of great, consistent quality and asking, “would you like some fries and a Coke to go with that burger?” The same approach applies to most industries that have complementary products and services.

Upsells and cross-sells are the fastest and easiest ways to increase the lifetime value of your customers. Aftermarket products and services typically are high margin, yet many times they are an afterthought in the minds of the sales staff and online marketing plan.

More customers are buying and interacting online. A solid retail and e-commerce strategy and online “store to floor” strategy are critical to increase sales per customer. Do you have a plan that addresses this?

And love them or hate them, sales reps are inconsistent with what they prioritize during their day. If the deal isn’t huge, or not talked about on the golf course, they forget about it. You have the opportunity to eliminate lead leakage at every touch point if you have an online and offline process to remind sales staff, customers and prospects about all that you sell practically automatically with the right system.

Ask yourself these simple questions about other opportunities:

  1. In order of priority, what high-margin, high-opportunity products or services can you provide to remind sales staff, customers and prospects of what you should be selling more of?
  2. What is your “recommendation engine” process to make these products visible and remind the customers during ANY interaction automatically at every possible touch point of what you sell?
  3. What is the average annual value of potential customer purchases compared to your best customers to compare the upside potential of underperforming customers?

Investing in a repeatable recommendation process is the fastest path to exceptional profitability. From the sales staff and technicians carrying Pendaflex files labeled by product or service special to Amazon style online recommendation tools, the options are numerous and easy to install with the right plan and focus.

Referral Questions

Referrals in the equipment business are a big part of what we do, depending on the industry sector and product type. And we have to combine this with online referral and survey tools to make the most of a campaign to leverage current customers and, hopefully, happy users of your equipment!

Most OEMs and dealers have some kind of system, but it’s typically sporadically used and managed, so inconsistency sets in, and opportunities are lost.

Ask these four questions of your sales and operations team:

  1. What is the system for requesting referrals?
  2. What is the value of a referral?
  3. What is the referral commission or rewards program?
  4. What are the emotional drivers of referring partners? In other words, what would motivate them to participate in the first place?

I hope this summary of 25 questions to ask of your marketing or internal teams is helpful. If you’d like a free self-assessment template, just ask. We’re happy to help.

About EquipmentFX Services

Over the years, the services we offer have evolved to meet each client’s unique needs. We like to lead with our proprietary A3 assessment to really understand the gaps and opportunities. From there we can discuss follow-on services that we can customize together.

After each assessment, the two questions clients usually ask us are “Can you just do this stuff for us?” followed by “We have marketing people—how can we make them and our processes more efficient?” And sometimes we simply deliver the road map and provide support as needed.

At the end of any engagement, you will have a formal framework and internal audit process to improve your program or build a program from scratch to create more new customers and to sell more to existing ones.

To find out more about the EquipmentFX A3 assessment, digital marketing or technology consulting services, please contact us.

Good selling…

Steve

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