For as long as I can remember, the idea of the ‘last mile’ has referred to the final connection of some form of telecommunications to the end-users (in their homes / business). It’s the final piece of the puzzle. The massive job of building and laying infrastructure in a community or neighbourhood has been completed, and all that’s left to make everything work is the final connection into someone’s home or business. It’s the least efficient and often most difficult part of the entire process. I’m sure it makes for a perfect 80/20 Principle case study.
In the last few years I’ve noticed a new ‘last mile’ emerge as I’ve watched businesses embrace digital marketing and advertising. More and more businesses are realising that a large part of their marketing efforts need to move online into a digital space. Whether it’s a first website, the opening of a Facebook or Instagram Page. The investment of some money into Google or Facebook advertising.
The Objective is Sales
The danger in all of this this activity is losing site of the objective for embracing a stronger digital focus in the first place. If it’s a business we’re talking about, the objective is almost always to sell something. A product, a bum in a bed/seat, a service, etc. If all this digital activity doesn’t result in more revenue, then the effort is wasted. It would be like putting a fibre network into a local community and not connecting it up to any homes or businesses. The fibre is there but it’s achieving absolutely nothing for anyone.
Building a website is important. Opening a Business Facebook page is important. Spending money on Google and Facebook advertising is important. But if you don’t close the loop and connect the activity to a sale you can measure and track back to the activity, then why are you doing what you’re doing?
I’ve visited some companies that are doing incredible things digitally. As you look at the individual elements there are amazing numbers. Clicks on Google Ads are growing, cost per click is shrinking, click through rates are impressive. Analytics on the website show double digit growth of unique users week on week. And as you look at each element there are incredible results worth celebrating. That is, until you get into the Sales Office and start asking questions like these:
Where did your leads come from today?
How many were converted into a sale?
How regularly do you speak to the advertising team doing your Google and Facebook ads?
Do Google ads convert easier than Facebook ads?
Closing the Last Mile
It seems obvious, but it’s not happening in as many businesses as it should be. In my experience it’s happening in very few. While there are many reasons for this disconnect, what matters most is closing this ‘last mile’.
The sales team and the advertising team must meet regularly to discuss the number and quality of leads based on conversions by the sales team. Sales teams must give insight to the ads team on what sort of leads they’re looking for? Every two or three meetings you should invite the team from the warehouse to talk about what’s been sitting on the shelf and needs a little help getting out the door? Ad teams are improving all the time, and sales teams will understand they have to work a little harder when leads for those items land on their desks.
We’ve seen incredible success with clients when we’re able to have regular conversations with key people in particular positions. Digital doesn’t mean less conversation. Digital doesn’t mean everything is automated. Digital doesn’t mean easy. The ‘last mile’ isn’t going to close on it’s own, and if you don’t find a way to close it, you’ll never get the most from your marketing and sales efforts.