In our recent blog post, Networking is Still a Viable Way to Grow a Business, we talked about five tips to help determine what types of networking groups are best for you to join. But once you find groups that are a good fit for you and your business, how do you track the actual effectiveness of the group to see if it’s generating business leads, or business insights, on a regular basis? Assuming that you are a regular attendee of the group, is it really worth your while?
To answer these questions, you’ll first need to determine your intention for joining the group in the first place (which hopefully you did before you joined). For most people, lead generation and learning opportunities are the two major reasons they join a group.
Once you’ve attended a good amount of meetings, there has to be a quantifiable way to assess whether or not a group is providing you with what you need. For instance, if you joined a group purely for business leads, and you don’t get any after year, you might want to move on.
But even those of us with the finest of memories need a way to track this progress. Enter the spreadsheet. Whether it’s Excel or Numbers, a basic spreadsheet that contains all pertinent info — like networking group name, leads generated, business attained, etc. — is what you’ll need to be able to ascertain, at a glance, which groups are your top performers.
Cutting out groups that aren’t yielding results frees up time to invest into groups that are bringing you business, knowledge — or both. If the benefits are substantial, go to your rotary every week instead of only once per month. If that’s where the business is, why spend time with a group that’s underperforming?
The Sales Funnel
Typically, a 10-1 ratio is still a good benchmark of success. If one out of every ten leads becomes a paying customer, that’s good. At Tingalls Graphic Design, we refer to this as a sales funnel or a “pipeline.” How many actual customers do you need a year for your business to remain healthy?
Even if a group is providing you with an ample amount of leads, it’s good to know how many of them became prospects and ultimately your customers. If a group keeps producing leads that can’t afford you, it doesn’t really matter how many you acquire, does it? On the other hand, a handful of qualified leads can yield more business in less time — and require less effort.
If you’re not big on Excel or Numbers, there’s an app called Insightly, which was created for the sole purpose of handling your customer relationship management (CRM) — and it’s FREE!
Getting into the habit of tracking all of your networking leads, as well as other sources of leads like email campaigns and web traffic, can go a long way in helping your business grow.
At first it may be difficult to consistently track these results. But isn’t your business worth the effort?
Thank you for visiting Tingalls Graphic Design! We hope your networking efforts are wildly successful!
Looking to check out a few local organizations?
If you’re a Tingalls client, you’re welcome to attend one of the networking events we frequent as a guest. Organizations we’re part of include Dane Buy Local, the Fitchburg Chamber, the Middleton Chamber and South Madison Rotary. Just contact Tingalls Graphic Design and let us know!