5-Step Roadmap to Win More Deals for Your Cannabis Marketing Agency

Cannabis marketing is a fascinating and competitive opportunity for marketing agencies to pursue. Not only is the industry creative and vibrant, but the products offer humor, wellness, community, and relaxation. Simply put, the campaigns are fun work. Closing deals with cannabis companies, on the other hand, is difficult work. Still, with the potential for U.S. cannabis businesses to generate up to $130 billion into the U.S. economy by 2024 (Marijuana Business Factbook), there’s plenty of work to go around. 

Sales process

So often, cannabis companies question the decision to hire a marketing agency when they already have internal resources. This is for good reason, many of them face razor thin margins thanks to market conditions. More than anything, cannabis companies need tangible results that justify a financial investment. So, your ability to find qualified prospects and nurture them through a sales process becomes the defining difference in your ability to expand into the market. 

A structured sales process provides clarity and consistency so agencies can navigate the cannabis industry’s unique challenges systematically, including trust building, lead qualification, nurturing, and finally, closing deals. A straightforward sales process is a roadmap and a strategic tool to overcome industry-specific challenges and foster revenue growth. Continue reading to learn our 5-step process for closing deals in the cannabis industry. 

Step 1: Know Your Target Audience and Craft a Buyer’s Journey

Target markets serve as the guiding compass for a strategic approach to marketing agency sales in any industry. Knowing your client audience’s specific demographic, needs, and preferences allows agencies to align their messages and services so they resonate with decision-makers. Agencies gain invaluable insights into behaviors, industry trends, and competitive landscapes by identifying target markets. This information empowers them to understand the unique challenges and opportunities within their niche, enabling the creation of specialized and compelling solutions. 

When choosing a target audience in the cannabis industry, understand this ecosystem is more than dispensaries and brands. From cultivation equipment providers to testing laboratories, packaging companies, and ancillary service providers, a diverse range of businesses operate within this landscape. These entities are vital to the industry’s infrastructure and also require expert assistance in developing targeted marketing campaigns. Navigating regulations, standing out in a competitive market, and effectively communicating their unique value propositions with aligned marketing initiatives can be even more challenging for these cannabis-adjacent companies. Typically, they are operators rather than marketing gurus. Some examples of cannabis-adjacent businesses and their marketing challenges include: 

Dispensaries: Positioning their retail locations as trusted and reputable establishments by emphasizing product quality, variety, and customer experience to attract and retain loyal clientele. 

Cannabis Brands:  Developing a a balance between brand recognition, market promotion, and product distribution that inspires loyalty with both dispensaries and end-users.  

Cultivation Equipment Providers: Enhancing visibility and credibility by crafting a brand image that emphasizes cutting-edge cultivation technology, thus attracting businesses seeking advanced solutions for their operations.

CBD Product Manufacturers: Navigating the competitive landscape by creating a distinctive brand identity and leveraging strategic marketing to effectively communicate the unique offerings of CBD products.

Testing Laboratories: Establishing trust and credibility in the market by conveying the reliability and expertise of testing services, fostering increased demand and client confidence.

Software and Technology Providers: Streamlining operations and increasing market share by effectively marketing software solutions tailored to inventory management, compliance tracking, and point-of-sale systems.

Seed Banks and Genetics Companies: Promoting unique strains and breeding programs effectively, establishing the agency as an essential partner in creating brand awareness and attracting a customer base.

Research and Development Firms: Showcasing innovations to potential investors and industry stakeholders, positioning the agency as a key player in marketing groundbreaking advancements in the cannabis sector.

Regardless of their marketing challenges, each business must go through the same buyer’s journey to become a client at a marketing agency. Sales teams should customize this journey to a target market’s needs, but the framework remains the same: awareness, consideration, and decision. 

Crafting a Buyer’s Journey 

In Vindesta’s interview with Mark Roberge, the author of best-selling book Sales Acceleration Formula says, “A common mistake agencies make is taking an “inside-out” approach to selling; that is, they try to force buyers to understand their services, rather than understand how to help buyers.” His solution? A crafted roadmap that outlines the 3-step journey every prospect takes to become a client. 

Awareness: At this initial phase, potential cannabis clients (advertisers) recognize a challenge or opportunity but may not clearly understand how to address it. Agencies must focus on creating content that raises awareness of how their services solve advertiser problems, establishing themselves as industry experts. 

Example content for attracting cannabis businesses and making them aware of your company are: 

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Social media posts
  • Educational videos
  • Podcast episodes

Consideration: In this phase, potential clients are actively seeking solutions to their marketing challenges. Cannabis marketing experts should demonstrate their expertise and showcase case studies that address pain points.

Other examples of content for consideration stage: 

  • Comparison guides
  • Webinars
  • Whitepapers or eBooks
  • Interactive tools

Decision: In the decision stage, potential clients are ready to commit. Marketing agencies need to provide clear and compelling reasons why their services are the best choice by focusing on the tangible benefits and addressing known objections, and differentiating from their competitors. 

Help cannabis companies make the decision to work with your agency by providing the following content: 

  • Product demos
  • Free trials or samples
  • Testimonials
  • FAQ documents
  • Personalized consultations

Step 2: Develop a Winning B2B Prospecting Strategy 

Sales prospecting is a process in the awareness stage during which sales teams identify and engage potential customers (opportunities) to convert them into paying clients. It involves the systematic search and initial contact of businesses that fit the criteria for an ideal customer. Sales prospecting creates a pipeline of potential clients who have expressed interest in marketing services using both inbound and outbound marketing techniques. 

Inbound sales techniques focus on attracting potential customers through content creation, online presence, and providing value that naturally draws them in. Inbound sales prospecting includes strategies such as content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and creating informative resources like blog posts, ebooks, and webinars. In this approach, potential clients discover the business through their own research or interactions with the brand’s content.

Outbound techniques involve proactively reaching out to potential clients. This can include methods like cold calling, cold emailing, direct mail, and targeted advertising. Outbound sales prospecting is about initiating contact with potential leads, often based on data-driven targeting or specific criteria that match the ideal client profile. It’s a more direct and proactive approach to identifying and engaging potential customers.

An effective sales prospecting strategy requires a deliberate combination of inbound and outbound techniques strategically aligned with clear goals and objectives. Whether it’s expanding the client base, increasing brand visibility, or driving specific conversions, a well-defined set of goals empowers businesses to refine their prospecting approach, measure success, and adapt strategies for optimal results. 

Step 3: Develop a B2B Discovery Call Guide 

A discovery call is the initial conversation between a salesperson and a potential client. It uncovers the prospect’s needs, challenges, and goals. However, clients aren’t always forthcoming in this first conversation. Building rapport with prospects requires active listening, empathy, and genuine interest in their business. Once they feel comfortable opening up, salespeople can qualify a candidate by asking targeted questions that assess if their needs align with the agency’s services and if there is a potential for a mutually beneficial partnership. A one-page discovery call guide helps the salesperson know the right questions to ask based on a client’s profile. Check out our top 10 discovery questions below!

Top 10 Sales Discovery Questions to Ask Your Cannabis Sales Leads 

  1. What are your current advertising goals and objectives for your cannabis business?
  2. How do you currently allocate your advertising budget across different channels and platforms?
  3. What specific challenges or pain points are you experiencing with your current advertising efforts?
  4. Who is your target audience for your cannabis products/services, and what do you know about their demographics and preferences?
  5. What kind of messaging or content resonates best with your target audience?
  6. Have you tried any advertising strategies in the past that have been particularly successful or unsuccessful?
  7. What do you perceive as the biggest opportunities for growth in the cannabis industry, and how do you plan to capitalize on them through advertising?
  8. How do you measure the success or ROI of your advertising campaigns?
  9. What is your timeline for implementing new advertising initiatives ?
  10. Who are the key decision-makers involved in this process?

Step 4: Customize Your Buyer Pitch for Cannabis Industry Success

A sales pitch is a persuasive presentation or conversation designed to convince a potential client of the value and benefits of a marketing service in the How to Overcome Sales Objections”Consideration Phase.” Compelling sales pitches include these four elements:

  • A demonstrated understanding of client goals and market conditions
  • Clear value propositions.
  • Solutions to pain points.
  • A concise activation plan.

A persuasive sales pitch hinges on storytelling, demonstrating a deep understanding of the client’s needs and showcasing the agency’s unique selling points. Marketing agencies can demonstrate value in a sales pitch by showcasing their expertise through shared insights, relevance through industry knowledge, and success through case studies that highlight the impact of their services in addressing challenges. By telling a story that resonates with the prospect’s pain points, a salesperson positions the agency as a “partner with a plan.”

Step 5: Sealing the Deal: Key Points in the Cannabis Industry

Closing the sale, or “Decision,” is the final step in the sales process. Closing is when a salesperson asks for a commitment from the prospect to purchase marketing services. To prepare for potential obstacles during closing, salespeople anticipate objections by identifying common concerns and asking probing questions to uncover the root of their hesitation. A proactive approach enables confident responses that address client concerns. Here are a few of our favorite questions to uncover opportunity objections:

  1. What concerns or hesitations do you have about moving forward with this product/service?
  2. Can you share any challenges or obstacles you foresee in implementing our solution?
  3. Is there anything specific that’s holding you back from making a decision right now?

The most successful negotiations at close come to mutually beneficial outcomes, a win-win strategy. Focusing on win-win deals strengthens long-term relationships because both parties feel satisfied with the agreement. By the time they get to the closing stage, an expert salesperson already knows the outcome because they have employed a tactic called trial closes. These are subtle attempts to confirm the prospect’s interest and address concerns throughout the entire sales process. The salesperson creates opportunities for small conversions at every point in the buyer’s journey because trial closes help gauge readiness and facilitate the final commitment.

How to Overcome Sales Objections

  • Active Listening:  Allow the prospect to voice their concerns without interrupting. Pay close attention to understand any objections.
  • Empathize: Show empathy and compassion towards the prospect’s concerns. Let them know you appreciate their perspective.
  • Clarify Objections: Ask follow-up questions to clarify the objection and gain deeper insights into the issue.
  • Address Objections Directly: Provide relevant information or address concerns directly. Highlight how your product or service can solve their problems.
  • Offer Solutions: Propose solutions that address their objections. Tailor your response to the prospect’s needs and preferences.
  • Provide Social Proof: Share success stories, case studies, or testimonials from satisfied customers to demonstrate the effectiveness of your product or service.
  • Handle Objections Preemptively: Anticipate and proactively address common objections during your sales pitch. This alleviates concerns before the prospect raises them.
  • Stay Positive: Maintain a positive attitude toward your product or service. Your confidence can reassure the prospect and instill trust in your ability to deliver.
  • Ask For The Sale: Once you have addressed the prospect’s objections satisfactorily, don’t hesitate to ask for the sale. Guide them towards making a decision and provide any additional support or information they may need to finalize the deal.
  • Follow-Up: If the prospect hesitates, follow up with them later. Continue to nurture the relationship and provide value until they are ready to move forward.

Measuring and Analyzing Results

Tracking results in the sales process provides insights into the effectiveness of sales strategies, helps identify areas for improvement, and allows sales teams to make informed decisions for better performance. Standard key performance indicators (KPIs) in sales include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Lead generation metrics
  • Average deal size
  • Sales cycle duration

Marketing agencies apply learnings from sales KPIs to improve their conversion pace, lead generation efficiency, and targeted messaging. Regularly reviewing and adapting strategies based on these insights improves the overall effectiveness of marketing agencies in generating and closing leads.

Take the Steps to Success

The 5-step roadmap to success for cannabis marketing agencies encompasses target audience identification, crafting a buyer’s journey, developing a winning B2B prospecting strategy, customizing buyer pitches, and sealing deals effectively. This roadmap provides a comprehensive guide rooted in real-world success stories within the cannabis industry. Drawing from proven strategies, we encourage readers to implement these steps, leveraging our insights gained from closing deals in this unique market. 

As the cannabis industry continues to expand into new regions, embrace these strategies to position your marketing agencies for success, tapping into new markets and opportunities emerging daily. Now is the time to apply these proven tactics and thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis marketing.