Believe it or not, many people don’t know that there is a difference between sales and marketing. When I am doing business plans for most people, I get asked this question. I took it lightly until I saw one of the corporate people getting confused.
Many business owners suffer from low sales and poor communications with staff and investors. If a business has strong, convincing marketing, the sales will come easily. If the business has weak marketing, the company must spend a lot of time and money, and work very hard, to gather sales. I guess you see the difference, most didn’t.
Moving from self-employed to big business
One difference between those who are self-employed, employed by yourself and those who owned thriving businesses, was that those who are self-employed were often good at sales but poor at marketing. Those in the business market, multinational company owners, on the other hand, are good at both sales and marketing.
Sales is what you do in person, one-on-one. Marketing is sales done via a system. Both sales and marketing are important for the success of a business. For the self-employed person to transition to be the business owner, they must take their skills at selling one-on-one and learn how to create a system of sales that creates more leads, which is marketing.
The basic rules of marketing are fairly simple, but like most arts, it takes time and practice to become adept at applying them successfully. Always make sure you know your audience and that your marketing tool is designed for that audience. In every marketing effort, include these three ingredients:
Identify a need
Provide a solution
Answer your customer’s question: What’s in it for me?
Often, along with answering this question, you can use special offers, and communicate a sense of urgency for the customer to respond
Marketing tools you can use today
There are many tools you can use to market to potential customers and create a number of leads for your sales department to close. Thankfully, with the rise of technology, the cost of marketing has gone down, and if done right, you can create more leads for less money.
The following are some great places to start your marketing efforts for your business at little-to-no cost.
It’s important to build up your email lists and to utilize those lists to market your products and services. There are many ways to build up your email lists, from having a frequent newsletter and allowing people to sign up for your newsletter on your website, to asking to add every contact you meet in various networking groups to your list. The great thing about email lists is you have a group of people who have already expressed interest in you and what you do. Taking advantage of that and staying top of mind is a no brainer. Point of caution, make sure where you get your leads. The probability of closing deals at Fashion Bar versus Jesus centre should be calculated. What kind of people will you meet at Kapana.
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide great, low-cost ways of reaching potential customers with your products and services. For very little money, you can establish target ads and get the attention of the targeted groups of people by utilizing the demographic and psychographic filters built into these platforms advertising services.
There’s nothing like word of mouth marketing, and when your existing customers and partners can work for you, good things will happen. One way to build your business is to offer referral fees to customers and partners who bring in qualified leads that close. And with technology, it’s become much easier to track these types of programs. For instance, many Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM) have referral programs built in.
Did you know that what you’re reading is a piece of marketing? Each week, Mr. T writes to The Villager. I end up doing business with most of the people. Even you can link up and do business too. On our company, we create useful, relevant content that we give away for free through our website. These pieces of content get shared to hundreds of thousands of people (through email and social media), generating interest in our company, products, and services. Sharing this information for free is a powerful marketing tool for us, and it is proof that marketing can be both useful for customers as well as for your company.
If you want to see your business grow, it’s time to focus on marketing as part of your sales funnel. There’s no time like the present to start. These are just a handful of the options available to you in today’s marketplace, but they’re a great place to start. Master them and you’ll be well ahead of your competition.