Once again I heard “I need more sales” and “My salespeople aren’t working hard enough.” My instant reaction was “Please tell me about your sales process beginning with your marketing plan including strategies and tactical execution.”
Then I heard again “We don’t need marketing. Our marketing is good, our sales and salespeople are the issue.” This SMB owner was one of the countless misinformed that I have come across throughout my career.
Marketing has been sold as some advertising, some logo, something that is secondary to the actual selling of the solutions. This is a complete farce.
For people to purchase your solutions (think increase sales), then they must know and begin to trust you. You’re attracting attention activities from social media, to Internet, to advertising, to even those first conversations with sales leads all are marketing. This is the first step or challenge in any sales process.
People buy from people they know and trust.
(Yes I did repeat that statement intentionally.)
They won’t have the opportunity to buy your product if you are unknown to them. Would you buy from a complete stranger? Think cold calling back in the days when salespeople physically knocked on doors selling their wares. How many doors did those salespeople need to knock on to sell makeup, a pair of shoes, etc.?
Possibly it is essential to gain clarity around the term sales process. Many have been conditioned to believe that the sales process is all about selling. That may be true if your SMB had individual marketing and sales departments. For the tremendous majority (97.3%) of all U.S. businesses with under 20 employees, salespeople and even the SMB owners wear numerous hats including marketing, selling and keeping (follow-up).
The sales process is actually a 3-phase circular process with Marketing being the first hurdle to clear. Then selling comes next. Finally, the last phase is keeping. To only emphasize the second phase, selling, as the entire sales has disastrous results for many SMBs.
Finally do not be confused by the term “social selling” as it really is a blend of “social marketing and social selling.” Again, this absence of clarity around this new sales term is creating a great deal of frustration to serious missteps by SMB owners and sales professionals.
My advice is if your goal is to increase sales, then return to your strategic plan and review your marketing plan along with all the other rich data within that strategic plan.
P.S. A marketing plan created by a marketing company is only one piece of the puzzle. Using that plan alone will probably create more unintended problems than you realize, including everything from misalignment to disengaged employees.
About the Author
Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S., Chief Results Officer of ADVANCED SYSTEMS, is the people and process problem solver for forward thinking SMB executives and sales
professionals in rapidly growing markets. She has 25 plus years experience in private and public sectors as an executive coach, workplace culture tactician as well as
nationally published author and recognized speaker who brings common sense solutions.
If you are tired of repetitive solutions that deliver minimal to short terms results, give
Leanne a call at 219.508.2859 central time or connect with her via any of the links noted below.
LinkedIn Pulse: www.linkedin.com/today/author/422702
Worldwide Coaching Magazine: www.worldwidecoachingmagazine.com/
NBiz Magazine: www.nbizmag.com
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.