Sales and Marketing are two very different functions, but are necessary complements to each other. Marketing tells the public who you are and is an effective lead generation tool. Sales transforms those leads into clients. These two functions look very different across industries, but the key elements remain the same.
In recent years, the marketing landscape has changed dramatically. As Michael Hyatt put it, marketing is no longer about “shouting at a crowded marketplace”, but rather “participating in a dialogue with fellow travelers”. It’s more about facilitating a conversation and having others talking about you. Think about what makes your company special and what is worth talking about, then focus your social media efforts around it. Talking about dentistry may not seem like a catchy subject, but offering free dentistry to underprivileged youth once or twice a year will definitely get people talking.
Marketing comes in many different forms. Some forms make sense for your business, while others do not. Careful and targeted attention needs to be paid to where your audience is going to learn about who can help them with their specific problem. This information can be gathered from asking your potential customer’s directly, researching your competition, and using keyword planning tools to see what keywords people are searching for.
Once you’ve got your marketing down and generating leads, you now have to close the sale. How you get your customer from slightly interested to paying client is an important task. They need to be led through your sales cycle. This will also look very different across industries, but the sales cycle will generally follow this path:
- Qualify Lead
- Discover Need
- Solve Need
- Close Sale
- Build Relationship
Evaluate what your process should look like by asking how and determining what will set you apart from your competition. One of the key steps here is building relationships. Use customer relationship management tools to maintain your relationship with your customers. It’s less expensive to keep existing customers than to find new ones.
People are looking for the best solution at the best perceived value while exceeding their expectations. Exceeding customer expectations will paint you in a positive light and can actually motivate them to speak positively on your behalf. This is the best type of marketing around, but can be difficult to keep up with. Customer expectations will always continue to rise and you will constantly need to be altering your strategy to continually exceed them.
“Nothing happens until somebody sells something.” This quote from Bob Thomas is absolutely true, but doesn’t mean that your foundation can succeed with this pillar alone. Word gets around fast these days and a crappy product or service will kill the business even if you have the best sales team in the world.
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