If you are a small business owner today and you are feeling disappointed with the returns on your marketing efforts, take the time to consider if your sales goals are supported by the plan you have to turn leads into actual sales.
To see this clearly, it is really important to understand the difference between marketing and sales. It is true that marketing and sales are both aimed at increasing revenue, however marketing drives prospects and leads, while sales utilize those leads to close deals or convert interested consumers into buyers. A successful marketing campaign can be hallmarked by “going viral” in social media, lots of engagement, clicks, inquiry emails and phone calls. A successful sales campaign is proven in purchases.
Marketing is anything that reaches out and persuades potential consumers and the sales process is everything that you do to close the sale and get a signed agreement or contract. Marketing grooms a targets potential to buy and sales “rings up the purchase” so to speak. Marketing reminds the buyer that the product is still on the market, sales maintains the relationship and checks in to see when the buyer needs to replenish. The sales process consists of interpersonal interaction, while marketing creates an awareness from a distance. sales are usually accomplished by a one-on-one meeting, cold calls, and networking. It’s anything that engages you with the prospect or customer on a personal level rather than at a distance. Most of the time the prospect or potential customer has been driven to you via marketing efforts. Marketing and sales should work cohesively and once a company is established marketing and sales will be intertwined.
A recent survey conducted by Infusionsoft and LeadPages very clearly illustrates the misunderstanding and disconnect many business owners have to the relationship between marketing and sales. In the survey conducted by Infusionsoft, a small business marketing management platform and LeadPages, a platform used for digital lead generation and subscription campaigns, small business owners show overwhelming insecurity about the effectiveness of their campaigns as they are related to sales. (The full report can be found @ https://www.leadpages.net/small-business-marketing).
The 2016 Small Business Marketing Trends Report was conducted among 1000 small business owners who, when asked if they felt their current marketing was effective nearly 50% said “no” and another 13% responded, “I don’t know”. 51% of those surveyed sited “Driving Sales” as their #1 marketing goal. Interestingly, however twenty-one percent of small business owners stated that they “don’t store contact information anywhere” while only 24 percent use customer relationship management (CRM) software and staggeringly forty-five percent don’t maintain an email list at all. Additionally 47% of those surveyed manage their own marketing and sales, 24% have a single marketing manager on staff overseeing all digital channels and initiatives and only 17% contract at least part of their marketing to an agency.
I frequently meet with small business owners who feel overwhelmed juggling their business’ operational demands, the constantly evolving digital marketing landscape and while striving to close sales. There are so many components to marketing a business to compete in every industry and Indeed, in many small organizations, owners typically perform both sales and marketing tasks. Nevertheless, marketing is different from sales and as an organization grows, the roles and responsibilities become more specialized. That is why it is important to have a strong architecture for each arm that influences your revenue.
Sales are the #1 goal for small businesses, but a strategic sales plan is a key component that is often neglected. One of the first things I like to gain an understanding of with a new client is what is the future sales plan for turning leads and inquiries into paying clients or consumers? Who is ultimately responsible for turning our marketing efforts into a sale? There exists a tiny gray area between influence and purchase where a final connection has to be made at a more micro level. As a marketer my concern is the many ie How many eyes can I get on this ad? How many clicks can I get from this content to the website? How many different keywords can I get this site ranked for? And I always want the answer to “how many?” to be huge! When I say that a purchase happens at a more micro level, I mean that the close of a sale is a much more intimate process. And it should be. And when I ask who is responsible for closing sales it has to be someone with a keen understanding of the product, the buyer and their individual need to buy it. But most importantly that person who is dedicated to making calls and knocking on doors and should have a proven track record for closing.
When I meet a potential client who has a plan for customer relationship management and has employed a dedicated sales specialist or has sales experience themselves, I feel confident that the hours I spend on marketing will funnel into the right hands and that there is a high potential for success.
Written By Amee Gray
Amee Gray is a digital Marketing Strategist and owner of Ms.Gray Marketing in Los Angeles.