Sales and Marketing Tips For 2013

With so much information and resource available nowadays, putting together an effective sales and marketing strategy can seem a very daunting task. So, I thought I'd put together a rough plan - or checklist of sorts - that will hopefully make the process of defining your strategy for 2013 a little bit easier.

 Sales and Marketing Tips For 2013

Identify Your Target Market

The very first thing that should be done is the identification of your target market. Although it seems far more exciting to launch into setting up complicated systems or to jump right into spreading your message on Twitter, you really have to ensure that you have a solid foundation in place. And that starts with knowing your market. You want to be as specific as you can with this, it will save you a lot of  wasted time, money and effort later.

Some questions you might want to ask yourself are:
  • Is customer location important to me?
  • What sectors will most likely be interested in my product or service?
  • What role would the person I need to talk to have? ie purchasing manager, head of sales etc.

Understand The Problem That Your Service Solves

This part of the process can be the most difficult for some small business owners. It's all too easy to focus on how your product works when, at least at the early stages, all your prospect wants to know is how it will benefit them.

Its a great idea to get this together in a really punchy and effective sentence, sometimes known as an elevator pitch. If you can succinctly convey the benefits to your prospective clients you'll be off to a great start, whether you're sending your message across social media sites, through an email campaign or at a face to face meeting.

Remember, the key is to focus on the benefits to your customer, not on the the features of your service. For example, rather than say 'our blue widgets have a spacial waterproof coating', you could say 'our waterproof widgets widgets will save you 30% on re-ordering costs'.

So, at this point you have worked out who you want to target and how exactly your product or service will benefit them. I can't stress just how important this is, having these points nailed will make the rest of your marketing much easier and far more successful.

Make Your Marketing Process 'Agile'

The concept of Agile Marketing may sound like another fad term that isn't worth worrying about, although this is something that is really worth putting into practice. The concept was borrowed from software developers, who use an agile development method to test their products.

Essentially, they employ a build, test, learn process that allows them to quickly release 'version one' of a given product, test the response from customers and then use the feedback to build and release version two, and so on.

So, how does this relate to marketing? Well, nowadays the digital marketing landscape changes very, very quickly and you simply have to be able to adapt to what the market needs. while you should develop a 12 month 'goal' the process shouldn't be set in stone - you should test your results on a daily or weekly basis, asking yourself these questions in particular:

  • What did or did not work this week (or yesterday)?
  • What can I do next week (or tomorrow) to either improve or keep momentum?

As a small business owner, this us where you can find your greatest strength - the ability to adapt in a much quicker timeframe than a larger competitor. Just don't let it consume you- you don't want to cross the line into time wasting. Set aside a fixed, regular slot that you can spend reviewing progress and implementing changes where needed.

Put More Of An Emphasis On Generating Leads Online

I've spoken about this in other posts on this blog, although the benefits of generating the majority of your leads online are huge.

For example, leads generated online cost an average of 62% less than leads generated through traditional methods. Plus, a Hinge Marketing Study found that businesses who generate 40% or more of their leads online grew 4x quicker than those who don't. Furthermore, they found that companies who generated more than 70% of their leads online were 70% more profitable than those who didn't.

To achieve this, work on your SEO and put together a Google AdWords campaign. An AdWords campaign can be very cost effective and successful if set up correctly and can give you instant exposure to your target market. Also, make sure you're active on social media sites - they can only help in spreading the word about your business.

Make Sure Your Sales And Marketing Processes Are Integrated And Automated

Its very important to make sure your sales and marketing  processes are aligned and integrated. You want to be able to track visitors as they come through all of your marketing channels. That way, you can measure exactly how well each is performing and where you need to make improvements.

Its also very important to make sure that all of the leads that your marketing efforts generate are well taken care of. You would set up a lead nurturing process for this, which would automatically capture leads and then warm them up until they were ready to become paying customers. I've written about this in more detail here, although a very quick overview would be that this automated system would schedule call backs, emails and letters for you so that a lot of the 'grunt' work is taken away from you.

This is a further advantage of using digital means to generate and handle your leads - it is very easy to track everything that is happening in your sales and marketing process, and the bulk of the work can be automated. This saves you a lot of time, money and effort and gives you more time to focus on providing your service.

Thanks again for reading, I hope you have a great start to 2013 and please see this post for a more in-depth look at working out your marketing process.

By Alan MacDougall

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Revenue Builder is a small business marketing strategy and tips blog designed to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.