Marketing and sales are very different in the scope of business, but are equally important. The dynamic of business is evolving and marketing and sales are two critical components of your small business that play a pivotal role in achieving success. It is common to use both terms interchangeably, but they actually represent very distinct strategies, each with a unique purpose and method.
Understanding the differences between a marketing strategy and sales strategy will shed light on how they contribute to your company’s growth and bottom line.
Marketing strategy vs. sales. Listen to the episode here!
Marketing Strategy is Building Awareness and Interest
Marketing is the action you take in your business to inform, educate and communicate your products and services to your ideal buyer. At its core, a marketing strategy will generate awareness and interest in your product, service or industry. It encompasses a wide array of activities aimed at attracting potential customers and establishing a brand’s presence in the market. Listed below are five key elements of a marketing strategy.
Identify Your Target Customer
The first step in creating a marketing strategy is to identify who the target customer is for your product or service. With thorough market research you can discover your potential customers’ behaviors, pain points, desires, values, and needs. Knowing who your ideal customer is will be helpful in visualizing and personalizing your marketing message to attract your buyers.
Creating a Stand Out Brand Image
Branding is the heart and soul of your small business. It is a unique identity that sets you apart from your competitors. Creating a stand out brand is crucial to standing out above the noise today. This includes designing a compelling logo, crafting a consistent brand voice, and determining how your product or service will be positioned in the market compared to competitors.
Value Based Content Marketing
Content marketing plays a significant role in marketing strategy. Creating valuable and relevant content will allow you to educate and inform potential buyers, as well as communicate about your products, services and industry as a whole. Content that has the best return on your investment is coming through the form of blog posts, videos, social media posts, and email marketing. These marketing channels are allowing you to take up real estate in your consumers mind ultimately positioning you as the expert in your industry.
Short form videos are picking up steam on social media. It is an incredible tool for bringing awareness to your products and services.
Generate Leads and Cultivate Future Buyers
Marketing strategies have an emphasis on generating leads. Leads are potential customers who have shown interest in your product or service and exchange an email address (or other contact information) for value as it relates to your product or service. This is typically done through various channels like email marketing, social media advertising, and search engine optimization (SEO). The goal is to convert the lead to a buyer.
The best way to nurture leads is through email marketing. Email marketing has stood the test of time and also remains an indispensable part of daily business activities. The current state of email marketing and the effectiveness it has in reaching and engaging audiences in the digital age continues to evolve. However, it remains a simple and cost-effective way to nurture your leads and communicate with your audience.
Execute a Marketing Plan
How will your customers buy from you if they do not know your products or services exist? You want to be easily recognized and stay top of mind for your current and potential consumers. The goal of branding, marketing and advertising is to inform, educate and communicate to potential buyers about your product or service. There are many ways to do this through running ads, hosting events, and leveraging social media platforms personally and professionally to reach a broader audience.
Consistency will be the key to your marketing success! Do you want sustainable and scalable results in your business? Consistency builds trust and credibility as a leader and expert in your industry. When your marketing plan is executed consistently, your consumers begin to recognize your brand as reputable; allowing you to create relationships with current and potential consumers.
Sales Strategy: Converting Interest into Revenue
Your marketing strategy is about informing, educating, and communicating about your business. Building brand awareness is a great way to generate interest in your products and services. However, a sales strategy is centered around converting the results of your marketing efforts into actual revenue. A sales strategy is much more tactical and aims to guide you or your sales team toward the desired revenue goals for the business by making high level decisions and taking action. Discover what a sales strategy entails below:
Leads vs. Qualified Leads
Not all leads are created equal. A Lead is anyone who has engaged with your company through a website inquiry, network event, a call-in, or other means. However, simply being a “lead” does not guarantee that this person will become a paying customer. Qualified leads are someone who has submitted or responded to a set of criteria to assess their ability and readiness to make a purchase.
A sales strategy involves finding “qualifying leads” based on criteria such as need, budget, timeline, and decision-making authority.
Sales Process Design
This involves creating a structured process that outlines how leads will be nurtured and converted into customers. This can take place through email automations, segmentation and value based campaigns if you are an online business or covert leads to buyers through your website. If your customer shop or visit your business at a physical location, you should have a clear process for the customer to make a purchase.
Whether you own an online business or a physical business location the sales process looks very similar in the form of initial contact, assessing needs, presenting an offer, overcoming objections or negotiations, and closing the deal. The sales process should always include a personalized follow up process. Every business should have a sales process that leads to the sale and ends with a new relationship with your customer.
Learning to Ask for the Money
Equipping your sales team with the necessary skills and product knowledge is critical. Anyone in charge of converting leads to buyers are essentially in charge of keeping the business open, running and profitable. The sales team should feel confident in why the company exists, how the company is set apart from their competitors and what they do. This is the basis of all sales conversations.
The sales team should be trained with an effective sales strategy. They need to effectively communicate the value proposition, address customer concerns, make a recommendation and then ask for the money. But, most sales training’s forget that the sales process can be emotional. Even the most experienced sales experts will experience a level of emotions when it comes to asking for money. Learning to ask for the money is more than a tactical strategy. It is an art of overcoming emotions and communicating with passion, persistence and confidence, despite your own feelings about money.
Building strong relationships with potential customers is essential. It is equally as important to keep in touch with your current customers. A well-crafted sales strategy includes networking and connecting as a major part of the overall plan.
“Selling is not about convincing people to buy from you. It’s about authentically solving problems and sharing solutions that genuinely transform lives.” – Deanna Cotten, Certified Business Made Simple Coach
Using your influence to build communities drives opportunities for networking and forming meaningful relationships. Whether in personal or professional contexts, purposeful networking can lead to collaboration, mentorship, and new opportunities.
Upselling and Cross-Selling
A sales strategy doesn’t end with collecting the cash. It also involves identifying opportunities to upsell or cross-sell additional products or services to existing customers, to enhance the customers experience while maximizing revenue for your company.
Follow up after a sale is important. Even if your customer is not ready to buy from you again today, you can nurture your customer towards new products and services that will provide a new or improved experience with your products and services.
The Interplay Between Marketing and Sales Strategies
Marketing strategy and sales strategy have distinct focuses but they are also closely related. Effective collaboration between the marketing strategy and sales strategy is crucial for success. The marketing and sales teams should be in close contact and in direct communication for the best results. Marketing efforts lay a foundation by generating interest and leads. The sales team can then convert the interest into revenue. Furthermore, feedback from the sales team can provide valuable data analytics and insights to refine marketing strategies and messaging.
By crafting a robust marketing strategy to create awareness and interest small businesses can achieve sustainable growth and lasting success.
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