If your small business has a sales team, or someone devoted to selling, I’d like to tell you something that will help make their jobs easier, and in turn, will help your company produce more sales. It is not a secret. In fact, companies have been doing this successfully for years. What is it?
To answer this, let’s ask the sales reps: What is one of the main things that could help make your job easier? I guarantee that one of the top three answers would be that they would like more qualified prospects and leads that they can close. And how can they get more prospects? Through marketing, advertising and other lead-generation efforts.
Hmmm…so why is it that many small businesses operate without a marketing department or any defined marketing strategy? What about your company?
If a company has no marketing staff, no defined marketing budget or a strategy for creating more awareness for the company, its brand or its products or services, this makes the job of the sales representative immensely more difficult. Advertising, marketing and public relations all serve to educate, create top-of-mind awareness and encourage customers to buy.These marketing activities work to:
- Present the company and its offerings in a positive light
- Drive interested parties to contact the company by phone, email or web if they are in need of that particular product or service
- Increase the close rate and lower the sales cycle because of that awareness
Many small businesses leave the marketing initiatives to the salespeople, figuring that they can lump these two job descriptions together to save the company valuable resources. I see this all the time when I browse online job boards. Many of the titles include the words “sales and marketing” together, and often interchangeably. Why is this wrong? Because sales and marketing, although linked, are inherently different jobs. Sales people need to be focused on networking, building relationships with prospects, partners and clients, developing a database, nurturing sales leads, presenting, closing and customer relationship management. If they are truly performing all of these things, how do they have time to focus on lead-generation efforts? In addition, many salespeople have not been trained in where and how to market and communicate effectively and creatively on the Web or via the various marketing and advertising vehicles.
Still other companies leave the marketing efforts to the administrative staff. Why is this also ineffective? As in the example of the sales reps doing all of the marketing, above, the administrative team may have limited or no knowledge of how to market effectively. Can they create and send out your company newsletter or update your blog and social media pages? Sure. Do they always know the most effective way to do these things? Probably not. The administrative team can be a good ally for a marketing department or agency because they can help coordinate and prioritize the marketing activities for the entire company. But when it comes to creating and executing a solid marketing strategy, in most cases, this task is better left to the marketing professionals.
A marketing firm usually has trained professionals with degrees in marketing, advertising or communications. They have studied and practiced the art of creating and delivering an effective marketing message to the right audience and via the right advertising medium.
To sum it up, your sales people are begging you for some quality, lead generation efforts. Make sure that your business is working from an updated and strategic marketing plan that is aligned with its sales goals, and you have the proper internal or outsourced marketing resources to execute that plan. This will enable your sales team to focus more on lead nurturing, closing, customer relationship management and building the business. Isn’t that your ultimate goal?