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Sales Strategy & Management

Unify Sales & Marketing Efforts

Whether you believe it or not, sales and marketing is nothing without the other. Here are four steps to merge them.

Mark Stevens

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I hear this question a million times over, and I scratch my head in wonder every time: “To achieve the growth we are targeting, do you think our company needs to focus on marketing or sales?” The question perplexes me because it makes me wonder why so many otherwise smart businesspeople fail to see that marketing and sales are inexorably linked. You can’t focus on one without the other; what’s more, they must be tightly integrated and reinforced. The question arises from the fact that most marketing people dislike salespeople. They don’t understand selling and, even worse, have a disdain for it. They build “beautiful and creative” bridges to nowhere. They expend big budgets. They vie for the dubious honour of being named Agency of the Year. They compete to recruit hotshot creative directors. But increasing sales? That’s not on their head-in-the-sand radar screens.

They don’t understand sales, they don’t care about sales and they want to be free to engage in marketing without the accountability of achieving business growth. That wastes time and money, and it leads businesspeople to believe that marketing doesn’t work. And it doesn’t when it’s not designed to drive sales.

A Unified Plan of Action

To successfully fuse sales and marketing in your business, consider the following:

1. Move forward in one direction:
Determine strategy that will govern how you make contact with prospects and retain clients. Develop an overall marketing umbrella that establishes your brand and trumpets the value it provides.

2. Be clear about your angle:
If your organisation creates this umbrella, be sure you understand it and find the angle in it that you want to base your sales approach on.

3. Focus on capturing customers:

Make sure that all of the marketing tools and initiatives at your disposal or that you invest in, are structured to capture customers. For example, if you have a website, what do you do to drive traffic to it? Most sites are forbidden planets hardly anyone visits. And once you drive traffic to your online destination, offer a reason for visitors to leave their email addresses or other contact information. On my site, visitors sign up for my blog and they are part of our family for life.

4. Don’t let leads slip away:
Contact every lead that arrives at your website, visits your stores or stops by your trade show stand. It amazes me how often companies of all sizes spend thousands of rands to attend trade shows, collect fishbowls full of leads and then wait weeks to contact them – if they contact them at all.

Use your next trade show to test the theory

Well-orchestrated trade show participation can and should be the perfect example of the power of marketing and sales acting as one. Companies managing trade show exhibition effectively:

  • Develop a message for the show in consultation with the salespeople as opposed to handing it to them after the fact.
  • Send salespeople, not marketing strategists, to attend the show, prepared to make sales on the spot.
  • Target every lead that is not sold at the show for immediate contact that week and for continuous follow up through to ultimate conversion.

Sales and marketing. Marketing and sales. Each needs the other. Each must reinforce the other. And always keep in mind IBM founder Tom Watson’s truism: “Nothing happens until a sale is made.”

Mark Stevens is a sales expert and the bestselling author of “Your Marketing Sucks and God Is a Salesman”.

Sales Strategy & Management

When The Customer Fixates On Price, 
It’s Probably Not About 
The Money

Customers often talk cost when they have vague concerns about the product. Your job is to find out and solve the real problem.

Grant Cardone

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If the person I’m working with can afford the product, but isn’t buying and continues to focus on the money, I realise this buyer has other concerns. While your customer may be objecting to price, know there is something else you might not know. He or she is thinking,

“Is this the right product? Is there a better product? Is this the right proposal? Will this solve our problem? Will I use it? What will other people think about my decision? Am I going to really use and enjoy this? Will this company take care of us? Am I better off buying something else? Will something better come out next week? Do I know enough to make a decision? Should we invest in something else? Is this going to be a mistake? Is this person going to let me down?”

When these other questions are handled, the price will no longer be the issue.

The right product will solve all the customers problems

Let’s say a man is buying a birthday present for his girlfriend. He finds something he thinks she will love. You tell him the price and he says it’s more than he can afford. What he’s actually saying is that he’s not completely sold on that product. If it’s too much for that ring, he either doesn’t love it himself or is not sure she will — or both.

You have to get the right product that solves all of his problems. Address other concerns and price won’t be the big issue. You can justify the price with other inventory. Don’t make the mistake of offering something with a lower price when you get a customer making price objections.

This is not a way to resolve the money problem. When you move the customer down to offer something cheaper, they are actually more likely to like the product even less than the first one. This will cause your buyer to believe you don’t have a solution.

Instead of moving them down, try moving them up. This will get the customer thinking in terms of value, not price. This will also determine whether the price objection was even valid or not. If a guy is looking at a R6 000 ring and objects to the price, show him a R9 000 ring. The R6 000 ring may become more attractive to him.

Help the customer feel like they’re making a good decision

Buyers are more concerned about making a good decision than how low the price is. What’s the worst that can happen by moving someone up in inventory?

  • He will look at something more expensive, which means he wasn’t committed to the original product.
  • He needs to move in the other direction, something cheaper. That makes the price objection valid.
  • He looks at the more expensive item but sees value in the original item.

Exhaust your inventory, not your price. You are losing just as many customers to more expensive products as you are to less expensive products. Your buyer would rather pay more and make the right decision than pay less and make a mistake.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Your Business Is Losing Customers

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Sales Strategy & Management

Take Your Sales Skills To The Next Level With These 5 Simple Steps

Learn to sell nearly anything.

Brian Tracy

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Entrepreneur Network partner Brian Tracy says one of the most valuable skills a person can have is the ability to sell anything to anyone.

The motivational speaker provides a few tips to help even the most beginner of salesman to improve their skills dramatically:

  1. Understand the needs of your customers.
  2. Sell yourself.
  3. Do research on the client.
  4. Ask questions and engage in a dialogue with your customers.

Finally, keep in mind that you should not only be selling – but also helping your customers. Selling is part of a relationship and the more established the relationship, the more effective your sales tactics will be.

To hear more about selling from Tracy click on the video below:

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Related: How To Find The Right Salespeople: And Attract Them To Your Business

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Sales Strategy & Management

Boost Your Business With Smart Delivery

Differentiate your business in the one way that customers value the most: deliver the goods on time.

Morné Stoltz

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It can be difficult to carve out a competitive advantage in today’s cutthroat business environment. For some companies, investments have been focused on creating digital advantage through measures like apps or fancy websites, or improved processes with clever technology to make things run faster and better. While all those strategies have their place, there could be a far simpler way to put your business ahead of the competition. Deliver the goods, in a very literal sense.

The Internet revolution has made today’s markets very competitive in all sorts of ways. Barriers to entering many markets have tumbled and new competitors are everywhere. Consumers have greater choice than ever and can easily compare prices and service. That is good for consumers, but it makes it hard for companies to attract and retain a loyal following.

By now, it should be no secret that people are willing to pay for convenience. In fact, many of the digital initiatives we see today are succeeding because of the convenience they provide. Take the Uber example: Using technology services, it brings together willing sellers with willing buyers, with the ultimate convenience of being able to see where your Uber is, who the driver is and what car to expect. Even more convenient, your Uber shows up when you need it.

Related: A 7-Step Guide To Starting Your Own Trade Business

Extend the same concept to physical goods, no matter what they may be and it is not difficult to see how a delivery service can easily put a big smile on your customers’ faces. Whether you are selling horse saddles, operate a bicycle store, run the local grocer, hardware outlet or restaurant: bringing your goods to your customers saves them time, makes it easier to buy and has the added effect of establishing further rapport to build trusted relationships.

According to Forbes, the Internet has habituated today’s shoppers to instant gratification. While physical goods obviously cannot be accessed at a click, there is no doubt that speedy delivery has become a driver of competitive advantage.

Getting a delivery service set up can be easy and low-cost provided your market is fairly local and your product relatively easy to transport. There are a range of options for vehicles, from a versatile bakkie or minivan capable of handling large loads or bigger items, through to a delivery motorbike or scooter. For those providing smaller items, scooters or motorbikes are a great option, as they enable convenience when your customers might most need it: during rush hour. A bike can zip through the traffic, impressing your customer by ensuring that they get what they need, without wasting time stuck in the car due to traffic or lack of parking.

A big question would be whether your deliveries are handled in-house or by a third party. There are pros and cons, but there is an increasing trend for many smaller businesses to make use of specialised logistics/ delivery operations. After all, this means you do not have to make the capital investment in a vehicle or scooter, pay a staff member to do the job and take on the insurance and management issues. Not only are you engaging an expert, you are also doing your bit to support another business.

Third-party delivery partners also work well for deliveries in far-flung areas, or if your product is bulky.

It is a good idea to see what other businesses of your size are doing and who they are using. It is important to choose a delivery partner whose service ethos matches your own.

Related: 5 Success Hacks To Grow Your Business

Whatever option you choose, make sure you understand the risk and have the right kind of business insurance in place. It is also a good idea to have the ability to monitor where your deliveries are in real time. If you have a third-party partner, they should  be able to provide this for you.

With most big stores offering delivery services as part of their value proposition, adding this choice to your service offering increasingly makes good business sense. Customers are quite prepared to pay a slight premium to get what they want, right to their front door – and they will keep on coming back for more.

MiWay is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970)

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