Running a small business requires you to wear many hats, and not all of them comfortably. If your business is to thrive, sooner or later, you need to think about business development, which means putting a marketing strategy in place.
Small businesses like yours share a number of challenges. You’re a diminutive fish in a huge pond—the pond being a marketplace oversaturated with messages and products. To sell your wares, to make your product a known entity, you must first be noticed.
If you possess a natural affinity for reaching and connecting with your target audience, or the bandwidth required to manage a multi-tiered marketing strategy, then you very well might be suited to the task.
However, you would hardly be alone if you lacked the know-how or time and energy to create and implement a marketing plan. Most company leaders have little to no understanding of the nuances of marketing. The tools and tactics change on a regular basis, and homing in on the right customers in the right way takes skill and research. What you don’t know can hurt you—or at the very least, it can waste your time and money. Don’t try to fake it.
You know your product inside and out. You know it better than anyone else. However, if you’re the brain trust behind the product, you’re not necessarily in the best position to communicate its benefits outside of the boardroom. All too often, we see tech innovators losing out on sales opportunities because they can’t speak in a language their business customers understand.
Conflating sales and marketing is another big mistake small businesses make. You may already have a sales team in place but don’t expect them to come up with your marketing strategy. Marketing is not the same as sales. Marketing is the engine driving sales. Your customer should have access to the right information at every point of the sales process and your marketing should communicate that information.
By the same token, having a good marketing strategy is worthless unless someone can actually close the deal. If your marketing strategy is not strategically and tactically funneled through to a sales objective you’ve wasted your time and money.
Almost every business can benefit from a third party assessment from an outside firm to take an objective look at what’s working and what’s needed to take sales to the next level. The exact formula, of course, is going to be different for each business and each company but it may well be the roadmap to your company’s future.