As a startup, you cannot afford to sit back and relax. Every day can be a grind just to stay in business, and there’s no letting up off the gas pedal.
So, the question becomes, “How do you grow?” Do you do it by pushing for more sales? Through marketing? Maybe both? There’s a difference between sales and marketing, yet in a way they need to go hand in hand. Let me explain.
The Difference Between Sales and Marketing
Being a business owner myself, I see the daily challenges of sales and marketing. Sales teams think they are more important than marketing, and the marketing team thinks the sales team wouldn’t close any deals without them first getting someone activated with their brand.
Who’s right and who’s wrong? Well, both are right and wrong. Here’s the truth — sales needs marketing and marketing needs sales. When they aren’t working together, you won’t see the exponential growth you’re looking for as a business owner.
While there is a difference between sales and marketing, they need to work and coexist as a cohesive unit and team. They should also be in constant contact with each other and keeping the lines of communication open so that they can be strategic with their efforts and pinpoint areas to focus.
The Marketing Side
First things first, how do people find your brand? It could be by luck, word of mouth or some sort of marketing. Money follows attention. And if you aren’t getting the attention of your demographic, they move onto the next shiny object.
What is your “shiny object” that gets the attention of your audience? What are you doing with your marketing that creates a demand and a want?
Marketing is more than just getting eyeballs on your business or brand. That’s simply the first step. Once you have their attention, how do you get them interested in the product? What does your copy look like? What does your creative look like for your marketing campaigns? Are you conveying your message as to the problem you are fixing through your business? Are your marketing campaigns making people stop in their tracks and tell themselves that they NEED what you’re selling?
If not, you should probably look to improve your marketing/copywriting or hire someone who can do it for you.
The Sales Side
Sales, on the other hand, is the next step after marketing.
With sales, you’re closing the sale on a person or people who were engaged by the marketing. You can have the best marketing campaign out there, but if you can’t close sales, you’re in deep trouble.
The role of sales is to further educate the customer on the brand and narrow it down to what would best fit the needs of the customer. Sales needs to make the customer feel certain they are making the right decision and that they need to purchase your product/service in order to solve their problem.
How to Grow Through Sales
Without sales, your startup will eventually go out of business. With the difference between sales and marketing being apparent, there are a few things you need to do to improve your sales.
1. Understand Rejection
You hear the word “no” all the time in business. Most of the time it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the person you’re talking to. You need to understand their rejection.
Is it because they don’t have the money to purchase from you? You can easily fix that with setting them up on monthly payments. Are they saying no simply because they don’t understand something about the product/service? Perfect. Go back over the areas of confusion to help them fully understand.
Overall, get an understanding of why someone is telling you no. Figure out the rejection, turn it around, and you can write the sale.
2. Listen to Customer Needs
Sometimes the best thing you can do is just shut your mouth. Allow your customer to tell you what you need to hear in order to close the sale. If you keep butting in and interjecting, you’ll never allow the customer to tell you why the product/service isn’t right for them.
Listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time. If you’re doing most of the talking, you’re not going to be selling much of anything. No one likes being sold. Allow your customer to talk their way into why they need your product or service.
3. Show Customers the Benefits
It’s one thing to tell people how great your brand is, but it’s another to actually show them. If you have a physical product, show them how it works. Take the uncertainty out of the equation and you’ll see an increase in sales.
Far too many people try to sell someone on words alone. The fact is, customers are tough on salespeople and many times feel like they will say anything to close a sale. So, let the product/service do the talking for you and show them.
How to Grow Through Marketing
Marketing comes in many forms. You have marketing campaigns you need to pay for (think Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, billboards, radio spots, television commercials, etc.), and then there are free marketing options (social media, YouTube, blog content, email newsletters, etc.).
Which is best for your situation will be dependent on your ultimate goal. But using a mix will more than likely produce the best results.
Overall, your marketing efforts should be spent trying to grab attention. If your ads or copy is boring, you’ll fade into the background. If you have the money, you can have a much wider reach with your marketing.
The marketing campaigns you run with need to be very specific to your demographic. For instance, don’t put your marketing efforts and spend in an area where people are not affluent if you’re trying to sell a high-ticket product or service. You need to be smart and strategic with your marketing efforts.
On the flip side, social media is hot right now. Utilize these free platforms and figure out which ones are your best play. For instance, if you have a product that you want people to see, Instagram should be one of your top picks. If you have a service, you may want to consider Facebook.
The most underutilized social media platform when looking to sell B2B (business-to-business) is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is where all the business professionals and decision-makers are. Use social media to your advantage through your posts.
If you would like to learn more helpful tips and tactics to grow your business and be more profitable, check out the Incfile blog.