This week I’m talking about the wants and desires of small businesses to have a right sales and marketing alignment. When I look back over recent history, arguably no company has managed to achieve this as well as Apple Inc mostly under the leadership of Steve Jobs. He went to great lengths to make sure that the user experience was so unique that the marketing aligned to sell the product.
Steve Jobs and Apple took it to a whole new level when they brought in Drexler, the CEO of Gap store to design what we now call the Apple store in 2001. Steve Jobs was impressed with how the Gap store was designed and the customer experience given that he desired that within Apple. Jobs took this even further by being granted a trademark in 2013 for the Apple store design and layout that included most things from the glass windows, display screens on the back walls and even down to the rectangular tables. Jobs new the power of marketing and sales alignment so well, he trademarked it.
“I want to automate my sales and marketing to generate simple sales.”
Many small business owners believe that when automating a sales and marketing process it can help make things simple, like gaining a sale off the back of a single piece of marketing such as a Facebook post. But unless you understand the sales process of your ideal customer, this will rarely work. For example, how many times do they have to see an image before they speak to the seller or convert. Once you know this information you can automate the amount of times you post and re-target.
So what steps should you take?
First, you need to be able to map out your sales process using a sales funnel like SPANCOP. Then, you can use technology to automate your process such as a CRM tool like HubSpot; there are free versions of CRMs available for small businesses. For marketing automation, you can use social media managers such as Hootsuite, or for a free version use the platform’s own tools such as Facebook Business Manager.
“I want to stick to a process.”
Most businesses lose faith in what they are doing when their sales and marketing isn’t driving sales. Its easy to go off on a tangent, add things to the website, create more flyers, or attend every networking meeting you can find, but those when not thought through can be the main reason that businesses lose their process and find it hard to align their sales and marketing. The simplest way to stick to a process is to make sure that you have clearly mapped out your proven sales strategy to understand the buying cycle.
If you feel that you are losing sales and marketing alignment go back to SPANCOP. It is your proven sales funnel of understanding where you customer is, have faith in your original process and your sales and marketing alignment will continue to fall into place. Remember you can always adapt just make sure that any changes are based on proven data.
“I want my marketing to drive automatic sales.”
You can’t always market your way into a sale. Sales is a number game and the more you market the more likely you are to achieve a higher amount of sales, but by consistently marketing without the relevant sales message you will not convert your target audience. Again, go back to SPANCOP and understand at what stage in the buying cycle does your ideal customer convert. Apply the right sales message to the relevant piece of marketing that your data says will convert. If you do want to raise your marketing activities then send out your content to a larger target audience instead of adding unnecessary marketing messages to your automation. A 2013 report from Sirius Decisions states that 60 to 70 percent of content produced by marketing organisations goes unused. Make sure your marketing is used wisely.
“I want to know how much profit I make on each product after marketing costs.”
Understanding your profit margin on each product is extremely important and one of the main reasons of aligning your sales and marketing. It makes good business sense to want to figure this out. Once you’ve been using a sales and marketing process for a certain amount of time this does become obvious but do make sure everything is included. Often there are many different things you have to include that are sometimes forgotten such as time spent on social media, individual networking costs, coffees bought in one-to-one meetings and all this should be considered when working out the profit per product.
If you have only just created a sales and marketing process the best advice I can give is to use common sense, if you have a high-end item this will most likely require a greater marketing budget compared to smaller low-cost items. However, with a process in place, you will quickly be able to analyse and adapt for every product.
Next Steps & Further reading.
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