Recap of How to Build a Sales & Marketing Strategy Webinar

Marketing and sales recap blog-lg

Together, marketing and sales can lead to the growth of your business. But sometimes entrepreneurs aren’t sure how to get it right or even where to start. 

That’s because while some of it may be intuitive, other aspects may rely on trial and error. But when you’re investing time or money into marketing, you want to see a payoff in your number of sales. 

Recently, we hosted a webinar, "How to Build a Sales & Marketing Strategy,” to address these topics. Hosted by Alice Chan, founder of Flock Marketing, and Ashleigh Early, CEO of The Other Sales Coach, the business owners discussed how to leverage sales techniques to get in front of customers and offered tips on launching successful brand marketing campaigns. (You can check out a PDF file of the webinar slides here, or stick around for a detailed recap below.) 

Some common marketing mistakes

The false idea of “Build it and they will come"

This is akin to putting the “cart before the horse.” You can’t be sure that people will want what you build. Instead, you should try to clearly determine who your customers are and what they want. Then, build from there. 

Not understanding the customer’s problems or looking for a customer to fit the business’ created solution

It’s important to understand your customers. Do a little detective work to determine what they want so you can try to provide them with a solution. Then, build on the solution. 

Lack of a clear vision or mission, no matter what size your business

A clear vision or mission will help guide you in all decisions. First, ask yourself who you are (your mission) and what you want to accomplish (your vision). Then, make a clear plan that is true to those goals. This is important because it will keep you on track. 

Investing in marketing tactics before having a solid strategy

Make a plan and establish measurable goals so that as you go, you can determine if your plan of action is effective or not. If not, refine it. If yes, then you can consider scaling your approach and investing money into a successful strategy. 

Common sales mistakes

Investing too early in products intended for improving sales

Wait to invest until you have a proven and working strategy. 

Expecting success too quickly or moving too fast in the sales process

Business owners may get frustrated when things aren’t working out immediately, but patience and persistence are a necessary part of the process. 

Not realizing when things are not working out

Finding a balance between moving too quickly and too slowly can be tough. Expecting amazing results in three days? Probably too quick. Not seeing any progress for the last five months? That might be too slow. At that point, you may want to switch strategies.  

The solution to these mistakes?

Trust the data that is produced from the metrics that you can (and should) be tracking. Examples of metrics are page views, abandoned carts, sales, and customer interactions, among others. 

What's one of the best ways to trust the data? 

Produce statistically reliable data by using a scientific process.

The truth is that it may take several weeks to months to see positive results from a well-thought-out and executed marketing and sales strategy. 

Establish a vision and mission statement for yourself and business

Vision and mission statements aren’t just for Fortune 500 companies. 

Take the time to establish these, even if you’re a one-person operation. Write them down and abide by them.  

This is important because it will help keep you focused. You can base decisions on these statements and avoid wasting time or targeting a market that doesn’t align with you or your product.  

You can ask yourself these questions to get started:

  • Who are you? What aren’t you?
  • What problem are you solving and who is going to benefit? 
  • If you were a customer, what message would you want to hear?

Create a customer profile

Establish a customer profile with answers to these questions:

  • Who is going to buy from you? And what do they need?
  • Determine who your customers are NOT, and what they won’t buy from you.
  • Who do you want to work with? What is your ideal customer like? Who don’t you want to work with?
  • You don’t need to work with everyone. Instead, you will likely be better off working with a specific, well-defined type of customer(s).

Spend time trying to define your ideal client or customer.  

Evaluate progress frequently 

At some point after launching your marketing strategy, revisit the data, and determine if you are working with and selling to your targeted customers. 

If you’re not, take steps to refine your process or your expectations.

Ask yourself:  

  • How are your customers going to find you? Are they finding you?
  • Once they find you, how are you storing those leads?
  • How are you helping coach your customer along the sales cycle?

Answering your questions

Your questions are a necessary part of our webinars. Here’s what you most wanted to know:  

Should you still market when your products are sold out?

Marketing is always good, but maybe a different type of marketing is needed.

Perhaps you could find ways to remain in contact with your customers and provide tips and information to stay in front of your audience. 

Informing your customers that a particular product is out of stock may actually work to generate buzz and trigger FOMO in your customers, who might decide they need to buy that product anyway. 

How often should you revisit your sales and marketing strategy?

Generally, corporate-size businesses may want to review their strategy quarterly, at a minimum. 

Determine what worked, what didn’t, and then use that data to refine your strategy for the current quarter. 

If you are using social media, you can check indicators and review your strategy more often, even weekly because the data is readily available. 

The key to performing a review is to use the data to improve your strategy.

I have a growing business. How should I go about adding a sales team?

Start with a clear idea of what you want that team to do and produce (their job description).

Decide how the team will operate. Will they work in the field, office, or set appointments? Will they work full-time or consult on a part-time basis? 

If possible, find people who have experience working on a sales team. 

Then, you probably want to know how you plan to pay them. Setting the amount you pay them is determined by several factors

An alternative to hiring a sales team is to hire a consultant that can help with sales and setting up processes to boost sales, yet wouldn’t come with the need of hiring employees. 

Do promo ads on social media actually work or are they a giant waste of money?

As with everything, the key is to have a strategy. And when it comes to Facebook, targeting is crucial. 

You can use Facebook targeting to:

  • Boost organic leads (people that already know you/see you)
  • Target inorganic leads (people that you don’t know but want to target)

For a startup, what is a realistic marketing budget?

It depends.

How much capital do you have? How are you financed?

Do you have investors that expect solid results from you?

As a startup, you may not have revenue yet. So as a general marker, you could determine what your projected revenue will be and then set your marketing budget at 10% of that number. 

But once again, it’s really different from business to business. 

What if I’m a one-person business and don’t have money for marketing? 

Start with your own personal network: How could you get them to engage in your business? In this case, your investment is one of time and relationship-building and not so much money.

You can get creative and market by telling your friends about a deal, and if they invite a friend to consume your product or sign up with you, it's 50% off. So there are multiple ways to go about it. 

Need more ideas? Try Googling Growth Hacking. 

It seems everyone has gone digital. Is direct mail worth the time?

Direct mail could potentially make a comeback because of how saturated the online environment is at the moment. 

As with any other marketing strategy, planning is key. Only do it if it's right and fits your business’ strategy. 

If you used direct mail, does it connect your message and business to what you are sending?

For example, you could send a product out in the mail, a freebie. With that, you could promote your other products. If it all makes sense, it could be a good thing. 

If you’re thinking about this method, test it out. Try sending direct mail to a small sample group and see what happens. 

What are the most successful channels in B2B sales? 

LinkedIn is a platform on the rise, but you need to be careful about the method you use to reach out to people. For example, people commonly reach out to prospective clients and immediately pitch them their business. Those on the receiving end of these messages, however, may be turned off by your idea right away. 

A better way of using LinkedIn would be to leverage what the platform can offer in terms of referrals. You could perhaps reach out to customers you’re already connected to on LinkedIn (and with whom you and have a relationship) and tell them that you are trying to grow your business and would love it if they could refer future opportunities to you. 

Is cold calling dead?

Cold calling random people probably won’t work. 

But cold calling potential customers works when you have a good reason to call them. And as a further tip, start the phone conversation with, “The reason for my phone call is…[insert valid reason here]” 

It takes some practice. Listen to this great example of how to do it here

I’m using Google and Bing ads, but I’m just not seeing an improvement in my sales. What should I do?

First, try reviewing and refining the keywords you use in ads.

If you do have sales coming in, but it’s not as much as you want, congratulations on what you have accomplished. Now engage your customers.

Are they happy? What could be improved? How can the current customers spread the word for you?

Maybe you could offer your current customers an incentive to spread the word, such as a discount or some other benefit. 

Another option would be reaching out to people who are influencers or have a large following of some sort. Of course, for this to work, it still needs to make sense and fit your strategy. 

Is cold emailing dead?

You can’t cold email a broad message to a large group of people because it’s considered spamming. 

To circumvent this, you need to find ways to get customers to voluntarily share their emails with you and essentially opt-in to future messages. 

From there, you can make an email list and market to them. Aim for concise, high-quality emails. Offer something useful to the recipients. Otherwise, people could unsubscribe. 

There are many tools out there to help you bridge emails and sales. Here are some options

A quick note about cold calling and cold emailing: Laws differ from country to country. In some places, penalties are more severe. Before you start, it’s advisable to do research and find out what is and isn’t allowed. 

Key takeaways

Marketing

  • The businesses that know their customers best has improved their odds in the marketplace
  • Leverage your existing network to spread the word for you
  • Experiment. Fail fast. Learn. Try again  

Sales

  • Talk to your customers. Build your strategy around the way they like to buy
  • Write out a clear plan and include what metrics you’ll follow, when you’ll review progress, what you are going to test, what you want, and what you have learned
  • Engage with your sales community there’s a group for every industry.
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Hi there! This post exists to offer you (hopefully) useful information but it cannot take the place of personalized professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert if you have questions about your business. Also, Azlo doesn’t endorse any third-party sites that are linked here.

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