Few things in business are as important as marketing
and sales. This section is dedicated to helping
the small business effectively market and sell its products
Many times, marketing and sales are intertwined
to such a degree that its hard to differentiate between
the two. There are, however, some important differences.
Marketing is everything your company does to reach
and persuade potential customers. It consists of the
measures you use to find and convince your prospects
that you are the company for them. Its the message
that prepares the prospect for the sale. Marketing
includes advertising, public relations, brand marketing,
direct mail, etc.
Sales is everything your company does to "close
the sale", sell the product or get a signed agreement
or contract. The sales process includes interpersonal
interaction and is often done via one-on-one meetings,
cold calls, networking or sometimes via your companys web
In simple terms, marketing is identifying
and finding people
that may need your product and service while sales
is showing or convincing these people why your
company is the best to provide it.
For example, obtaining phone numbers or addresses
of people who are known to be interested in your product
is the marketing aspect, while actually calling and
convincing them to buy is the sales aspect.
Marketing is the set of activities used to:
Marketing theory is made up of the 5 Ps.
First, you need to identify your ideal customer.
This means learning as much as possible about
the type of person (or company) that would be interested
in your companys product or service. This is generally
called "market research" and you can begin
by asking yourself the following questions:
Actually, small business owners do "market research"
every day by receiving returned items, dealing with angry
customers, looking at competitors prices, etc. However,
answering these questions is valuable in forcing
you to think like your customer. With that knowledge,
you can begin to focus on finding your ideal customer.
A marketing plan can contribute greatly to the
success of your small business. Like a business
plan, a marketing plan forces you to check
your assumptions and analyze your products and services,
competitors, pricing and promotion. This is helpful,
especially to those starting out. Doing a marketing
plan on your own without guidance can be a complicated
task. The good news is there is now software to automate
the difficult task of putting together a marketing plan.
From the makers of Business Plan Pro comes Marketing
Plan Pro allows even the most inexperienced marketer
to create and implement a marketing plan and includes
"wizards" to setup your marketing plan step-by-step. It also includes over 70 sample marketing plans
as well as glossaries to help you learn "the lingo"
of marketing. We highly recommend this software, especially
if you are new to marketing and sales.
After youve created and implemented a marketing
plan, you must measure the results and adjust accordingly.
For many small businesses, this is usually noticing
"sales are up". However, we recommend you
measure specifically which methods are producing
the most sales per marketing dollar spent. A good marketing
plan will include methods for measuring results.