Entrepreneurship 101: Sales and Marketing for Growth
- B2B Success, Uncategorized
- B2B Success, Uncategorized
Choosing to be an entrepreneur is an exciting decision, but as romanticized as the vision has become, the truth remains that it requires more than a good idea to be successful and that 9 out of 10 will ultimately fail in their venture.
Having a marketable product and financial viability are good starts, but your new business is worth nothing if you can’t close a sale. Your passion and belief in your product or service may be strong, but until you can convince a buyer to share that belief it’s the only asset your business owns; and passion doesn’t pay the bills.
That’s not to say passion isn’t important, quite the contrary for building a marketable business, but be willing to accept that new products or services are among the hardest of sells. However, so long as you have a grasp on your marketing and sales strategy and the stomach to grind through the setbacks, there are ways to increase your chances for success. Here is a five-point plan for getting started marketing a new business, the right way:
Know your market
The beginning stages almost always include the most obvious objectives, but that’s because they’re fundamental to sustainable success.
Before launching a new business you should strive to be as educated about your market as anyone. This means knowing your value against competitors, how to structure a sales model, how to advertise and market your product, and the list goes on—but the foremost objective is knowing how your business disrupts the status quo and how to accentuate those advantages. Also, don’t be afraid to observe and take notes from competitors. If they’re making money then they must doing something right, so study them as a means to better understanding how to market your new business to your buyers.
Know who to reach
Once you’ve found your target market, you then need to narrow even more on your buyers, and in-that lies an important distinction.
When I began my service business I made hundreds of cold calls because as a seasoned sales professional it’s what I was familiar with doing: grinding until I could get my foot in some doors. But something seemed ‘off’ about the responses I was receiving, as if my pitch wasn’t resonating with the people who answered the phone. Simply stated, I was selling to the wrong people. Selling my service required getting in front of decision-makers, and cold calls largely provided cold leads on that front. Once I shifted to arranging in-person meetings with executives, I started to see the kinds of sales numbers that led me to believe I had a real business.
Once you get in front of those people, spend as much time as you can learning about their business and their problems. Make them feel comfortable and see you almost more as a consultant, ask questions about to help them open up, and eventually you will find those 3-4 major problems that you can find a way to solve.
Experiment with different sales methods
Your targeted buyers are only as valuable as the marketing and sales strategies being used to place your product in front of them. Whether you decide to use cold calling, sit-down presentations with executives, advertising on tv or radio, you must precede those decisions with identifying the most attractive selling points of your product or service.
Often times visual demonstrations are a great way to hook audiences, but be prepared to follow-up with your strongest selling points. Even the most attractive demonstrations leave buyers skeptical about “a catch,” so education is key.
Finding the right marketing and sales strategy for your business will require a lot of experimentation, and sometimes what appeals most about your product or service may just surprise you. Experiment beyond advertising, as well, and consider that price points are as strong or stronger than even the best marketing displays.
Practice being in front of an audience
At some point you will have the opportunity to sell your new business in front of a group, so you’ll want to be ready for that moment—and I would advise against the ‘winging it’ strategy.
Learn and practice how to present yourself with positive body language, how to clearly answer questions from your audience, and most importantly how to peek and sustain their interest. Realize that the audience cares about only what they care about, and the most effective sales pitches cater to their interests and benefits.
Have an online presence
This may be the last but most practical piece of advice for any entrepreneur: there’s roughly $1.2M generated in online sales every 30 seconds—now go out and getchoo a piece of those buyers!!!!
The Internet played a major factor in my company’s successful leap because of our use of online marketing and advertising via AdWords. Having a website is critical for breaking into new markets, and a well-built site will do wonders for your credibility.
Moreover, showcasing your products or services online via testimonials, storytelling, videos, or other graphic displays will give your sales campaigns a serious boost. This is especially important if you’re like me and selling to other businesses, as a reported 94 percent of B2B buyers research online before purchase decisions, and the story is similar for consumer products, as 89 percent of buyers do the same.