Fuel your growth with integrated marketing and sales strategies!

This article was found on the National Small Business Chamber website, be sure to check in regularly for informative business related articles and tips! http://www.nsbc.org.za

Marketing needs sales, and sales needs marketing! The harsh reality is that “need” doesn’t equate to a “successful partnership” between the two groups. Creating the correct marketing strategy is the key to winning market share and customers.

To drive significant results from your marketing campaign you need to close the gap between your sales and marketing objectives. The idea is to build an integrated strategy reflecting the stages of the customer’s buying journey through the sales pipeline. The rates of conversion and time lag in decision making are taken into consideration. It should reflect the contributions of both sales and marketing to generating income and gaining new customers!

The following strategies could be employed to harmonise and ensure that the relationship between sales and marketing succeeds:

1. Design marketing and sales responsibilities around the customer buying process: Marketing and sales should be organised around the steps that the customer goes through to become familiar with, build knowledge about, form purchase intentions for, and finally purchase the company’s products or services. Both functions need to work together to meet the customer needs during each stage, and facilitate the customer’s progress to the next.

2. Create a unified focus on the most valuable customers: Marketing can help identify these customers, formulate information and strategies to do so, and service sales as it concludes these deals. This primary focus can help facilitate cooperation, and create a unified objective for the two.

3. Organise around the customer, not the function: By creating customer groups and not product groups, marketing and sales tools and techniques can be consolidated into groups to effectively serve segments of customers.

4. Integrate customer information: Successful companies actively manage the sharing of customer data across divisions, key staff and marketing and sales personnel. This also streamlines processes while enhancing customer service and hence customer retention.Identifying your target customers

The purpose of marketing is to attract new customers. The only way to attract new customers is to firstly determine exactly who your customer is. Always remember that customer and end user is not necessarily the same thing. The customer is the one with purchasing authority; the end user has the need.

As a small business you will have to look at the three categories of customers, namely “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” value customers, as well as “strategic value customers”.According to the intrinsic value customer the value is intrinsic to the product, not the method of delivery. They focus on cost reduction and see little or no value in an external sales channel.

If you want to make a sale to this category of customers, you will have to convince them that the sales force salaries and commission were not included in the price. They don’t want to pay for something that takes up their time without providing anything in return.  The extrinsic value customer considers value not to be intrinsic to the product itself, but how the product is used.  Extrinsic value customers are interested in solutions and applications.

The focus of the sales team should be to create a great deal of “new value” that they can enjoy. These customers expect sales representatives to provide them new understanding of needs and options. An example would be a sole trader needing web mail to secure immediate and convenient access to e-mail and internet facilities.

Strategic value customers focus on leveraging the expertise of the salesperson’s organisation. They are willing to change their processes to get the best from the seller. Once you have linked your customer to the most effective marketing strategy, you are ready to launch an integrated marketing and sales strategy to grow and expand your business!

So in closing take time to analyse your target market, and develop integrated sales and marketing techniques that consider the stages of the buying process. Successfully implemented, this should see a growth in the number of prospects and a higher “sales conversion” rate!

Article brought to you by: Genesis Articles© 2013 National Small Business Chamber

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