The Love-Hate Relationship Between Sales and Marketing

It’s frustrating to see when two people who have so much in common – the same interests, the same sense of humor, the same goals – never become a couple. The same heartbreak often occurs among sales and marketing teams.

In order for a fulfilling relationship to be sustained over the long-term (yes, a technical description of a romantic concept), there needs to be strong communication. Similarly, achieving alignment between marketing and sales departments is the largest opportunity for improving business performance today, and it all comes down to communication between the two groups. They need to speak the same language.

But that is easier said than done. While both departments are highly dependent on each other, they can also have different motivations and metrics – and that’s a significant problem – since the only metric in the end that really counts is revenue. The two groups can have conflicting perspectives on what it takes to achieve long-term revenue goals. For example, the sales department often has a short-term focus because of the pressure of making quarterly revenue targets. Marketing not only has to support these revenue targets but also has to generate awareness and leads to fuel the sales engine in subsequent quarters. This is why it is not always ideal for an organization’s marketing department to report directly to the sales VP. Ultimately future growth can be compromised by the demand for short-term revenue.

So how do you marry the two so that everyone is happy, including the bottom-line?

Marketing and sales can work together more effectively by collaborating and gaining insight into each other’s success metrics. In the most productive scenario, good marketing will ENABLE the sale. Marketing draws customers’ attention, describes the offer and explains the value. But let’s face it – marketing needs sales to nurture the relationship, build a business case and close the deal. Without sales, there probably won’t be a sale. And marketing exists to make the sales process easier so the company makes more sales.

It all comes down to communication.

“Integration is not a dreamland of endless possibilities with revolutionary marketing results at the end of a rainbow. It’s an ongoing process made up of many discrete but valuable steps, each contributing to the greater cause.”

If you’ve ever heard a good piano player, you know that by themselves they can create beautiful music. But, combine the piano with a guitar, saxophone, vocalist and a few other pieces. Suddenly, you have a richer and more powerful sound.

Similarly, marketing tools may deliver one level of results when used alone or independent of each other. However, when you combine the tools into an integrated marketing plan – a cohesive symphony of marketing efforts with coordinated timing and consistent messaging – the synergy increases results dramatically.

The goal is to make all aspects of marketing communication media work together as a unified force, rather than allowing each to work in isolation, which maximizes their cost effectiveness.

Import and Export Business: Foreign Market Research

Understanding the key characteristics of a certain market requires a certain degree of primary and secondary research, much of which you could obtain for free online.

Primary research, such as product compliance standards, statistics, population figure, and other facts can be gathered without any cost from international organisations like United Nations and Word Trade Organizations. Through analysing export statistics over several years can help one determine whether a market for a certain product is shrinking or flourishing.

Secondary research such as studies, periodicals, surveys, and market reports could be found in government websites, commercial market intelligence firms, and international organisations.

Foreign Market Selection Process

Step #1: Gather Information on a Wide Range of Markets

The process of selecting a market requires a vast range of information, depending on the services or products to be exported. This includes the following:

* demand for the product or service,
* size of potential audience,
* whether target audience can afford the product or service,
* regulatory issues that impact the exports of products,
*proximity or the ease of access to this market,
* availability of appropriate distribution channels for the product or service,
* environment for doing business — politics, culture, language, etc.,
* financial viability to export to chosen market.

Step #2: Research a Selection of Markets In-Depth

From the result of analysis from the initial stage, narrow your choices down to 3-5 markets, and conduct in-depth research associated specifically to your product. While doing this, consider the following questions that may arise:

* What products in the marketplace are similar to yours?
* What makes your product unique? What are the certain key selling points of your product?
* How do individuals obtain and/or use these products; and who provides them? Are these products imported? If yes, from which countries do they come from?
* Is there a local provider or manufacturer?
* Who would your main competitors be? What are their trade names or major brands?

* What is the size, shape, and structure of the market?
* How big are niche markets, if any?
* Who are the major stockists, importers, agencies, suppliers, or distributors?
* What are other methods of obtaining a representation or sales?
* What are the fees or prices in various parts of the market?
* What are the mark ups at various distribution levels?
* What are the import duties, regulations, taxes, professional registration, and compliance?
* How will your market or promote your service or product in the midst of tough competition?
* If your product branding — imagery, colours, etc. acceptable with regards to culture?
* Have you found a reliable and experienced freight forwarder to export your products?

Key Aspects to Boost Your Online Business and Expand Your Reach

Don’t make marketing complicated. Reaching your target audience is difficult if you don’t have a plan and a system. Every media platform advertises to your customers.

There are some simple techniques that you can use to gain a following, customers, grow your brand, and add money to your bank account. I give simple aspects to boost your online business and get more customers.

4.5 Aspects to Boost Your Online Business

1. Make a Personal Appeal

You want to leave a lasting impression on your new customers. Give them that “looking through the key hole” experience. Impressions matter. Swipe copy will not do it. Engage with your audience through social media and email. Invite them to comment on your blog.

I recommend that my team shoot a welcome video. This is how you maintain viral sustainability. People buy from whom they know, like, and trust. Use your interactions on social media to find out what your followers like.

2. Follow Your Competition’s Progress

Spy out your competitors. See what is working for them and how they are receiving most of their attention. This could be an opportunity for you. There are websites that can help you track how they are being viewed (try Fresh Web Explorer). This will help you find new marketing resources. Use this information to expand your reach.

3. Use Comments

Leave comments on other blogs and websites. Make sure you are giving valuable insights. Don’t focus on pinging your website. Others will see right through this. Be smart when mentioning your business. Bloggers and readers will be more receptive to your approach. Incorporate your brand into a thoughtful detailed comment on a relevant blog or social media hub.

4. Provide Real Value

Increase your exposure by offering valuable content that your audience can put into action. Publish your how-to’s, info graphics, and other utilities that can demonstrate techniques, functions, or product enhancements. Show your customers how your content can make them more effective. Give them just a taste and not the whole meal. You want them coming back for seconds.

4.5 What Hooked You?

You know what marketing signals get you engaged and buying. Use those same signals to expand your reach. I went to a missionary fort in Utah last month that was operated by the Mormon Church. They gave me a tour and were so engaging that I almost converted (not really but I was impressed). Their marketing was effective. I took notes. After the tour they took my email and address. Now they have two ways to keep me informed.

Action Steps

All this will be simple if you have a plan and system. Don’t have one? Choose a marketing system that will help you implement these 4.5 aspects to boost your online business. The marketing system should fit your personality. The key to success is to use your strengths and talents. Stop doing what you don’t like. Give these 4.5 ways to boost your online business a try for 30 days and then track your results.

Small Business Content Marketing: A Checklist

Small business content marketing is a minefield! (And I get that!) The reason being is that there is a lot of different terminology used, a host of things that can be included and it ultimately leaves the average entrepreneur and small business owner asking themselves; “Where do I start with my small business content marketing?”

I conducted a short survey recently with a segment of people that subscribe to my updates asking them a series of questions related to their challenges, their current activity and how they seek help and consume information. The results across the board were very interesting.

Two responses stood out.

When asked; ‘which of the following (sales and marketing) areas do you think you could improve?’ 80% of respondents replied content marketing.
When asked; ‘When looking for help in sales and marketing what do you typically do?” 28% would hire someone to do it for them and 80% would look to do teach themselves how to do it. (Note – there were other options available for this question.)

How would you analyze this?

I feel you would come to the same conclusion I did!

In my eyes this confirms how we are indeed living in an information society where people are first and foremost seeking information around a service or product they are looking to purchase to help them make an informed decision. It also illustrates that we are aware of this and know that information marketing, small business content marketing and the like is an important aspect of our business to implement well.

So, where do we start? Well, first their is a general misconception that blogging is small business content marketing. No. This can constitute a part of it but as a stand alone activity it is (simply) blogging, or writing.

Content marketing is broader and is made up of a series of components. Here is a checklist for successful small business content marketing.

The Checklist:

Firstly, what is content marketing? It is important to understand that content marketing is not about selling it is about communicating with an audience to add value through relevant information. Or, a simple definition I found on the Content Marketing Institute:

Traditional marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world that you are one. ~ Robert Rose

With this in mind here are some items to check off the list when reviewing/implementing small business content marketing.

1) Materials: What content will you create? At this time it’s important to choose at least two formats of content to create. The list to choose from is quite extensive, however it includes; Article(s)/Blog(s), E-Book, White Paper, Report, Product/Service Demonstration, Updates/Newletter, Video, Podcast, Webinar and others.

2) Distribution: How will you get your materials into the hands of those you are meant to serve? Again, the list of options is quite extensive. First decide if it will be primarily offline or online and if it will be a one time distribution or something that is automated based on an interested parties need(s) at one particular time. I recommend to do two things, one to make one material available for download from your website and two to leverage partners for distribution.

3) Technology: Firstly, you may need to adopt certain tools depending on what you want to create and how you primarily want to distribute your content. However, I strongly recommend purchasing a tool for prospect/contact management and lead nurturing.

4) Lead Nurturing: Yes, not all prospects will be ready to purchase and will need to be influenced over a period of time. Ensure you are keeping in touch and sharing your content with them consistently.

5) Promotion: With everything else in place you can address how you will promote your content and how to make it available. Choose 2-3 channels (depending on budget). These could include; Your own channels (blog, newsletter, website), Social Media and Paid Media (PPC, Banner Ads, Affiliates, Sponsorships etc).
Now you’re good to go!

Small business content marketing is a minefield, with lots of areas to address. This checklist will get you on your way, just make sure you know what purpose it serves, why you’re doing it and what you want to achieve. Consistency is key.

Business And Digital Marketing

Business marketing should now be dubbed as digital marketing such is the role digital marketing plays in business marketing. There are various ways to market businesses but the main way to market businesses now is through digital channels. Can a business be marketed exclusively using digital marketing? And what can be the most useful marketing services?

Beginning with digital marketing, this broad set of marketing services covers specific purposes in getting success on the internet. Social media, search engines-these are the two hotspots for businesses in order to get success. This is also where the vast majority of internet traffic is directed towards.

Can a business be marketed exclusively here? Well, yes though this is largely dependent on the type of business. If the business is digital based and does most of its activity on the internet then it only makes sense that it is marketed to the heavens on the internet. A business with a strong physical and community presence may not however be best.

For you see despite being arguably the best marketing option out there, physical means of business marketing still rightfully has its place. For businesses that are consumer focused and direct should flirt with digital marketing but stick to their traditional forms of marketing. So to answer that question, it is dependent on the business though using both will only help the business.

Going back, there are many services available in which business owners can take advantage of. The most popular are SEO, SMO and PPC. The three are good services and can generate results on a large scale for businesses. They target different areas of the internet such as the search engines and social media.

Using any two of the three services is as good as using the three. I recommend personally using SMO (social media optimisation) and PPC (payperclick). The reason being is that SMO is arguably more important than SEO is at this current moment in time. Also, PPC is the best way of advertising and those adverts can be placed in specific search categories on the search engines.

The traditional forms of marketing still has its place for sure and while digital marketing may be more beneficial for most businesses, traditional marketing is great for businesses that are heavily focused on consumer interaction.But the world is going digital for multiple things which ultimately makes some things much easier for businesses.