At the April 8th, 2014 Imagination Network monthly meeting, I had the privilege to share with inventors and entrepreneurs my 7 Step Sales Process and how sales, marketing, and business development work together to grow your business.
So often, the terms, Sales, Marketing and Business Development are used interchangeably and considered as one and the same, when in fact they are completely different. However, when used collectively and purposefully in the right manner, each works together to more effectively achieve a business’ goals and objectives. Understanding the differences and knowing the roles of each can help you put effective strategies and tactics in place to assure that your business is well covered in all areas.
Sales is defined as the act of selling; specifically the transfer of ownership and title to property from one person to another for a price. Sales activities include seeking out and researching appropriate buyers (prospecting), developing a relationship with that prospective buyer, and successfully communicating all the features, advantages and benefits of your product or service. The ultimate goal is to close the sale or come to an agreement on pricing and services that benefit all parties.
Marketing involves positioning your product or service (finding your market niche) and strategically pricing it based on the needs and wants of your potential customers. During the marketing process, you must be continually re-evaluating the needs of your current customers and researching what the market (potential customers) wants to buy. Marketing activities include “inbound marketing” such as market research, analyzing the competition, positioning your product or service and pricing your offering. Traditional (outbound) marketing strategies include promoting a product through advertising, promotions, public relations, sales, market research and analyzing the competition. Due to the increasing accessibility to technology, new marketing trends have shifted to include online and offline marketing, as well as Social Media marketing, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Blogs. For sustainable growth, companies should utilize a combination of both old and new marketing strategies, continually renewing their strategies to include emerging platforms, and execute a plan that appeals to all their potential customers.
An effective business development plan continually seeks out new product and service opportunities to allow businesses to strengthen their offerings to better meet the needs of their customers. Through effective Business Development strategy and tactics, companies should engage in and consistently be working to build and strengthen relationships with suppliers, customers and even competitors to exchange skills, resources, techniques and contacts and collaborate to create greater value for its customers. Business development techniques involve continually researching new business opportunities including intelligence gathering on current and potential customers, knowledge of a competitor’s products and services, pricing and marketing strategies, lead generation, proposal and presentation management, and ultimately ensuring that all operational functions support the marketing and sales teams of a company. Business development may also involve some financial and legal sides of a business. Through valuable contributions from the marketing teams, the primary function of business development is to seek out new market segments and sales channels, communicate with the sales teams, and manage customer relationships.
Review and renew your teams, to assure that each is focused on the proper objectives, executing the appropriate tactics, and working in harmony.
Located in Crystal Lake, Illinois, Envision Sales and Marketing (www.esmsales.com) partners with funded startups and large Corporations alike to grow revenue and profitability. ESM provides its’ “Partner Companies” a broad array of sales and marketing services to optimize sales, find new markets and increase profitability.
Imagination Network is an Inventors and Entrepreneurs Club that is open to all and meets every second Tuesday of the month at the Elks Lodge, 33 Sheboygan Street, Fond du Lac, WI. It’s a great way to connect with and learn from peers and other resources in a fun, supportive environment. Relaxed mingling begins at 5pm along with dinner and drinks available for order. The meeting starts at 6pm and usually lasts around 2 hours.