Marketing and sales is the bloodline of any organisation - whether you are running a small business or a mega buster. Without these two revenue generating components, it’s hard to keep your dream, your business or build any sort of empire.
Therefore costly mistakes can quite literally make or break your business. So as we dive into 2016, I wanted to share 7 costly marketing and sales mistakes that you should avoid to rock next year.
1. Not being specific about your ideal tribe: As a marketing and sales strategist, my team and I spend a lot of time helping our clients clarify who they serve and how they serve them.
This makes it easier to define and develop effective marketing and sale strategies, build funnels, and start to convert prospects into clients and turn one-time clients into long term fans.
This is something that in many cases can offer you double-digit growth if you get the right sweet spot.
Action: Spend time asking yourself who is your business ideal clients that you love serving? Who are the clients that get the most value of what you offer?
Then define clear financial goals and create a holistic marketing and sales strategy to ensure that your ideal prospects go through your funnel. If you don’t know how to do this, invest in hiring someone who does.
2. Not targeting marketing dollars to the right tribe (or even worse not spending any money): Investing in marketing is a critical component to attract, grow your customer base and of course your business.
But the key is to spend marketing dollars targeting your ideal customers. So assess whether you are targeting people outside your geographic area or income level. If you think you need to spend money, and the result of your attraction tools such as digital marketing, hosting live events and more are only converting at 5-10% you need to start to start getting specific.
Action: Track all your marketing and sales activities all the way to conversion and identify which one converts better. And don’t just track clicks, visits and number of followers because that does not evaluate how effective your strategy is. Instead track conversions like calls, or emails and new client acquisition.Then invest money in the ones that work and stop with the ones which don’t.
Develop an effective marketing and sales strategies is a result of experimentation. Marketing is not an art, it's a freaking science. And you can quite literally track everything from how you are investing your time, money and energy but just because it can be done not everyone does it.
If you are just starting a business and don’t know start approaching people you would love to work with and ask them!
3. Wasting marketing budget beautifying your image: A lot of new companies are much more focused on beautifying their business than actually closing the deal. They invest in branding, clever or funny marketing pieces or even investing $10k, $20k, $50k on a new website.
The problem is because we are deluded about marketing from seeing bigger brands like Nike, Coca Cola who just spend millions of dollars on “name recognition”. Your marketing and sales goal is to attract, convert and retain clients.
Now don’t get me wrong, as your business grows, you will need to up level your whole brand. But don’t spend too early.
Action: Before you spend any money, think about the immediate and specific action you want your prospects to take. And of course as the previous step, track it and see if there is a huge difference in sales results.
4. Not following up with prospects: Marketing and sales is all about the follow up. Effective business owners that are persistent and repetitive are essential for closing the deal. But many business owners spend a lot of money attracting their ideal prospects and either following up once or never follow up with them again.
Think about it, if you wanted someone to give away your own money, wouldn’t you have objections why they shouldn’t buy from you immediately.
Perhaps they are not ready, or have other things on their mind, or they just don’t trust you enough to invest with you.
Maybe they have more questions about your product/service that you haven’t answered.
They maybe assessing the options between you and 2 or 3 of your competitors.
So by following up repeatedly you create a competitive advantage for your competitors, since very few people will followup more than once.
Action: It’s essential to have a system to help you follow up with people who have reached out to you. Whether its your email marketing campaign or getting in touch every once in a while to let them know you are still around. If you follow up constantly, when your prospect is ready to buy, perhaps in a week or six months from now you will close the sale.
5. Not having a clear marketing and sales strategy: A lot of small business are constantly changing their marketing and sales tactics. But the key is to actually build consistency, build a relationship and build the trust.
Marketing is not pushing promotional content in everyone's face, the key for effective marketing is to develop innovative ways to build trust so your prospects to take the next step.
If you are changing your marketing strategy all the time, there are some major red flags. There is a great story regarding Henry Ford who kept on asking for new ad campaigns even before they were run. Because as an owner he had seen the ads hundreds of times before it got launched in the market.
Action: After you have defined you business goals for 2015, take time to map out a consistent strategy on how you are going to make it happen. Don’t listen to your friends and family, focus on listening to your customers and whether your strategy supports them evaluating if they should use you.
6. Waiting for referrals to show up!
Now the easiest way to grow your business is through referrals. Its one of the most underused marketing and sales tactics for small business.
But waiting for word of mouth to come through is like wishful thinking. It’s true that if you have a great service and offer competitive pricing you will get some word of mouth referral but if you are looking for consistent abundance, it does take more initiative and a hell of out more effort.
Action: Map out a referral strategy to get more referrals in the door. It could part of your delivery where you bring it up and you track the results.
7. Not developing your offerings through tapping into negative feedback and competition.
I know its hard to see the negative things in your business. But this is market insights. Because if not, chances are that more than client will face similar issues that could make you vulnerable to other competitors who are catering for this challenge.
Action: Do you actually take action on the feedback to improve your business? Are you seeing how your competitors are marketing their business? What are their offerings and promotional campaigns? What are their reviews like? Which of these marketing mistakes might be costing you prospects, sales, and even customers?
Share your thoughts in a comment!