Sales strategies for SMEs
Getting into business is easy, selling is difficult. Business is about generating revenues and cash flows. If you can sell, you cannot be in business.
BY CLIVE MPHAMBELA
In business, only the right story wins the sales deal. In today’s fast-paced business environment, the best financial results are obtained when a good marketing strategy meets an equally efficient sales strategy.
Marketing and sales teams must work together. The alignment of marketing strategies to sales efforts is key for organisational success.
Today we engage in a conversation to help small business grow their sales and marketing capability.
Have a clear marketing strategy
The primary role of marketing is to create a support structure on which the sales effort will be built. Without a marketing plan, it will be difficult to generate sales.
Marketing strategy deals with how your business intends to generate sales leads.
Your marketing strategy must deal with issues of customer relationship management, and the marketing strategy must be simple, effective and easily implementable. Here are a few tools one can use as marketing tools.
Use strategic e-mail lists
Creating a database of emails of potential customers is incredibly valuable for a business. It provides your marketing effort with the ability to target specific segments of the market and individual clients can receive specifically tailored messages.
Getting the right product information out to potential customers at the right time can be extremely profitable for a business. However, avoid spamming potential customers and avoid sending out generic blanket or group/bulk emails.
Potential customers are likely to respond to personalised emails. You must, therefore, take time to understand the customer and his/her needs before making a cold call on them.
Advertise, advertise and advertise!
Most small businesses think advertising is for big business. That is patently wrong. There is a fallacy that big businesses advertise because they are big, when the real truth is that big businesses are big because they advertise. Advertising should be taken seriously and every business must advertise.
Advertising plays the role of providing information, educating potential clients, exciting them about your products and alerting them to possible new opportunities and allowing them to sign up for product trials.
Advertising can sales lead generation more effective. If done strategically, advertising can reach extremely large sections of your target market, and become a highly-effective tool for sales lead generation for your business.
Different businesses can and should advertise differently. Weigh up alternative media and think carefully how they can fit in with your overall strategy.
Traditional media such as television and radio among others can be quite expensive for a small-to-medium enterprise, so it is worthwhile exploring options like social media sites.
Social media now offers a variety of low cost or even free platforms, where your business can put content before a targeted audiences.
Build robust referral systems
Nothing creates sales better than a well-managed and deliberate referral system. Using the correct approach, a suitable referral system can be a great source of high quality sales leads.
There are plenty of ways of implementing referral systems in your business. One of them is encouraging your clients to refer you to their colleagues in their network circles.
You can also offer anything from free product samples to free subscription. You can develop a point system or a competition to win goods or tickets to entertainment events among others.
There are many small ways that can drive referrals up and provide your business with useful leads which can turn into sales.
Develop strong personal networking skills
People buy from people they like and from people they know. In many cases, the better known you are as a person, the higher the chances of being liked.
There is a good chance your next best sales prospect is in your former college classmate, a former workmate or a colleague on the board of a charity organisation that you support or a person within your industry whom you occasionally network with or the member of your local sports club.
Create opportunities to get face-to-face time in social circles with your business prospects to introduce your products or services to them.
This allows you to communicate, listen and explain your product without the pressure of the formal environment.
Create a strong online presence
The vast majority of society and commerce has moved online. It is vital for any business today, to have an online presence in one form or the other. This could be a website, a mobile app, a Facebook page a Twitter account a You Tube channel and so forth.
A website that is informative, easy to navigate and provides potential clients with everything they need to know about your business is a useful start. There are various tools that can be employed to get more people to come to your website and successful marketers will help you to focus by developing targeted content aimed at your selected market.
This will draw more of the right people to your website, and with strategic and tactical landing pages, online marketing tools can generate valuable new sales leads.
Clive Mphambela is a Banker. He writes in his capacity as Advocacy Officer for the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe. BAZ expressly invites stakeholders and SME operators to give their valuable comments and feedback related to this article to him on firstname.lastname@example.org or on numbers 04-744686, 0772206913