The thing nearly all small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) have in common is that they’ve got some degree of concern about their sales and marketing function (In this respect they’re exactly like larger businesses, which have the same problems, just at a bigger scale).

There is a school of thought that “sales is dead.” Not exactly; it’s just changed. The days of going from place to place hoping to stick your foot in the proverbial door as a “strategy” are over. And it’s easier than before to give a consumer the product information they need without involving a salesperson or customer service rep.

Sometimes you need a sales rep

But the larger and/or more complex the buying transaction is, the more likely you’ll need a skilled professional to explain the product offering to the consumer, overcome barriers to purchasing, and complete the deal. Whether you call this person a business development person, salesperson, rainmaker, or any of a number of other terms, it means the same thing: sales as a vital function of your business.

Because many business owners have negative stereotypes about the sales role and those who inhabit it, there is sometimes a resistance to developing a good strategy around sales. But a well-developed strategy can avoid the problems that have historically led to those negative stereotypes.

It’s not necessary to be a pest. Sales professionals use data sources, industry connections, and networking to find people who are interested in your product. While you can’t guarantee that you’ll never run into an angry person, good targeting and preparation means that your salespeople will largely work from lead sources, and always be talking to people who are at least potentially looking for what you sell.

It’s not necessary to be unethical or dishonest. A properly designed product offering can be sold with honesty and integrity, and in fact qualified sales professionals won’t work for a company that asks them to lie about their products.

But you also need a solid marketing effort

Marketing is a related, but different function of your business. Many equate marketing with promotion and advertising – the broadcast of information to an audience that your prospects will come from. But I believe that marketing actually includes other related functions and extends into many other areas of your business. If your customer experiences it as part of their experience with you, it’s related to marketing. The cleanliness of your facility. The consistency of your customer service experience. Even how easy your invoice is to understand and pay on.

Social media and email marketing have become dominant forms of promotion for small and medium size businesses. Done properly, they need not cost a fortune. They’re highly measurable and can be changed on short notice if the message needs tweaking. Overall, it’s a great improvement over yellow pages, radio, TV, and other mass media advertising from the old days.

We can help

We’ve got experience with sales and marketing. We can help you develop a process that moves some of your audience to become prospects and finally customers of your business. Contact us for a no-obligation consult.