Creating a sales and marketing strategy for your new business is an essential step towards acquiring customers and generating income. The first point of call for almost every business is some form of market research. This will help you to pin down who your customers are, where they go, what they read, what they do, what they like and what will make them buy. With this information, you are able to create a plan for how to reach them and secure a sale.
What are the key sales and marketing considerations?
- How will I sell my product or service? Choosing a primary sales method is one of the first decisions you make in your business. The type of business you are starting will determine which method is most appropriate. Some businesses utilise multiple selling techniques - such as restaurants who offer ‘dine-in’ service with a waiter (salesperson) but also allow takeaway orders to be made over the phone. In this example, it’s clear to see that the needs of each audience is different and the style of selling, and the selling process itself, must be tailored to each audience and their needs in order to create repeat business.
You need to create a process by which you attract a customer, receive money from them and ensure they receive their product or service.
- When and where are people most receptive to finding my business? If you are selling vintage cars, there is no point advertising them in Teen Vogue Magazine - you need to work out who your customers are and the most appropriate way to reach them, then choose the appropriate marketing techniques. There are two considerations to this:
- Where are they and what are they looking at? People with health problems are often in doctor’s offices. People who drive see more billboards and listen to more radio. Under 40’s use more social media. More men read GQ magazine. More women read Cosmopolitan. Work out who your audience is so you can work out where to find them.
- When should I contact them to make a sale? In most cases there is not just one way to reach your audience, so you need to also determine when it is most appropriate to make contact. If you are selling handsfree bluetooth devices for mobile phones, you would likely choose to advertise through radio during peak traffic on weekdays - that way your audience can consider the actual benefit to them in that very moment. On the other hand, while you could probably reach potential customers, it would not be appropriate to advertise funeral services directly outside the exit of a hospital’s emergency room.
- How will I convince people to purchase? This is the simplest question, but often the hardest to answer. You must remember that customers do not just choose your product or service - they typically move to it from something else. This means you have to do something better than your competitors, whether you are offering higher quality, more value, a lower price, better service or something else.
The best business owners create a marketing strategy based off market research to ensure that their assumptions have been tested and they have crafted an effective, practical plan of action.