Nothing Ever Happens Without Sales:
And Sales cannot, and will not, happen – first and foremost regardless of any Marketing and/or Sales efforts or how wonderful you think your product is – unless your business is providing a reliable, effective answer to some particular “pain” or “need” and unless your target market is aware of your solution and has an easy way to acquire that solution.
So why take the chance, metaphorically, that someone strolling along your street/web neighborhood is going to pop into your particular store/web site to buy some specific item in your store/site when you have made no overt effort to attract attention to what you have on offer in your store or web site?
That simply means that:
- a) Unless your product or service provides a clear and ready solution to a specific, clearly identifiable, need or issue and
- b) Unless you have brought your solution to the attention of your potential customers in a way that really draws them in to find out more about your solution and
- c) Unless you make it easy for them to commit to buying (investing in) your solution.
then nothing is going to happen: No one is going to happen along and buy, whether by visiting your store front or by visiting your web site, except through serendipity. Remember that “hope is not a strategy!”
Building a successful business has always been, and most likely will always be, about finding a universally recognizable “pain-point” or need, something that is literally calling out for an answer or fix, and quickly providing an attractive, cost-effective, reliable, dependable, safe solution, or at least a very significantly better solution than any other currently available solution, to that demand.
Of course, philosophy aside, building a successful business, at its core, is also ultimately about building resultant profits and growing the net value of the enterprise both of which depend, amongst other factors, upon providing a solution that generates sufficient relief and interest to an ever growing audience that also results in a trend of increasing Sales: In other words, “Nothing Happens Without Sales“.
In fact, the IRS does not consider any activity to even be a “business” unless it is purposeful about making a profit, assuming the business is not intended to be a non-profit, hence building sales must be a primary objective for the enterprise or otherwise it is nothing more than a hobby. Naturally, revenue from sales must also exceed costs at some point in the life of a business but that is part of another discussion to be had later under the title “A Growing Business Is A Smarter Business ~ It Seeks Answers in Supply-Chain Processes!”.
However, while these fundamentals underpinning creating a potentially successful solution have remained unchanged, any ”solution” will remain only “potentially” successful until it has become recognized a such, becoming a “must-have” solution as defined by the potential market place as awareness of your solution grows. Apart from actually having such a product or service to offer, that requires relevant Marketing and Sales for even “the best mousetrap in the world” will not sell if either there is no vermin problem or if those who have the problem have no way of knowing about your offering and/or no way of actually acquiring your solution.
With this in mind, your plans for bringing public awareness of your solution to the market place must be set up based upon the objective that you want to draw as many possible potential buyers directly to you as quickly as possible; encourage them to make a purchase and, particularly, encourage them to return for further purchases or have a subscription type offering that offers the possibility of establishing a continuing and growing income stream and/or to have them recommend your products and services to their friends who then will also be drawn to your business to make purchases and to also make further referrals. So since nothing can happen without sales of your offerings you must have effective marketing in place to get the word out to your prospects.
Overall, Marketing actually starts from, and includes, evaluating and understanding everything possible about the problem being solved, the positioning of any possible competitor’s solutions and how your solution is beneficially differentiated in the market place followed by establishing a pricing policy and then telling the world about your solution.
In addition, in the past, the typical Marketing and Sales strategy was based upon creating and distributing glossy brochures, training the Sales people in Benefits and Features and launching them out to make “cold-calls” to persuade their target audience to make a purchase trusting that a percentage of our Sales Force will create enough sales interest and close enough leads to bring back lucrative orders that must also then be manually entered into our order management system: Frequently hit and miss at best and very skilled-labor/high-overhead intensive. We know; been there and done that. You must be gregarious, well organized, highly energetic, very determined, thick-skinned and fully conversant with the benefits of your product and with answering prospects objections to succeed in building sales the old fashioned way.
Fundamentally, at least, that is how Marketing and Sales has been conducted for seemingly millennia. In telling the world about your solutions, you typically would also set about creating descriptive collateral materials – (brochures, training manuals, PowerPoint presentations, advertising, exhibitions, demo’s, press releases, etc.,) – for training sales staff, and for supporting sales staff, in the strategies and tactics to be used for closing sales and presenting a public presentation. This essentially describes all of those activities that we can now define as coming under the umbrella of “Outbound Marketing”.
Today, however, much of the Marketing and Sales effort is conducted in a rather different manner from the ways of the “old days” ~ those “days” prior to the advent of the Internet. Today, more and more businesses are turning towards using “Inbound Marketing”: A method of Marketing in which brochures are turned into web pages, PowerPoints into Flash and YouTube videos and we cut down or eliminate outside sales activities and exhibitions in favor of running webinars. There is an excellent article on the relative merits of Inbound Marketing on Hubspot’s blog at “Inbound Marketing & the Next Phase of Marketing on the Web“
Incidentally, having originally started our own business life in the traditional mode of marketing and selling of process instrumentation via brochures, exhibitions, press releases and roving sales people methods and also having, along the way, built an exhibition and display production company as well as having, amongst other examples, very successfully managed all p&l business aspects of defining market potential and securing sales for several quite different OEM advanced technology product solutions, including this example capital equipment systems product, creating all of the usual brochures (some as shown at this link), participating in international exhibitions and supporting world-wide outside sales forces in a time before the Internet whereas, since the advent of the Internet, as well as focusing upon building our own business using Inbound Marketing – having owned the www.missi.com domain since 1997 and having been in the management consulting and business building business for many more years than that - we, The Business Builder’s Help Desk™, can readily help you with any questions or plans you may be considering for moving ahead in this new paradigm for your own business. By the way, all initial inquiries are FREE and without obligation so you have nothing to lose and potentially everything to gain by asking questions.
Today the smarter business uses Inbound Marketing and eCommerce principles. This approach effectively drives down costs while driving up results: The mode today is to create web sites, to blog, to twitter, to use Social Networks to spread the word about your offerings and to design and use your web site to not just share information about your products and services for those who cannot make a decision without first evaluating collaterals but primarily to make your web site an “attractive, informative destination” that not only draws your target audience in to you but also essentially offers appropriate enticements to encourage visitors to actually make a commitment to purchase from you rather than having visitors just hop in and out – “bouncing” to use the trade jargon – or just browsing without commitment.
Today the smarter business also heavily relies upon data; information that it gathers from visitors to its web site, its blogs, its tweets and from the Internet in general where relevant to the business and the environment in which the business is operating. The Smarter Business Knows Answers Lie Hidden In The Data And Continually Seeks to Uncover Those Clues So As To Be Vigilantly Proactive In Its Decision Making.
To that end, the smarter business also effectively uses CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and BAM (Business Activity Monitoring) as well as metrics gathered from web activity via Google Analytics and other data sources like the Twitter Remote widget to the right of this blog and the TweetMeme widget at the head of this blog, the use of Disqus to manage Commenting and the Facebook “like” widget … but this is material for another blog.
We always encourage feedback and would love to hear from you: If you have any experiences or have an opinion relevant to this topic, or even if diametrically opposed to our ideas, that you would like to share, please do not hesitate use the the Comments feature below or track-back to your own blog. Thank you.
- The Painful Truth About Outbound Marketing Kittens [Humor] (hubspot.com)
- When Inbound Marketing Doesn’t Work (davidcummings.org)
- What Percentage of Revenue Should be Spent on Marketing? (davidcummings.org)
- Why Sales And Marketing Integration Can Accelerate The Growth Of Your Business (customerthink.com)
- The Ultimate Measure of Marketing Success (ducttapemarketing.com)