In selling or marketing anything you really do need a strategic marketing plan to help you stay on track. A plan of this nature is set for a period of time and usually that is 3 years to 5 years. It is a critical part of business growth for any new business or for individuals as they strive to establish market presence.
A plan of this nature can be incorporated into your personal business plan. The actions that you take should be matched to the marketing plan. Be prepared to make adjustments where necessary when the market or your client base changes. A process of tracking and measuring is quite important.
Here are some tips to help you with the establishment of a marketing plan to grow your business in a competitive market:
- Given that the plan is for a lengthy period of time, the prevailing market and the business conditions will change over that time. For that reason you need to be prepared for a reassessment and or repositioning of the marketing plan as required.
- Understand your position in the market today when it comes to market share, product or service offering, and specialisation.
- Given the previous point, your competitors will also have a ranking to be watched and tracked. Understand how your competitors attract market share and check out their policies regards pricing, and supply. If discounting is evident in your industry then you will need to determine if you want to compete at that level or provide a different point of difference that will be of real value to your clients.
- It is important to understand your competitive advantage if any. A new competitive advantage can be created if you currently do not have any.
- Determine your objectives in marketing. Do you need more clients or better business? Perhaps you need both. Be quite clear in the objectives that you set.
- You will need some resources to get your marketing efforts underway. Money will be part of that process, and some tools and specific brochures or systems will need to be designed. Put them into your plan with set timelines for implementation.
A good marketing plan will help you with building your business. Take action based on the objectives and targets of your plan.
In selling professional services and products the internet is very much part of the process. As salespeople we must go with the momentum and put ourselves into the process.
Now just about everyone knows that we can use websites to promote our businesses. The customers and clients that we deal with are very likely to check us out or find us first on the internet. On that basis the appearance of the website is really important to the profile that you wish to spread and promote. That is both at a business and at a personal level.
Your website should be optimised for your industry and be at least equal to if not better than that used by your competitors. To do these assessments include the following main issues in the review:
- Domain name choice relative to your business name or your industry type
- Domain hosting location relative to your primary business location
- Fresh and modern design reflecting the professionalism and profile that you want to promote
- Product and service information
- Methods of contact
- Testimonials of happy customers
- Database entry point for an industry newsletter
- Keywords relative to your industry and the profiles that the search engines are looking for
- Downloadable brochures for customers and clients to access
- Staff profiles and special skills
- Frequently asked questions
So what is the main idea of a website today in a sales type business? It’s there to help the customer understand you and take the next step of making contact.
The best salespeople integrate their activities with their selling skills and contact methods. It’s all about branding and an ease of communication. You can add certain other things to the process and strengthen your personal profiles through social media. All top salespeople today frequently use the following:
- Blogs based on product and industry information will always attract the search engines. provided the information that you are writing about is useful and frequent.
- Twitter can be a very good tool to reach small snippets of information out to your Facebook and LinkedIn connections.
- LinkedIn is quite useful for spreading the professional profile and relevance of an individual.
- Facebook can be useful with a bias towards a particular person and the image they wish to promote.
- Google+ is very powerful for linking business people into circles or groups of common clients and contacts. This then makes it a lot easier to build relevance in your marketing efforts and informational posts. Blogger as a blogging platform has a natural affinity to Google+ given that both are owned by Google.
From these simple strategies you can easily build a strong and relevant profile on the internet as a specialist salesperson in any industry. I would go so far as to say that any quality business should support their top salespeople in the processes of marketing on the internet.