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Thinking with Cleriti

We're always thinking, discovering and sharing our knowledge of how to connect with customers in the digital age. Here we share some of those thoughts.

How to Simplify and Scale Your Small Business Marketing and Sales Strategy

How to Simplify and Scale Your Small Business Marketing and Sales Strategy

At its core, the goal of marketing and sales is pretty simple: Find people who have a need that your product or service can solve, then show them exactly why your solution will help them. With nurturing and follow-up communication, the goal is to convert those people from leads to customers. However, far too often, companies make this process way more complicated than it has to be. Your marketing and sales strategy doesn’t need to be full of bells and whistles, but it does need to work for your audience. Paring down your sales and marketing techniques to the essentials can not only help to stop your company’s headaches, but it can also help you to make more revenue.

Let’s dive into ways to simplify your marketing and sales processes.

Declutter Your Marketing

Today’s digital marketing landscape is full of options. Take social media, for instance. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and Pinterest, and before you know it, there will be even more platforms to choose from. It’s simply not feasible to maintain a presence on all of these platforms, let alone to excel on each site and truly get a return on your investment. You’re much better off finding the one or two platforms that work best for your company and focusing your energies on making your accounts on those sites as valuable as possible.

The same mentality is true for marketing as a whole. You’re better served setting up a system where your marketing is geared towards whichever tactic works best to engage your audience.

As a small business, approaching marketing in this way is a bit tricky. Every time you see another business promoting all of its various social media accounts, it’s hard not to jump on the bandwagon. But there’s something to be said for quality over quantity. Besides, even if you invest in every marketing and sales strategy out there, there’s no real guarantee that any of them will work for your company. It’s your responsibility to make sure that each one of your marketing avenues is a good fit for your company’s industry and culture.

Document Every Step of Your Marketing Process

According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 32 percent of B2B marketers have a defined and documented content marketing strategy. What’s more, less than 50 percent of B2B marketers have weekly or daily meetings to discuss their content marketing. If you’re not documenting and tracking what your team is doing, and if you’re not frequently communicating with your staff about your marketing and sales results, you’re not operating as efficiently as you should be.

One of the main negatives of an over-complicated marketing strategy is that it’s way too easy for things to fall through the cracks. Documenting every step of your strategy helps to prevent this from happening, but it’s not a substitute for an efficient use of resources. However, documenting combined with the smart use of the right marketing channels and tools is a great way to stay on top of your marketing efforts. This approach will help you to focus your marketing in the correct areas, and it’ll help you to manage your marketing in the event of employee turnover. Most importantly, instead of relying on one-shot gimmicks or tactics, you’ll be able to keep tabs on your overall strategy, which is the real key to growing your business.

Use Marketing to Determine Your Sales Strategy

It might seem counter-intuitive to base your sales strategy off of what your marketing team is doing. After all, sales and marketing are two separate units, right? But the sales team can’t reach its potential unless marketing does its job. And that’s why these two groups need to work together to reach your leads and convert them into customers.

The truth is, you need to know when it’s an appropriate time for your sales team to step in, nurture the lead and close the deal. The exact timing of lead hand-off from marketing to sales isn’t something sales would intuitively know, nor is it something the marketing team can take a guess at. Fortunately, there’s an easy answer to this, and it’s the same strategy we recommend for streamlining and decluttering your marketing: Documentation — which leads us to our next point.

Develop a Service Level Agreement (Your Guide to a Simpler Marketing and Sales Strategy)

You might not be familiar with a service level agreement (SLA) just yet, but it will soon become your best friend. Simply put, it’s the document that clearly defines the relationship between sales and marketing. More than that, it sets specific expectations on each team so that both sales and marketing will understand how the other side operates. This one document will eliminate much of the confusion and animosity that exists between your marketing and sales teams, and it’ll help both teams to coexist peacefully as they work towards achieving your company’s goals.

An SLA goes way beyond guidelines, though. Its most important job is to specify exactly what constitutes a lead that’s ready for marketing to hand off to the sales team. Whereas sales teams have traditionally been exasperated by leads that weren’t quite qualified enough to enter the sales process, with an SLA sales can have full confidence that the leads they receive are ready for the next step.

Another important piece of creating an SLA is the process your company goes through to actually develop it. Instead of sales viewing marketing as the enemy and vice versa, the two sides must come together and communicate their issues in a healthy and positive way. This process will eliminate many of the misunderstandings that plague the relationship between your sales and marketing teams. When the document is complete, sales will understand exactly how marketing qualifies their leads, and marketing will understand how sales closes those leads.

This discourse between sales and marketing does much more than break the ice and encourage a healthy partnership. It also allows both sides to review their respective strategies and identify which approaches no longer work for your company’s audience. For example, your marketing team might believe that its social media pages are helpful in nurturing leads, but the sales team may have feedback from actual customers revealing that the current social media strategy isn’t working. It’s a great chance for both marketing and sales to get back to basics, to identify their core competencies and discard the techniques that drain your company’s time and money without providing any revenue in return.

Get Simple to Get Results

Documenting processes and ensuring that every part of your strategy yields positive returns are exercises that any company can benefit from. It will set your marketing and sales strategy up for both short- and long-term success. Trimming the fat off your marketing strategy will allow you to focus on what really works, ensuring that you get the most out of your marketing budget. Once you refine your marketing strategy and develop an SLA with your sales team, then sales will begin to receive more qualified leads to follow up with. Additionally, they’ll have insights from marketing to help to convert leads to customers, which will bring more revenue to your company. In the end, a little refining and a little less waste out of your marketing and sales teams can help to bring your small business a whole lot more prosperity.

How to Align Sales and Marketing to Generate Leads, Nurture Them and Close More Deals