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December 4, 2018

Marketing & Sales for ‘Old’ Business Owners, Part 1

The first in a 5-part series on marketing & sales for ‘seasoned’ professionals.

I’m really lucky. I get to work with small business owners and managers all across the country. And many – if not most – are my contemporaries… same age range (50s-60s), same stage of life, same stage of business, etc.

And one of the obstacles I face is that these ‘old’ people (I’m 60 – so I’m allowed to say that!) have a blind spot when it comes to marketing & sales. They often don’t want to do it, don’t like to do it or don’t know how to do it. Yet, oddly, they do know that some kind of marketing & sales effort is important to their business.

It’s for this group that I’ve decided to write this blog series addressing the most common questions I hear from this ‘veteran’ group…

Challenge 1: “Marketing is driven by all this new technology… and the tech is always changing. What am I supposed to do?”

Fair question. Marketing & sales tech is constantly evolving. New software and apps are continually coming to market. It really is hard to keep up. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the MarTech 5000.

But don’t let the tech scare you off. Instead, focus on the fundamentals… developing well-founded strategies for your business, then creating a marketing & sales plan to support those strategies.

Too many business owners worry about the technology… opting for it (rather than thinking and planning) to solve their growth problems. That’s an example of “putting the cart before the horse.”

Think of it this way… if you have a bad strategy and a lousy plan, the only thing that technology does is allow you to do achieve bad outcomes faster. And I’m pretty sure that’s not a good thing. So, do this instead…

Create your strategies:

  • Be clear on what you sell (and what else you could sell)
  • Be clear on who you sell to (and who else you could sell to)
  • Be clear on your position in the marketplace; that is, what you want your clients and prospects to think of when they hear your name

Those three broad strategies will then drive your go-to-market strategies:

  • How do you build awareness in the markets you serve?
  • How do you generate and nurture sales leads?
  • How do you compel a prospect to become a first-time client?
  • How do you get your first-time clients to become repeat clients?

Put together your marketing & sales plan:

  • Decide on which marketing & sales tactics you can employ to support each of your strategies.
  • Think through the details of each tactic… consider frequency, timing, quantity, cost, etc.
    • Note: it’s here you where can start thinking about how technology can help. For example, suppose you decide that posting regularly on social media will help with the strategies of ‘positioning’ and ‘awareness.’ To help with your posts, you might decide to use a social media management tool like Hootsuite… and that’s just fine. The point is, you didn’t start with Hootsuite, you decided to use it once your strategies and tactics were set.
  • Put the tactics into a calendar… then use that calendar to guide your day-to-day activities.
  • Don’t forget to create a budget based on the tactics you selected.
  • Set-up measurement and reporting tools to monitor what you’re doing. If something is working… do more of it. If it’s not… stop doing it, or adjust it and try again.
  • Make sure you have a management process in place… even if it’s just a weekly team meeting to review and discuss your marketing & sales efforts.

So, back to the original challenge… dealing with all of the technology. As we’ve discussed, start with the fundamentals. Do those right, then the technology you overlay can help you be more efficient and more effective with all of your marketing & sales efforts.

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