Do you know the phrase, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse?” Of course, we all do.
Coincidentally, the same rule applies to your business… that is, just because you might not know how to do marketing & sales doesn’t mean you can just ignore them. And you know you can’t. But you’re smart… you run or manage a business… so you have to figure it out – and that’s what this post is about.
First of all, you already know more than you think you do… you have a nice website, engage in a couple of social media sites, have a sharp capabilities presentation and you network at a few conferences each year. Guess what? You’re a marketer! You might want to bring a little strategy, process and measurement to those things, but you’re off and running.
Secondly, there are a lot of resources available to you (many of them FREE). But they won’t work unless you make the commitment to yourself and to your firm to set aside some time to take advantage of them. Maybe it’s first thing in the morning for 30 minutes over a cup of coffee… or Saturday mornings in your easy chair while your family is still asleep. Whenever and wherever it takes place, here are a few of the resources I use to stay on top of the latest marketing & sales concepts, tools and techniques…
Aside from the obvious Google searches…
- http://www.google.com/alerts– Every morning, I receive a series of emails from Google Alerts highlighting new posts on the internet based on key word searches I set up; this includes phrases like “marketing and sales” or “content marketing”, as well as my company name and the name of my competitors.
- http://www.AllTop.com has thousands of blogs organized by topic; when there, click on ‘M’ then click on ‘Marketing’ and it will provide you with a very long listing of marketing-related blogs (including this one).
- http://www.Technorati.com is a search engine for blog posts; just put in the topic that interests you and it will return a long list of related posts.
Whether they’re selling memberships or subscriptions, these companies all still make available a number of excellent resources. Make sure to sign up for their free e-newsletters and attend their free webinars.
In addition to these free resources, there are also comprehensive training programs like the M|R Marketing Workshop™ put on by us.
Finally, when you reach the point that you know you need more marketing & sales expertise in-house, another option is to “buy it.” For this, there are three choices…
Hire a marketer. If you have some sales talent and experience “at the top” (and most firms with any track record of success usually do), then perhaps you should look to bring on a marketer. This person would be responsible for planning and executing many of the things that support selling – managing the website, social media, content creation, SEO, advertising, email marketing, creating sales collateral and presentations, etc. And even if they don’t do it all, you will now have someone on board who will make sure it all gets done.
Hire a salesperson. To compliment the selling efforts of your senior staff, maybe a ‘junior’ salesperson is what you need. They can handle more of the “grunt work” of selling… prospecting, handling inquiries, following up on leads from conferences and closing deals with smaller clients. As you recruit for this position, be clear on a few things about the position: hunter or farmer, inside or out, activity expectations and measurement & commissions. Also, worry less about MR experience (you can train that) and more about their proven ability to sell B2B services.
Outsource it. Maybe more of a turn-key solution is what you need – by outsourcing to a consulting or services firm. Consultants can help you think through your marketing & sales, strategy & planning and serve as a sounding board for a variety of related issues. But one thing a consultant generally won’t do is ‘execute.’ For that, you need an outsourced services firm that rolls up its sleeves and gets things done – email marketing, social media marketing, content creation, collateral development, SEO and so on. They essentially serve as your marketing department, even reporting back to you on a regular basis.
Over the last 3 weeks, we’ve covered 3 really big issues related to marketing & sales and the growth of your firm… No time. No money. No expertise.
I get it… those issues all seem very real and they may be, to some extent. But they all start to disappear when you do one thing… make marketing & sales a priority.
How? Discuss them at your weekly staff meetings. Publicly recognize good marketing & sales work by your employees. Put someone in charge of your business development efforts. Commit some time to it. Be willing to invest some (though not a lot) dollars for it. Bottom line… treat Marketing and Sales like Operations and Accounting – like the critical and integral business functions that they truly are.
It really is amazing what happens when you commit to something!
Good luck and good marketing.