Marketing & Sales
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Sales Planning and Management
To successfully sell your products and services, you need a planned approach and a thorough understanding of your market. Developing your understanding of your market involves identifying and analysing your strengths, weaknesses, customers and competitors. Using this knowledge, you can develop strategies and objectives that will help you achieve your selling goals.
To increase your understanding of the market, you should follow some of the basic steps in the marketing process. You need to identify your target customers and think about how your products and services can meet their needs. Some simple marketing questions you can ask yourself include:
- Why do customers buy our products?
- Who are our competitors?
- What demographic of consumers buy from our business?
Networking is a strategy that you can use to build your contacts, develop business relationships and identify new opportunities. You network of business contacts can be a great source of selling opportunities, can introduce you to new customers and can help you to gain access to different markets. Networking only takes a small effort on your part and can provide benefits to your business now and well into the future.
Salespeople often enter the market without clearly defined objectives and strategies. Poor planning can directly impact on your ability to sell, particularly in a highly competitive market. If you develop a clear and targeted strategic selling plan, you improve your potential for success.
When managing a sales team, it is important to work closely with them and communicate with them in order to assess each person's strengths and weaknesses. This will help you to delegate tasks to the individuals that best suit the requirements of each role in your team. It is good to have a diverse sales team with people bringing a range of different skills and experience into the business.
Customer relationship management is another important part of long term sales success. It involves developing strategies for managing the interaction between your business and your customers and requires you to manage and coordinate your business' selling activities, marketing activities and customer support processes. The aim of customer relationship management is to both attract new customers and manage the relationship with your existing customers.
To find out more about improving the selling process in your small business, read the chapter ‘sales planning and management'.