Small business owners and young entrepreneurs usually cannot differentiate between sales and marketing. Well I must have addressed thousands of participants both young and old, over time and yet have never found anyone point out the difference correctly. If you are a small business owner, read on how to lay the foundation for a successful and long term business.

The reason why small business owners and entrepreneurs have confusion between marketing and sales is

  1. Small business owners like you are usually tied by a short time frame to deliver. Lessor funds visibility ensures that you need cash flow to run the business which comes from sales.
  2. Young entrepreneurs like you usually start off with a great product or service idea. You come from a product/ service delivery background and usually have not planned how to take your product/ service to the market.
  3. You have grown up hearing marketing and sales as being grouped into one bucket.
  4. Sales has been by promoted by MLM companies as marketing.

Let me bust your myth and get this cleared out for you.

startup growth

  1. Sales is the end result of marketing
  2. You have a great product or service. How would the end consumer know that you exist? You need to tell the world about it. That is marketing
  3. Do not confuse marketing with advertisements and offers. Yes offer based marketing is a type of marketing but providing offers only is not marketing.
  4. Marketing is a long term strategy, you might launch multiple campaigns.

Let’s take an example, we all have grown up seeing Sachin Tendulkar sport a bat with MRF written on it. Does MRF manufacture bats? Well no. Did that text ever ask you to purchase their real product, the tyres? Well no again. MRF must have invested millions to get their brand logo on Sachin’s bat. Did that yield them immediate sale and revenue? Well probably something. But as a generation whenever we see MRF we remember Sachin’s bat.

Well this is branding. Millions were invested with no significantly measurable tangible results. But in the long run we associate MRF with durability, durability and power like Sachin’s performance on the field. There were no ads, no offers but the brand name was made.

Sales is a subset of marketing. Marketing will send you the footfalls, enquires, leads. Sales is where you close these leads into paying customers. They are two very different teams, however they need to work hand in hand.

The following marketing framework would help you in growing your small business and taking it to the next level. If you are entrepreneur you can certainly use this framework which I have used in my business.

1. Test the market with Market research(Draw up the target segment)

borough-market

Pro tip #1

If you are a product company then it would be great to showcase your product at local gatherings, events and workshops. You can schedule events and have your target market play with your product.

The same would be with a service idea.

Do not look at a freebie or offer to launch a product. Well it might work for some. Jio had the money to pull off that heist. But Flipkart, Snapdeal and the likes are struggling with this discount and offer business model. All retail chains like More, Big bazzar are also struggling to keep pace with this discount marketing.

If your product/ service is good and it is priced correctly, people will buy it at the cost you have put it out for.

2. Target your customers with solutions 

More and more users are searching for solutions to their problems online. Target them with tips and help and not just an advertisement and or offer. People are tired of seeing ads and do not pay attention to them.

Pro TIP #2

For example you have a chemical firm producing home cleaning products. It would be a great idea to create video’s and blogs about how certain types of stains or dirt’s can be cleaned easily. Use your product as a reference.

Hey I have myself searched for this and have bought a few products I have never heard of.

3. Build your brand

No Business is an overnight success. Apple Inc has put in years to generate the fan following it has. Every iPhone launch and people are crazy for their product.

You need to build a name that customers can trust. Building a brand is not easy and might not affect your top line immediately.

Pro Tip #3

Investing into Search engine optimization, Display ads online, banners and hoardings are ongoing and long term investments. The more people see and hear about you, your customer reviews and feedback, the more they will trust you.

4. Differentiate with your post delivery service

We are so busy looking to get the lead and make a sale that we forget that there is no better marketing that word of mouth marketing. Look for ratings and reviews from your customers and always remember to go back to your existing customers, your remarketing lists. Make them feel special, they deserve offers and discounts. Give them something extra so that they become your brand ambassadors.

Conclusion

  1. Sales is a subset of Marketing and is an after effect of marketing
  2. Marketing is either reaching out to your target segment and educating them about your product or creating a need for your product in the minds of your customer.
  3. Providing offers and advertisements is not marketing.
  4. Marketing is a long term strategy