The Only 5 Sales and Marketing Ideas You Need To Know

There is a ton of sales and marketing information out there – what is actually worth your time and what isn’t? I’ve read numerous books, listened to plenty of presentations and conducted several training sessions on sales and marketing. Some of it has been junk, some of it has been recycled common sense, but some has been pure gold. What I will do today is try to boil down the key themes (that work) of sales and marketing in five easy to remember chunks.

Why Should You Care?
Why should you care about this, even if you’re title or job description doesn’t have marketing or sales in it? Because EVERYONE sells. If you are not directly selling products or services, you might be selling your boss on giving you a promotion or letting you lead a project, persuading your spouse as to where your next vacation should be, trying to motivate your employees to get things done, selling yourself at an interview to get that job (you packaged your resume in a way that the recruiter bought in – marketing), or developing a product that you think people will want. I could go on about how many things that we do everyday involves sales and marketing. Daniel Pink’s To Sell Is Human book is a great read that I just finished which discusses this very topic and tells of how to increase your salability.

Peter Drucker said this about all business, “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two-and only two-basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” If you can wrap your mind around this and be successful at those two functions, your business will greatly succeed. Okay, let’s get into the meaty goodness…

1. Scarcity Drives Demand
No this is not a lesson in economics 101, however it is a rule of economics that holds true. When things are limited or exclusive to a group of people, customers want it. It’s part of the “you want what you can’t have” cliche. Think back to high school. You may have gotten dumped by your sweetie (maybe you weren’t even that crazy about the person). Now that single person is all that you want, all that you can think about. That person just became an extremely scarce resource to you. Okay – common sense, right? However, there are some specifics that make it even more effective. The scarcity rule is most effective when:

  • The thing desired is newly scarce
  • The news of its scarcity is exclusive

(Example: An Australian beef importer had called its customers to test this idea. There was going to be a shortage of beef. On the phone with customers they would say, “We have just heard from our exclusive source in Australia [an expert - we'll get to that later] that there is going to be a significant shortage, how much beef would you like to order.” Don’t worry this was a true shortage, they did not simply make it up. This single act caused sales to spike dramatically.

2. Social Proof
As human beings, we are innately social creatures. This has helped our survival for thousands of years. We look to others for cues on how to live, eat, act, work – on just about everything. It’s only natural that we seek out social proof in order to confirm our purchase decisions. We feel more comfortable in making a decision if we are backed by other people. There are four main types of social proof:

  • Approval from others that we know and trust – When a friend or family member suggests that we go see a movie or try out a new website for tracking our budget, we tend to buy in at some level. We become comfortable with the idea because they did it.
  • Approval from the masses – We see product websites and TV commercials with tons of testimonials. When we hear other people had a pleasant experience, we are much more likely to buy. This may not be as powerful as approval from those we know and trust, but it is a powerful tool nonetheless. Think reviews on Amazon.com. Perhaps the best example is Michael Jordan and Nike creating the Michael Jordan shoe – a franchise that still lives on today.
  • Celebrity endorsement – like it or not, Western culture is obsessed with celebrity. We read magazines about what they eat, what they wear and who their current love is (even if it’s not true). When a celebrity endorses a product and that celebrity has people that follow and want to be like them, that is a quick way to get a large group of people to buy.
  • Expert opinion – When a doctor recommends we try something – a medication or other therapy, aren’t we very likely to try that? Or when expert research is shared with us about the product we are more likely to buy.

3. Less is More
Another term we have heard so many times, but is so true. When people are given more of anything it becomes harder to process and make decisions. Here are a few types of the less is more principle in action:

  • When a customer has less choices, they are more likely to purchase. There is a famous study that was done where a seller of jams at one time had a table of 24 varieties and at another time only 6. After completing the experiment researchers found that on average the table with 24 varieties only sold jam to 3% of customers, while the one with 6% sold jam to 30% of customers.
  • In branding and advertising, less words = more. In a world full of distractions and seemingly non-existent attention spans, companies need to battle for mindshare. This is why you should try to associate your brand with 1 to 3 words. What comes to mind when you think of the word “search.” Did you think Google? Another part of using less words is in advertising, the less you put on an ad the more people will read. An ad with two words will catch the attention of many more people than an ad with a paragraph. Simple.
  • Adding can subtract to value. In a study discussed in Pink’s book there was an experiment where a company was selling a two versions of the same program. One had the full package and they also threw in a free book; the other was just the full package. People were willing to pay more for the package without the book. By adding something less valuable on top of another product, the value had gone down in customers minds.

4. The Law of Reciprocity
Human beings all over the world in different cultures and languages act upon the law of reciprocity. If I do something for you, you feel at least somewhat obligated to do something for me. A popular leadership professor, Dr. Robert Cialdini from Stanford University, gave a speech that included this very subject. He wanted to test out this theory, so he began to send Christmas cards to random strangers. Some of these people started sending Christmas cards to him every year, and he continued to send to them, and eventually became friends with these people.

When people are given something, they feel obligated to give to you in some way. Many companies give customers a small item or do them a favor, and the customer ends up purchasing from them later. Obviously it’s not a guarantee to success, but it does increase chances of success.

5. Stories and Experiences, Not Things and Benefits
When it comes to selling and the future of selling, the ones who understand how to tell a story and create experiences for their customers will win. Traditionally the selling method had been to have a great product and tell the customer about its benefits. When you get to the core reason for many purchases, people don’t buy because of the benefits. Benefits can be helpful to the customer in the process, but what they want is beyond that.

Ted Levitt, a popular economist and former Harvard Business School professor was famous for saying, “People don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill, they want to buy a quarter inch hole.” This is the next evolution of selling, selling solutions. Solutions based selling goes beyond benefits and specs, and solves the problem that you are currently facing. Great, we’ve made some progress, but we’re not quite there. Keep asking why.

Why does the person want a quarter inch hole? Is it for a room they are renovating? Are they working on a craft project? What is the imagination they hold in their head? Get to that and you may have a customer for life. This is the next step in the evolution of selling, getting to the root motive. Continuing with the drill example. Perhaps you could help the customer imagine all of the great projects they will do with this handy drill there with them. Tell a story of a customer that built an award winning piece of furniture with this drill.

Stories and experiences touch the hearts of people. When emotions get involved, people no longer care about making computer-like rational decisions. In fact, that is how we operate 99% of the time. Our decisions are made by some type of emotional pull, even though we may mask it as rational. I may do a future post on this topic.

Now You Are Equipped
You now have the tools that you need to put into practice to become the best salesperson, marketer, entrepreneur, etc. Although this is not an exhaustive list of all sales & marketing techniques, if you get these right the others are insignificant. Actually, many successful marketers and salespeople use just one or two of these ideas really well.

My challenge to you is to start with one. Think of examples of how you can implement one. Try one per week or one per month and get really good at it, then move on to the next.

Important Factors That Come Into Play When Hiring Sales And Marketing Services

Are you planning to start up a new business? Are you looking for an option to improve the productivity and profit ratio of your company? If so, looking for sales and marketing services is very important. When you are starting a business, you should know the fact that marketing plays an important role in the success and growth of it. Therefore, if you are not focusing on these aspects during the initial stages of your company, you may not able to sustain in the market for a long time. As marketing plays an important role in improving the brand name and reputation of the company, it is very important to use the right strategies. When you are using marketing strategies for your business, it is very important to select the right ones considering the type of business you run. Moreover, it is should be suitable for the changing trends.

When you are looking for sales and marketing services, it is very important to make sure that you are selecting a service provider, which can understand your needs and provide you different solutions according to it. These experts should also perform various researches and advertise your business for boosting the sales. The company you are dealing with should also understand the needs of the customers as well as their behavior and find ways for satisfying them. The sales and marketing strategies used by these companies should also create a value for the customers as well as help your company to build a good rapport with them.

If you are selecting an expertise company, make sure they are specialized in some of the important arenas such as pre sales support, distribution, product development, pricing, product promotion, customer relationship management etc. Although, you will be able to find many companies that claim to offer the best marketing service, selecting the right one should be done with proper care. Before making a final decision, make sure the company has a good reputation and ranking in the market. Moreover, you should also know about the quality of the services provided by the company by performing a through background research on them.

A good sale and marketing service will study the type of business you run and provide different effective marketing strategies that can improve the production as well as sales. Looking for a company that is also specialized in audit support is also very important. This can help you to get rid of the hassles and stress that you have to face during the taxing period.

It does not matter what type of business you run or what products and service you provide through it, hiring a good marketing company is very important for your future growth and development. Incase, if you are not able to find a good marketing company in your area, researching on the internet could be the best option for you. When you are looking online, you will be able to find more information on the company you select.

3 Differences Between a Sales and Marketing Job Description

The Difference Between a Job in Sales and Marketing

While many think that sales and marketing careers are the same, they often prove to be quite different and, subsequently carry very different tasks / required knowledge of the employee.

As of late, many small businesses have added to the confusion as to the difference between sales and marketing jobs by titling and / or marketing their open jobs as “Sales and Marketing” when it is only one of the two.

How to Differentiate the 2:?

When you look closer at daily tasks of a true marketing employee and the duties of a sales professional, you find a vast difference between the two:

3 Facets of Most Sales Jobs:

The main facets of most sales jobs are as follows:

1. Prospecting for new business – sales employees, unless the job is a pure business development position, are required to prospect for new accounts via committing to such actions as cold-calling or prospecting through avenues such as formulating mass emails.

2. Contract negotiation – sales employees are typically responsible for negotiating the prices of the product or service that they are selling. While the marketing team will give the sales professional a format as to how to “pitch” the product or service, the sales representative is the one of the frontline selling to clients including negotiating contracts.

3. Account Management – much of a sales professional’s day is dealing directly with clients which includes managing current accounts that the individual is responsible for.

This also includes activities such as up-selling current accounts or contacting those clients who are up for contract renewal. Conversely, the marketing employees will be the ones formulating the sales material that the sales representative sends out to both existing and prospective clients.

3. Main Facets of a Marketing Job:

A few of the main facets of most marketing jobs are as follows:

1. Copywriting – many marketing jobs have their employees consistently writing copy for the website, press releases or other. This also includes blogging.

If you want to consider a career in marketing, be prepared to hone your writing skills as the web now dominates consumer behavior and, subsequently the needed activities from a marketing employee.

2. Analytics – marketing is just as much about creativity as it statistics and numbers.

Marketing employees will consistently have to keep up with or will be responsible for numerical measurements that dictate buyer behavior. For instance, how web visitors and social media gurus respond to a particular advertising campaign are best told through numbers.

Some of the best marketing professionals are more analytical and number oriented than they are creative.

3. Programming – if you want to be the most competitive marketing candidate as possible, I would highly recommend that you learn to program certain languages such as HTML, PHP, JAVA as well as become familiarized with different content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress.

While you won’t see programming on every job description, if you know it and you’re applying to a small or mid-size company, consider it part of your new job and consider it an added bonus to a prospective employer upon negotiating your salary.