Marketing and Sales
All businesses, of any size and nature need to start their business plan execution with marketing activities, which, in turn generate leads that turn into opportunities, and hopefully sales. From this, administation, finance, HR, and other stakeholder relations follow.It's a well known fact that identifying the processes that the business should follow in all of these areas in a disciplined way, and memorializing them in an easy to follow manner increases results faster. Our experience, however, has been that small and mid-sized business (SMB) owners, while they have interest, they don't have the time and frankly the training and experience to do this.
In a series of articles tagged "Business Processes", we'll address this area as they apply specifically for SMB's. This first one focuses on the area of business, without which nothing else matters, Marketing and Sales. Hopefully this, and the ones to follow, can help the SMB Owner by highlighting its importance, and giving some insight into what's involved.
Obviously this assumes that all the necessary up front market analysis has been done, or the SMB has generated some success without the discipline indicating that, properly executed, the business has promise, and we are now looking at increasing this promise and its longevity by drilling into the execution side of things. These processes will certainly change both as results are generated and analyzed, and as markets change and evolve, something which is discussed at length in one of our favourite business books, "Nail It Then Scale It," by Nathan Furr, Professor in Entrepreneurship at Stanford University. It needs to be understood that nothing is static anymore, the digital world, and the Cloud have made this a long-term certainty.
In order to be effective with any marketing and sales initiatives, it’s very important first, before anything else is done, to map the processes to be followed for your specific business to enjoy the most success from its activities. While marketing and sales run hand-in-hand and can overlap, the processes for each, in the main, are quite distinct.
See Exhibits I and II below for examples of such Process Maps for a multi-service professional business, with to follow natural business order, marketing first and sales to follow. The exhibits may be small and difficult to review in some media, but the main point is that it gets done. To get the pdf's, click marketing, or sales
Exhibit I – Example of Marketing Business Processes
Exhibit II – Example of Sales Business Processes
Once the BPM’s are done, information systems can be put in place to guide the participants through the processes. In marketing and sales, these information systems are commonly referred to as CRM’s. Today’s gold standard systems, such as Salesforce.com, and Method CRM are powerful and fully customizable tools aimed at making the processes easier to follow, and to have prospect and customer engagement information at the user’s fingertips. They also provide excellent reporting on key performance indicators (“KPI’s”) for these areas of the business. Lastly they connect very nicely to other component parts of a business' MIS such as financial systems (Quickbooks, Financial Force, Xero, etc) It’s extrememy important that they are customizable, as they need to match the business processes that have been established.
We'll review CRM's in our next article.