Ready, Set, Go: Creating marketing fuel for your business development and sales engine

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    By William Russell
    Managing partner, The Marketing Beacon

    Your sales and business-development engine is a machine with great potential, but it requires proper marketing fuel to run well.

    An engine without fuel is just a big block of metal that does nothing. That engine is designed to perform at its highest level, which means not just any fuel will work in it. Filling your engine with the wrong type of fuel will result in mediocre performance. Instead, pump it with high-octane marketing fuel. This means having the right marketing strategy and tools in place to equip your sales team for success.

    How do you decide what type of marketing tools and activity are needed to fuel your engine? You’ll determine this by developing a strategy and purpose that defines your market, identifies potential buyers, and outlines how and why they buy. Once you know this, you can develop the appropriate marketing tools that connect your business with your buying market. The goal is to have well-positioned and strategically aligned marketing activity in place designed to generate business opportunities and create successes.

    Create the connecting points

    Consider the connecting points that are necessary for bridging the gap between your business and your market. The tools you develop will draw you closer to your market.

    For example, suppose your business struggles with market awareness or brand recognition. You may need to address a worn-out or dated logo and refine your brand message. Once you refresh your brand identity, a well-defined public relations plan can address the awareness and recognition issues. Such a plan would identify ways to gain media coverage in key markets that raise visibility for your company. Being recognized for accomplishments, company developments, and customer successes are a few ways to feed your public relations efforts, which provides great marketing fuel for your business development engine.

    Perhaps the need is in lead generation and prospecting. Campaigns that target a specific group can create opportunities for your sales team. Through e-blasts and cultivating activities that have clear call-to-action components, the fuel will continue to flow.

    You may also find that marketing tools are needed in the form of collateral. With digital and print-based materials, you can tell your business story in a way that connects well with your market. This allows you to showcase your expertise, convey the value of your solutions, and demonstrate results that existing clients have realized.

    Of course, there are several other important marketing communications tools and components that you will need to properly connect with your buyers. The list is long, but typically includes websites, e-blast campaigns, special events, newsletters, social media, digital marketing, etc. The point is to know what works for your market and use only the marketing fuel that makes sense for your sales engine. Don’t contaminate it with subgrade fuel that leads to engine sputtering or lackluster performance.

    Fuel up for peak performance

    While a strategy and plan are necessary, neither is beneficial if they’re sitting on idle and starving your sales engine. You have to keep your business development engine fueled and running at peak performance. Marketing activities have to be implemented logically so that all components are positioned to maximize opportunities for business development and sales.

    Monitoring and measuring your sales engine performance is obviously an important activity. It cannot be neglected. If you’re experiencing engine sputtering, then a tune-up will reveal where the unwanted sludge exists. You can then clean it out to remove underperforming marketing activities and replace them with refined marketing fuel.

    For example, your company may participate in trade shows, but the results from these events are less than stellar. You need to know why by asking your team:

    • Are the events the right ones for our market?
    • Are the attendees those who have buying power or can influence a buying decision?
    • Does our show presence engage visitors through strong messaging and visual appeal?
    • Is our follow-up strategy the right one, and are we converting opportunities?

    These are just a few questions you can ask. The answers will help you determine if this particular marketing activity is worthwhile or an underperformer that creates drag on your sales engine.

    Engage the pit crew

    Your business development and sales support team also plays an important role in keeping your engine finely tuned. This “pit crew” is normally involved in the daily marketing activity execution and is on the front lines of tactical implementation. The advantage here is that your team will be able to identify any problem areas right away while also recognizing what is working well. You’ll know things are going well when the expected results roll in.

    Keeping your sales and business-development engine running at peak performance requires the right kind of marketing fuel. With a well-designed strategy that includes the necessary marketing tools for your business, your sales engine will generate revenue opportunities for your company while outperforming the competition.   

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