The difference between marketing and sales – The Marketing and Sales Dance

Marketing and sales go hand in glove – two people dancing together to the same music –The Marketing and Sales dance. However, each has a distinctly different function and purpose in any business. Now the overall, primary function of your business is to – Attract, to Make and to Keep customers. Without customers, you do not have a business! Every other activity becomes futile, if you do not have customers:

  • Attracting customers – is marketing
  • Making customers – is selling.
  • Keeping customers – is the quality of your product and/ or service, value for money that you provide and your ability to make a profit, so you can continue to serve your customers. Keeping these happy customers will in turn attract new ones because – they will want to tell others about you. And so the cycle continues……………. Attract Make and Keep.

Marketing is the activity you do, that creates for you the opportunity to sell your product or service. Marketing takes many and various forms and we do not have the space to go into those here. So whenever you receive an enquiry for your product or service, whether it be from your website, advertising, word of mouth, or the sign on your door; – your marketing department has done its job. Marketing can now, in effect, say to sales, “we have done our job now it’s up to you to make the sale, get the order”.

Now, the art of converting an enquiry into a sale is vital to the existence of your business. The art of selling has process and method requiring skills and training, – often over looked and ignored by many business owners. Again, we cannot cover all this here. But consider this, if you have not developed these processes and skills, any money or energy you spend on marketing (attracting) customers is wasted.

At Polaris we will show you how to develop a marketing plan tailored to your business. We will help you develop a sales process and hone your selling skills. In short, we will show you how your marketing and sales dance together in rhythm and harmony.

In the meantime, – think about this:
“Marketing is not just a function of business, like purchasing or production ETC.. but it is a consolidating view of the whole business process”

Stories from the Mentors: Common Business Dilemmas

Exporting, is it for me?

Todd Miller, TradeStart Export Advisor, spoke at the March  Northern Business Breakfast event.  The breakfasts are gaining a strong local following  as one of the largest monthly business breakfasts with up to 190 people attending.

Todd’s passion and enthusiasm for exporting was obvious.   His presentation drew on his experience when he ran his own business Aussie Inc. which exported various Australian consumer products including pet cleaning products, gourmet foods and even swags to the United States and Canada.

Some of Todd key tips for exporting include:

  1. Develop an Export Plan

Prepare and have an evolving Export Plan that is consistent with your Business Plan. It should be a concise document that outlines your export vision, market(s) you are targeting, your product offering and your expected outcomes and timing

  1. Research

Research, research, then research some more. You need to know about the market, conditions, any government or other import requirements. You need to know who your customer is, who your buyers are and how they may differ and/or respond to you and your company/brand/product differently to Australia. Get to know the cultural, social and business protocols in the market(s) you are targeting. Knowledge is power and will put you in good stead in your exporting success.

  1. Be prepared to put the time in

Exporting will take time, and in certain markets may take 3-5 years to ‘break through’. Make sure you have the capability and have a budget for this.

  1. Don’t give up

Starting your export adventure is very much like when you started your business. You need to be planned, organised and focussed, and don’t give up.

With Todd’s recent appointment as an Export Adviser with TradeStart, a joint program between Austrade and the State Government he is able to draw on his commercial experience to advise and assist businesses to achieve success in their export endeavours. He is here to help northern Adelaide Businesses with strategy, planning, market selection and insights. Businesses that are export ready can join the TradeStart Network and gain access to Austrade Services worldwide.

Unlock your export potential with new funding program

Todd also detailed the new Export Partnership Program, designed for both the established or intending exporters.  It provides a grant fund tosupports eligible companies with export marketing activities. Further information on the program is available at www.statedevelopment.sa.gov.au/epp

To find out more about export, including connections to the services which can be offered by Todd Miller please call the Polaris Centre on 8260 8205.

For next month’s breakfast on 22 April register here.

 

Plan to sell your business – even if you don’t want to

Would your house be ready for sale and your first open inspection is right now, today? Mine certainly would not be. However, regular maintenance and up keep would make the preparation easier and decidedly much quicker.

Having your business ready for sale is a similar process. The unexpected can happen at any time. Something that may require the urgent sale of your business could be a sudden debilitating illness of the owner. A financial or family crisis, not necessarily related directly to the business.

Having your business ready for sale would not only reduce the impact of such trauma, but increase the value, possible sale price and certainly give you peace of mind.

From my own experience, I have a few broad tips for: getting your business ready for sale. Let’s begin with the practical:

  • Have an updated and regularly reviewed business plan.
  • Incorporated in your business plan, a marketing plan that is reviewed and updated regularly – at least quarterly.
  • Have a monthly budget and cash flow in place.
  • Measure your performance against your monthly budget and cash flow each month.
  • Have a policy and procedures manual – updated regularly.
  • Have a risk assessment process in place and review it regularly.

. There are many more practical areas you can look at, but the above is a good start.

Now let’s take a look at the personal, people area of preparing your business for sale.

  • Do you have a business mentor to guide and help you through the process of preparation?
  • Are you preparing your business in such a way, so that you, the owner, become redundant? I could not have sold my last business if I had not made myself redundant. The prospective buyer needs to know that the business can survive and grow without you. The need to do everything yourself is generally based on a fear of giving up control .The opposite is nearer the truth. The more your try to control or micromanage everything, the bigger chance of losing the ultimate control.
  • Replicate yourself – preferably not in one single person. Train others to do the tasks you can do – maybe they will even do it better.
  • Whom have you made overall responsible (apart from yourself)? Who has the relevant authority? Remember you cannot give someone responsibility without giving them equal authority.
  • Have you created a culture in your business and amongst your team that reflects your standards (given you are a business owner, I would expect them to be high standards) of customer service, quality, team work, respect, trust and pride in the product or service you deliver.
  • Does your team know what is expected of them? Has each team member personal KPI’s that are monitored, encouraged and rewarded?
  • How do you involve your team in decisions? budgets? And planning?
  • Do you have a succession plan? – is it accepted and understood?

 

Having these and other features in your business, would not only ensure a smooth and successful sale (at any time), but more importantly, it would maximize growth and profitability, make your work really enjoyable and give you the opportunity for a balanced life style.

Building a Resilient Business

A recent report by the Stretton Centre confirms that business owners in northern Adelaide are well aware of the potential impact that the closure of GM Holden will have on their business. According to that report nearly four in ten employers indicated the closure of the automotive sector may lead to a fall in employment with smaller enterprises most vulnerable to the impacts of the automotive industry closure.

While the figures make alarming reading, at the Polaris Centre we are already working with firms who are acknowledging the risks and are now taking deliberate steps to build more resilient businesses in preparation for the closure and subsequent loss of income from the region. These firms are employing strategies such as expanding markets, exploring new supply chains, developing new services and process improvement to increase efficiencies.

Although spoken in a different context, the new coach of the Adelaide Crows told his team that “success does not come looking for you.” The same applies in business. At the Polaris Centre we can help you identify programs that may be able to help your business grow. We also offer a complete range of business advisory, mentoring, business growth and digital economy programs.

For certain sectors the State and Commonwealth Governments are making grants and programs available. These include the Manufacturing Transition Programme, the Business Transformation Voucher Program and the Automotive Supplier Diversification Program.

OK – so you’ve found a Mentor!

Finding a suitable Mentor is a sensible move but have you considered how good a Mentee you will be?

It is as much (if not more) up to you how much benefit you will gain from this relationship. The more you put into any relationship, the more you will get out of it. The more rapport you build the easier it will become to be honest with each other as you work together.

For instance you may have chosen a Mentor as someone who will hold you accountable, so there will be no point in the relationship if you don’t follow through on any tasks or changes you agree to complete.

It’s a good idea to bring to the table an agenda or a list of items to discuss with your Mentor so you can share the wisdom and experience with someone who has walked the path before. And of course you have to be realistic in your expectations, as a Mentor is not there to do tasks for you, so you would do better to focus on giving feedback on your progress and sharing issues that are holding you back.

To achieve the best outcomes you should always remain open-minded and respect the time you have with your Mentor through punctuality.

The more you share of your vision and the stumbling blocks along the way, the more your Mentor will be able to help you see things from a different perspective.

Keeping notes at your meetings will help you remember the key issues discussed and help you track those things you elect to complete before your next mentoring session.

And, by the way, most Mentors love to receive feedback from their Mentees, especially in the case of unpaid or volunteer Mentors; a show of gratitude goes a long way.

A Road Travelled Before…the benefits of having a mentor.

To find a mentor should be the priority of all Business owners.

Why go it alone when you can seek the guidance from someone who has been down that road before and knows the terrain.

The benefits of having a mentor:

  • Can identify your and your businesses strengths and weaknesses
  • Provide honest feedback
  • Help you identify options and make the right choices
  • Point out dangers and pitfalls
  • Set targets and goals together
  • “bounce” off ideas and be your “Sounding Board”
  • Help you to maximise your time, your strengths and your potential
  • Above all, to be your confidant.

The above benefits can only be achieved in an atmosphere of trust, which is developed over time and with regular face to face meetings.

Choosing your mentor:

  • Preferably, your mentor should have owned or owns his/her own business and has personally experienced all the issues that business owner’s face. Particularly around the areas of staff and customers. Your mentor must be acutely aware of and familiar with the functions of financials, marketing, selling, and leading and managing others.
  • Seek a mentor who has no other agenda but to see you win, they must be independent and have an outside perspective.
  • Some of the qualities to look for include: empathy, patience, honesty, insightfulness and reliability.
  • Your mentor should not be a family member, friend or shareholder, but someone who can be objective and forthright, but always communicating with compassion and understanding.

These are special people, but they are out there – eager to give back what they believe they have received in their own journey. They desire to see you and your business be the best that it can be.. They will take pleasure in helping you and walking with on your journey.

Here at Polaris Business Centre we have selected a panel of mentors who have these qualities. They have been trained not only through their own experiences but Polaris has a continuing process to provide training and skills in the art of professional mentoring.

We have set mentor packages starting at 3 monthly programs up to 10 monthly programs. Please call us to discuss our Mentoring for Success program and we will help you select the mentor that is most suited to you and your business.