The main goal of starting a business is to make a profit. Realizing profit is borne out of making sales the sum of which outweighs the costs. Realizing sales is a result of well-executed marketing strategies that lure and retain customers. This is to show you that sales and marketing domains are so intricately intertwined and are central to business success.
Why is it really important though? We are going to detail that in this article. How then can one come up with a sales and marketing plan? What are the key things to look at? We also get to look at that in this article.
Marketing In This Digital Age – Digital Marketing
Marketing approaches in this fourth industrial revolution (4IR) are multi-layered and dynamic. You will see that business marketing is now being done mainly through the internet and social media. Businesses now use their websites as platforms for marketing. Social media platforms are now the major channel for rolling out marketing initiatives. Most people are not so familiar with the inner-workings of the internet and social media platforms, especially for business marketing.
You have got to know about things like search engine optimization (SEO), keywords, AdWords, content creation, analytics, and the like. All these things put into perspective why a sales and marketing plan is needed, its importance.
Back then not so much was needed when doing marketing. You could simply flight an advert in print or electronic media without much prior considerations. Not so with digital marketing – there are so many technical considerations that must be made. That is also coupled with the varying online consumer behaviour of people. People online behave differently from platform to platform – these are things that play major roles in figuring out how to, when to and by which means to reach people online.
For instance, the demographic characteristics of the different social media platforms are not the same. Online consumer behaviour on Instagram differs from, say, Facebook or LinkedIn. This means how you package your content when you post it, how often you post and where you post it should be carefully considered and planned. Why mentioning content here? Online it is content that plays a huge role in endeavouring to capture the attention of people to ultimately make them buy.
It would not be complete to talk about digital marketing and not talk about influencer marketing. There is an astronomical rise in the use of social media influencers in digital marketing. The rules of engagement in that domain are a whole field of endeavour that requires its own unique set of approaches. Effective use of influencer marketing in digital marketing requires articulate planning. Just consider the planning that has to go into determining which influencers to work with and the like.
Getting to convince people online to buy your products is a wholly different ball game from the brick and mortar model or other traditional means. This is all to highlight how important a sales and marketing plan is especially nowadays.
The Increase In Ecommerce And Online Payment Methods
The sharp rise in eCommerce and the use of online payment methods is another angle to look at. It is mostly been the norm that consumers do walk-ins and buy products from brick and mortar outlets. Due to advancements in technology we are seeing a spike in eCommerce. We have also been seeing a spike in the use of online payment methods. People now mostly prefer to buy things online and also pay online. This trend is even going to surge more moving forward due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
People have become more predisposed to buying things and paying for things online. This means as a business you must come up with a plan on how you will capture consumers online. Businesses that cannot market their products online and realize sales online will suffer immensely. Already we have seen most businesses crumbling because of their absence or lack of activity online. As a business, you now must have a comprehensive sales and marketing plan on how you will do business online – either partially or wholly.
What To Know In Coming Up With A Sales And Marketing Plan
Coming up with such a plan will require setting goals such as sales volumes, profit margins, customer numbers, and so on. Given the things we discussed prior you will need to find out about customer behaviours and online activity. This will call on an entrepreneur to conduct surveys to better under their customer and prospective customer base. This can be done through collecting user-generated content e.g. reviews, polls, interviews, questionnaires and so on. All this information forms part of your business plan. Read more about business plans on this website.
Remember that we earlier talked about SEO and keywords amongst others. You will have to know about such in relation to your line of business. Get to know about how to create and propagate content online – things like posting schedules, type of content, and lengths just to mention a few. Basically, what we are talking about there is coming up with a content strategy. Do not forget that whatever you will be setting out to do will be premised on your business’ current performance on the sales and marketing front. You will also have to determine on targets regarding online traffic to sites such as websites or social media platforms, engagements, leads, click-through sales and several other metrics. There are so many things to look at in coming up with a sales and marketing plan but we have just highlighted some of them.
A good traceable and evaluable plan should tentatively cover a year or fraction of a year – subject to review of course. Periodically monitor and evaluate so that you can tweak your plan to accommodate newfound insights. The digital space or the online world, in general, is very highly volatile and dynamic. This means you always have to stay abreast with the ever-evolving playing field so that you stay ahead.