Sales and marketing go hand in hand when it comes to improving a company’s bottom line. While marketing involves the planning and implementation of business activities that bring in potential buyers, sales is about converting potential buyers into actual paying customers.
Larger companies usually have separate sales and marketing departments, but it’s normal to find the same individuals performing both tasks in small businesses because of how closely these responsibilities are related.
This article will show how applying some popular sales techniques can improve your marketing team’s performance in attracting new customers.
Technique # 1: Cold Calling
What it is: Cold calling is speaking to leads, over the phone or in person, who did not request a sales call but who may be interested in your product or service. Door-to-door salespeople and telemarketing professionals engage in cold calling all day long to find prospects willing to talk to them about purchasing products or services.
Why your marketing team needs to learn this: In sales, the best cold calling strategy is not really coming in cold, but doing solid research on your potential customer. Research helps sales professionals find the right approach and connection with the customer to convince them that they should buy your product or service.
Similarly, in marketing, researching the right audience for your promotions and content instead of going in blind creates better quality leads. Research should help your marketing team get a clear picture of your ideal customer — who they are, where they live, their jobs, their income, their interests and lifestyle. Identifying your target audience is the first step in generating sales leads, and solid research will increase the chances of converting these leads into sales.
Example: For instance, if you sell beauty and hair products, one audience you’ll want to target is young women ages 18-34. You can do this by using online platforms, such as Facebook and Google, that let you target a specific age group and filter by other demographic characteristics.
Technique # 2: Overcoming Objections
What it means in sales: The objective of a sales process is to get the client to say “yes” until the deal is closed. This makes the ability of a salesperson to overcome common objections from potential clients critical in making a sale. Listening to what a customer is saying and is NOT saying also helps a sales professional understand that an objection is often the result of a deeper issue. Sound customer research should help a salesperson empathize and come up with a solution for objections.
Why your marketing team needs to learn this: The marketing team needs to understand the common concerns or negative associations that a customer might have with the product or service and make sure to address them in marketing materials. Advertisements should be tailored in a way that addresses these concerns in order to encourage people to make a purchase and make your business stand out from competitors.
Example: The marketing team for a food delivery business discovers the usual objections customers raise when being offered their service is the cost of the delivery fee. The marketing team should advertise a 30-day free trial where no delivery fees are charged, or they can advertise how their fees are much lower than the competition’s.
Technique # 3: Asking for the Sale
What it means in sales: Sometimes the most effective sales technique is simply asking for the sale. Assuming that a prospect has been given the opportunity to consider options and recognize the value of your product or service, a good salesperson will be aware of the signs that a client is ready to buy.
Why your marketing team needs to learn this: A marketing communication that doesn’t make it clear what the audience is supposed to do is not going to be effective. Marketing materials, including ads, marketing emails, and social posts, should have a clear call to action identifying the next step that the customer should take. The next step will vary depending on who is the target customer for that marketing communication.
Example: Let’s say you have an ecommerce site and sell beauty products. If you send a marketing email to someone who abandoned items in their shopping cart, a call to action like “Finish your purchase, and get 10 % off your order” will work better than a generic “buy now” call to action.
Technique # 4: Tell Before and After Stories
What it means in sales: In sales, messaging is all about presenting your company’s story in a way that’s appealing to potential customers. The challenge is to make your story stand out and create a powerful perception of value. Telling stories with contrast highlights your company’s value. Share the “before” story (e.g. customer’s pain points or issues), and then talk about how customers’ lives improved after using your solution in the “after” story.
Why your marketing team needs to learn this: In the same way, a marketing campaign can benefit from highlighting a product or service’s value through stories with contrast. This can be integrated in customer testimonials, infographics, and images. Everybody loves a good story with a happy ending, so a marketing campaign that applies this technique will be hard to ignore.
Example: The marketing material of a web design company can show before and after photos of a client’s website to showcase their services.
Technique # 5: Actively Seek Referrals
What it means in sales: In sales, getting referrals from satisfied clients is a must for expanding the customer base. This is done by encouraging clients to recommend your business to friends, family, and acquaintances. Referrals allow sales professionals to connect with new potential customers without the usual struggles of a cold call.
Why your marketing team needs to learn this: Attract potential customers using marketing campaigns that focus on referral incentives. Encourage current customers to bring in friends and family to try your product or service by offering bonuses, discounts, or a rewards program. Your marketing team can also build a relationship with other businesses whose products or service complements your’s by referring your customers to them. They will appreciate your gesture and will most likely reciprocate the action.
Example: A hair salon can offer a $10 discount to every customer who brings a friend to a special weekend event. Offer a discount to the referred friends as well to gain a new customer base.
Technique # 6: Establish Yourself As the Expert
What it means in sales: The ultimate challenge of making a sale is building trust, and sales efforts to connect and engage with potential customers always keep this goal in mind. Sales techniques have evolved to make fostering relationships a major part of the process, and a great way to do that is by establishing yourself as an expert.
Why your marketing team needs to learn this: As a marketing professional, part of your objective is to build a strong brand and reputation for your company in order to attract leads. The best way to build reputation is by citing statistics that work in your favor or associating yourself with other well known, trusted companies.
Example: A marketing team for an online job board can gain credibility by highlighting well known companies that use its platform to hire talent.
Technique # 7: Use Social Media as Leverage
What it means in sales: Social media allows sales professionals to find out what potential customers’ opinions are on their brand and their industry. They get a feel on what people are looking for and what stops them from buying.
Why your marketing team needs to learn this: In order to leverage social media, your marketing staff needs to understand that people come to social media to relax and find out what their friends are doing. They are generally not in a purchasing mindset. Share entertaining or informative content, including before going for the hard pitch. By doing so, you gain customers’ trust while guiding them towards your solution.
Example: A pizza company’s Twitter account should contain entertaining content such as posts on the history of pizza and tasty pizza recipes. These should be mixed in with customer testimonials, photos, and promotions that link back to their website.
When your sales team and marketing team work seamlessly together, there will be a noticeable improvement in your bottom line. Try applying the 7 sales techniques above to your marketing strategy and improve your chances of converting leads into satisfied customers.
Maggie Aland is a staff writer for Fit Small Business and editor of the Marketing and Reviews sections. She writes on a variety of marketing topics, ranging from newspaper ads to how to market your business on Facebook. Before joining Fit Small Business, Maggie worked as a marketing associate at a niche publishing company. There she was responsible for determining the marketing plan and keeping up with the budget of 10+ B2B products. Her experience includes email, direct mail, social media, events, and more.