Marketing and sales are two of the most important aspects of every small business. While these two activities share the goal of converting prospects into buyers, their business functions are quite different.
In larger companies, businesses will (typically) have two separate departments – one responsible for marketing and one for sales.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners just starting out don’t typically have the resources to have two departments, so they typically have one person responsible for marketing and sales.
I (personally) believe that small businesses and entrepreneurs have an advantage over larger businesses. When large businesses separate their marketing and sales departments, they struggle with creating a seamless customer journey for their prospects. Entrepreneurs and small businesses, on the other hand, have an advantage because they can create a complete customer journey that delights prospects even before they become customers.
That said, there are also some pitfalls that many entrepreneurs and small businesses face that can negatively affect their conversion.
Let’s go ahead and dive in, shall we?
What is Marketing?
The simplest way to think about marketing is that it is relational.
Marketing is the practice of creating awareness and initiating consideration of the purchase of a program, product, or service.
The job of a marketer is to:
- Create awareness
- Spark interest
- Capture leads
- Nurture prospects
- Set the salesperson (team) up for success
Different Types of Online Marketing
Today, many businesses are looking for different types of online marketing activities they can deploy to build brand awareness and start creating a relationship with their perfect ideal customers.
Here are a few of the most common types of online marketing:
- Content Marketing – creating content such as blogs, eBooks, podcasts, and free resources (aka lead magnets) designed to build trust and authority and capture prospects.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – is the process of optimizing your website (including blogs) so that your content appears in search result pages (SERPs).
- Paid Media – involves placing ads to reach your perfect ideal customer. This can include boosting posts, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn ads, Google PPC, etc.
- Social Media Marketing – is where you leverage social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, etc., to connect with prospects, customers, or followers.
- Email Marketing – allows you to reach your prospects or customers through email. Email marketing can help you segment your audience based on interest, nurture prospects, present offers, and identify MQLs (marketing qualified leads) that can be handed off to your salesperson/team/department.
Key Marketing Metrics You Should Track
Now that you can see the key differences between marketing and sales let’s discuss the KPIs you should track.
KPIs are key performance indicators. KPIs provide targets for you (or your team) to shoot for. They gauge progress and provide insight that can help you (the owner/founder) with the information you need to make key decisions in your business.
You can track many KPIs; here are the most important ones to track initially.
The (5) KPIs that you should be tracking for marketing are:
- Social Media Reach
- Paid Media Metrics
- Page Views
- Lead Conversion Rates
- Cost Per Lead (CPL)
- Unique Web Visitors
- Organic and Paid Visitors
- Cost Per Lead (CPL)
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
Social Media Reach
Social media marketing is an effective method for many businesses to gain brand awareness. Social media reach is the (estimated) number of social media users that have seen your post(s). Tracking your social media reach can help you measure your post(s) performance and build brand awareness.
Paid Media Metrics
Paid media is an outbound marketing strategy that includes tactics you can deploy to pay to get your business in front of your perfect ideal customer (PIC). Paid media can include paid search ads, display ads, social media, ads, etc.
You may be deploying paid media in your marketing for a few reasons. You may have a goal to:
- Build Brand Awareness
- Drive Traffic to Your Website or Landing Pages
- Increase Social Engagement
- Gain Video Views
- Generate Leads
Assuming your goal is to generate leads, the basic metrics that you should be tracking here are:
- Impressions – the number of people who’ve seen your ads
- Page Views – the number of people who landed on a specific page (for example, a landing page)
- Lead Conversion Rates – the number of people who’ve you’ve captured their contact information and added to your email marketing list
- Cost Per Lead (CPL) – the cost of generating a lead.
Unique Web Visitors
Your website has (4) main objectives:
- Bring Visitors to Your Website by Optimizing Your Blog
- Connect With And Capture The Attention Of Your Website Visitor(s)
- Capture The Contact Information Of Your Visitor
- Convert Visitors Into Buyers
Want more information about optimizing your website? Book a free website audit.
Tracking your unique website visitors will help you understand the effectiveness of your website.
Cost Per Lead (CPL)
I know we already talked about tracking your CPL through your specific paid media campaigns, but I think it’s worth mentioning tracking your CPL for all your marketing campaigns/efforts.
Measuring your CPL (cost per lead) allows you to measure the cost-effectiveness of your marketing campaigns in generating new leads.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
An MQL (marketing qualified lead) is a lead that is ready to be handed off to the salesperson (team/department).
Lead scoring is a great way to identify prospects as qualified leads. Lead scoring allows you to identify an MQL based on their actions and behaviors. An example may be that you provide point values to things like form submissions, website visits, downloads, attendance to a webinar, etc.
What is Sales/Selling?
Sales are transactional.
Sales/Selling is the practice of converting prospects into paying customers.
The job of a salesperson is to:
- Follow up with prospects and continue to manage an ongoing relationship
- Determine if the prospect is a good fit for the program, product, or service (this is typically done through discovery)
- Present the best program, product, or service to the prospect/lead based on their needs and desired outcome
- Close the sale and complete the transaction
Different Sales Approaches
Like marketing, there are many different ways that you can approach selling. Here are a few different strategies you can deploy:
- Inbound Selling – inbound selling is a technique where the prospect starts the sales process (for example, the prospect schedules a discovery call).
- Outbound Selling – outbound selling is where you (or your salesperson/team) connect with your prospects through outbound activities such as calling, text messaging, Facebook messaging, etc.
- Needs-Based Selling – needs-based selling is the process of selling based on a prospect’s needs or desired outcomes. When selling based on needs, a salesperson would (typically) learn about the prospect’s challenges and goals to determine if they fit the company well and lead the prospect to the best solution.
In our company, we use a combination of all (3) of these sales approaches to offer our services to our perfect ideal customer.
Key Sales Metrics You Should Track
The KPIs you select to track in your business depend on the business and marketing/sales models you have in place.
You can track things like:
- Monthly Sales Growth
- Average Profit Margin
- Monthly Discovery Calls
- Sales Opportunities
- Sales Target(s)
- Quote to Close Ratio
- Average Purchase Value
- Monthly Calls
- Monthly Emails
- Sales By Contact Method
- Sales Cycle Length
- Lead-to-Close Ratio
- Retention and Churn Rates
- Customer Lifetime Value
Assuming you are using the (3) sales approaches that we use in our business, these are the (7) basic KPIs that I would recommend tracking for sales:
- Daily Outbound Calls
- Daily Social Media Connections (if you are prospecting online)
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
- Identify Opportunities (through Discovery Calls)
- Proposal-to-Win Rate
- Proposal-to-Lost Rate
- Sales Revenue
Daily Outbound Calls
At the end of the day, our goal is for each salesperson to make 100 new connections per day. Those connections can be made through outbound calls, emails, texts, or social connections.
We focus our outbound calls on making 80 per day.
Daily Social Media Connections (if you are prospecting online)
In addition to the outbound calls being made, we also focus on creating 20 social media connections per day.
Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)
The ultimate goal of our outbound calls and social media connections is to schedule discovery calls with prospects that have a marketing or sales challenge that we may be able to solve with our products/services.
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are typically passed on to the salesperson/team once they have shown interest in buying and have been considered a “hot lead.”
The Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) is the number of sales opportunities on your leads list. Our business determines a prospect a SQL when they schedule a discovery call.
By knowing how many leads you (or your team) are converting to discovery calls, you can determine the strength and weaknesses of your lead generation.
Identify Opportunities (through Discovery Calls)
The discovery call leads to more about our prospect, their company, and their goals. During the discovery call, the salesperson should uncover the prospect’s biggest challenges and determine if they are a good fit for our services and are ready, willing, and able.
What does it mean to be ready, willing, and able?
A prospect who is ready means that they know they have a problem and are ready to change.
A prospect who is willing is someone willing to decide to implement the recommended solution.
A prospect who is able has the funds to move forward (in other words, they can invest in a solution).
If a person is ready, willing, and able, they are considered a (Qualified) Opportunity.
Proposal-to-Win Rate | Proposal-to-Lost Rate
We present the offer once we have identified a prospect as a qualified opportunity.
In our business, there are times when we present the offer during the discovery call, and there are times when we need to create a proposal to provide our recommendations.
Regardless of how you approach your sales, you want to track how many opportunities you won and how many opportunities you lost. This is also known as your “closing ratio.”
Sales revenue is the easiest to measure because you track the revenue generated from sales.
A Snapshot: The Difference Between Sales and Marketing
Common Pitfalls Entrepreneurs Make When It Comes to Marketing vs Sales Activities
Ok, you now know the job of marketing and sales. We’ve discussed the different marketing strategies you can deploy, and you’ve learned of the (3) selling approaches we use in our business (that may very well apply to yours, too!). And we have discussed the KPIs you should track for marketing and sales.
Let’s now dive into the common pitfalls entrepreneurs make regarding marketing and sales.
As an entrepreneur, you will likely wear many different “hats” in your business. Those “hats” have you being pulled in many different directions on any given day, and because of that, you (likely) fall into these (3) pitfalls:
- PITFALL 1 – You don’t have a real marketing plan
- PITFALL 2 – You don’t have a sales process
- PITFALL 3 – You aren’t consistent with your marketing
Let me further explain…
PITFALL 1 – You don’t have a real marketing plan
Be honest as you think about these questions…
What are you doing now to market your business consistently?
Do you have a strategy?
Do you have a plan?
Or are you constantly “trying” new things, “winging it,” and “hoping” that something will work?
Because most entrepreneurs are being pulled in so many different directions, their day (typically) consists of chasing whatever “fire” they’ve been presented with for the day. And in their downtimes, they lack a plan to follow, so they fill their schedule with “busy work.”
The problem with busy work is that it will keep you busy – and overwhelmed. But the work you are processing isn’t guaranteed to move the needle in your business.
If this is you, I invite you to Plan Your Success! This is your opportunity to get clear on what you want to accomplish, identify key strategies you need to execute and create a roadmap you can deploy to reach your goals.
PITFALL 2 – You don’t have a sales process
Let’s say you have a plan and execute it consistently. You have leads that you can convert – Pitfall #2 is that you don’t have a sales process.
A sales process is a documented system that you (or your sales team) follow to convert prospects into buyers consistently.
As part of your sales process, you should have (at a minimum):
- Written Scripts (for outbound calls, voicemail messages, discovery calls, etc.).
- Templated Emails (to follow up professionally – and consistently).
- A sales pipeline that allows you to keep track of where your prospects are in your sales process.
Most entrepreneurs “wing it.” They manage their sales pipeline from a yellow legal pad of notes that they scratched down to remind them to follow up with prospects.
PITFALL 3 – You aren’t consistent with your marketing
Most entrepreneurs are running their businesses “reactively” – meaning, they are reacting to whatever comes their way rather than “proactively” running their business.
When you are in “reactive mode,” you are constantly being pulled in many different directions, making it extremely difficult to focus on the things that matter most in your business.
Being in “reactive mode” puts you on the “entrepreneurial rollercoaster” – not a fun rollercoaster! It has many ups and downs. When sales go up – marketing goes down. The challenge with the rollercoaster is that there is no consistency, and it’s virtually impossible to grow a successful business if you don’t put things in place that allow you to scale and grow.
If you are looking to scale and grow your business, the key is to:
- Have clarity on what you want to achieve
- Develop and outline the strategies that you’ll deploy to reach your goals
- Work consistently on implementing those strategies
- Track and measure your progress
- Make adjustments as necessary
When marketing and sales are aligned, your business is poised to attract more leads and generate more revenue.