Business Success Series: Sales and Marketing

Sales and Marketing image

In this instalment of the seven-part series delving into crucial aspects that can make or break your journey towards success, we are going to focus on Sales and Marketing.

The Business Success Series is a comprehensive guide designed specifically for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners who are committed to achieving their business goals and overcoming challenges.   

Each month we are providing insights, strategies, and practical tips to empower you in navigating the obstacles that commonly hinder SMEs. Whether you are a seasoned business owner or just starting out, join us on this insightful journey as we explore the mindset, strategies, and actionable steps needed to elevate your business to new heights.  

So far, I’ve discussed the importance of having the right mindset, why it’s critical for businesses to have Purpose, Values and Goals, and most recently, the key elements of securing profitability and cashflow. This time around I’m looking at why Sales and Marketing are central elements to successful businesses. 

How strong is the sales and marketing function in your business?  

Many businesses still don’t put much time and money into sales and marketing or have let investment into it tail off over the years as they become reliant on “key customers”. Those that do invest in sales and marketing often fail to prioritise the most important aspects.  

Business owners often struggle in this area due to a number of reasons: 

  • They never ask for feedback  
  • They aren’t able to define their niche or target customer  
  • They don’t have a quick and clear way of measuring and reporting on progress  
  • They’re overly reliant on once source of income  

All business owners should be regularly assessing and reviewing their sales and marketing function, asking key questions such as:  

  • Who is my ideal customer? 
  • How am I targeting my ideal customer? 
  • How are we measuring success in lead generation?  
  • Where are my leads coming from? 
  • How can I push my leads further down the sales funnel? 
  • How many of these leads am I converting? 
  • What are the reasons for any non-conversions, and what am I doing to address this? 
  • When was the last time I reviewed my prices – (in times of inflationary pressure, not increasing your prices could lead to you falling behind) 
  • Are there different packages I can offer customers at the higher and lower end of the buying pyramid? 
  • What potential new services could I offer? 
  • How am I recording customer feedback and what is it telling me? 
  • What strategic partnerships could I look to develop in the coming year? 

Understanding your market 

One of the main reasons that businesses fail is due to a lack of understanding when it comes to the market that their product or service fits into. This often comes as a result of not putting enough thought into the overall sales and marketing strategy.  

Having a clear understanding of your customers ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ will play a huge part in this. Simple things such as periodically conducting a client satisfaction survey will keep you on top of how your customers are feeling and whether they are enjoying working with you. This can also give you ideas on how to improve the culture of your company- something that not only benefits your customers but also empowers your team. 

 Whilst it’s also important to undertake a competitor analysis, our CMO, Ashlee Cooper advises that if you’re looking at competitors, you aren’t going to cut through the noise. Often you are better to look at other industries and what innovations are happening in the wider world of marketing, and ultimately making a strategic decision as to what will work best for your target audience.  

Being able to define your niche is also a vital part of your sales and marketing strategy. If you can narrow down what it is that your business does, and who it is targeted at, then you’re able to say exactly why your product or service is better than others. 

The importance of a marketing plan: 

Making a sale is ultimately about closing a lead, and leads are often generated through your businesses marketing.  

We often find that when we ask business owners who aren’t as successful as they want to be, “What is your sales and marketing plan?” they will reply with something along the lines of ‘we don’t have one’ or ‘we’re not sure where to start’. 

In today’s digital world there are more ways than ever to market yourself, but this also brings with it more room for confusion and pitfalls. It can often be the case that doing it wrong is more costly than not doing it at all. 

Given the importance of having a clear sales and marketing plan, here are a few things to consider when developing a strategy for your business: 

  • The target audience – Who and Why? It is vital to be able to describe and understand your customer as they will help you position your offering.   
  • Your value proposition - Failure to understand what your customer wants, and more importantly why, will result in your business not being successful. From a customer’s perspective, you need to explain the need your product or service serves, leaving your customer thinking -  “I want this!”  
  • People usually buy firstly with emotion and then back up the purchase up with logic. When you’re explaining how your product or service will reduce their pain or enhance their pleasure make sure you are telling stories that will help them understand exactly how that will make them feel. At this stage they are primed to purchase your product/service.  
  • Your competitive advantage – In a competitive environment it isn’t sufficient to just show you can solve their problem or remove their pain. You need to emphasise why your product is the best, and why customers should come to you.  
  • Your pricing strategy – The price you quote needs to be aligned with the value that the customer perceives that they will be given, leaving them comfortable making the decision to part with their money.  


The cold reality is that the price and value of your offering is only as much as what someone is willing to pay for it at any point in time. Testing the market is paramount to avoid missing out on achieving a higher price or conversely pricing yourself out of the market completely. 

Building packages into your offering which includes different options at different price points, can ensure you attract customers from as many affordability points as possible and can often help the customer feel like they are getting more. When options are presented, the customer often feels like the one making the decision, so by pricing in a more lucrative way for you and the customer, everyone can feel like a winner.  

Ok, so what should I do now?  

Understand your customers: 

As a starting point, ask yourself these six questions. This should give you a better idea of who your customers are and help you to gain a better understanding of how you can grow your business. 

  1. How much your existing customers spend with you, so average transaction value?   
  1. How frequently do they buy from you?  
  1. How long have they been your customers?   
  1. How many referrals does a customer provide you?   
  1. How many leads you generate per month?  
  1. How many leads you convert per month?  

Build on your customer base: 

Take a deep dive in your existing customer base to see if you can: 

  • Up-sell –Moving your customers onto a more lucrative higher product or service. You need to look at ways you can upsell bolt ons, packages and related products, this is often one way of generating really lucrative returns, so consider whether your offering can be expanded or packaged up to generate more value  
  • Reduce the purchasing period – Getting your customers or clients to buy more frequently   
  • Cross sell – Selling complimentary products or services to your existing customers   
  • Diversify –Taking aspects of products or industries and combining products and services with other industries to create something brand new  
  • Identify the marketing outlets in which you will deliver the message both to current customers, and potential targets. These need to be strategically chosen and specific to your target audience, if your ideal client is men and women aged over 75, the chances are spending your time on TikTok will generate no return on your investment. 
  • Adapt your business model–Fixed business models are much more susceptible to changes, whereas diverse business models with multiple offerings can often adapt quickly and continue to thrive.  
  • Your sales team – In the best businesses, everyone is part of the sales team, so it is so important everyone in your business understands your offerings and how they can spot opportunities and sell additional services to ‘upgrade’ current customers. Alongside this, look at external collaborations and partnerships, to give a wider scope of people ‘selling’ for you. 
  • Data and reporting – Understanding your data and interpreting this into a tool you can base a decision on is of vital importance. 

It’s worth remembering that there are no better salespeople than your existing customers. Whilst potential leads may love what you have to say, hearing the same from a paying customer often enhances the trust levels. Therefore, it’s important to encourage regular feedback through reviews, testimonials and case studies.  

Use a CRM system to keep in touch with your customers: 

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system - can ensure you stay in regular contact with your customers. Through doing this, you’re able to target your market effectively with specific newsletters and social media posts to tap into certain customer demographics. It can also be a platform which you can easily ask for referrals. 

A CRM system allows you to manage and analyse interactions with past, current and potential customers. This will allow you to adjust your marketing techniques to who they are as a individual customers. All data on your clients should be in one place, making it easy to tailor your approach to their wants and needs.  

Use social media to increase the sales and marketing of your business: 

When approaching social media, you need to firstly consider your target audience, and which platforms they are likely to be most receptive to. If you apply a blanket approach to every platform, you are likely to end up limiting the benefit of using social media in the first place. 

Here are a few simple tips to get you started or to refresh and make sure you are on top of these:  

  • Set up a business social media account–  
    With a business account, you have access to insights and analytics. Email, phone number and website can be linked directly. If your accounts are set up under your personal name you may miss out on these features.  
  • Emphasise your brand and values on your website–  
    Branding ensures that you’re immediately recognisable. Keep it clean, uniform and easy to navigate. Using the key words customers are likely to resonate with, will get them into the emotional feeling zone quicker, talk about your passion and share your story.  
  • Make sure you have your social media widgets on website–  
    These are little icons that make it easy for people to find your platforms. 
  • Email subscription pop up–  
    Incorporate a pop up on your website, this will encourage people to sign up to your newsletters by giving exclusive features and discounts. This will allow you to contact clients easily and regularly.  
  • Google information up to date–  
    As soon as your company appears on Google, people should be able to see your website, phone number, address, opening times. 
  • Push for reviews–  
    This not only reassures potential customers, it helps push you further up the rankings.  
  • Social media and marketing calendar–  
    This allows you to prepare in advance, organise across channels and always be consistent. Using different formats for a message such as text, visual or video appeal to the different kind of learners in your audience and allows your message to reach the masses.  

The truth about sales: 

Sales is often seen as a difficult skill to master but it really doesn’t have to be something that you are frightened of. I would argue anyone who has a product or service they are passionate about and can articulate the benefit someone would get from purchasing their product is able to sell! 

My challenge to you is to have a think about your business and consider the ways that you have approached sales and marketing in the past. Ask yourself whether you have an in depth understanding of what value your business provides to your key customers- if you’re not able to justify this, then you can’t expect your customers to either. 

Sales & Marketing FAQ’s

1. How can I improve my sales and marketing strategy for my small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)?

To enhance your sales and marketing strategy, start by identifying your ideal customer and defining your niche. Measure success in lead generation, analyse where your leads are coming from, and optimise your efforts to convert leads effectively. Regularly review your pricing strategy, explore new services or packages, and seek feedback from customers to refine your approach.

2. What are the essential elements of a successful sales and marketing plan for SMEs?

A successful sales and marketing plan for SMEs should include a clear understanding of the target audience, a compelling value proposition, a focus on emotional storytelling to engage customers, emphasis on competitive advantages, an aligned pricing strategy, and consistent data-driven decision-making supported by a CRM system.

3. How can I define my target audience and niche for better sales and marketing results?

Define your target audience by understanding their demographics, preferences, and pain points. Conduct market research, analyse customer data, and periodically conduct client satisfaction surveys. Narrow down your niche to clearly articulate why your product or service is superior to others and tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.

4. What are some effective ways to measure the success of lead generation in SMEs?

Measure the success of lead generation by tracking metrics such as the average transaction value, frequency of purchases, customer tenure, referral rates, and conversion rates. Analyse data to identify trends and areas for improvement, and adjust your strategies accordingly to optimize lead generation efforts.

5. How can I leverage customer feedback to enhance my sales and marketing efforts for my business?

Utilise customer feedback to understand their needs and improve your offerings. Encourage reviews, testimonials, and case studies from satisfied customers to build trust and credibility. Implement a CRM system to manage and analyse interactions with customers, personalise your marketing efforts, and tailor your approach to meet their wants and needs effectively.

If you’re not confident that your sales and marketing strategy is giving you the best chance to grow your business in the future and would like some insight from our expert team, please get in touch! 

“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.” – Ann Landers