A few years ago I looked into developing a website and running my own business as a digital entrepreneur.
A very popular decision these days for those wanting to earn a primary or even secondary income in today's job market.
The ideas of: 'Make money whilst you sleep', 'Live a digital lifestyle', 'run an entire business from the comfort of your dressing gown' all sounded great to me and even now I could easily leap at any one of those strap lines because I still find them appealing, despite those of you that know me well enough knowing that I love meeting and chatting with people face to face, love working in a suit and love the buzz of closing a deal which you very much need to be awake for.
The purpose of this article is to try to educate people from falling into a frame of mind that I think a lot of people do when making this type of professional decision:
THERE IS A CATACLYSMIC DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SALES AND MARKETING!!
Put in that sentence in this way it sounds like a real no-brainer of a concept, but I recently came to understand that maybe people don't really differentiate between the two as much as they should.
As a Sales Consultant I feel I should make a point of stating that the two are in different camps and also highlight that many businesses run into difficulty because they don't view them as separate.
They may touch and sometimes even overlap; but doing one doesn't necessarily influence results in the other, and to run a successful business you need to recognise this and strategise to get results in both areas separately.
In my experience I have found that people are more comfortable with doing marketing than they are with doing Sales...and why wouldn't they be?
Sales has more pressure, more rejection, more stress association, more failure, is increasingly more avoided by both people that need to do it but also by people viewed as prospects.
I recently watched a video made by a Sales professional in America who described the word or profession of Sales in this day and age as being seen as a bad thing across the Atlantic. It is certainly true that "People hate being sold to...but they LOVE to buy".
So why do we do it?
Simple, businesses function by doing two things to a certain level:
1: Providing a product or service that meets a customers need by supplying a required amount of value,
2. Selling that product or service to prospects for an agreed quantity of (usually) money, thus making the prospect turn into a client which supports said business.
Marketing does not feature on this list you'll notice, what it does do however is maximise the success rates of these two features by broadcasting the products value to as many potential customers (prospects) as possible.
There has been a lot of bad news reports and TV programmes about Multi-Level Marketing (MLM): Companies who talk people into investing savings in a product to sell from home. These people may be ill-equipped to make this dream of a business from home a reality because of their level of (or lack of) sales skill.
You'll notice that nowhere in the acronym M.L.M. is there an 'S' for sales, and it is my belief that the people invest in these businesses and fail to make them a success who are the subject of these bad reports are abandoned by the person or organisation who signed them up and not told or taught how to deliver the product, only WHAT the product is.
Product knowledge is only part of what is required, sales craft is also VITAL for success. The company I delved into many years ago that I mentioned had a neat solution to this: they recognised that not everybody is a natural or budding sales person and thus making the aim of their affiliates (like me) to feed prospects into a sales funnel and the companies founder actually closed the deal and paid a healthy commission - it really was PURE marketing!
So where does the problem lie?
The problem lies in that marketing quite often starts the process of attracting prospects: show them the product, describe the value and then allow the prospect to close themselves from the buying impulse that's been created.
There is little or no attempt to actively close the sale which is where the typical Sales model differs from this marketing one. This is how Wikipedia defines a Marketing Strategy:
Marketing strategy is a long-term, forward-looking approach to planning with the fundamental goal achieving a sustainable competitive advantage. Strategic planning involves an analysis of the company's strategic initial situation prior to the formulation, evaluation and selection of market-oriented competitive position that contributes to the company's goals and marketing objectives. (Ref:  Baker, Michael The Strategic Marketing Plan Audit 2008. ISBN 1-902433-99-8. p 3
^ Homburg, Christian; Sabine Kuester, Harley Krohmer, Marketing Management: A Contemporary Perspective (1st ed.), London, 2009)
Whereas, Sales is a numbers game: put more leads in to take more money out of the system. At MJB Sales Consultancy (www.mjbgraham.com) we define Sales Strategy as creating opportunity, because MORE leads is MORE opportunity, and MORE opportunity generates MORE money.
After all, money is the primary reason most people go into business for themselves isn't it? Even if what is said to be the reason just shrouds this casing point.
I recently heard someone say: "Money doesn't necessarily make you happy, but then neither does NOT having it necessarily make you happy" at least if you have it you can choose what to do with it to find happiness.
Is having a sales strategy enough?
Strategy, like a general planning a battle does not yield the results, it is the foundation on which Success is built.
How much and how fast this success will be depends on how much you want it. You still have to go out and turn leads or prospects into clients.
A Marketers job would be done after lead generation, but people who WILL BE SUCCESSFUL: who WILL reach their goals in a shorter amount of time and be satisfied with the bank balance at the end of the year now step into the light and close the deals...They are Sales people.
Make yourself one of these successful people: believe you can fly, take off and then watch yourself soar:
Remember back to the list of what businesses need?
You'll have the product/service already which was point number 1.
Point 2 details selling it to the prospects found with our lead generation and marketing that we described above. To be effective at making money:
Sales strategy has to be combined with a strong sales process to gather decisions and an attractive pitch to showcase your product in a mouth-watering way.
The big picture
Making MORE sales is the combination of effective strategy - more leads through more active channels than just building a website and promoting it - combined with a strong process which is shorter and gets a decision from EVERY prospect: either a YES or NO, and by shorter I mean that any business selling a product/service for < £20,000 per item can have a process for this in just 7-10 days, not 2-3 or 6 months...FACT, just ask us how!
You also need an irresistible pitch, to capture the imagination of each prospect that engages and ignites the impulse to generate the buying decision you can close.
Don't believe that building a website with a snappy landing page and automatic 'sales funnel' is the sole answer to low monthly revenue.
People buy value from people, and they buy things they can trust and digital marketing doesn't do this as well as actively making sales by putting yourself in front of the customer, and passing on your excitement about the value you can provide them:
Find what excites you, build your strategy, write your fantastic pitch and put leads through a process that gives value and gets a decision.
Don't just rely on adverts alone to make you money for you: "If you want something done..." well... you know the rest...
If you need help with the HOW? Get a review from the people who make winners at www.mjbgraham.com and be successful NOW not later. Go on, take a leap and soar...