Have you ever been frustrated that you’re working with a tiny sales and marketing budget? Ever felt that you could do so much better if you had an entire a sales or marketing team working for you? Do you feel envious of big businesses who make sales and marketing look easy? I think all of us micro business folks have at one time or another but there really are benefits to selling in a micro business.
At this month’s Bedford Marketing meetup (if there’s a Marketing Meetup in your area, definitely go along, they’re great!). One of the speakers was Stephen Bedford of Conical, and he was talking about marketing strategy. This presentation was aimed at marketing professionals in small-to-medium sized businesses, which was a good fit for most of the people in the room. I tend to work with micro businesses, but there’s always something new to learn about marketing so I was happy to listen in. All of the Marketing Meetup presentations are recorded and will appear on The Marketing Meetup podcast, so you’ll be able to listen to it yourself once it has been edited and uploaded.
Stephen spoke about the process of creating and implementing a strategy, right from auditing where the business is now in terms of marketing, assessing what is working and what isn’t, then onto the marketing tools that can be used, including SWOT (strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, threats), segmentation analysis and more, through to implementation. All useful stuff, but what stood out for me was his description of the barriers the marketing professional can face from within the business itself.
These barriers could be that the marketer doesn’t have the support of a decision-maker in the business, that the marketer is coming in with too many ideas and too fast, or just plain old resistance to change (“but we’ve always done it this way”). Stephen gave a number of suggestions for overcoming these barriers, including making friends with someone senior (if you’re still quite junior yourself) and being careful to not overdo the marketing terminology.
But what struck me was this…this issue is practically non-existent for micro businesses. We can drop anything that’s not working and try something new without having to convince a managing director or the board. We are light, lean and can change direction whenever we want. In fact if anything we sometimes have the opposite problem – keeping with a single marketing strategy long enough to see results.
The only people we really need to convince are those we’re selling to. And as we often know these people personally, we have a good idea of who they are and what they need.
That’s not to say selling in a micro business is easy, because it often isn’t. Especially if you don’t have much experience of sales and marketing and are working with a tiny budget. However, having a few key things in place can make a huge difference, including:
- Not being afraid of selling. Without it you have no customers and therefore no business.
- Knowing exactly what you’re selling, to whom and how it’s going to make their lives better.
- Keeping a record of your clients and sales, and following up regularly. In other words, have a CRM.
- Having a plan, implementing it consistently, reviewing and acting on what you learn.
These things are a whole lot less exciting than the latest shiny marketing tactic, but they stand a much better chance of working in the long term.
So next time you think the grass must be greener at the bigger business next door…well, maybe it isn’t!
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