Neil Lewis - Innovative Entrepreneur

Solving problems by growing profitable businesses @neil_lewis

Faster sales and better Marketing – 3 key tips

Which entrepreneur or business executive doesn’t want faster sales and better marketing?

None, of course!

The only thing that has recently changed is that speed has become more and more important.

In fact, business success is increasingly less about the quality of its product and more about its ability to generate quick sales with great marketing – than ever before.

Rupert Murdoch said that ‘the biggest won’t win, it will be down the fastest’.

And, this is the great advantage of small, smart businesses – they can move faster – albeit, they lack the cash of their giant corporate competitors.

So, how do you go about building faster sales and better marketing when you don’t have endless cash?

Here are my 3 tips:

1. Engage freelancers

Hiring a marketing or sales director typically takes 3 months. Sometimes longer, sometimes less. But even when hired, the director needs to give notice at his current job – and that might take a further 3 months. And of course, before the new director can start to build a team, he needs to get his feet under the desk .

Horrible timescales backed up by the fact that your business might have changed out of all recognition in the 6 months it takes to hire the director.

Of course, there is no knowing that your new hire will work out until you start working together. Senior new hires into fast growing businesses fail more often than succeed, so you could be 12 months down the path, having spent a large chunk of money when you need to start all over again. Ouch. This is how NOT to do it.

Instead, look to engage freelance talent that can have an immediate impact – and, which you can assess by work delivered – not their interview technique.

You see, marketing and sales people are great at interview! So what hope do we have? Okay, there are some useful hiring tools, but nevertheless, there is a big risk and most importantly, massive delay.

2. Engage teams

As you’ll have gathered from the first point, success is about the ability to engage and direct a TEAM. Why?

Simply, marketing and sales is hugely complex and constantly moving. If you don’t work with specialists then your marketing will fail. Almost certainly you’ll need some technical, creative and selling skills – it is rare to get excellent people who can do all three. So I would suggest that any team needs to have a minimum of three people.

Now, some great people just don’t get on or don’t fit together. Again, an interview won’t tell you this. A traditional interview will only tell you if that person is fit for that specific role – not whether you team is going to deliver excellence.

Again, there are tests you can use – but if you just want a team to test a product in a given market, then why not just put that team together and see what happens? With freelance talent you can change the team as you go along.

So, think teams of freelancers – not single freelancer who can solve all your problems in one go. The exception might be a senior sales or marketing person who can construct a team for you – quickly.

3. Set up projects with unreasonable targets and be prepared to fail

Lastly, give your freelance teams projects to run. That is, give them fixed amounts of time, ask them to achieve amazing things and then don’t be afraid to fail.

This last bit – not afraid to fail – is critical. You can only ask a team to take a risk and reach out for the unknown if you are relaxed about the final outcome.

By relaxed I don’t mean that you don’t care. No. I mean that you care very much about the outcome but you don’t and won’t blame or be upset if that outcome isn’t achieved.

Instead, be upset if the team fails to be sufficiently ambitious.

Why is this important? Well, all your competitors are acting in the normal and standard way of doing business. That is, plan, hire and recruit and then take action.

If you do what your competitors do – you’ll be no better than them, but they might already have the market lead, in which case they will keep it.

Instead, turn the whole thing around – quickly gather a team of talented freelancers, then act, then act again, then act some more.

You see, if you want to really put the customer at the heart of the business you have to engage the customer in real purchases decisions and conversations. Everything else is just talk.

So, even if your product is not yet completed, ask customers if they will buy it. And be ready to sell them something – even a cut down or beta version at a discount price.

It will not only massively improve the speed at which you can market – but also, this deep involvement in your customers issues and his purchasing decisions will mean that your product is far far better when ready for a full launch.

Of course, you can also take this approach with existing products, after all, which existing product doesn’t need innovation and development?

So, the challenge then is where you do find and meet freelancers who can form your project teams? Essentially, you have two choice, either, build your contacts yourself – ideally face to face – and we’d like to suggest at the Enterprise Freelance Fair in Daresbury, Cheshire on 31st March.

Alternatively, ask someone else to put the team together, and for this route, we will shortly be launch Project2Sell.

But what ever you do – make sure you build speed and flexibility into your market plan – and lastly, don’t delay.

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Written by Editor on March 21, 2011 and filed in Entrepreneurs, Featured, Innovative Entrepreneur, News, Opinion , , , ,

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