Solving Some Of The Mysteries Of Owning A Business- Part I: Marketing/Sales

We have talked before in this space about the “four box diagram” of a business. The four boxes are marketing/sales, operations/production, finance/administration and human resources. We all have various strengths and weaknesses relative to the four boxes. We cannot know and be good at all four. There is a tendency to view the areas we are weak in as “mysteries.” We just want someone to take care of them while we work in the areas in which we are strong. But, as an owner, to regard the other areas as mysteries can be perilous. Every owner needs to know some basics about each area in order to successfully hire outside resources to help or fill that area with the right employees. This week’s “box” is marketing/sales.

Like everything else in business, marketing and sales can be well designed and supported systems. Before a dime is spent on marketing, owners must get the answers to these questions:

1) What do our customers really buy from us (not just what we are selling?)? What outcomes do they seek from our products and services?

2) How do they get their information about what they are looking for? What do they read, listen to, and watch? What search engines do they use?

3) How do they make their buying decisions?

4) In what ways must our products and services be different from those of your competitors in ways that matter to them, not necessarily to you?

From these answers, as well as staying current on regional and national trends, you will be able to build successful marketing systems and programs and hire the right sales force to sell them.