In a recent Forbes post, I wrote about chasing the wrong goal with the example of landing a promotion and still being unhappy. Aiming for one goal when you’re really after something else is not limited to traditional employees. Entrepreneurs with their attention on so many things, including both sales and marketing, might target one thing but really mean something else. For example, in our February radio show, a greeting card business owner asked about marketing tips, but I bet she meant sales. Sales drives the business. Marketing contributes to sales. If you’re a small business owner and spending time, energy and money on your marketing initiatives, ask these 5 questions to see if you really should be focused on something else:
How long is your sales cycle and do you have the cash on hand to wait?
Even the best marketing initiatives take time. If you’re pressed for money, you need to focus on sales, not marketing.
How many sales conversations do you have – look at this week, this month, this quarter?
Sales conversations are specifically those meetings and calls with a prospect who has authority to buy, who is your ideal customer, and who is primed to make a decision now.
How many of these sales conversations convert?
If you’re getting people interested but they don’t buy, you may need to focus on sales training, as your marketing is clearly working to get prospects to your door.
How do the customers that buy (or almost buy) find you?
These are the marketing initiatives you should prioritize, as you need to keep your sales pipeline full.
How healthy are your profit margins?
You may be selling and marketing effectively, but your costs are too high or pricing too low, so your business never generates the income you need, regardless of how much you keep selling and marketing.
Marketing is critical to a business, just like getting a promotion is critical to career advancement. But many times the immediate goal should be something else. Before you spend too much time strategizing and experimenting to fix something (say marketing) step back and ask what end result you really need. You may find that you need to pick a different goal altogether.