Understanding the Difference Between Sales and Business Development

Understanding the Difference Between Sales and Business Development

Sales, marketing and business development. They are all the same, right? Actually, no. Sales, marketing and business development are all very different tasks and it is important to know how they differ from one another so that your business is as successful as possible.

While many small businesses, out of necessity, may have just one person in charge of sales, marketing and business development tasks, it is still important to differentiate between the three job descriptions because each job has a very different objective, as shown here:

  • Business Development: An individual in charge of business development identifies and implements new areas of business. These include things like new distribution channels, new markets and/or new products. Those in business development never sell a particular product or service.
  • Marketing: A marketing professional will attract customers by identifying the needs of a certain type of customer. Marketing is a means of working toward the goal of getting products sold to customers. It also plays a role in gathering and confirming the particular features or benefits of a product or service that is desired by customers.
  • Sales: In the most basic terms, sales means transactions. A sale is what happens once a customer has been identified. A salesperson is responsible for selling a product or service at a determined price.

Here is another way to look at it. New business builds or creates new buildings. Marketing gets people through the door. Sales gets people from the door to the cash register. Sales professionals should always be closing but new business development professionals should always be opening!

If you are a business development professional you need to be able to look out for the needs of the entire company for which you work. Much of your day-to-day tasks will be spent with managers from different departments and helping them prepare for presentations, for example.

Business development and sales professionals are two parts of a whole. They both work to grow a business but they do it in different ways. Only when they do it correctly, however, will a business grow and flourish.

When it Comes to Databases, Bigger Doesn’t Always Mean Better

When it Comes to Databases, Bigger Doesn’t Always Mean Better

While having a large database of leads can seem like a good thing, if that database has not been scoured of outdated and useless leads, it is no better than having no leads at all. In fact, research show that U.S. businesses lose billions of dollars every year because of poor database management.

Marketers know that launching any type of inbound marketing campaign without a fully scrubbed database will result in a waste of time and money. However, the time and effort it takes to scrub their database seems too daunting and they often delay launching a campaign. In either case, profits take a hit.

Database scrubbing can be an overwhelming proposition. Especially to businesses who do not have the required manpower. Further, database cleansing is not a one-time proposition. In order to keep any database current it must be continually updated. The benefits of a clean database, however, are always worth the effort. Accurate data allows for a greater number of qualified leads and increased sales conversions, both of which result in higher profits in the long run.

In order to ensure that a database is up-to-date, the following steps should be taken:

Step #1: Assess

Databases needs to be thoroughly analyzed to make sure any incomplete or inaccurate entries are identified and corrected or deleted.

Step #2: Update

Contact needs to be made with each of the leads in a database to confirm all relevant contact information such as mailing and email addresses. It also is vital to identify decision makers. When possible, information that will help salespeople interact with a prospect on a personal level should be included in the database.

Step #3: Repeat

Decision makers change over time. Companies move. Data must be maintained and monitored on a regular basis so that the correct information is always at the fingertips of every salesperson. It also is important that one database is used for both marketing and sales departments in order to avoid multiple or redundant touches by the sales and marketing departments.

A scrubbed database can drastically improve the performance of a sales team. While this may seem out of reach for many businesses who don’t have the resources to maintain a clean database, a firm that performs outsource call center services can do the job for them. The investment in keeping a database clean will far exceed the time, effort and resources it takes to ensure that a database contains only the most up-to-date information.

Connecting with Prospects Over the Phone

Connecting with Prospects Over the Phone

Sales calls can be difficult for even the most seasoned salesperson. However, those who are the best at making sales over the phone care less about making a sale and more about getting to know the person on the other end of the line.

The first thing you need to do when talking with a prospect over the phone is to find out where his or her priorities lie. This can be very difficult because as a salesperson, your first inclination is usually to tell a prospect what an outstanding product or service you are selling.

While it may seem unnatural at first, it is essential to allow prospects to do most of the talking. That’s because if you don’t give a prospect the opportunity to speak, you will never know what he or she wants or needs. When you do begin to talk, you should focus on asking probing questions.

It is unrealistic to expect that every call you make will end up in a sale, but there are ways to become more successful over time.

    1. Begin on a positive note. Research shows that when you begin a telemarketing conversation on a positive note, you drastically increase your chances of making a sale. Instead of beginning a call with phrases like, “I know you’re swamped,” try something more upbeat such as, “Great weather we’re having.”
    1. Never bad mouth competitors. Psychologists tell us that when someone says something negative about a competitor (or anyone for that matter), the person listening tends to, consciously or unconsciously, project those negative attributes onto the person talking.
    1. Focus on the details. Instead of talking in general about a product or service you are selling, speak specifically about the features and capabilities that will directly benefit your prospect.
    1. Ask how the prospect wants to move forward. Find out when and how your prospect wants to be contacted going forward. It is important that you allow the prospect to have some control instead of you always leading the way.
  1. Create an atmosphere of mutual respect. Instead of viewing yourself as less important than a prospect, always set a tone of mutual respect. This sense of respect will go a long way toward building strong relationships that ultimately lead to sales.

How to Reduce Customer Churn

How to Reduce Customer Churn

Do your customers have commitment issues? If you have a high churn rate, you may be wondering if it is something you are doing or if your customers are just flaky.

You may never know why customers decide to cancel an order or discontinue your professional relationship. However, if your churn rate continues to rise, you need to take a hard look at how you can reverse this trend. If you don’t, you may soon find yourself without any customers at all.

If you are looking for ways to boost customer loyalty, here are some ideas to help you get started:

  1. Communicate. While no one wants constant calls and emails, if the only time you communicate with your customers is when you want to sell them something this is a problem. Consider follow-up telemarketing calls after customers have made a major purchase to find out if they have questions or are satisfied with their purchase.
  2. Focus on Your Weaknesses. Always be on the lookout for ways to improve your products or services. Figure out what you can be doing better and make it your mission to improve. Further, make sure you are open to change.
  3. Look Over Your Shoulder. Always keep an eye on the competition. Check out what they are doing and see if you can incorporate some of those things into your business strategy. It is also important to remember that your competition is always looking to poach your best ideas so keep on your toes.
  4. Do What You Do Best. If you are known for your outstanding customer service, quick turnaround or flawless products, you need to work hard to make sure that you never ever let a customer down in the area where you really shine. If a customer comes to you because you always deliver faster than everyone else, the one time you don’t deliver on time may be the last.
  5. Find Out Why a Customer Moved On. When a customer returns a product or stops doing business with you, do your best to find out why. Consider calling the customer or sending them an email asking for their feedback. Many customers appreciate the opportunity to give you constructive advice. And even if they have nothing good to say, you can learn from negative feedback, as well. Finally, they may be so impressed that you care that they give you a second chance.

No one likes to lose a customer but the secret to lowering your churn rate is to find out why customers are leaving and make the necessary changes. Likewise, if your customers are happy, you need to keep them that way so they will remain loyal for years to come.