In today’s world of highly competitive industries, constant advancement in product research and thoroughly informed customers, it’s becoming more and more difficult for a business to receive its fair share of sales, let alone gain the upper hand in the market. It is becoming more and more clear to anyone even remotely involved in sales and marketing that the one and only way to make the cut and be successful is consistency. Consistency in aligning sales and marketing knowledge, to be exact.
Many businesses spend all the time researching their customers, and little time getting to know their competitors. And that’s where I’d like to make a few points.
Following the trends.
Whatever your interests are — fashion, music, literature, marketing or selling — you have to keep up with the news in order to stay on top of your game. Locate the right information sources, whether it’s feedback from your customers, events and education courses, or news that’s freely accessible online, and take the time to implement that information into your strategy planning. Information is the most valuable commodity, and you want to make sure you’re using it right, and to its fullest potential.
Profiling the competition.
I believe it was the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu in his immortal work “The Art of War” who taught countless generations of warriors to “know their enemy”. We’re not in a war, and we don’t consider our competitors to be our enemies per se, but the rule is still 100% applicable here.
Start by making a list, and putting together all the information you can about each of them: where they’re located, how long have they been in business, an overview of their products and services, their turnover and pricing etc…. Keeping an approximate overview of your competitors will make it easier for you to find your place among them.
Knowledge sales & marketing.
We’re slowly getting to the core here. Once your team has done its homework by collecting the intelligence, it’s time to put it to good use in both your sales and marketing efforts alike.
Get in touch with your clients and prospects by providing them with the market knowledge you’ve acquired that will help make their lives easier and do their jobs more efficiently. Release a monthly magazine, send out newsletters, write a blog, and while you’re giving out this extra value, take some time to define why your product stands out of the crowd and make sure everybody knows. Your customers will appreciate the added value, and you will rightfully claim the expert’s position in your market.
Keep it up.
Remember consistency? Well, let’s talk about it a little more before we set out to start making a difference. Whenever you release a product, if it’s not already outdated it’s about to be, because someone is already working on improving it. That may not be true 100% of the time, but you need to approach life as if it is. Keeping abreast of the market is an ongoing effort that needs to have its place in your monthly schedule. Keep checking the communication channels not only between salespeople and customers, marketing people and prospects, but also between the sales department and the marketing department. Trust me, you can’t afford inefficiency and information gaps if you want to be among the leaders in the market.