This is a guest post by Niraj Ranjan Rout. Niraj is the founder of Hiver, an app that turns Gmail into powerful customer support and collaboration tool. Niraj works on programming, customer support, and sales, and also contributes to design and UI.
While some small businesses still believe in the principle ‘they will come if we build’, most businesses are realizing that that is not the case at all. Marketing and sales strategies play a very important role in the success of most companies.
After realizing the importance of sales and marketing, most SMBs’ first reaction is to panic since they most likely don’t have enough money to compete with their big corporations with deep pockets.
In truth, however, it is the small business who are at an advantage compared to big ones. Their small size allows them to easily pursue excellence and set very high standards for themselves. They have the luxury to come up with unique cost-effective strategies and ideas and quickly implement them.
Here are some cost-effective sales strategies that will have a huge impact on your sales performance:
Don’t slack on after-sale service
It’s the little things that go a long way; and as a small business, you can afford to pay attention to the little things, compared to a big fortune 500 company. Take advantage of that.
I see that often businesses give their everything to make a sale and once the sale is done, they go completely radio silent. They don’t check to see if their customer is able to use the product well, or ask for feedback, etc.
By doing so you are not only setting bad values for your company, but you are missing out on building customer loyalty and good word-of-mouth and there is no denying the power of word-of-mouth.
A good after-sale service paves the way for many more future sales and all you need to do is pick up the phone and call your customer – the cost of which is quite low. Remember that only happy customers will result in repeat buys and loyalty to your company.
Begin with trials or free samples
Always give them the option to try your product/service for a little instead of asking them to shell out their money right away.
Make sure your product is excellent and if it is, then getting them to agree to try it is all you need to make an impression and convince them to buy. There is no better and more economic sales strategy.
Most SaaS small businesses like ours often offer trial periods and it works like a charm. It also shows your customer that you are highly confident about your product and that will encourage them to think so too.
Deploy up-selling techniques
You are leaving a lot of money on the table if you are not trying to upsell products. Remember how many times you order something to eat with your drink because the waiter asked, ‘Anything to eat, sir?’ or when a store manager says you will get 20% off if you buy another shirt?
Upsell is very smart technique where there is hardly any cost involved but you still get to make more sales.
Take Amazon, for example, when you are checking out a product at the bottom you see a list of recommended products that complement the product you are looking to buy. If you are looking to buy a laptop, you get a laptop bag option beneath it.
This is effective because once the customer is in the buying state of mind, it is so much easier to make another additional sale and a lot less friction to deal with them, as opposed to approaching them later.
Take advantage of content marketing
Tools such as paper ads, commercial tv ads, press releases, banner ads, etc. are no longer as powerful. It is purely for self-promotional purposes and everyone knows that. People neither like or trust these ads anymore.
What works now is content marketing; you add value to a prospect through powerful content that contains helpful suggestions and advice, and at the same time you will get noticed by them.
This is a subtle yet a more powerful way to get your prospect’s attention. The low cost of the process and the ease with which you can start a campaign makes this the most powerful weapon for small businesses.
As opposed to traditional methods, content marketing allows you to be found by the customer itself. They find you and they approach you, and this makes them a rich lead!
Here are are some reasons why content marketing is actually a sales strategy:
- You get good pre-qualified leads and this helps you save the expense incurred from chasing the wrong kind of leads.
- No explicit or overt promotion needed. Add value through content and get value.
- It has high conversion rates and hence, higher sales results.
In sales, one absolutely important thing is finding the right people. But it’s not enough, you have to keep your sales team inspired and motivated.
What will push your sales employees to make the maximum possible sales in a given month? Incentives.
The power of incentives on us humans is just undeniable. If there is no personal advantage for them, a salesperson will not really push himself to give his best. The incentive can be anything, it could be extra pay or getting the best sales employee award that will help in future promotion decisions, etc.
It’s simple – if you want them to give their best, give them a reason to!
Be unique – it has nothing to do with money
I often see small business use lack of money as an excuse to hide behind. Creativity hasn’t got anything to with money. Use your creativity to build a unique sales pitch and build a brand around your product/service.
For example, you see some companies create beautiful viral videos that both serve as advertising and branding for their product. It doesn’t a huge marketing budget to be able to do viral videos like that, all you need is a good idea, time, and people to help out.
Take the time to identify your differentiating points and create an interesting/engaging pitch or story around it – that is good enough to get a lot of people interested.
Starting a business is an incredibly tough process, especially because of the low budget constraint. Having said that, to get started in sales and marketing aspects, you don’t need as much money as you might think. Smart ideas, time, and effort can often take you a long way, especially in the digital age where you have access to the whole world through the internet.