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By Carleen Herndon, Vice President of Business Development, MindShare Strategies

Marketing and sales go hand-in-hand. The two are often used in the same sentence or even in the same breath – kind of like peanut butter and jelly. To have a successful sales plan, marketing must be one of the components. Whether the market is good or bad, it must be a constant. Many companies make the mistake of cutting their marketing budgets in down economic times, which is the most critical time of all to remain up-front and center in the industry.

Marketing is the driving force to the end result: sales. Before you target new customers, you must understand who your customer is and articulate your value proposition. Your goal to increase sales must by synonymous with your motivation to listen to the needs of your customers and be consultative in your approach to solving your customers’ problems. Through marketing, you will establish industry credibility and trust, educate the industry about your capabilities, create qualified lead generation, shorten the sales cycle, and ultimately drive sales.

By implementing a strategic marketing plan tied to your specific business goals, you can raise your visibility and increase your bottom line by incorporating the following tactics: strategy/branding, research, media relations/PR, advertising, digital media, direct marketing/sales collateral, special events, and sales/business development. A successful marketing plan must be targeted, integrated, systematic, and measure results. Then get ready to see business soar!