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Is Your Sales and Marketing Working? 5 Tell-Tale Signs You're "Lookin' for Love in all the Wrong Places."

Business person looking for sales opportunities"Lookin' for All in All the Wrong Places," is a song that made its mark as part of the music track of the 80s movie, Urban Cowboy,  and it often defines ill-fated sales and marketing strategies that entrepreneurs pursue. When you're ramping your business up, there's almost nowhere you wouldn't look for revenue.

But once you get going, even if you're fabulously successful, you always have limited resources that you need to deploy judiciously.  Which means that your sales and marketing have to be carefully planned and that they are both "joined at the hip." Sales success has a direct correlation to marketing success.  And both need to have a plan to succeed.

But, unfortunately, not enough entrepreneurs recognize this fact and what ensues is, often, a hodge-podge of "stuff against the wall" and either wasted opportunities, wasted resources, or both.

Here are 5 tell-tale signs that you're "lookin' for love in all the wrong places," and if you can relate to more than one or two of these, you really need to re-think how you're approaching your sales and marketing:  

You equate marketing to a website and Facebook page.

Your website is critical because it, effectively, tells the world who you are and what you do. A Facebook page, does much the same thing, but enables you to do it in a more current way, potentially, with new company, product or customer information.  But without traffic to your website or fans on your Facebook page, they are like "being all dressed up with no place to go."  "If I build it, they will come," only works in the movies.  You need to have a plan for how people will find you.  But equally important, your website and Facebook page should be part of an overall marketing plan, not the sum total of it.  The more proactive that plan, the better.

You or your sales people still do cold calling.

Hello. 1975 is calling.  They want their sales strategy back. If you are still having your sales people make "x" number of calls per day, whether they be on the telephone or in person, regardless of your product, it's time to get those bell bottoms and that leisure suit into Goodwill.  A small business always has limited sales resources, sometimes only a single sales person and maybe the founder.  You can't afford to waste those on a "dialing for dollars" approach. Why squander those precious resources on a shotgun approach?  All leads are not created equal. They need to be qualified; meaning they are not only aware of your company but have shown a real interest, by either responding to an email solicitation or opting-in to a download or newsletter from your website or social media. But, once they are qualified, you still need to research them to better structure a call or a visit. The more you know, the better your chances for success.  Put another way, the further you are from cold calling, the more you know about your prospect, the better!

Your target market is whoever you're calling on today.

Again you have no plan, so whatever pops up on your radar is today's target market.  Plus, the corollary to this is that you believe that "you can do everything," so you chase anything.  If somebody makes an inquiry, then they become today's priority.  And there's no business you won't pursue or say no to...and sometimes you just have to say no. You need to determine niche markets where you've had success, focus very tightly on those niches and build on them.

You're constantly looking for the "Hail Mary."

Are you always looking for the "big win" that will "put you on the map?" Being an entrepreneur, often, is not about the major victory, but the individual small victories that sustain success.  While the "Hail Mary" play or the grand slam homerun in the 9th inning, might bring you a boatload of revenue at one time, chasing it is, usually, a big odds gamble, where you can waste a lot of time and resources and simply end up "always a bridesmaid, never a bride."

When you close a sale, you rarely know where the lead came from.

The symptoms of this sign are in several of the previous ones.  It could mean you actually do have a decent marketing plan, but don't close the loop by establishing a tracking mechanism, whether that be through a CRM or simply an Excel spreadsheet, that tracks each and every interaction with the company by a prospective customer.  If you don't, you are losing valuable information that can show you what's working and what's not in your sales and marketing; what you should do more of, and what you should abandon.

Many small businesses are guilty of "lookin' for love in all the wrong places." Hopefully, reviewing some of tell-tale signs can you get your sales and marketing back on track that will help you better achieve success and build on that success for the future.

"The Entrepreneur's Yoda" knows these things.  He's been there.  May success be with you!

Has your small business been "lookin' for love in all the wrong places?" Tell about your experience.  It can help another entrepreneur.

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