People are always advised to start businesses in which they possess skills that are at least above average. One skill that many businesses require is the ability to sell. Well, if that happens to be your skill you should consider starting a sales and marketing business. These businesses go by many different names but at the end of the day, the purpose is to introduce customers to a product and/or drive product sales. There are a few different ways to approach this business and a few things you should be aware of.
Sales and Marketing
These two are separate things but are very difficult to separate. In some cases, sales are a result of marketing but are not exactly the goal of marketing. Sales and selling refer to the act of getting customers to purchase a product, exchanging value for products. Marketing is the process of coordinating efforts to create awareness and understanding of a product to aid customers towards a buying decision. Clearly, the two are complementary or at least exist within an effective business system. While marketing tends to be looked down upon for its own reasons it is essential; how do sell someone something they don’t know? Sales don’t exactly have a glowing reputation either but selling is where all that knowledge of a product is converted into a value exchange. All this to say is something that many businesses need help with.
So you’ve got sales and marketing skills? Great. But how you do convert them into products that customers are willing to pay for? Remember that this business will operate in the business to business (B2B) environment; your customers will be businesses.
You’ve probably seen at least one of these campaigns but you probably weren’t aware that it was one. Steward Bank really pushed this hard a few years ago. These are all about using a face to face approach in public places to familiarise people with a product. These are built more around marketing a product though there’s nothing that stops you from selling the product in the process.
D00r to Door campaigns
Door to door campaigns take the face to face approach to the homefront. They are very effective with the right products. They have been used for so many things in the past but continue to be effective methods of getting a product into the people.
If you were thinking about how difficult brand activations and D2D campaigns are in the time of covid-19 social distancing there are also influencer campaigns. The crossover to social media has muddied the waters when it comes to what influencers actually do but it is all in the name. Influencers motivate (influence) people towards buy decisions. It’s not a game of popularity, though it helps on average, it’s a game of conversion.
Roadshows take brand activations a step further by bringing the same approach to multiple locations. Roadshows work well with new products that are going for wide outreach. Roadshows however have lower incidences of sales of products and are much more about awareness.
This is the tricky part. You will mostly be working on a contract basis, with set timelines for start and finish so having a heavy full-time staff complement will likely be to your detriment. What you would rather do is have a pool of part-time or casual staff that you can call on when you need to do campaigns. You can set up pre-agreements with influencers for terms of reference and then engage with them on a case by case basis when you need them. What you will need is a really strong admin. The methods used in this tend to involve a lot of data collection and processing so someone good with data would be useful too.
There are various ways to get paid and it largely depends on the angle you take. If your campaign is based on selling the product it is customary to have a commission-based agreement where remuneration is dependent on the number of units achieved. With marketing activities, you are more likely to have a fixed fee that is time-based so say for a month or three. If you are in a selling position you should not be taking on any risk or additional handling of products. Your job is to get people over the line. So costs associated with the stock, shipping and any other costs of fulfilment should not be your responsibility.
Given the increase in businesses as a method of making sense of life in Zimbabwe there are a lot of promising businesses out there which would appreciate a helping hand in the most important part of the business; the market.