— April 1, 2019
When I ask small business owners who they plan to hire next, it’s usually the same answer.
“I need someone to sell for me so that I can focus on running the business.”
“I need someone who can market and really blow this up.”
“I need someone who can help us keep growing.”
Have you been there? I know that I have. If you aren’t a naturally convincing or extroverted person, or if you’re a normal human being, then sales and marketing will feel uncomfortable. You’ll want to drop it like it’s hot.
But, I say you shouldn’t. In fact you should make yourself feel even more uncomfortable. Here’s why.
Getting your business off the friends and family plan
Small business sales are typically relationship-based, especially if what you’re selling costs several hundred or several thousand dollars. This means your first few sales will likely happen with people you already know because you’re aware of their needs and they trust you.
How does this evolve over time? Once a small business owner exhausts their immediate network, they’ll start casting a wider net and contact friends of friends and third-tier LinkedIn connections. Over time they’ll have a consistent number of leads and referrals coming in.
At this point, you have two options. Stick with your network to maintain your business at its current size or keep growing. Most prefer the security of continued growth, but they think about it the wrong way.
The average business owner will say, “I grew my business through my personal network. Now I need a sales and marketing person to leverage their network and help me grow again.” But, that’s now how great businesses grow and it’s not the way to attract new employees.
Don’t outsource your brand’s vision
“As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly selling your vision to current and prospective employees, partners, investors and advisers. Know your pitch and practice relentlessly. You need to be confident pitching one-on-one, to a room of hundreds of people or to senior executives.” – Carlos Cisco, CEO of Select
As a business owner you are in-charge of your vision, your sales and marketing are the main ways that your business communicates its vision. By handing off sales and marketing early, you are saying that you do not want to communicate vision. This is a big problem.
When you think of companies that are wildly successful like Tesla, Apple, or Google, they all have some kind of vision. Tesla’s vision is clean energy and that vision gains them a lot of respect, free PR, and customers. If that vision weakened, then a Tesla would be no better than a Chevy Volt.
During the critical early stages of growth, you need your vision to be at its strongest in order to grow. As the founder of your company, you can’t let this fall by the wayside or outsource it too early.
What should you do instead?
Building a professional sales and marketing process
Hiring sales and marketing help before you’ve built your own sales and marketing process is like giving someone the keys to a motorless car. They might look nice when they sit in it, but they aren’t going to get anywhere.
When you build your sales and marketing process based on your vision first, then it’s much easier to hire the right person to take it over. The job itself will be more appealing because they’ll know that they have the tools they need. And they’ll be more likely to succeed and make you happy.
What elements should you include in your sales and marketing process?
- Your brand message/narrative. These are the words that encapsulate who you are, what you do, who you serve, and why you’re different.
- Sales and marketing assets. These might include brochures, landing pages, videos, online content, or pitch decks.
- A marketing engine that generates leads. This may be from traffic to your website, content marketing, sponsorships, advertisements, speaking engagements, or other forms of marketing.
- A sales process. This where I’ve fallen short many times and continue to receive help from expert friends. Having a repeatable process for converting strangers into customers to help you grow when your network is tapped out.
- Prospect database. If you know who your ideal customer is, then you should create a database of people who fit that profile so that you don’t waste time searching for who to contact next.
Once you have all of these puzzle pieces in order, your business will grow unhindered by the problems that plague small business marketing. Your hard work will make working for your company in sales or marketing a much more appealing prospect. And you’ll feel more confident in your ability to grow your own company.
Should sales and marketing be your next hire?
Probably not. First, you need to crystallize your vision and build a sales and marketing foundation. Only then can you ask someone else to continue building it.
To learn how to do this, schedule a demo of my marketing coaching program. It’s built for small business owners who need the support and expertise of an experienced marketer and business owner to grow.