7 Feb 2020, 12:30 — 7 min read
Background: It is often said that to make money you have to spend money. But for cash strapped small businesses allocating large resources to grow sales is not always possible. Rajesh Joseph shares some practical and cost-effective tips to boost business sales.
At some point in time, every small business owner starts thinking about how to grow sales. Unlike a medium or large enterprise, the growth approach is different for a small business, even though the ways could be the same. This is mainly because small businesses have limited resources. From staff to handle critical tasks to marketing budgets and production capacity, these are limited in availability for a small business. A sudden push in any sales growth activity without planning can collapse a smoothly running small enterprise. So any activity to increase sales must be done in a controlled manner, with the right steps and systems implemented in the first place.
Let us see five key points to remember if you are trying to grow the sales of your small business.
Choosing the ecommerce road is a must for growing sales today. Forget the loud voices about ‘selling to the world’, or ‘growing big and fast’ etc. Ecommerce will give you three main advantages to your small business.
Choosing the ecommerce road is a must for growing sales. The self service model of ecommerce will take care of sales and order placement on its own. This can save manpower in a big way while growing sales.
When you are selling your product or service online, being present in the buyer’s location is not necessary. This can help you in catering to buyers away from you, maybe other parts of the city, or outside your state or even country. Delivering a product is easier today with a multitude of logistics options available.
Another advantage of ecommerce is that you can display a range of products without actually stocking them up. With a good back-end process to produce them or procure them on time, you can sell more by generating sales on products on display.
The self service model of ecommerce will take care of sales and order placement on its own. Unlike a physical sale where a dedicated staff is needed to service that purchase. Your only physical intervention is required for processing the order from the ecommerce site. This can save manpower in a big way while growing sales.
These three advantages of ecommerce will play crucial roles in growing the sales of your small business.
With almost everyone spending a good amount of time online, taking the digital media route for marketing and sales will be the right thing. Unlike traditional marketing or promotional methods of print media, radio or others, digital media activities have a low entry point. It means you can spend as less as INR 40 per day on Facebook, or using a free emailing account send out unlimited emails a month to 2000 subscribers, to name a few! With your limited marketing budgets, digital media would be the best bet to reach your target audience in the most efficient manner. Targeting the right users accurately based on their interest, demography, activities or professional background is possible only through digital media.
If you are selling ready-to-buy products, or services, direct web traffic for ‘buy now’ campaigns on social media will work well. If your products or services are customised for each client, then lead-generation campaigns will be better. A combination of different campaigns for brand awareness, sales and engagement will work wonders for a small business. Another advantage of digital media marketing is that, once your pipeline is full, you can pause the campaigns and restart later.
Also read: What is Digital Marketing and how to make it work for your business?
Before starting your digital media marketing activities, have a CRM (Customer Relation Management) tool in place. This will help you streamline the process, track every lead, business, plan your sales pipeline etc. There are many tools available in the market – free, open source, paid. You can try the free CRM of HubSpot. Though it has some limitations, it is sufficient for most small businesses. Zoho CRM is another tool you can try, with a small monthly fee. Both of them are available on the cloud, can start by simple signup, and are extremely user-friendly.
Once the CRM tool is active, connect your digital media campaigns, ads, website lead forms, actions etc to the CRM, so that you can track everything.
If you are dealing with products, it is safer to have an online inventory management tool. Have all the incoming/ outgoing stock updated in this. Connect this inventory with your ecommerce website stock or your invoicing cum accounting tools. This way, any moment a sale is done and processed, the inventory is updated automatically. It will help you in planning your stock, purchase etc.
Emailing is still a highly efficient way of generating sales. A well-designed emailer, with attractive visuals, a crisp message will always attract a potential buyer. If the messaging is right, it can make them click the button and visit the website. You can set up a free emailing account in Mailchimp and manage email list of up to 2000 in it. Though there are some limitations in terms of custom emailer template design, this free account is more than enough for a small business.
To sum up, a combination of ecommerce, CRM, inventory tools, digital media marketing and emailing done well can help you in growing sales in your small business. All of them are scalable to handle your growth requirement. At the same time, all of them have low entry or investment cost, that it is affordable for your business.
Image source: shutterstock.com
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Posted byRajesh Joseph
Director for Creative & Media Solutions.<br /><br /><br /><br /> Manages Strategy for Creative and Digital Media for Small, Medium Brands and...
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