How to improve sales and marketing skills

Clarifying your Sales & Marketing approach

"Relationship first, selling second…"

Whilst sales & marketing are all part of the process of gaining new business, in many respects, they are two distinct disciplines that require different skill sets.

I won't drag you into that particular debate today. For the purpose of clarification, marketing is about maximising visibility and raising awareness (creating prospects); selling is about converting prospects into clients or customers.

I am going to look at what you need to be considering in order to improve your overall approach and skills in both sales and marketing (S&M).
Top 5 Things Great Businesses Do


Identify your sales and marketing approach

S&M styles and approaches differ significantly depending on individuals, companies, products & services, business models and market sectors.

Some see improving their S&M approach as sharpening up powers of persuasion just to get an order or looking for the magic formula that allows you to get that sale even quicker. Let’s face it, based on your consumer experiences, the last thing that you and most of us want is to be sold to.

A successful S&M approach is about:

  • Being clear on who you want to do business with, as well as who you do not want to do business with.
  • Building successful relationships through demonstrating genuine interest and understanding versus, ‘I just want to sell you something’.
  • Creating advocates that grow your business and become your virtual salesforce

This might be blindingly obvious common sense, but it certainly is not common practice.

How to improve sales and marketing skills

Know your market (and your customers' market)

Be clear on who you want to do business with and just as importantly who you don’t want to do business with.

Balance your central marketing activities and your personal marketing activities with your customers. The more you understand your customers’ world and the more focused you are, the more successful your activities will be.

With regards to your personal marketing, think about what it is going to take to build your brand, your reputation. What do you need to do and where do you need to go to meet your target market and your prospective customers. Be careful, don’t just count your conversations, make your conversations count.

Know your customer

It sounds obvious but having a genuine desire to understand your prospects and your customers will set you apart from your competition. All too often people think they know what prospects & customers want and before you know it the brochure is out.

In the words of Stephen Covey, world-renowned author of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People":

Seek first to understand before being understood”

By taking this approach you will achieve two things that all too often get overlooked:

  1. You get to understand the true needs of your prospect or customer, which enables you to more accurately identify the appropriate solutions to meet those needs
  2. Investing time and demonstrating a genuine desire to understand their business you are taking a significant step towards developing a long, trusting and fruitful relationship.


Don’t stop learning about your customer - Encourage advocacy

Continuing to develop an understanding of your clients’ business and their market is critical to developing true levels of advocacy. Over time they feel like they can’t afford to do business without you. This might be aspirational in some cases, but the bottom line is that you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors. All of this comes down to the quality of the relationships that you build.

The end reward is that your customers not only want to buy your products or services time and time again, but they rate you and your services so highly that they will happily tell the rest of the world how great you are and to get out and buy from you.

Key takeaways - how to improve sales and marketing skills

  • Be clear on your target market and who you want to do business with
  • Understand your customer – Be a learning company and have a genuine desire to understand first before being understood
  • Encourage advocacy – develop that deep interdependent relationship with your customers

If you would like help in refining your sales and marketing approach and upskilling your team contact us here or call us now on 0115 940 4966 for a no obligation chat about your needs.

Things great businesses do