Marketing Activities for Salespeople

A lot of marketing is about collecting information that is then used to make decisions that will improve business performance.

Rather than rely on the marketing department to provide data, the sales person can easily do a lot of basic marketing research themselves.

The focus of marketing activities for salespeople is finding out facts about their customers, whether regular customers or potentially new customers. Such facts are regularly printed in magazines and newspapers. Many of the quality daily papers publish business news and the Financial Times is particularly useful as it is mainly about business and is packed with useful data - including takeovers and other transformations of the legal form of a business. Other sources of marketing information can come from the commercial notices published in specialist trade magazines.

The following are three core sales activities that your own marketing research will help with:

1. Finding new customers.

When reading your morning (whether in paper form or on-line), have a glance at the news about business. Potential customers for your product may be identified. Cut sections out of the newspaper or bookmark relevant pages. Set aside time to write to newly registered businesses or to merged ones. Congratulate them on starting up, or wish their new venture well, as appropriate. You do not have to write a long letter, as your business card with a personal comment will be enough. Attach your card to information from your firm. You could email, but remember that most business people will delete emails they do not expect without reading them.

A few days later telephone those you wrote to and introduce yourself. Ask about their business activities and their requirements. If you think the person you have contacted seems promising, arrange a date for a meeting.

2. Finding out about company changes.

Look out for information that shows your customer has changed their legal form, or that a new managing director or other key decision maker has joined the organisation. Also look for information about staff members known to you being given a promotion or special responsibilities. Any of these changes could be a reason to call or visit this customer.

3. Identifying customers in trouble.

Reading the court sections allows you to check if any of your customers has a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against them or, worse, is in receivership.

Can you see a customer of yours among the names listed in this section? If so, check whether there are orders still running or invoices outstanding. Quick action is needed. You may be able to achieve at least partial payment through negotiation. In the case of bankruptcy your firm will have to assert its claim so you will need to let your finance department know the situation.