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Who’s your number one marketer? You are. Regardless of the size of your business, take your role as CMP (Chief Marketing Person) seriously and make sure you’re leveraging tools you already have at your disposal to drive leads and sales.

This week I had the pleasure of diving deep into smarketing (sales and marketing) automation at Hubspot’s Inbound conference. Much of the discussion was new and eye-opening to me, especially considering my background is in Salesforce and Tech Support rather than sales or marketing. J The conference has been chockfull of awesome tidbits on marketing from all angles (follow #Inbound14 for nuggets), and a ton of the content is applicable to entrepreneurs of all sizes.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned that I hope will inspire and assist you with starting, growing, and continuing your marketing program.

All sales start with marketing

Marketing is how you communicate about your product. Marketing shapes your potential clients’ first interactions with your products. As the primary marketer of your business, it’s your responsibility to hone your personal message of what needs your products serve and why people should buy them. You can use your client stories, professional connections, and other tools as leverage to generate more buzz and sell more!

What is a sales funnel?

First, some quick vocabulary. Marketing efforts focus on a funnel.  Prospective clients (or leads) start at the big end (top) of the funnel, interact with your website or advertising, and come out the small end as a marketing qualified lead. These leads are people who have demonstrated interest in or need for your clients. The marketing qualified leads then become opportunities for you and/or your sales team to close as customers.

I’ll focus on top of funnel for now. The reality is, if there’s no one in the funnel, there are no new sales coming in. If you want to grow, you want to continue to acquire new clients while also selling more to your base. So what are some simple ways to generate new leads in your funnel?

How to generate more leads

Start with your existing network. Tell a story about why you’re passionate about your products regularly on your social networks (be sure you’re linking to your regular blog posts) and encourage feedback and client testimonial stories as well. Then encourage your network to socialize your posts. Offer a coupon for Liking you on Facebook or retweeting your brand (our JustUno app will make that easy as pie).

Next move to your current clients. They love you :) Make sure your product reviews are enabled and that you’re sending follow up email to ALL clients to ask for their feedback. Then, personally get in touch with clients, thank them for their feedback AND offer them a coupon code to share with their friends.

Be sure to quantify your marketing results

Evaluate the cost and time spent reaching out to clients and tie it back to total new leads and ultimately sales. One way to track promotional marketing is to use a different coupon code for different outreach efforts, and then track total sales used with those coupon codes. You can also segment leads/clients in your email marketing tool (Mailchimp is free and will get you started; Hubspot offers a plethora of customization options) and send different discounts, offers, product promotions, etc to track what converts best. Check out the full docket of Bigcommerce Marketing apps for more ideas.

You may also want to employ a tool like Salesforce.com to literally track your leads and You can create a test sandbox at developer.salesforce.com to launch an almost-fully functional customer relationship management system, to track movement through your funnel and attribute lead source accordingly. If you really want to spice it up, you can also use Zapier to integrate Bigcommerce, Salesforce, and various email marketing tools to keep your funnel organized and your sales pipeline plentiful.

Hope these tips help inspire you to put your “Chief Marketing” hat on! You can also google phrases like “Marketing Qualification” or “Lead Nurturing” to learn more about how to take prospects from your network at hand and convert them to clients.

Happy selling!

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