The (Internal) Marketing Plan: Bridging the Gap Between Product Development & Sales

Written by Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center

 

How often has a new product been launched and the Sales Team been tasked with the “simple” directive to “go sell” it, armed with little more than a data sheet and price list? One year later, everyone wonders why the sales figures never quite match the numbers projected by Marketing.

An ideal product launch should not only focus on marketing the product to the customer, but also on “marketing” the product internally to assist the Sales Team optimize its sales efforts. Too often, focus is placed on selling to the customer, without effectively training the sales team in the nuances of a product that requires more than just the presentation of features and benefits.

As technologies develop and products become more complex, the more information the Sales Team has on the product, the better they will be able to answer questions knowledgeably and overcome obstacles when working with their customers. Similarly, data gathered by the Sales Team should be cycled back to Marketing to ensure that product is being received and is performing as expected, and any potential issues or improvements can immediately be fed back to the Product Development Team.

 

 

Remember that the sales team is on the front line, so a Marketing Plan or Commercialization Plan should include an element that arms the sales team with as many preemptive answers as possible so that he or she can present the company’s expertise effectively and deliver a consistent product message. So what should be included in this Plan?

Product Positioning

Make sure your sales team understands how and why your product is positioned the way it is. If the product was developed as the result of a recurring problem expressed by several customers, make sure the whole team is aware of it. Just because a customer hasn’t expressed the particular problem, doesn’t mean they haven’t experienced it! If it was developed as the result of a new technology that makes the customer’s job easier, make sure they know it.

If you want your sales team to sell on value rather than price, then you need to make sure they understand the intrinsic value of the product and its benefit to the customer, not just its features and price. What problem does it solve? Will it make the customer more effective? Will it save time or labor?

Target Market

Make sure everyone is on board with precisely which customer segment(s) constitutes the target market, and that the sales team understands the criteria on which the potential market size was developed. If the numbers were developed based on a specific application, and a particular customer ends up using the product differently (it has been known to happen), this is critical information that should be fed back to Marketing and Product Development for further evaluation. Was the original data based on a false premise (hopefully this is never the case), or is this a viable alternative application? If so, can this application be extended across the entire market in which case the potential market has just increased and the information should be distributed to the entire sales team!

Competitive Landscape

What competitive products is your sales team likely to come up against? How does the product perform against these products? How are competitive products used versus pricing? Having spent many years in the chemical industry, I have learned that one of the first things to check for is the dilution rates of chemicals: if a product costs $10.00/litre and needs to be diluted at 1:2, it is NOT cheaper than a $50.00/litre product that can be diluted at 1:12 and offers comparable performance!

Sales Tools

 

 

Don’t just send the sales team off with a data sheet and price list. Testimonials, value calculators, editable presentations, how-to’s and trial protocols (if applicable) all help the sales team present a professional, polished image of a company that understands its market and is working with their customer to help them make an informed purchase.

Product Availability

If the product or service you are offering has customization options, make sure your sales team is fully aware of the criteria for customization: options, minimums, lead times and other requirements. As Carla O’Dell once said, “If you don’t give people information, they’ll make something up to fill the void”, and too often it’s something along the lines of “Of course you can have that in 2 weeks!” This not only creates chaos for the Product Development and Operations teams but can set unrealistic expectations as far as the customer is concerned. Most customers would rather have a realistic 6 week lead time, than constantly be given reasons why an unrealistic 2 week lead time could not be met!

As a final note, while many companies focus on training upon recruitment, they fail to continue this training as products and markets evolve, yet studies have shown that proper training can boost a salesperson’s productivity by 20% and profit margins by much more!

Drone Workforce Solutions Begins Training Local Residents in Drone Technology

Drone Workforce Solutions (DWS) began its inaugural class training aspiring drone pilots on September 30, 2017 with the help of a grant from the Delaware Department of Labor.

Twelve Delaware students have been selected and enrolled in the 70-hour, 10-week drone training course that covers everything from the mechanics of flying, to aviation safety, to the aeronautical information they need to become a certified and FAA licensed commercial drone pilot .

“Our students will receive a top-notch education in drone technology that will help them seize job opportunities in this $100 billion dollar industry,” said Drone Workforce Solutions CEO and General Counsel Theophilus R. Nix Jr.

Earlier this year, the Delaware Department of Labor, Division of Employment & Training awarded its second drone-related grant, ever awarded, to Drone Workforce Solutions to start a pipeline of talented commercial drone operators to expand the state’s technology sector and increase sustainable employment for men and women from diverse backgrounds of today’s working families.

This particular grant paid the tuition for the students taking the Drone Workforce Solutions course. As part of their training, the aspiring drone pilots master the FAA’s regulations for drone operators, learn how to build a drone from scratch, learn business and entrepreneurial skills, and experience hands-on, in-field flight coaching by our highly qualified, experienced and FAA certified drone pilots in the industry.

Upon completion of the program, DWS alumni receive a certificate backed by Drone Workforce Solutions; the only drone training company that is approved by the Delaware Department of Education, the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.  DWS was recently selected to be a finalist in the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Swim with the Sharks video pitch competition.

Graduating students will also become members with one of DWS’s partners, the digital Drone Pilot Ground School, where they will have access to online tools and resources for five years. DWS offers its alumni opportunities for subsequent training, networking, and potential employment through its drone employment company.

From construction companies, to agriculture, law enforcement, media, utilities, infrastructure, entertainment, construction and real estate many industries have smartly identified drones as a key investment to make their operations more efficient and effective. Few have the staff with expertise to implement the technology. According to one study, the expansion of commercial drones could add $82 billion in economic value over the next ten years and by 2025 employ an additional 100,000 Americans.

DWS is currently seeking interested aspiring drone pilots for their next class scheduled for the Spring of 2018. Through its website, www.droneworkforcesolutions.com, candidates should send their full name, email, and phone number to receive upcoming dates to attend DWS’s FREE Open House Informational classes.

About DWS

Drone Workforce Solutions is dedicated to helping small unmanned aircraft(sUAS) pilots and everyday businesses work together to find innovative solutions for a rapidly-changing marketplace. DWS offers customized workshops to all kinds of businesses; from utility companies to real estate companies. Backed by over 25 years of legal, business, and aviation experience Drone Workforce Solutions is not only committed to producing top-quality work, but using its network to transform industries. Drone Workforce Solutions corporate office and drone training school is located on the Wilmington riverfront at 920 Justison Street, Wilmington, DE 19801.

Emerging Enterprise Center Announces K-Video & Web Productions as official videographer sponsor for all business education events for 2016 at the EEC

10 business education events are scheduled for the remainder of 2016.

New Castle, DE, May 2016:  The Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC) has officially announced that K-Video & Web Productions will be the official videographer sponsor for all business education workshops for the remainder of  2016. One of the key missions of the EEC is to help businesses develop business skills to tackle not only the nuts and bolts aspects of running a business but also marketing, networking, and sales skills so that they can grow. K-Video has been a member of the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce (affiliated with the EEC) for over a year now and has never taken on a series this large with the Chamber. With this new sponsorship, the EEC can provide one more benefit to its businesses for attending the business education workshops.

The Emerging Enterprise Center wants you to join us for Educational Workshops and Networking! Find a workshop for you and your business at www.eecincubator.com. Register today at www.eecincubator.com. Contact Frank DeSantis at desantisf@ncccc.com or 302-737-4343 for more information on the Emerging Enterprise Center and its many programs that assist businesses in the community.

About K-Video & Web Productions

K-Video & Web Productions specializes in Safety, Training, and Marketing video production. K-Video has been providing high quality, affordable video solutions since 1980. Our clientele ranges from small, local businesses to large, global corporations. We develop products that will represent your organization with pride and integrity.

Entrepreneurs! A Mentor can help you fast track your learning curve

Starting a business can be a daunting task! Ask any successful entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that they may have had a great idea, great enthusiasm and some great customers, but soon the reality hits…. There is more to running a business. It helps to have a support network, to help keep you focused on the things that will make your business successful.

The Emerging Enterprise Center at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce offers assistance to early stage, start-up businesses in New Castle County and the greater Wilmington region. The incubator program helps nurture the entrepreneurial spirit while promoting economic development in New Castle County by providing affordable office space and business support services, as well as, training, mentoring and a network of professional advisors.

A key component of nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit is through the Mentor Program at the EEC. It is designed to provide participating companies in the EEC Small Business Incubator Program with job-specific guidance to fast track their learning curve.  The Mentors help the EEC Company Teams by keeping them focused on the important priorities, clearly articulating their business vision, challenging their benchmarks/milestones, developing and executing on action plans, and assisting them, where appropriate, with developing a network of contacts. Mentors are drawn from diverse business fields, and are experienced, well-qualified professionals, who can relate to the challenges facing early-stage companies. The Mentors have networks in the region and have volunteered to share their knowledge and expertise with Company Teams at the EEC.

Contact us today at 302-737-4343 or info@eecincubator.com to find out more about how we can help you and your business.