Marketing and Selling your Product

Many great business ideas die on the vine because not enough thought and effort goes into promoting the business and getting customers in the door. Even if you have an innovative product or service at a reasonable price, without an effective marketing and sales effort, many potential customers will be unaware of what you have to offer and your revenues will fall far short of their potential.

From a marketing standpoint, you should review all of the options available to you for getting the word out to your target audience. This includes establishing a business website, purchasing broadcast and print advertising, engaging in direct mail programs, effectively branding and packaging your products, etc. In analyzing every option, however, it is important to make sure you will get a good return on your marketing dollar. Producing a slick television commercial that costs a lot but brings in few customers will hurt rather than help your business.

The quality of a company’s sales team can make or break a business, and so hiring a good director of sales who can put together and manage that team may be one of the most important decisions you make. However, even if you have an excellent internal sales team, it is rare that they will have the geographic reach necessary to maximize your potential sales. So you will probably want to enlist the help of outside sales agents and/or distributors that are familiar with local markets and customers.

A sales agent is legally authorized to act on the company’s behalf within a set of defined parameters. As a result, the agent can take orders and make agreements regarding price and delivery on behalf of the company in the same way that an internal sales person could. However, the agent is not an employee, and is typically paid only in the form of a commission on products sold.

A distributor buys products from the manufacturer, stores them, and resells them to retailers, end users or customers. Most distributors also provide marketing, technical support and other services that benefit the supplier. The strength of your distribution network can also make or break your business, and it is often more effective and efficient to have distribution performed by third parties that are familiar with the local market and close to the customers. This will especially be the case when you are selling products outside of Ireland.

It also makes sense to hire businesses that specialize in distribution because they will have the infrastructure and systems in place to most efficiently get your product in the hands of your customers. In addition, distributors will be responsible for warehousing and shipping and will take on credit risk for uncollectible accounts receivable.

Regardless of whether your marketing and sales efforts are entirely in-house or partially outsourced, in the modern commercial world, one of the primary tools for marketing and selling products and services is a business website.

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