What we find, having worked with 100’s of established SME Business Owners over the years, is that many of them are unknowingly making significant mistakes in their marketing and sales efforts which are costing them dearly in wasted time, poor investments in marketing suppliers and less sales than they could have generated had they not been making these mistakes!

Now though these mistakes are being made it isn’t something they should be embarrassed about as it is not a surprise when so few had previous marketing or sales experience yet they have to make important decisions about what marketing to do and who to resource etc. so it’s no wonder so many SME Business Owners talk of marketing efforts not being fruitful!

These mistakes lead to wasted money and poor results leading to “peaks and troughs” in their finance, affecting their ability to make confident growth decisions and even impacting what they can pay themselves.

Even some of our clients that are marketing companies have been making some of these mistakes because perhaps they worked in marketing in a large company with a big budget so very different to being in an SME. Or maybe they have experience of marketing but not sales, or vice versa. Or imply they know what they should be doing as they do it for their clients but aren’t doing it for themselves!

We believe SME Business Owners need to better understand what is involved in effective marketing and sales so they can effectively lead these functions.  We are not saying they should do everything themselves by any means but they should at least know what they are asking for!  And  become more aware of the areas for improvement in what they are doing now whilst being equipped to increase leads and sales in the long term.

So as a starting point, what are the typical mistakes that SME Business Owners make that lead to these frustrations in their marketing and sales efforts time and time again?

We have put together a list of these mistakes to help you to do an assessment of your approach to the marketing and sales side of things in your business.  Awareness is the starting point for being able to do something about it.  You may identify one or two things that are the major cause of your problems giving insight into what needs to change.  Or, you may realise that this is an area of your business that needs some serious attention.  Either way you will only benefit from this kind of review of where you are going wrong.

We suggest you score each one out of 10 with 10 being no room for improvement and 1 being lots of room for improvement.

In no particular order …


Mistake #1: No marketing plan

95% of the businesses that join our “Next Level Business Club” has no marketing plan despite being established businesses looking to grow and including the marketing companies!


Mistake #2: No defined sales process

Often it being in their own head as an intuitive process so not sure what is replicatable or what can be improved, and unable to hand over to anyone else.


Mistake #3: Not measuring lead source

So unclear on what leads and sales are coming from what marketing investment.


Mistake #4: Not measuring conversions

Blind as to where to focus efforts to increase conversions and no idea of ROI.


Mistake #5: Ineffective messaging, or too broad messages

So rather than talking to everyone talking to no one, or it doesn’t attract attention from the desired audience and it’s too easy to ignore.


Mistake #6: Not qualifying effectively

Wasting time on dealing with the wrong people and in many cases serving clients that are not conducive for a growing profitable business.


Mistake #7: No clear marketing strategy

Being reactive and working with who comes along rather than being clear on the type of business wanted and doing marketing on an ad-hoc basis.


Mistake #8: Not using technology systems and tools

So being restricted by the time capacity in the business, less able to replicate or hit a wider audience consistently.


Mistake #9: Throwing marketing over to suppliers

Despite having little knowledge of if they are the  right provider for the needs they have and not really sure what asking of from them, not being in control and leading their marketing and sales functions effectively.


Mistake #10: Not following up on leads at all

Or consistently enough meaning you’re leaving money on the table!!!


Mistake #11: Not building relationship with leads

Following up on leads for long enough so not building the relationship and awareness of your product or service long enough to establish yourself as a possible solution in their eyes.


Mistake #12: Not using “calls to action” enough

“If you don’t ask, you don’t get” and there should always be a call to action which does not always mean an ask for the sale, it’s a call to “action”.


Mistake #13: Procrastination

Or what we call “busy procrastination” whereby the busy business owner who does not feel confident or are working against their preferences on the marketing and sales side of things, always finding other things to do rather than this essential activity.


Mistake #14: No clear sales strategy

No clear plan to increase sales and make them more reliable over the long term.


Mistake #15: Not knowing the difference between marketing & sales

So unable to break it down into areas for improvement.


Mistake #16: Utilising team members for work they are not suited to or have no experience in

i.e. admin person doing sales calls or marketing  – limiting the marketing and sales performance of the business.


Mistake #17: No budget (or sight of spend) for marketing and sales

Spending reactively, underestimating the finance required to generate consistent leads and not measuring what is being spent.


Mistake #18: Passive or reactive approach

Waiting for business to come rather than proactively going out there to get it.


Mistake #19: No set targets

Having a sense of what turnover is required but no clarity on number of sales of what type want to achieve that, and no idea of action targets needed to generate the leads to achieve those sales revenues.


Mistake #20: Poor management of the marketing and sales functions

Whether self, in-house team or external suppliers – not reviewing performance, holding self or team accountable to the targets and actions set, and not looking consistently for room for improvement.


Mistake #21: Not creating campaigns

“Throwing mud and hoping it will stick” rather than having a series of actions to a set target market, using specific mediums and messages.

So, how did you get on?  Looking at your scores, where are your biggest mistakes? And out of those, what are your priorities for further development?

Watch out for our next resource/blog where we will be discussing why it is so important to work on building marketing and sales engines if you want predictable and reliable leads and sales.

Also, we are running an online learning session around this soon

“5 Components needed to power up your marketing and sales engines to drive more leads, prospects and sales to your business”

CLICK HERE to reserve your seat.

This is one not to miss!!!

Please give us your feedback on this resource or if you need further help, email info@engineeringbusinessgrowth.com


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