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When is the right time

Too early for Sales and Marketing?

When is the best time to launch sales and marketing activities for your company? For your organisation? For your new internal product development or management plan?

In my opinion, never too early. This should be the first thing you do after you have defined your business objectives. Nothing else is so important as the planning and execution of the communication about what you do and what you want to do.

Sales and marketing is everywhere and effects every decision that we make – consciously or subconsciously. In small organisations the understanding of the techniques and language of sales needs to be second nature. Not everyone will be a salesperson, but everyone needs to know how to communicate the business aspects of a technology and objectives of the company when required. And to top it all in a small organisation there isn't the opportunity to hide from the commercial front line.

In order to assess the chances of success of your company or your new potential product you need to understand the drivers and influences on the market or markets that you are thinking about. For SSC this is hard to define and to achieve – but very rewarding. Over the past year we have set ourselves the target of widening the appeal of what we do. Moving from mainly life sciences work to other destinations and also moving from working with companies who have high-value low volume products to companies with more mass appeal products and also ones which potentially are B2C rather than solely B2B.

We've had to go back to basics and educate ourselves on what is possible with the team we have and also look at identifying the gaps in knowledge and personnel between what we have and where we want to be. Setting milestones to guide our progress and being vigilant about referring to them, revising them when they prove erroneous, but never ignoring them – to do so risks running off on mental tangents that might be interesting but don't lead anywhere useful.

A new experience for me – I'm good at helping people identify this for their organisation but find that it is a really emotionally challenging experience to do it for myself and for my own company.