Do you know the return on your sales and marketing expenditures? It is not unusual for companies to spend 25 to 35 percent of their revenues on sales and marketing, yet often they don't know the actual return on these initiatives. Before adopting a new marketing initiative, determine how you will measure, not only its impact on sales, but on profits as well. What is an acceptable rate of return? How will you measure the return? Establish a monitoring system whereby you can gauge the efficacy of the program throughout its implementation.
Every product yields a specific profit of a specific amount. When you offer more than one product, each will have its own profit margin. One of the most important things you can do is to determine the return on the investment you have put into each of your products.
Marathon and Associates
Marathon and Associates, a niche consulting firm, receives enormous fees from Fortune 1000 companies to determine the exact cost of each of their products. This enables their clients to make product-offering decisions based on the profitability of each product, rather than simply relying on gross revenue figures. In today's highly competitive business climate, such an approach is critical in ensuring their overall profitability and even their survival. This is no less true of your own business or organization. Eliminating just one losing product can make the difference between robust growth and mediocre performance or even the demise of your business.
Examine your own product mix. In addition to the normal “cost of goods,” you must include all expense incurred in delivering the finished product to the consumer, including research and development, promotion, associated sales and marketing costs, installation, customer service, product service, returns, proportionate share of general and administrative costs (overhead), and so on. Again, be sure to include the cost of your own time; apply your hourly rate to the amount of time you invest in the development, design, creation/manufacture, sale, and servicing of each product.
Break Down Costs Accurately
Many individuals and businesses lump all their expenses together and then guess at how much is attributable to each product. Your job is to break down so accurately that you know within a few dollars exactly how much you net from the sale of each product. When you have completed your costing analysis, simply deduct the actual cost of developing, selling, and delivering each product from the price to determine its profitability. Which products yield the highest return? The lowest? Do any actually lose money?
If you sell into more than one market, the same principle applies. Some markets will be more profitable than others. When dealing in foreign markets, for example, you may incur much higher advertising and marketing costs. Conversely, your manufacturing costs might be significantly lower. If you export your products into foreign countries, import duties or tariffs may apply. At times, unexpected costs in dealing in new markets may make the difference between a profitable venture and a financial disaster.