Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business
What's more important to your business: marketing or selling?
Let’s finally settle this. Which is more important -- marketing or selling?
In the dark ages before the Internet and social media, it was fairly simple. Marketing was one-way communication designed to promote interest in a product or service and gather leads. While selling was what happened when a lead was contacted. Many will argue that this is what makes selling more important -- interactive communication designed to make the sale.
Some people believe that nothing has changed all that much on the marketing side except for the media and tools. Marketers always have tried to figure out what the target market’s issues are along with their emotional hot buttons. Then marketing folks go on to create an offering, craft a message, and deliver these to their audience.
Way back when that meant only newspaper ads and flyers. As the automobile grew in popularity, roadside billboards dotted the land. Then radio and television came along. Even in the Internet age a one-way “broadcast” attitude is still widespread.
On the other hand, we’ve come to believe that selling is where relationships are built and cemented. After all, it’s the personal contact with a prospect that turns them into a paying customer -- you know, where the rubber meets the road.
Maybe it’s that marketing is a one to many practice while selling is one-to-one activity. That must mean marketing is impersonal, maybe even cold, and selling is more personal.
Let’s get this straight right now -- marketing has evolved by leaps and bounds to interactive media and conversations with buyers and customers. That does not eliminate the importance of selling. Selling skills are necessary, no matter if you sell only through an ecommerce website, are a small business, or offer complex and expensive solutions.
Marketing adds value to the sales processes. One thing is certain -- a great marketing person knows how to sell and great salesperson knows how to market. And, a great business owner or corporate executive knows how to do both.
Here are a few tips to help you align sales and marketing for outstanding results.
The power of smarketing. Companies only win when there’s one team working together -- the revenue team. There’s a single strategic goal and a single demand generation process. That makes marketing and sales codependent on each other. Like a well-oiled machine, everyone in your business involved with touching a customer in any way must be on the same page. From the definition of a viable lead, to how quickly follow-up happens, what tools are used, and the communications process -- everything is fully agreed to. That’s smart sales and marketing.
Speak one language. This is the starting point and maybe the hardest thing to do. Sure, selling and marketing involve different skill sets and different ways of thinking. To avoid misunderstands that this can bring and the resulting lackluster revenue growth, it’s critical to lay everything out in writing. What’s the ideal buyer profile? What does a sales ready lead look like? How many leads are needed to meet revenue goals? Is each step of the customer purchase cycle defined and clear as to who owns which parts? Is there a system that people know how to use and everyone has access to? Can all of this be measured? Now that you have what marketing and sales agree to do for each other in writing, ask the team sign it.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. This might be the hardest part to get right. Everyone is busy and just wants to do good things. Meetings tend get off track and seem to go on forever. Agree to how information transfer will happen, who is responsible for what, and how often it all happens. Regular meetings are good as long as the agenda doesn’t “yell” at participants – instead, always look at where things are and how to move them to the next stage as a team. Open communications helps people to make better decisions and get the assistance needed to attract qualified prospects and close sales. Don’t forget about keeping everyone in the loop on new sales support materials and changes in products or services. Have a central secure online repository for collateral, lead tracking, customer testimonials, and more.
The way to win the revenue game is not to collect the most leads. It’s to make the most sales. That can only happen when the revenue team is in sync and ready to share openly with each other.
So you see, there isn’t a marketing versus selling argument to settle. The two go hand in hand. They are part of the same set of activities that produce real value for your customers. Make an investment in your business by aligning marketing and sales and integrating their activities into a single process.
Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com) and the author of the Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook. As a speaker, coach, and consultant he works with small business owners helping them to accelerate the path between their vision and the actions needed to reach, win, and keep customers. Ron is the creator of the FastPath to More Customers Now! 7-step marketing system based on more than twenty years as a successful business owner, corporate CEO, business development executive, and salesman. He is also a mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.