3 Keys To Efficient Sales And Marketing

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

–Michael Jordon

Every business exists because it generates money. Financial performance is a relatively straight forward thing to calculate and is a result of operating performance. Operating performance, among other things, is a derivative of human performance. And one of the keys of human performance is the ability to work together efficiently.

However, there are two key business functions that have historically not worked well together: sales and marketing. If marketing and sales cannot work together, than the company’s strategy will be inconsistent and execution will be flawed.

One of the potential reasons that sales and marketing do not work well together is that management can sometimes blur the line between the two functions. Sales and marketing are very closely related, but they are different.

In many situations, sales is frequently reactive. Marketing is usually proactive. Sales reacts to the individual customer. Marketing takes the 30,000-foot view. Marketing’s role is to match the company’s capabilities with the customer wants. How often have you heard about (or experienced) a sales person who promises things to the customer that the company can’t deliver?

Producing special offerings for special customers can be done, but at what cost? Should you impose a minimum order? What other limitations should be placed on this “offering” to limit your risk? Yet, do you risk removing the value for customer by placing these limitations on this special request? Running a business based only on the wants of the customers will kill your company. In that environment, you are looking only at short-term goals. This manner of thinking will provide you with little or no substantive gain towards accomplishing the bigger company goals.

Still, you don’t want to ignore your customers either. Therefore, integrating your sales and marketing efforts is critical to your company’s success and will lead to efficiencies that pay for themselves. In today’s business landscape, sales and marketing must pull together at every level from the central concepts of the strategy to the minute details of execution.

We have taken a careful, methodical approach to researching how companies can better integrate their sales and marketing efforts. Through this process, we have discovered several methods, some more successful than others, each promising to increase motivation, efficiencies, and ultimately to enhance the bottom line. Based on our research, we believe–if an organization really wants to affect change– the following three steps are critical to successful integration:

1. Objectively assess how well sales and marketing are integrated currently. You cannot possibly know where to go if you don’t know where you are. It is important that this is done as objectively as possible, understanding that it is sometimes difficult to see the forest through the trees. If you ask the right questions and answer them as honestly as possible, you will learn a lot about the health of your organization.

2. Discover how consistently your message is being communicated. This is one of the first areas that begins to drive marketing and sales apart. The sales team is trying to close the deal anyway possible, message and rules be damned; marketing is working on crafting a specific package, regardless of the present environment. Ensuring that sales and marketing are together and “on message” should be a key area of focus if you want to integrate your teams.

3. Assess the selling process. One of the most important aspects of the selling process–and an area that is frequently neglected–is setting quantitative goals. Without the proper goals, neither sales nor marketing will be able to work towards a common objective. It will all be left to the interpretation of the individual, and that will never lead to improved teamwork. Other areas, such as pipeline management, are key to helping both sales and marketing work together.

These three areas are critical to improving your revenue. The trick, of course, is knowing the right questions to ask and then to objectively use this information to improve your situation. The benefits to this approach is that you will be making improvements to EXISTING resources. By capitalizing on your company’s intrinsic value, you can reduce costs AND increase revenue, affecting the bottom line much more quickly than extending product lines or chasing after proliferating market opportunities.

Sales and Marketing Executive Search

The field of headhunting is a very challenging one when it comes to finding and recruiting top sales and marketing talent…whether they be executive, mid-level, sales management, marketing management or front line sales and marketing producers. Searching for these types of top candidates is no easy task.

If your company is trying to find the best, make sure to bring in an experienced sales and marketing recruiter who can help you. They are worth their weight in gold, and their fees are easily justified. By outsourcing to a search firm, you can reduce your hiring time, improve the process and avoid the risk of mis-hires.

I see lots of companies that have made mis-hires over the years, and it’s not because they haven’t done their best to find good candidates. The problem is that their best is just not good enough. Often times, Presidents or Chief Operating Officers or VP’s of Sales rely on the same tools as everybody else to try to find candidates, which includes posting ads on Monster.com, Careerbuilder or one of the other major career sites. This just doesn’t cut it anymore.

If you want to find the best talent, deploy the best talent to find those people for you, which means hiring an executive search or retained recruiting firm that specializes in sales and marketing. If you don’t, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Now you may ask yourself, why should I spend money to go find candidates when I can just find them myself by posting on the internet? The fact is, the best people, the top talented people are not looking for jobs, they already have jobs. So they’re not going to see your job psoting because they’re not actively looking at online listings. Recognize that those talented people are already working, happy and making good money in a job somewhere else. You’ve got to go find them, and the best way to do this is through a professional recruiting firm.

It’s very costly, very time consuming and very difficult for somebody who’s running a business to go spend time to actually identify, locate, find and extract potential employees from competitors or other companies. This is where an executive search firm ads real value.

The fees involved can run between 25 and 35% of a person’s total compensation in the first year, which is a lot of money. You’d ask yourself, how can I justify that? The answer is, how can you justify not spending that money if it makes a difference between hiring an “A” player and hiring a “C” player? An executive recruiting firm possesses the ability to find top talent and put them to work for you.

Think about how the following would impact on business: hiring a person into a position to sell $1 million in annual revenue, versus hiring a top performer who can achieve $3 million worth of annual revenue. If you hire a recruiter who can bring this kind of incremental revenue to your company by finding top talent, why wouldn’t you pay for the best? They’re going to pay for themselves over and over and over again throughout the years.

So think about hiring a sales and marketing recruiting company, or a sales and marketing staffing company as a strategic vehicle towards growing your business.

How a Dead Fly Can Make Your Sales and Marketing Efforts Stick Out Like a Sore Thumb

I hope this doesn’t gross you out.

My goal is NOT to make you squirm in your seat or be paranoid whenever you go out to eat. It’s to illustrate a very powerful sales and marketing lesson any one of us can learn (and profit) from.

Anyway, here’s the story:

Couple days ago the Mrs. and I tried a new restaurant in town. We’d read a rave review about it in the local paper. And, since it is still new, we figured it was time to check out their cheeseburgers.

So we get home, open the carton and get ready to dig in.

Except… I see a black, scraggly looking thing next to my burger that turned out to be a dead (deep fried) fly.

Ugh.

Thank God I look before I eat, eh?

So my wife calls the place up and tells them what happened. I mean, there could be some punk working there who did it on purpose for all we knew. And we figured the owner would want to know either way.

The guy’s response?

“Hmm. That’s a first.”

No wanting to fix it. No trying to do something to keep our business (or keep us from telling other people about the fly). No caring whatsoever.

Frankly, his level of concern was as dead as the fly on my plate.

And yet… we would have probably given his “bistro” a second chance (in a few months) and probably told everyone how great the place is (thereby sending it more business) if they’d simply tried to make things cool.

Anyway, here’s the point:

If you want to increase your sales, get lots of repeat customers and have word of mouth marketing (one of the best kind there is) kicking in… all you have to do is CARE about your customers.

Treat them with some respect.

And, if something does go wrong, make it right.

It usually doesn’t take that much effort.

But when you have super happy customers roaming the streets practically proselytizing on your behalf… spreading the good news about how wonderful your business is… and even selling people on buying your stuff… success is a cake walk.

In fact, you almost can’t fail.