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The Heart of Sales and Marketing

The heart is what keeps the body alive, the brain maybe in control and the legs maybe doing the driving, but you can live without all those parts except the heart. In business it’s the same, what keeps business living is the heart, and the body is sales and marketing. What is the heart of your businesses sales and marketing? You are.

Now don’t start calling me cheesy, but look at it this way. You make the decisions, when things fall apart you need to fix them and you have to be running at all times in order for your business to survive. See? You’re the heart and this is what you need to do to keep functioning properly so your business can depend on you.

Don’t expect yourself or make yourself do everything on your own. You can breakdown just like the rest of the body can. You will make mistakes, so instead of going nuts, just fix them. A wise friend told me once when I was panicking over things that the thought of fear is what drives you crazy, the actual thing is never that bad. It’s true. So don’t panic, don’t expect to be a genius with all the answers in the world and don’t do it on your own. Have people around you, listen to what they have to say then make the right decisions.

Never stop learning. Nobody knows everything, no one is even close. So there is always something new to learn. You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but that doesn’t mean the old dog isn’t willing to learn. So learn new strategies in business, ways to improve on sales and marketing, ways to make your business better.

Always have a plan, and a back up plan to that. Choices are important and there are many ways to do things. So if you mess up, have another option on stand by. This doesn’t lessen mistakes but it does fix them up real quick. Plus it takes the panic mode away from the equation. Like it or not, you have to have a plan for everything from what to do when you reach your goal to what to do if God forbid your place catches on fire, even an exit strategy to if things don’t work out. Don’t look at it as being negative, but being cautious and responsible. We never know what the future holds.

Manage your time and money wisely. These are two vitals places that can be messed up very easily. Keep priorities in mind, but don’t forget everything else. Spend on things that will gain your revenue. Sales and marketing needs a lot of thought put into it and needs to be monitored at all times. Marketing should pave the way for sales and sales should compliment marketing.

Last, be true and honest. Something we tell out kids that we forget over the years is that one lie will lead to another, and another and another till you’re stuck in an unfamiliar place with nothing to help you. Be genuine to the people who are giving you your sales; and always remember the people who help you in the process of getting there.

Sales and Marketing Results? Who’s Keeping Score?

Unfortunately, not many of you. There is an ever-increasing push for sales and marketing teams to show results. And “accountability” is the buzzword these days, whether in the boardroom or personal performance reviews.

Accountability n: responsibility to someone or for some activity [syn: answerability, answerableness]

But, accountability is not just a buzzword. It is truly necessary for success. In order to measure results and, more importantly, REPEAT those activities that yielded the best outcome, we need to track and consistently analyze our metrics. True, the ultimate metric is SALES. But still the best managers (whether managing an entire organization, specific team, or yourself) understand that a smooth sailing to success requires the ability to “tack” your efforts toward your goals. The only way you can do this is to know where you want to go, where you are now, and what changes to your effort are necessary to lead you to your destination.

That’s where the sales and marketing SCORECARD comes in. Here are 3-steps to creating your own scorecard:

1. Determine which results you most want to track. While it is not a comprehensive campaign ROI measurement tool (each individual marketing vehicle should be measured in a separate ROI exercise), the Sales and Marketing SCORECARD is meant to measure your most critical metrics at each stage of the sales process-SUSPECT, PROSPECT, LEAD, and CUSTOMER-and provide a quick snapshot on both sales and marketing results.

Some example metrics might include:

  • Website Visitors
  • Website Downloads
  • Inbound Inquiries via web and email
  • Outbound Contacts such as telemarketing and tradeshows
  • Sales Prospecting Follow-up (Calls, Connects, Qualifies)
  • Presentations Given
  • Proposals Submitted
  • Close Rate (ratio of wins and losses)
  • …and any other Metric that is relevant to your sales and marketing success
  • 2. Identify the systems for capturing the data. Reporting on metrics is impossible if you don’t have the systems (whether human or technology) in place to capture the data. For each metric you have added to your scorecard, determine your process for capturing and compiling the results each month. How do you track each inbound inquiry? How can you determine how many proposals you submitted each month? Etc.

    3. Set a venue for your team to review results. For you to truly be accountable, you must actually share them. Set a time and place for report on the details of your scorecard(s). As you review your monthly reports, reflect on how they differ from previous months, and check on your progress toward the annual goal (are you tracking to your goal, or falling behind). This is your chance to make any changes you need to make before it’s too late.

    It’s time to be accountable! Get started on your own sales and marketing scorecard now!

    How to Bridge the Gap Between Sales and Marketing

    In the organizational structure of most businesses, there’s a marketing department and a sales department. While this separation of activities may be necessary for reporting reasons, it often leads to confusion and tension between the two.

    Marketing has a broad agenda in its responsibility to the business. This agenda includes:

    • Branding
    • Advertising
    • Lead Generation
    • Web content
    • Market research
    • New product development
    • Social media

    Sales, on the other hand, has a specific focus. Salespeople are charged with cultivating customer leads, qualifying those leads, managing a sales pipeline, and remaining focused on the key touch-points that move a general inquiry to a qualified lead to a buying customer.

    Regardless of the difference in scope, both sales and marketing share the same objectives: satisfying customers and growing revenue for the business. So it’s essential for businesses to close the gap between the two departments – enabling them to work more efficiently toward these common goals.

    Here are tips for bridging the gap between marketing and sales:

    Start speaking the same language. In your organization, is there common agreement on what constitutes a “lead”? More importantly, does everyone agree on the definition of a “qualified lead”? Make sure a consensus exists on these critical terms, then focus your marketing activities on developing comprehensive target customer profiles and gathering information on key decision-makers within the target audience. If sales pursue individuals who lack the power to buy, their efforts are wasted and they end up distrusting the marketing team that sent them down the wrong path in the first place.

    Create a jointly developed plan. Amazingly, many companies spend vast amounts of time and effort creating a strategic plan but never get input from their sales departments. Who else has more intimate knowledge and front-line experience of the customer than your sales team? A more effective approach involves sales and marketing creating a sales funnel plan that lays out every step of their customers’ buying process and details the best ways to reach out and influence those customers.

    Measure activities and results. Encourage sales and marketing to revamp their analytics and to develop agreed-upon metrics that accurately measure the outcomes of the marketing and sales process.

    Invite marketing staff to “walk a mile” in the sales team’s shoes. Often, tensions between sales and marketing arise from a simple misunderstanding of how a salesperson operates. One solution to this problem is to have members of the marketing team (from the top executive on down) spend a day or week with sales reps. See how they make contact with customers, develop leads, follow up on calls, etc. There’s probably no better way to learn just what information salespeople require as they work to influence the buying process.

    It’s worth emphasizing the depth of customer knowledge a good sales rep has. They know what works with targeted customer and what falls flat. Within your organization, it should be made easy for sales to share this vital information with marketing and, armed with this knowledge, for marketing to give sales every tool possible to succeed in the field.