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Avoiding the Sales and Marketing Trap to Increase Revenue

Suzie was a new hire business-to-business sales representative. She had just completed the company’s two-week basic training course. After the training, her sales manager met with her.

“Suzie, congratulations on completing the training,” he said. “Remember, you have three months to make your quota. We have provided base salary, cell phone, laptop, desk and car allowance. Now go sell something!

What does Suzie do next? She probably will run around like crazy, trying to find anyone who might have the slightest interest in buying her product, while the quota clock relentlessly ticks.

What did the company that employed Suzie miss? It failed to understand the fundamental difference between marketing and sales. This misunderstanding may cause Suzie to waste a lot of time, the company to incur unnecessary expense, and adversely impact operations. Here is what every business should know:

• Marketing is about finding prospective buyers with a need, want or desire to which you can sell. Marketing is finding.
• Sales is about helping an identified prospective buyer fill a need, want or desire from which they benefit. Sales is filling.

If this distinction didn’t hit, go back and read it again. It’s that important.
By having Suzie find her own prospects (someone that may have interest in buying), the company has placed the marketing responsibility on her shoulders. You may think, well that’s what salespeople are supposed to do.

That’s the common misconception. About 50 percent to 70 percent of a salesperson’s time is spent trying to find a prospect. That’s mostly wasted time. If Suzie’s “finding time” could be re-allocated to “filling time” – being in front of more prospects, selling, she probably would close more business.
Without any certainty that Suzie will make a sale, the company will invest at least $3,000 in hiring, time, salary, equipment and car allowance before Suzie begins seeking sales prospects. If she’s fired after three months, the company will have to go through the entire process again, resulting in additional expenses.

Here is a quick example on how expenses can add up. By placing the “finding” burden on the sales rep, a company will wind up replacing 30 percent of its sales force every three months.

Suppose there are 10 sales people on staff. That means spending $36,000 to hire new sales people in a 12-month period. Perhaps that company may be better off taking that $36,000 and investing it into marketing to find new customers.

Without business owners or executives realizing it, the sales / marketing misconception can cause flaws in a business plan as well as operational issues.

Here’s an example. In the 1990′s, telecommunications was exploding. Many new companies hired armies of sales reps, who had to find perspective customers and sell them.
They were given three months to make quota or be fired. Each day, they had to bring back 50 business cards – walking into businesses where they didn’t know anyone – to prove they had satisfied their cold-calling requirement.

Sure enough, every three months, 30 percent of the sales force was fired.
What happened to these companies? Some went bankrupt while others eventually were rescued in buyouts. These were all well-funded companies. But the top executives failed to understand the distinction between marketing and sales.

What was the Marketing Department doing if the sales reps were doing marketing? Well, it thought it was doing marketing. In one case, it spent a lot of money hiring a well-known sports figure and holding fancy parties for big customers to attend, where they could hobnob and get an autograph.

Also, the Marketing Department was busy analyzing the kinds of customers that sales was selling.
Marketing is a vast area. But at it core, it needs to find people to turn into customers. Otherwise, marketing has probably drifted off into analysis dreamland.

Here’s an example in which marketing hit a home run for a startup company.

To kick off sales efforts, the marketing manager found a shopping mall that was hosting a local business day. Space was purchased at the mall show for $500. A mailer was sent just before the show, inviting residents and business owners to stop by the table to enter a drawing for a free gift. The mailer cost $400. Sales reps greeted people who stopped by the table. The result was 30 new customers. The event was a big success.

Go through all the business cards that sales representatives have given you and look at their titles. If it says “sales representative,” call the rep and ask them if they have to find their own prospects.

But if it says “marketing representative,” you can bet the company is confused about the distinction between sales and marketing. Make sure that the mixed-up company isn’t yours, whether you’re a one-person operation, small business or large organization.

Free Sales and Marketing Tips to Improve Your Sales

If you are looking for some marketing miracle that would help you improve your sales, here are some free sales and marketing tips that will surely help to increase your sales and your marketing effect.

These free sales and marketing are good enough for all types companies and organizations

Do not trust the traditional marketing strategies completely

The marketing techniques and strategies written in books and being followed from a long time are not effective enough to understand and run with the present market conditions. The market in every field has changed in many respects. Thus trusting the traditional marketing strategies completely may not affect your business. However, the expert advices are always useful. New methods and techniques must be developed based on the present market conditions and competitions. The free sales and marketing tips here are obviously very useful according to the present market conditions.

Online marketing and email marketing is a very affecting and cost effective powerful tool of marketing, especially for small businesses. It costs very less and allows you advertisements and marketing to an infinite geographical range. The contact lists of email addresses must be self-prepared depending upon the requirements, rather than buying from broking companies. Impose advertisements on the related websites and make your subscriber list to build the list of email addresses. Updating the customers and other contacts regularly and maintaining friendly relations with them is often useful and very affective.

Make stronger bonds with the present customers

Often the mistake done by marketers is focusing on creating new relations. This is obviously a very important tool, but focus must also be made on the existing customers. The present customers are very important assets for a company. Maintaining strong bonds and friendly relationship with them is very important as a marketer. Offering them memberships with attractive offers will surely help in building up the business. Well entertaining the present customers also increase the possibilities of new customers.

Here is a multilevel marketing tip that will think of your business in a more wise and useful way. The first level says that you, as a marketer should wisely make a list of all the clients or people that may be interested in your business. Then you shall need them to trust you completely that will make them more inclined to your business. And thirdly is the fulfillment of their needs and requirements with your business. This kind of step wise market research helps a lot to understand and forecast the customer behavior and feedback.

These were some free sales and marketing tips for your business. All that a successful business requires is some brain and some ideas within it. New marketing tricks and tools can be developed according to the need and situations. The most important factor to consider is that people like doing business with the people they are familiar with. Thus maintaining relations and reaching out to the most of the market area is very important as a marketer.

Sales and Marketing Best Practices: Lead Generation Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Business is constantly evolving. From new manufacturing methods, to new methods of power generation, to new tools and equipment, things never stay the same for long. The same is true for lead generation and sales and marketing methodologies – techniques that worked 20 years ago may be useless today, and what you’re doing today may not work five years from now. Let’s review some tools from years past, take a look at what’s working today, and get a glimpse into where sales and marketing is headed into the future. Each marketing method is followed parenthetically by a generalization of when the method has been or will be effective. Yesterday infers it was effective, today infers it is still effective and tomorrow infers it will be effective in the future.

CANVASSING (Yesterday)

Canvassing was a popular method of generating leads in the past and for some salespeople is still in use today, though increased fuel costs and efficiency are rapidly pushing canvassing into obsolescence. There are generally two types, broadcast door to door canvassing of large areas of a salesperson’s territory and incremental canvassing whereby a salesperson drops off brochures in an abutting area before or after an on-site prospect or client visit.

PROS

  • “Face time” with a prospect – many believe this gives them a better chance of establishing rapport and ultimately closing a sale.
  • Ability to read the prospect’s non-verbal cues
  • Material is guaranteed to be received as opposed to direct mail

CONS

  • Travel time
  • Travel expense
  • Can only reach a small number of prospects at any given time
  • Inability to do other work while canvassing

DIRECT MAIL MARKETING/FAX (Yesterday and Today)

Direct mail campaigns, and their successors, fax campaigns, were popular over the last few decades and still remain in use today. But those days are likely ending as mail and printing costs increase and fax technology wanes.

PROS

  • Reach out to many prospects simultaneously
  • Less expensive than canvassing
  • Can create inbound leads
  • Somewhat measurable by setting up specific call in numbers or promotional codes

CONS

  • Largely ineffective – most end up in the trash
  • Still relatively expensive
  • Especially poor results in B2B sales
  • Must be paired with effective follow up
  • Not a “green” solution
  • Not reusable like email marketing

TELESALES (Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow)

Telesales has been around for decades and is still used by many businesses. It will likely continue, in some manner or form, for the foreseeable future, though it may not be effective a decade from now.

PROS

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Adds activity to pipelines rapidly
  • Consistent – callers can read from a script
  • Ability to reach many prospects daily
  • No travel time or expense
  • Can sometimes reach decision makers directly

CONS

  • Labor intensive
  • Difficult to do well and maintain high quality appointment setters
  • Often seen as an annoyance by busy executives (it is a form of interruption marketing)
  • May require getting through gatekeepers, multiple layers of management
  • Voice mail, caller ID, cell phones and other advancements will impede future efficacy

EMAIL MARKETING (Today and Tomorrow)

Email Marketing has been around for over a decade and is still an effective means of generating quality leads when done correctly. The key to effective B2B eMarketing is to offer valuable content and build a comprehensive opt in email list.

PROS

  • Inexpensive and reusable
  • Can reach very large numbers of prospects simultaneously
  • Can target specific industries, titles
  • Easy to change or re-purpose a message
  • Requires less labor
  • Design flexibility
  • Ability to track metrics and quantify results

CONS

  • Requires some technical expertise
  • Requires an understanding of eMarketing best practices
  • Difficult to do well
  • SPAM issues
  • Many emails go unread, spam filters, fire walls, junk mail folders, etc.

WEBINARS/WEB MEETINGS (Today and Tomorrow)

Webinars and web meetings are a relatively recent, cost-effective method of generating leads and closing sales. It’s becoming the preferred method of selling for many sales people and companies today, and the trend will accelerate in the future.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Can reach out to one or many prospects simultaneously
  • Allows for more personal interaction
  • No travel time or expense required
  • Allows for multitasking
  • Cancellations/rescheduling are not a problem
  • Can be used for internal or external purposes
  • Allows you to demonstrate your value proposition
  • Can be conducted from anywhere with internet connectivity

CONS

  • Requires experience and technical expertise
  • Requires special software
  • Inability to read non-verbal signals

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING, BLOGGING, EPUBLISHING (Today and the Future)

Social media marketing is a new and exciting field whereby you reach out to prospects through non-traditional, web based means. Even in highly traditional industries, we’re witnessing a move toward SEO, social media marketing and blogging. For example, insurance agency SEO and law firm SEO are two emerging verticals as these professional service companies join the ranks of high tech companies and other leading edge companies in optimizing their websites.

PROS

  • More people are using social networking websites every day
  • Cutting edge – makes you look like a thought leader
  • Easy to target extremely large numbers of prospects simultaneously
  • Messages can be focused to very narrow groups if desired
  • Rapid feedback from prospects
  • Can be accessed from anywhere with internet connectivity
  • High future growth potential
  • Can be used for B2B or B2C

CONS

  • Can be difficult to measure ROI
  • Requires expertise across multiple platforms
  • B2B effectiveness debatable
  • Can be somewhat time intensive

WEBSITE/SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (Today and Tomorrow)

Websites have been around for quite a while, but selling by using your website combined with search engine optimization can be extremely effective and is an area of high future growth.

PROS

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Generates inbound leads
  • Very important future growth area
  • Very measurable
  • Builds a foundation for the future
  • Organic SEO has no incremental costs (no PPC budget required)

CONS

  • Requires technical expertise
  • Requires ongoing maintenance
  • PPC (Pay Per Click), the non organic SEO method does require an ongoing budget
  • May require additional personnel or an outsource for required skill sets

Though there are other marketing tools available including traditional networking, radio, TV and newspaper advertising to mention a few, the methods noted above cover a fairly broad perspective on frequently used, or soon to be used B2B marketing tools. Clearly, the internet has had an enormous impact on prospect marketing and lead generation. Over the past decade there has been a definitive transition from traditional face to face sales and marketing, to online and web based sales and marketing techniques. Even relatively new tools such as eMarketing and webinars/web meetings are being surpassed by website selling, search engine optimization, and social media marketing. And in this dog eat dog, marketing driven business world, it’s “innovate or die”.