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Patient Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing is a waiting game where timing and preparedness are more important than your slick pitch!

Have you ever wondered about the main complaint of the average person with regards to sales and marketing? It is that too often we, as professionals, simply regurgitate a whole bunch of facts and figures about how great we are and how you should buy my product or service. Sales used to be the real villain as portrayed by the endless stereotypes of “snake oil salesmen” and the like in our social consciousness but now marketing has come to the fore of being just as criticized by the general public. As a society we are inundated by commercial messaging telling us to buy this or that and for the most part it is something that is ignored at best and reviled at worst.

How can you turn the tables in this climate of perceived hostility that customers now have against being sold to or marketed to? The answer is to be less active and more passive. Even the phrase “selling to” or “marketing to” points to the direction of the problem: we feel that by making strenuous and persistent efforts we can convince someone to do something that they would not otherwise do. The truth of the matter, however, is that people do what people want to do. Have you figured that out yet? All you can do, then, is to make yourself available and make each interaction count.

I am not advising that you stop selling or marketing to your customers. Rather, continue to persist in refining your message and communicating directly to customers about their needs and how you can help them. Then move on and spread the message without expecting or trying to force a response. What you will find is that customers who are interested will let you know, will ask questions and will themselves become involved in the process of buying from you. Along the way, your focus should be to maintain your posture and get to know and educate your customers without being the slightest bit aggressive or demanding. Don’t you hate being forcefully sold to yourself? Then why is it that we treat our customers as if they are any different from ourselves?

Patient sales and marketing does not mean that you let the customer run the process. Rather, what you are waiting for is for them to become genuinely engaged. If a customer asks about your product or service then don’t just give them the information and send them on their way but rather seek to understand their situation and motivations. Each step of the sales and marketing process, each conversation you have with your customer should be about building a relationship. Both the customer and yourself will figure out after a few conversations whether or not you are a fit for each other naturally. Instead of trying to impress your customer with how good your product or service is, impress how much you care about them and what you do.

Focus on being a consummate professional. After each interaction make sure your customer comes away feeling satisfied that they have been able to express themselves and that they were heard and that they matter. This is the real art of sales and marketing, to be available to help facilitate your customer in every reasonable way. It is because you perceive a need of theirs that you can fulfill that you are involved in developing a rapport with them, not just to sell them something. When you can genuinely convey that feeling, customers will learn to trust you and will return to you again and again. Your job is to enable them to see your vision by being approachable and interacting with them meaningfully.

At the end of the day it is the customer who decides whether or not he or she is interested in your product or service and whether or not they are interested in you. If you just accept that fact at face value it will relieve you of the stress of trying to persuade people to do this or that and be left wondering why they resist or ignore you. Rather, create the right environment for your customers to interact with you and keep connecting with more people. Soon enough you will develop interest into conversations into leads into sales. Use kid gloves when dealing with customers – handle them with the utmost care and respect. That is what will pay off in the long run and now how good your product or service is. There may be other companies that offer what you do but only one you!

“The hearts of people are like wild beasts and attach themselves to whoever loves and trains them.” – Proverb

Demystifying the Sales and Marketing Disconnect

It’s the age-old battle within any organization-sales versus marketing. Why is that? It seems both groups should be working hand-in-hand to create a seamless process for driving leads and meeting (or exceeding) the company’s revenue objectives.

After all, both are working toward the same ultimate goal: sales. Hmm well, maybe that isn’t always quite the case. As has been long noted, sales and marketing departments are not driven by the same goals and, therefore, are not in sync with each other.

The reality is that most often, marketing is motivated not by sales but by the number of leads (or “clicks”) it generates. Conversely, sales is driven solely by the numbers: how many sales close and how much revenue is generated. Thus, a gap exists a large one, at that between marketing and sales and between leads and revenue.

This gap is where the real difficulty lies. It has grown and will continue to grow as selling and buying has changed. The Internet has made it especially difficult for companies to accurately identify what is a true lead versus a simple inquiry. For instance, buyers are using the Internet very early on to conduct research on future, potential purchases. They visit Websites and download datasheets and whitepapers, but the vast majority of them are too early in the process to have interest in talking to a salesperson. Approaching them too soon can be annoying to the buyer and a waste of valuable sales time. Bottom line: In the Internet age, a simple click on an e-mail or website rarely translates to an instant, sales-ready lead.

If companies don’t adapt to this new selling model, they will continue to suffer. Let’s suppose this gap is closed and that leads being generated by marketing are a major determinant for driving the success of sales. Let’s further suppose leads passed to sales are true “sales-ready” leads and not simply suspects doing research. This sounds impressive-almost magical-but is it realistic?

With the correct leadership, a change in mindset by sales and marketing, and with the right supporting processes and automation, it is possible. Not only can sales and marketing be aligned, but in doing so you will be able to drive more business with less cost and effort.

1. Align sales and marketing goals. No question, marketing and sales must start sharing common goals. But this is hard to do when marketing can’t influence the sale and is more focused on clicks and lead volume than on actual lead quality. In turn, sales can’t rely on marketing for leads and is forced to spend its time cold-calling. The idea then is to find common understanding in the middle. Going forward, marketing should be measured not on the number of leads it generates, but on the number of sales-ready leads that enter the pipeline. The key to this metric, then, is the definition of a sales-ready lead.

2. Define a sales-ready lead. The essential element in this step is having marketing and sales mutually decide what truly comprises a sales-ready lead. Is this someone who downloaded three items from your Website and has the right title? Is it someone who downloaded something from the Website, is in the right industry and then was further qualified by telemarketing? Or, maybe it’s someone who attended a Webinar? Whatever the definition, it is something that must be agreed upon by both sales and marketing. And crucially, it has to be a definition that can be accomplished through the marketing organization alone (this could include telemarketing and inside sales for some organizations).

3. Revise the marketing to sales process. If marketing now has to provide a sales-ready lead, then the process by default must also change. You should no longer have cold leads from trade shows and websites feed directly into the CRM system for sales to call. Instead, leads must be tracked, all interactions should be followed, they should be scored based on their behavior and demographics, and they must be nurtured along the continuum until the criteria for sales-ready leads are met. A process must be implemented to facilitate these items. As you will see below, automation can help marketing organizations gain great leverage to do this.

4. Revise marketing’s role. It’s no secret marketing departments are not increasing resources-especially now. It is therefore critical for marketers to be given the appropriate tools to facilitate and leverage the limited resources they have. Marketing’s role should now include not just outbound lead generation, but also lead tracking and nurturing. One might say lead generation really is not just the initial creation of interest, but the full slate of nurturing activities that grow the lead into a genuine prospect. Marketing’s role must expand to take responsibility for moving sales-ready leads to sales, instead of simply handing over cold inquiries.

5. Make sure sales sells. It’s also no secret sales spends only a portion of its day selling, and that costs money-lots of money. If marketing produces sales-ready leads versus cold inquiries, then sales in turn should spend more time selling-and less time generating its own leads, and calling and qualifying cold inquiries. This should drive more sales in less time, a win for everyone.

6. Understand less is more. Both sales and marketing organizations must come to a full understanding that it’s not the volume of leads that matters, but their quality. So when you tell sales it will now get 50 leads per month instead of 100, it must be understood those 50 leads will be far superior to the leads previously received. These leads will have entered the buy cycle; they will have interacted with your company in some meaningful way. Sales will save time, regain faith in the leads passed to them by marketing, and should sell more.

7. Leverage automation. As mentioned previously, technology can help marketing departments get better leads to sales. Marketing automation systems in particular provide the mechanism to efficiently capture, track and score leads. The outcome of the process is to drive better-quality leads to sales. Additionally, marketing automation systems also help marketers to automate the process of nurturing leads over time. Consistent nurturing will continue to drive more quality leads over the life of a typical lead generation campaign.

With automation, marketers can take on their new role of providing sales-ready leads without expanding staff or resources. Start small-with one campaign, and utilizing the automation through that one campaign-then refine and expand to other campaigns.

8. Measure. Of course, aligning sales and marketing sounds like a great concept; but unless you measure the “payoff,” it won’t matter. Measuring sales and marketing alignment takes into account a series of metrics that are way too numerous to cover in this short article. But it’s important to note the success of alignment will be felt within both sales and marketing. Yes, the number of closed sales and the amount of revenue are most important and will be greatly impacted. But other metrics, such as ROI for lead generation campaigns and the reduced cost of sales resources, will also become apparent.

With the current economic climate, it is now more important than ever to align sales and marketing activities and objectives. And while this might sound like a tremendously large concept, it can truly be implemented step by step. Most of all, management must decide that the alignment will pay off, and changing the goals and metrics by which both organizations are measured is a key element to moving forward. In the end, the successful alignment of sales and marketing organizations will be a competitive advantage.

The Only 5 Sales and Marketing Ideas You Need To Know