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Unlocking Revenue With a Unified Sales and Marketing Approach

Ultimately, the success of any business depends on a consistent flow of new customers and repeat business from existing ones. The achievement of these two initiatives depends almost entirely on the effectiveness of a company’s Sales and Marketing departments. Unfortunately, Sales and Marketing departments frequently operate in siloed roles that foster an adversarial relationship and conflicting goals.

In one silo are salespeople focused on the short-term goals of monthly or quarterly revenue targets. Since only a small portion of their leads are ready to buy within these timelines, the overwhelming majority of leads are discarded without proper follow-up. In the other silo, marketers are working desperately to achieve misleading metrics such as “cost per lead” that encourage them to generate a large number of unqualified leads instead of a more targeted group of high-quality, educated prospects. 

The result of this misalignment of goals and success metrics? A large number of wasted leads, poor sales growth, lackluster marketing ROI and a firestorm of finger-pointing among the departments.  

The solution? Aligning your Sales and Marketing departments to create integrated business development engines in which:

  • Efforts are coordinated
  • Customers assume their rightful place at the center of attention
  • Cost of sales decreases
  • Return on marketing investment (ROMI) increases, and
  • The company prospers.

UNDERSTANDING THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

“80% of marketing efforts to generate leads are wasted and ignored by sales,” said Senior Analyst Harry Watkins of The Aberdeen Group. “Sales spend 25% of their time recreating (often badly) customer-relevant collateral that marketing should have created in the first place. This combination derails efforts on both sides, costing companies millions of dollars annually, while destroying the time and focus needed to collectively and effectively drive sales and revenue.”

In many companies, the lack communication and coordination between the two departments not only leads to wasted effort, but further increases the frustration with each other. For example, marketing may generate a large list of leads, often times with no process in place to qualify those leads before passing them off to Sales. Marketing believe they’re passing along good leads, and that Sales isn’t following up on the lead sufficiently. Sales, on the other hand, feels the leads that Marketing has passed to them aren’t qualified, and when they try to follow up, many of the prospects are not ready to buy or can’t be reached, causing Sales to incorrectly discard the leads.

As the above scenario is repeated, Marketing and Sales’ confidence and satisfaction with each other continues to decrease, resulting in more wasted leads, poor sales growth, lackluster marketing ROI and a firestorm of finger-pointing among the departments. 

ALIGNING SALES AND MARKETING 

Coordinating Sale and Marketing for increased company efficiency and profitability requires breaking down silos to create shared missions, performance measurements, lead qualification standards and communication strategy.

Shared Mission

Develop a company strategy that creates common goals with defined roles for Sales and Marketing. The strategy must encourage and reinforce collaboration between the two and be vital to mutual success. 

Shared Performance Measurement

Set performance measurements for both departments that reinforce the shared mission. Instead of setting one-sided goals that do not directly influence the success of the other department, choose interlocking goals that encourage Marketing and Sales to support each other. For example, Marketing could measure success based on number or percentage of qualified leads generated, resulting in a smaller quantity of higher-qualified leads. Along the same collaborative vein, Sales can be measured based on the percentage of qualified leads converted to sales, encouraging them to follow up on Marketing’s leads.

Shared Lead Qualification Standards

To be effective, Sales and Marketing must agree on what constitutes a qualified lead. Input and buy in from both departments is critical. To do so, start by identifying the ideal customer by determining the characteristics and measurements are common among your existing customer base and common pain points or problems they shared prior to implementing your organization’s product or service solutions. From this point, a consensus on lead qualification criteria should naturally follow.

CREATING A SHARED COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY

Once the shared mission, metrics, and lead qualification criteria is agreed upon, the departments should agree on a communication strategy that outlines how the departments will maintain communication with and develop their prospects.

To begin, Marketing should incorporate tactics into their campaigns to capture qualification information from leads using landing pages, surveys, registration forms and website behavior tracking. These tactics must also be integrated into the company CRM system so that all lead information is tracked and updated automatically. Only when the criteria is met, should leads be passed to Sales for follow up.

For those leads not yet qualified, Marketing should seek Sales’ input in creating lead nurturing campaigns that provide relevant information and keep the company top-of-mind with the prospect as they move along in the buying process.

ENJOYING THE BENEFITS OF SALES AND MARKETING ALIGNMENT

With this systematic approach, lead conversion rates will improve, marketing dollars will be deployed more effectively (raising ROMI), and leads will continue to be engaged until they are ready to make a buying decision instead of falling through the cracks and eventually buying from a competitor.

Make Money With a New Online Sales and Marketing Business Around the World

Never before in the history of the world has there been a time where ANY person who has a service, a message, or a product to sell can reach an audience that is worldwide in scope. This ability has heretofore been reserved only for major corporations with millions of dollars to spend in advertising. Now, with the advent of modern technology and such social networking sites such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and MySpace the average person has at his or her fingertips the same potential to create a marketing empire that only a few years ago would not have been possible. Have you ever wanted to start your own business before? For many the risk and cost of doing so are just too great. There are stores to lease, products to inventory, people to hire, utilities to set up, logistics to plan-the list can go on and on. There is another way to begin a business, however, that takes advantage of what modern technology now has to offer.

Many companies have websites but few businesses know how to drive traffic to their sites. The goal in business is to have as many possible customers buying your product as possible. If no one knows you exist then no one will order anything. It’s as simple as that. This article is devoted to giving you some useful tips on how to market a product right from the comfort of your own home and to create a sales and marketing business that can rival that of any large company.

In order to have a business you have to have a product to sell. This is rather obvious. The first step is to either create your own product, i.e., a cookie, a service, a video game, a dog leash, whatever you have an interest in, or you can find a company that actively looks for individual entrepreneurs to move their products for them. Once you have determined what product you would like to sell the next step is to market that product. Luckily, you won’t have to spend gobs of money to advertise your product because you are going to be armed with knowledge and some simple marketing techniques that few people have.

One of the ways to market a product is through the very medium that you are reading. Yes, you can write articles giving people useful information, and in exchange you will have your articles published to the web with author links to your own website. People who like what you have to say will be intrigued to find out more information about you and what else you have to offer them-not bad, and it’s all for free.

Another invaluable way to market your product will be through the medium of video uploads to YouTube. YouTube is not just for strange, off the wall video clips from around the world that people find amusing. It is a vast search engine of video information that people Google to find what they are looking for. If you are creative, imaginative and have a tenacious spirit then there is hardly anything that can stand in your way from virtually becoming the CEO of your own marketing empire. Your business will only be limited by your own ideas. Be bold, believe in yourself, and take the time to research the information and techniques available to you online. Your financial future will be much brighter if you do so.

Skills That All Sales and Marketing People Should Have!

I’ve done sales for a few years before moving into more strategic role in marketing. I’ve sold cookies in door-to-door sales job, tried and sold few jars of chocolates from table-to-table, sold investment packages from cold calling, sold training programs from cold calling, designing sales incentives scheme, set up and run sales processes, office-to-office selling and I am currently selling my own book on marketing and consulting on the business strategies area.

Along the way, I have managed a number of sales people and groups. I think until today I have the mindset of selling and because I am currently doing a lot of idea-selling. My stakeholders are people like you, my partners, customers, potential investors and sometimes to my wife. It is very important to know how to sell your ideas because if you don’t, your life is going to be very boring.

But as a salesman or sometimes people call it marketing executive (though I disagree with the actual meaning of marketing executive!), there are some pertinent and must have skills to at least give you the comfort and some sort like a guarantee so you can be a better salesman or marketing people. The skills mentioned are uniquely yours but it can be learned from other people like me, but the performance of it is dependent on you. Let’s begin.

1. Cold Calling

Yeah…this skill is as cold as the ice when you first heard it. But to convince you, salesman that cannot make cold calls will not make any sale. Trust me! If you have done cold call, you will agree what I am about to say after this. “Cold call breaks the ice and heightened my confidence to make my first step and subsequently my first sale!” Agree?

It can come in many forms. One is calling from a “cold-list” you receive from your supervisor. Another is to go from office-to-office setting appointments. Thirdly is meeting people at your booth during exhibition, fourthly you are given fliers and you need to pass it around and convince people to buy, finally convince your close friends about what you do. How to do it? Start it and delay no more.

2. Presentation Skill

This skill is a must have for anyone in this century. It used to be difficult to learn and some say it’s a born talent. But honestly speaking I think this skill is acquirable and can be duplicated quite easily. There are a lot of books and training programs that teach how to have a better presentation skill. I was born as a very shy boy and timid. Now, many said I talked too much!

The boom of presenters in this era has made salesman / marketing people job more competitive. But remember, it is not enough to just talk and parroting. You need to have solid content and know what you are talking about. That’s where you can carve an edge and make a difference. Grab a book or Google on presentation skill.

3. Listening

Usually when you listen, it means you are focusing on the other person and not keep on talking. Many salesman claimed to be listening, but they keep loading you with a lot of brochures and information about their products from all over directions. Sometimes in some customers, your product or service just doesn’t fit their needs. It is best to move on and do it peacefully.

I have seen salesman where when get rejected, they stopped smiling and that face that I loathe. This is because it quickly tells me that the person don’t really care about you and was never paying attention to what customers needs are. This listening skill is so important because it separates you from other salesman. But there is a caveat, by listening you are actually extend the sales cycle a little bit longer. Nonetheless when it comes, it lasts.

4. Flexibility

Yes, this is a skill. As a salesman or marketing executive, there are 2 numbers that are quite flexible as a salesman. One is target and another is price, one for you and one for the customer. The purpose is to make the sales happen so we set target and price so with these numbers we can multiply it to make our commission. Some sales people are overly engrossed with the numbers and they blind with other things. They started hard sell, curse sell and end not selling but pushing.

I’ve experienced a customer that really doesn’t have the budget to buy training program that I was selling. I asked them, “What if I convince my boss that you can pay by instalment?”, he said OK. But I have a request, “You need to give me 5 participants and all of them on instalment with 30% deposits, at least I can show your commitment.” Fantastic?

5. Sense of Humour

This too is a skill. I don’t mean making fool of yourself or clowning. You do this by relating it to your customer. Humour ease up tense situation and makes it better to talk about something heavier after few doses of humour. It also can be in many forms, based on my experience.

I once sent a birthday card to a high profile CEO (but a customer) with a napkin in it. He called me and asked why did it put a napkin in his birthday card? I told him that I would like to invite him for a dinner for his birthday and some business discussions. We had dinner and we resolved few issues on the business side. I really suggest you to look into humour in your sales team and it would be better if you can plan it. Especially to some clients you have forgotten.:P

6. Knowledge

Knowledge develops over time but my experience tells me that you can accelerate knowledge. As if you can scoop it and build a mountain after many scoops. Yes you can! But you need to sacrifice a little bit because you got to do a lot of reading, further your study, mix with more people, attend social events, take time to travel the world, go to seminar that you never plan to go and say hi to as many people as you can. Because when you do all these, you will quickly get over your shortcomings and gained from the experience.

There are 2 types of knowledge. One is the social knowledge which is about socializing with people and another is professional knowledge. The first one is quite natural when you are in the business. The later is more important in the long run as a salesman or marketing people because as years go by you need to convince more people about yourself more than what you are selling. You need their trust and that trust will do the selling.

7. Discipline

This differentiates you from “just a salesman” and “D salesman”. I have a friend whom at the age of 50 years old he is still a waiter. I asked him, “Aren’t you want to be promoted as a manager perhaps at this age?”, his reply was, “I can’t come late if I am a manager and I don’t think I can live with that.” In short this uncle loves to come late to work!

Unless you decide to be “just a salesman”, then you can throw discipline out the window. Discipline will take your further and give you a career than just a job. Salesman job is a key path to greater management position if done with solid discipline, persistence and consistency. Discipline also will help you become more organize and improves productivity. Wouldn’t you be interested to earn more and drive a better car some day?

8. Closing Technique

This skill makes almost all salesmen nervous. Whenever I am training a group of salesman, this question is a must-ask and I have a standard reply for this, “How do you normally do it?”. There are various closing techniques but I recommend you to observe the closing that earned you business and didn’t give you business. Sometimes it’s not in the closing, its your personality.

But there are few phrases that you can use to close. Such as, “Is there anything else that I can help you with, When can I send you the first order, Who would be receiving this delivery, Can you hand me the document first, Would you like to just try for 1 week see if you are happy with it, Perhaps I can give you a test drive, If I can solve your money problem would you buy from me” and so on. Note down your powerful closing so you can repeat (or milk it!) over and over again.

To conclude, the above skills are easily acquirable and proven to be the success factors for many corporate leaders. Many of them also are from sales and marketing, therefore i urge you not to feel intimidated by being a salesman or marketing executive. It indeed the greatest job on earth because it can certainly give you greater mileage. You follow?