How do you define Sales vs. Marketing? Do you have a sales genie who lives in a bottle and who gives you easy wins? Is your marketing mix perfectly balanced?
How do you convert prospects into customers? Unless a prospect is in crisis, turning prospects into customers usually takes time. What we'll discuss here is what simple things have to happen during a period of time for you to be successful in your sales & marketing.
Let's start with a definition of sales and a definition of marketing.
Sales is what you do and say during the one moment your product or service is being purchased. It's confirming the payment options. Sales people have to feed the Marketing process and use the resources effectively that they had a part in building. There needs to be a partnership between the Sales and Marketing departments.
Marketing is what you do (Sales people and Marketing people), before and after the sale. It is the strategy that will identify prospects that will lead to the sale. Marketing is learning about your client needs and delivering on them (or realizing there is not a fit with a prospect). Marketing is about building awareness and relationships - it's everything that makes 'the phone ring' the first time and convinces past customers to buy from you again. Marketing includes anything that comes into contact with your customer.
To succeed, your company needs to focus on three important areas:
- How long does it take to build a trusting relationship?
- How long does it take (on average) for a sale to take place (think client due diligence)? Link to Merriam-Webster's definition of due diligence.
- How do you convince the customer to buy again and/or to refer you to others?
Where do you start? You start at the beginning.
Fill Your Sales Funnel
The most important first step is to fill your sales funnel by attracting potential customers. This is where marketing must take the lead in the sales & marketing relationship.
Marketing feeds sales. Marketing attracts the leads and shows potential clients you have a solution that will make their life – or their business better. The reality is that some of those leads will turn into sales prospects - and many more will not. Simply stated, marketing takes the long-term view of customer relationships, paving the way for future sales and revenues.
The most common mistake companies make is to take resources away from marketing - hoping that current customers will continue to buy at the same rate. But we all know attrition is a natural part of businesses. Without prospect customers - sales and revenues will not increase as they should.
Sales, Marketing and your Brand
Sales and marketing will always be natural partners and their common relationship is your brand. But their mandates are quite different, therefore, it's important we clearly define each department's responsibilities.
Working together is important, but independence is also important. If you have sales and marketing reporting to the same department you have to be careful one isn't ignored. If that happens (like focusing on sales only for 6 months), you will soon find that you have been compromising the long-term prosperity of your company. Don't fall into that trap.
To help you easily analyze your businesses, I recommend you break a customer interaction into 5 parts and identify responsibility. Here are my recommendations to start your discussion.
|Prospecting (identifying, sifting and sorting)||
|Conversion (raising demand and lowering prospective client barriers / building trust)||
|Creating a unique buying experience||
Sales… with support from Marketing
|Saying thank you||
Marketing… with support from Sales
|Retention / communication (back to the top of the funnel)||
Sounds simple? It can be, but many companies do get bogged down because of confusion about who is responsible.
The next easy step to increase sales is to hold brainstorming sessions - and you may need more than one. For example, hold one session about how to introduce potential customers to your products/services and another about how to deepen existing customer relationships. Do not include multiple objectives in a brainstorming session.
Follow these simple steps and I'm sure that soon after your brainstorming session you'll soon be building smart, cohesive marketing plans that will fill your sales funnel and increase the revenue you generate.
We work to build long-term, collaborative relationships that maximize your overall success and earnings.
Give us a call. We'll listen.
Bruce Mayhew Consulting is strategic, branded, and relevant.