Every time I think about marketing and sales, I always think of that age old question, which comes first the chicken or the egg. I mean, is marketing more important than sales? Should you sell first, market second? Can one survive without the other? So often, clients ask me if they should put their resources and time into marketing or sales. Well, in a perfect world full of fat budgets and unlimited resources, the answer would be both. Unfortunately for most of us the world is not perfect, so we have to make a choice.
Last week, I was in Washington DC delivering a keynote speech for a long-time client of mine. We began working together when he attended a workshop I was leading on the subject of marketing and sales. He was frustrated, as his sales were down, his sales team was overly stressed, and his competition was hot on his heels. His marketing team was blaming sales, and sales was blaming marketing, and he was left with the question: why were none of their efforts working?
Great question and the answer was simple. We began by backing up and really taking a hard, very honest look, at what each department was doing well, and where each department was lacking. The result? It became clear that while both areas were working hard, they were not working together. Now that strategy may have worked fine in years past, but to succeed in today’s economy you need an integrated, and unified approach to marketing and sales.
In today’s economy, competition is at an all-time high, customers are more demanding than ever, and market differentiation is far more complex. Face it, what we sell in this economy has become a commodity, but how we sell it is our competitive advantage. This is a trust and value economy, and economy where trust is how you attract customers and value is how you keep them long term.
To succeed in today’s economy you need to fully integrate your marketing and sales approach, so that the two departments work together in a seamless flow of customer attraction and relationship building.
- Create Buzz – first to the plate is the marketing department, because you have to attract the business before you ask for the business. In today’s competitive environment, customers are overwhelmed with sales professionals asking for business. If you want to get ahead of your competition and close more sales, then you need to work first on building your reputation to get the doors to open before you begin knocking on them.
- Customize The Process – second to the plate is customized sales. Once that door is open you have to begin by customizing the sales process. So before you ask your clients to invest in you, you need to invest in them. You need to slow down and build trust by asking questions and really listening to who they are, what they want, what they need, and then provide a customized solution. Now, at the same time marketing needs to be working silently in the background, reinforcing that you’re the expert; providing articles, resources, webinars, and other informative and valuable services in addition the sales process that further add value to the relationship.
- Start To Sell – third is full on, proactive sales. It is only after the relationship is built and an initial sale has been made that the proactive sales process actually begins. The biggest mistake I see sales people make in the Trust & Value Economy, is attempting to sell before trust has been established. Once the customer trusts you, they are ready to buy from you, so you need to proactively start to sell.
- Work the Process – Marketing and sales can now act as equal parts of a fully integrated system with both departments taking a proactive, team approach to attracting and expanding customer relationships.
So, who knows which comes first, the chicken or the egg? While we may never solve that problem, we do know in this economy you cannot get ahead of your competition or build client relationships without a fully integrated marketing and sales approach!
Motivational Keynote Speaker & Business Growth Expert, Meridith Elliott Powell, works with clients to help them instill ownership at every level to ensure profits at every turn. Click here for 3 Sure Fire Tips To Get Your Team To Instill Ownership At Every Level, To Get Profits At Every Turn! Meridith is the author of several books, including her latest,Winning In The Trust & Value Economy: a professionals guide to business and sales success. When not keynoting and leading workshops, she looks for inspiration cycling, golfing or hiking her favorite trail. https://meridithelliottpowell.com
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