Better Marketing Makes Better SalesBy Kathleen A. Martin | Print
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Which is more important, sales or marketing? Neither and both. Successful companies are those that master the fine art of melding sales and marketing into a seamless presentation that demonstrates value.
It’s a question that has caused debate around water coolers and in boardrooms: Which is more important, sales or marketing? Sales will tell you that they are the hunters and the farmers. Marketing will tell you that sales will have nothing to do if they do not create the demand.
In the environment of yesterday this was a discussion worth debating. Today’s new financial and marketing environments have changed all the rules. Marketing and sales are now intertwined, with the best-performing employees doing both.
In other words, the most successful solution providers are the ones creating their own demand and channeling their revenue, and it typically requires sales not selling a product but an idea. That’s a hybrid of sales and marketing that people typically call "consultative selling."
A quick review of this checklist can let you know if you are ready to increase your profits and sales through effective marketing sales.
1. Is your company focused on your customers or on your products?
Successful companies have changed their focus from products to focusing on the business needs of their customers. The services your firm offers—the solutions you bring to the table—are more important than product features.
2. Do you know who your target customer is?
It is not enough to have two customers who make up 80 percent of your revenue and hope that another customer will come along that is just like them. Understand what makes your business successful with these customers.
3. Is your company’s brand well positioned and represented?
Does every person in your company understand your brand position and can they sell your company in six minutes or less? Everything about how the phones are answered to your letterhead to the sales presentation is a reflection of your company and influences how your customers perceive you.
4. What do you know about your competition?
Do not think that if you ignore your competition they will ignore you. The most profitable companies can always answer the question, "What differentiates company X from Y?" Don’t just focus on your local competitors, but understand your regional and national competitors as well.
5. Do you make use of the technology you sell?
It’s one thing to understand how technology and solutions work, but it's another thing to be able to show your customers that your company makes use of the same technology efficiencies in your own business environment and operations.
6. Is your advertising still focused on local newspapers and Yellow Pages ads?
Your customers are less likely to understand your message when it is limited to small ads or placements where no one reads them. Encourage your employees to talk about new business solutions and products on Facebook and in blogs. Ask your customers to share their input on your company-sponsored sites as well. The most effective advertising is carried out over the Internet. But beware: not all new media is free (despite what people want to believe). You should invest in properties that demonstrate a solid return for your marketing investment, as well as get your people to engage in free social media.
7. Do you network? Does your team?
Networking is not just for salespeople over lunch. Networking is how business leads are uncovered, customer needs are identified and new relationships are introduced. Every employee on your team—including you—should be focused on building and nurturing your networks.
Taking a renewed look at your marketing and sales efforts to look for efficiencies and improvement can increase your competition positioning, brand awareness, revenue and profits. Focusing on basic marketing and applying sales strategies can be the easiest place to start.