This is the perennial cry we always here from the Managing Director, the Senior Managers and everyone else who has a serious interest in the bottom line of our business. Of course, that’s totally understandable; essentially every commercial venture lives or dies on the basis of sales activity and the resultant income that in turn translates into profit in the bank. However, I’ve often wondered why so many people seem to miss the undeniable link between sales and marketing. For many people the answer for more sales is simply to turn up the heat on sales activity, push more through the pipeline and in many cases, dial up the pressure on the salespeople who sit at the coalface.
If sales is the workhorse then marketing is mostly seen as the racehorse; perhaps an expensive extravagance that looks good, tells the world that we’ve got a bit of money to throw about but in general it’s costly to run, can be temperamental and very few people know how to handle properly.
The answer to more sales could be just to drive the workhorse a little harder each day, aim to get a little extra value from our investment and there are endless ways of trying to achieve this. A large number of organisations, large and small, will restructure the rewards and incentives for each sales person, or being even more blatant just move the goal posts by telling the sales team that more is expected of them… end of! Salespeople of quality and ability know this and play the game; when the pips start to squeak and the remuneration is no longer enough to maintain their interest they’ll be off to hunt in new pastures. Why do you think that the very best salespeople are so hard to find and even harder to keep?
This scenario will probably very familiar to you, irrespective of which side of it you come from. Sales is a tough game and only the strong survive but is it really the best place to focus on if you want more transactions flowing through your business.
I often ask clients ‘If you had just uncovered a spare £50,000 in your business (and you had to spend it on your business!) where would you allocate it?’. More often than you might imagine the reply is ‘on better marketing’… you see, at an intellectual level many business owners know that better marketing is needed and crave it.
So why is it that so few people stop to consider that if you want more sales the best place to start is at the very top of your sales funnel… with your marketing?!
It’s not just a case of aiming to get more results from your marketing, trying to get a bigger bang for your buck has (and always will be) the never-ending objective of every good marketer but how about changing your marketing to create better quality and not just quantity. Another much overlooked element of good marketing is that it actually influences the sale process significantly. As every good salesperson will know ‘qualifying’ your prospects is vital to ensuring a smooth and successful progress through the sales process towards secured business.
The lesson here is clear and I hope you’ve already started to join the dots for yourself; marketing is wedded to sales and better marketing will help you increase sales potential. If you knew, with complete conviction, that better, more effective marketing could increase the flow of potential sales, and that you could enhance the quality of those leads wouldn’t you pay more attention to it?
If your workhorse is looking tired, unlikely to give much more output and you’ve already realised that you might need a better tactic, perhaps it’s time to up your game, improve your skills and saddle up your thoroughbred and be prepared to hold on to the reigns.