Sales and Marketing – Align, Define and Make Money

The word misalign is defined as, “positioning or arranging something improperly in relation to something else.” Sounds like too many sales and marketing departments in corporate America. Even though the two departments share the same corporate office, the approach to engaging potential clients and existing customers is often disjointed. Here are six key areas of misalignment that cost companies lots of money each year:

1. The marketing message doesn’t match the customer’s need.

Sales managers need to ask the marketing department to join their sales teams on daily calls and meetings. Marketing surveys and focus groups are good for research, but meeting with prospects and customers at their place of business is better. “Ride-a-longs,” as we call them in sales, is the best place for identifying needs and gaps in the company’s product/service offering. It’s the day-to-day interaction with prospects and customers that provide real-world data for identifying opportunities, challenges, and trends in the industry.

2. There is a call to action and but no training for the sales team.

The marketing program is working; leads are being generated, the right prospects are calling, and the new product launch looks like a success…until the phone is picked up by the untrained salesperson. The salesperson has received no education in building rapport on the telephone and has no well-crafted value proposition about the new product. The result is a beautiful marketing campaign with less than desirable sales results. Lots of money has been invested on the front-end of the marketing campaign to create opportunities, and zero money has been invested on the back-end to insure that sales can close the opportunity.

3. The marketing message doesn’t reach the real decision maker.

Business changed after 9/11 and the Dot Com Bust. Changes included more people, different people, and a shift in the power of each buying influence. Companies continue to market to old buying influences because the sales team is too busy selling to sit down with marketing to discuss:

- Who is buying.

- Why they are buying.

- New pain points.

- Decision criteria.

The company is aggressively marketing…to the wrong people. Imagine going duck hunting in New York City…

4. The marketing message doesn’t match the follow-up by the salesperson.

How many of you have received literature on an exclusive resort or high-end product? The marketing program worked until you called to place your order. The salesperson on the telephone line doesn’t sound exclusive, can’t answer basic questions, and frankly, isn’t that enthused about their own product/service. Enthusiasm and confidence is contagious and in this case, the salesperson has driven you to, “I better keep looking.”

Ever experienced this one? Your marketing message promises that your consultants are “professional and knowledgeable,” but marketing and sales have not met to determine what “professional and knowledgeable” looks like on a sales call. For example:

- Professional: If the sales meeting requires a leave behind, does the marketing piece coincide with the prices you are charging? If your salesperson is a professional, are they showing up for the appointment five minutes early and in a suit that fits? Yes, I am tired of seeing too short, too tight or too big in the conference room.

- Knowledgeable: Has the organization figured out the FAQ’s in your industry? Does the sales team know the answers? What about competitive analysis? Does the salesperson know the gaps in the competition’s service offering so he/she can better position the call?

5. Using email marketing and follow-up by sales.

Email is an inexpensive way to drip market to prospects. Prospects responding to email versus other types of marketing require a different type of follow-up. Traditionally, salespeople immediately pick up the phone to follow up on the lead. The email prospect doesn’t want a phone call and is often turned off by this type of follow-up. The marketing is generating a response; however, the effectiveness of the campaign is diminished because of an ineffective follow-up plan.

6. Good repeat customers are ignored and the focus is on new business development only.

Everyone in business knows it’s more profitable to grow an existing account than to prospect for new business. When working with sales teams on strategic account management, I often hear, “I’m not sure if my customers know about our full service offerings.” That is a sales problem and a marketing problem. Marketing can assist sales by making sure customers are aware of the depth and breadth offered by the organization through articles, special events, newsletters, direct mail, emails, etc. Sales can follow up by setting up business review meetings to discuss other products and services offered by the organization.

Align your sales and marketing organization. Togetherness is not just for romance – it’s a very good way to make money.

What CEOs Want From Sales and Marketing

What most CEOs want from their sales and marketing people is for them to be producing healthy increases in sales and profits. In contrast, what many sales and marketing people believe that their CEOs want is for them to constantly be working harder and faster and smarter. When times are good, CEOs may overlook this divergence of views. But when times get tough (as they are in a great many companies right now), CEOs notice and they get upset.

CEOs Are Getting Upset

Just how upset CEOs are getting is evidenced by the fact that an average Fortune company Chief Marketing Officer is now in his or her job for only about two years. Top sales people move around even more frequently. And nobody wins. CEOs don’t win because they just keep on firing and rehiring sales and marketing people (as their business situation continues to deteriorate). And sales and marketing people don’t win because they just keep moving themselves and their families from one job to the next. And they fail, over and over again.

Connecting the Dots
Can Solve the Problem

This is a huge problem. But it can be solved (which is a very, very profitable thing for a CEO to do). To solve it what a CEO needs to do is to establish a cross-functional sales and marketing team. That team will need to include sales and marketing people (the people who make promises). But those ladies and gentlemen will comprise only about one-third of the team. The remaining two-thirds will be comprised of people who produce and deliver what the sales and marketing people promise.

As cross-functional sales and marketing teams connect the business process “dots” that Promise, Produce and Deliver what customers want (and will pay for) customers get more of what they want and they pay more for it. Customers bond with the company and they start referring their friends. And when that happens, what CEOs want from their sales and marketing people and what sales and marketing people believe that their CEOs want becomes one and the same. And, that is a very good thing.

The Tao of Sales And Marketing: The Only Reason Anybody Buys Anything

Here’s the #1 secret to sales and marketing: No matter what veneer we put on it, there is only one reason in the whole world that anybody buys anything. Master that concept and rule the world. I’m working on it – join me.

So here it is: the only reason that anybody buys anything is to feel relatively good. It sounds almost too simple right? Read on…

I call this the Tao of sales and marketing because, like the Taoist model of the universe, first there is nothing, then the one thing, then two things, then 10,000 things. The one thing in my model is the idea of wanting to feel relatively good.

Wanting to feel relatively good gives rise to two things – seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. From those two impulses we get our 10,000 made-up reasons for buying stuff.

Every time I talk about this, I make some people uncomfortable. Some like to believe that all their purchases are rational. Of course they are frequently the ones buying cars and houses they can’t afford. People are great at rationalizing everything. Rationalizing is another thing we do to make ourselves feel good.

Brain scan research shows us that every single decision we make starts out in the emotional center of the brain. Even very simple decisions start as a feeling. Then, we rationalize by moving through the logical centers of the brain. Honestly, if people made decisions rationally would we have wars, drug abuse, or karaoke? Probably not.

My wife and I bought a house right after we got married. The price was good, in a good neighborhood, and I knew that the equity would grow fast. But the real reasons we bought were more emotional. It made us feel like we were really married to own a house. I feel better paying mortgage than paying rent. I have a greater sense of ownership of my home than I ever did with an apartment. It may have made logical sense to buy the house, but logic is not enough to get somebody to buy.

A critical part of the Tao of sales and marketing is the phrase, “relatively good”. You might just say, “better”. We can’t always make somebody feel truly good. However we might be able to take away some of their emotional pain. This is a gigantic motivator for people. Here’s a Marketing Comet Principle: The cure to any ill will always outsell the prevention.

How much could you get for a carton of orange juice on a ship of people afflicted with scurvy? Probably you could become the richest person on the ship. However, I don’t think you’re going to increase the perceived value of orange juice at your grocery store by slapping up a sign that reads, “prevent scurvy!” Not too many people in America feel the pains of scurvy and would be willing to give up their life savings to get a carton of juice.

How to use this in your sales or marketing efforts:

There are many ways to use this principle, here are a few:

1. Make people happy when they do business with you.

2. Find out what people’s most painful problem is and offer to solve it.

3. Persuade with emotion, and give them logic to rationalize with

4. Pay attention to the emotional impact of your marketing materials

5. Communicate with people in ways that make them more comfortable

Sales and marketing are ultimately about engineering emotion and state of mind – getting people emotionally ready to buy.

J D Moore – Marketing Comet

Copyright 2005 Marketing Comet