As ironic as it may originally appear, one of the biggest profitability inhibitors is the lack of synchronization between the sales and marketing efforts that occur in many businesses.  This lack of synchronization can be resolved quite easily, by establishing some “rules of engagement”.  Let’s make sure that all members of your team clearly understand what they should do, when they should do it, and how their tasks should be executed.  In a phrase, create a playbook for your team.

This lack of synchronization starts right at the beginning of the sales cycle.  More often than not, the sales department expects a lead to be an order ready to be picked up.  Marketing, on the other hand, defines a lead as anyone who responds to virtually any marketing activity.  Now, I know I’m generalizing and I don’t mean to offend anybody, but those are the observations I’ve made during the past 32 years.  From that point forward, the lack of synchronization gets even worse.

When sales gets a “lead” that isn’t ready to buy, they then respond by blaming marketing.  Marketing’s defense is that sales isn’t closing persistently or in a quality manner.  As in many conflicts, there is truth on both sides of that particular equation.  Then, it gets even worse when sales does start talking to a customer.  Instead of ascertaining why the customer responded to a marketing initiative, far too many salespeople launch into a monologue about the features of their products or services.  These individuals are people whom I’ve nicknamed “feature preachers”.

So, now this lack of synchronization extends itself into the sales cycle.  A prospect rarely inquires about a product or service to learn all that is knowable about the features of the product or service.  More often, they want to know what the product or service will do for them.  It’s impossible for a salesperson to explain that if, at the beginning of their sales encounter with a prospect, they don’t attempt to ascertain what generated the inquiry.

In summary, synchronization will occur when rules of engagement are produced.  Let’s start with the following rules.

  • If you buy names from a list broker, you have not purchased leads.  Rather, you have purchased a list.  Don’t confuse those two definitions.  Lists must be worked by an application of marketing techniques to generate inquiries.  Inquiries, in turn, must be worked to generate sales-ready leads.
  • Sales should not get involved with any inquiry until it is deemed sales-ready, based on your rules of engagement.  Then, at the very first encounter with the decision-maker, the salesperson must avoid the temptation to become a feature preacher and must ascertain what results the prospect desires.

Give this approach to sales and marketing a shot; and you’ll find your sales increasing, your sales cycle shortening, and your margins growing.  As always, I wish you…


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