Fast results from your marketing and sales processes. This is what is needed to impact the bottom line in all the aspects of being in business everyday. Are you getting them?
I usually find a giant wishing well for sales lead generation as I get into the details of day to day operations with some of my clients. It is held together by a lot of routines and habits being identified as a marketing and sales process.
There is often a strong sensation, somewhat like a gravitational pull, to engulf me into this well established routine. There is a deluge of to-do's put at my feet that everyone has been wishing for or are coming up with on the fly now that there is focused attention on marketing and sales. There is a tendency to avoid the more uncomfortable work of actually building a foundational process that drives success and breaks the routine.
A desire for fast results from the wishing well is the culprit and it is the biggest stick in the spokes preventing those results. Here's what I mean. In order to get a real process you need the right materials and intent to build it:
- written, specific, measurable, REALISTIC goals (use benchmarking data, not wishes!)
- a clear understanding of who your customers are and who is truly the best fit for your products and services (hint: if you're still trying to work this out, it will be a monumental stumbling block in creating an effective marketing strategy if you try to skip over it)
- trained sales people (this can be the owner, and only one person if you're a small operation)
- trained marketing people who work well WITH your trained sales people - imagine them riding a tandem bike instead of devoting time to the wishing well.
- the right tools to be efficient
- the right marketing content, underpinned by strategy
Examining each of these one at a time will reveal where there are habits instead of scalable processes that deliver results. It could seem really simple as you glance through this list. However, when you try to use this to direct your team you'll start to see the cracks and sometimes gaping holes. It probably doesn't seem so simple once you spend a little time with it, does it?
Let's take the first one as an example; written, specific, measurable, REALISTIC goals. Most companies have high level, general goals for what they need to accomplish. As you drill into the details of daily work, you'll often find a staff that's not really sure what THEIR goals are in relationship to this larger one. What is their action list? Have you given them directions and timelines needed to complete their tasks? Are they capable of delivering what you're expecting of them or are they overloaded with many responsibilities that will make marketing and sales related tasks difficult or even impossible to do. Can you and your staff measure to check their progress along the way? Have you taken into account variables of seasons, economic circumstances and other outside influence when you set the goals? How will you address them? Are they truly realistic goals for all involved or just figures you'd like to hit (are we hanging out at the wishing well)?
The other items on the list have a lot of things in common too. The words "right" and "trained". Many organizations make a lot of assumptions from the perspectives of each team member about these things. Leadership often assumes because someone is extremely good at one thing, they will be great for some aspect of marketing or sales for the company. The old saying "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" comes to mind here. For example, because someone has the technical know how to build a website, doesn't mean they should be the one to create and be in charge of yours. Because someone knows how to use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn in terms of how the mechanics work doesn't mean they are qualified to run marketing initiatives with it. If people in your organization shouldn't be doing it in the first place, they also shouldn't be directing it if you get someone else to do it for you.
Perspective is a very big determinant in how well you do at crafting a solid strategy that delivers leads and customers for your business. When you're busy doing what you do everyday you won't have the time to be an expert at marketing and sales. The odds are, things don't work the way you think they do and it will most certainly take more time to execute than you think it will. The other members on your team who aren't trained marketing and sales professionals are subject to the same assumptions. This leads to every person in an organization collectively making up a LOT of wrong assumptions that are being used to try to meet goals. Put this way, it becomes easy to see why fast results for sales lead generation just aren't happening even everyone is executing a long list of fast activities.
The reality is there needs to be people involved in your marketing and sales arena who are given the same consideration you apply to other standard, everyday business needs. You don't go to the company IT person with your accounting questions (I hope) and you don't expect your customer service agents to select the best computer technology to run your business. Why in the world would you think everyone in your organization is going to naturally know what's best when it comes to creating a marketing and sales process?
How do you fix it? First confront it. Be honest about your current circumstances and get a sales and marketing professional to evaluate your situation and give you a roadmap to follow. Take the time to consider what you learn, rally your team around what you discover and then make an informed decision about how to get started with sales enablement. This is the BEST way to banish the wishing well from your goal-setting sessions!