5 Telltale Signs your Sales/Marketing Program is in the Ditch

In a previous blog I called attention to the need to separate the marketing and sales functions. Today I highlight five typical problem areas troubling sales and marketing executives in every industry. See if your company suffers from any of these 5 telltale signs.

Telltale Sign #1: Price is the driving force
Telltale Sign #2: Disconnected sales tactics called “strategy”
Telltale Sign #3: Sales staff generates most leads
Telltale Sign #4: Customers unaware of what you do
Telltale Sign #5: Inadequate marketing database


Telltale Sign #1

Price is the driving force in your sales/marketing program.

“Having the lowest price” is not a strategy. It’s suicide. The company that can only sell its goods and services when they are the lowest prices has a serious marketing problem.

Deep discounts, special concession and eternal “special sales” indicate the company has no marketing program and hasn’t educated the customer on why the customer should buy other than price.
The customers have reduced the lowest price company to commodity selling like toilet paper or dish soap. The customer’s mind asks, “Why should I pay more for the same thing?”

Until the low price company finds the value proposition to offer to the customer and starts educating the customer, they will always be reduced to vending machine status and will probably go broke trying.


Telltale Sign #2

A bunch of disconnected sales tactics are what you call your “strategy.”

A well designed marketing program with solid objectives tied to real desired results will better serve your company than a batch of activities like contests, campaigns, blitzes, sell-ins, and “this week only” sales.

In reality, this “strategy” amounts to little more than a collection of desperate moves, which don’t communicate a real reason for buying.


Telltale Sign #3

Most of your leads are coming from your sales staff.

Leads are the lifeblood of your new prospects becoming customers. If they only come from your sales staff, marketing is failing in its role. Marketing’s role is to educate potential customers and move them toward readiness to buy so the sales staff can write the order and make sure the customers get what they expect.

A solid marketing program yields a constant flow of new business leads. If sales people are forced to take up the slack, their best skill (making sure the sales is consummated properly) is wasted on dialing the phone, hunting up names, generating information, and generally filling the sales funnel. These are tasks that the marketing department should do.

It’s the job of the sales person to be ready to close the sale when the buyer is ready to buy! Marketing will educate the buyer and move them along the journey to purchase.


Telltale Sign #4

Your customers often say, “I didn’t know you did that.”

Marketing’s job is to keep customers and prospects properly informed. Without a constant reminder with information aimed specifically at them, customers will simply assume you cannot fulfill their needs and will seek another supplier who has told them they can.

The more touch points that encourage dialog with your customers/ prospects, the more they will look to you for answers.


Telltale Sign #5

Your marketing database is inadequate.

Your company’s database may be the single most important way to evaluate your marketing program, yet few companies can produce a complete, up-to-date, accessible list.

If you wanted to send a personal email to everyone in a particular territory, could you do it? Easily, quickly, automatically?

Do you have a contact history for each entry in your database? Do you trust the information? Can you use it to take the next step in furthering the relationship with that customer?

If you lack actual persons’ names, and rely on titles like “purchasing manager,” “VP of sales,” etc., chances are you don’t have a person, just a title. It means you don’t know that person well enough or your database is inadequate. Whatever the specific problem, you are not getting close enough to real people to educate them with reasons to buy from your company.

Beef up these 5 telltale signs in your sales/marketing program and watch your sales improve exponentially. Get your program out of the ditch today. Need help? You know how to contact me.

Alan Bagg helps manufacturers boost sales by getting more mileage from their current marketing budget.

Alan is happy to entertain more discussion via email or phone. Reach him at abagg@corporate-images.com or 262.633.7772. Or follow him on twitter @alanbagg. Find more information on Alan at his LinkedIn profile.

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