Excessive focus on tactics in a sales campaign for complex products targeted to enterprise business can blur important details and threaten delicate points of coordination that must be completely clear and thoroughly synchronized between marketing and sales to ensure success.
Symptoms of excessive attention to tactics include:
- A schedule for the sales campaign with too many meetings scheduled for management review
- Too frequent changes in tactics
- Unilateral changes in sales tactics that disregard marketing strategy and related marketing tactics
Generally, management gravitates towards managing tactics when sales are down. At times when positive results are elusive and sales are thin, there is a very natural, but nonetheless naive, tendency to react and renovate selling tactics. I am thoroughly convinced that, in fact, there is only so much that can be done within sales, itself, to increase business save for obvious situations where it is clear that the sales function is not working right. Examples of obvious situations include instances where poor sales results can be clearly attributed to an ineffective sales person, a territory without sales representation, etc.
Rather, I direct clients to respect the fact that marketing strategy is critically important. I show them that marketing strategy provides the sole means of lighting up the market so that sales personnel can identify promising prospects and close the business. I make sure that my clients understand that all sales and marketing tactics emanate from marketing strategy which, in turn, must be built upon a foundation of product marketing and brand.
Therefore, in my experience, selling tactics cannot be successfully changed unilaterally, and certainly not before all marketing communications media–print, electronic and direct–have been completely renovated (meaning rewritten, republished and checked for quality) to reflect the new approach. A lack of attention to the necessity of coordinating changes between sales and marketing can transform marketing communications into an inadvertent obstacle to sales. To put it bluntly, commodities cannot be transformed into unique products by “word of mouth” alone.
It is very difficult for sales to recapture positions lost to competitors or, worse, to a misunderstanding of products. Better to prepare promising prospects for effective sales tactics with communications media that correctly portray products per the marketing plan. Observing the necessity of implementing this type of coordinated approach will absolutely minimize the frequency of hearing from prospects that they “didn’t know that your products could do that” as well as the amount of time required to close deals after “a short engagement” has been completed by a competitor who would otherwise not have gotten the business in the first place.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2011 All Rights Reserved