On June 17, 2013, the New York Times “You’re the Boss” blog published the first of a series of articles, authored by Paul Downs, on why a small business may want to think about hiring a sales consultant: Why We Hired a Sales Consultant. We offer consulting services, so we thought we’d read the series carefully and provide our thoughts on it.
The basic problem Mr. Downs’ business faced, as we see it, was not really related to sales, but more in the area of product brand management. Mr. Downs’ business, in our opinion, was not able to successfully manage the change in market perception of his conference tables. His products had gone from magnetizing very high levels of market interest (which truly required no more than a click ad campaign and an order form to close lucrative sales orders), to products customers “needed to think about” in order to buy. From the post series, it is pretty clear this change in market perception “just happened” and was not anticipated by the product marketing effort at the business.
We’re not trying to diminish the importance of complex sales skills to Mr. Downs’ ultimately successful effort to turn the business around. But we do need to point out the need for small businesses to understand the curious relationship between successful brand management and sales vulnerabilities. Brand management should always be judged against its ability to produce some level of substantial market interest in a product. The easier the selling process gets, the more vulnerable the business becomes to a possibility of poor sales results in a more difficult business environment.
We would have recommended a closer look at the product message and the lead generation venue. In Mr. Downs’ case the primary drive for sales leads was Google Adwords. We think a different driver, transporting a new brand message for the product would have produced even better results for his business.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved