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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Meet the new sales person, Marketing...

...& why you might want to re-think the budget !
by David Bookout

There has been a shift coming for some time, have you noticed? Sales used to be about cold calls, roaming door to door, using lobby phones, inviting people out to lunch, dinners and an occasional box of doughnuts. Not anymore. Today, sales is about the post choice, transactional components of the process; how many, how much, by when, shipping methods, warranties, etc. Everything else, and I mean EVERYTHING is marketing.

According to the American Marketing Association "Marketing" is no longer a “function”, but an integral process that includes every nook and cranny of an organization. Today, marketing is about “information”, both good and bad, that is available 24 X 7 X 365 to anyone with a computer, an internet connection and a friend.

The American Marketing Association's Definition - 2008
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

The American Marketing Association's Definition - 2004
“Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.”

This new definition of marketing is more actionable, yet still doesn't really enable direct assessments of increased adoption rates, trial sales, and the ultimate result - repeat transactions. To take this a step further we prefer to say that "Marketing is the act of preparing the listening of another to accept an offer".

Either way, when we begin to think this way, marketing plays a much bigger role in terms of how goods and services get specified and ultimately purchased. But why, then, are the budgets for marketing and sales still reflective of the old model?

To me, this is because few see that Marketing is the new Sales. Fewer still see that Marketing is the best sales person they will ever have…

This is great news for the few small, medium business ( SMB ) owners, executives and managers who are attuned to this vision, and can make effective use of the significant competitive advantage this concept represents.

But now what?

Perhaps your a business owner that doesn’t think from a marketing perspective, and wants to try this on, what do you do?

Here are two relatively simple things that can get you started:

First, define your core offer at its highest level. For example, a school that helps men and women get their state contractors license could be considered to be in the construction industry. But, at a higher level the school really provides knowledge that in turn helps people improve their lives. So, the schools core offer is knowledge. Another example might be a contract manufacturing company that specializes in machining, forming and finishing of sheet metal, and light electro-mechanical assembly. This company also has specific equipment, knowledge and practices that enable this work to be done with very low overall deviation from part to part, and can be done very quickly. Some might say a quick turn machine shop. But, at a higher level the company provides peace of mind relative to the speed and accuracy with which it can produce custom parts and assemblies. A fun exercise you can facilitate with your team is continue to ask – “What is so great about that?” – in an attempt to keep bubbling the conversation upward.

Next, define your touch points. These are the places where your desired audience, prospects, and even customers come in contact with your company. These touch points can be anything from front line phone answering, to websites, faxes, quotes, service calls, invoicing, emails, seminars, trade shows, etc., etc. ALL touch points MUST CONVEY THE CORE OFFER. Period. In our first example, if the school doesn’t provide new student inquiries with enough “knowledge” to make a clear, no pressure decision, they are not living up to their core offer. In the second example, if the company is too slow in the customer’s mind to turn quotes, they can’t be counted on for “speed”, and as such they are not living up to their core offer either. These breaches, while perhaps sounding trivial, essentially break trust, short circuit critical word of mouth referrals, and limit the abilities of your best sales person ever – Marketing – to help you grow your business.

© Copyright 2008 - Effetti, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

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larryl said...

Just a bunch of self-serving blather for most of the post, trying to justify Marketing. If a salesperson has worked with a good Marketing group, he/she knows the value of Marketing. To say that Marketing is the new Sales is ridiculous.

However, the exercises suggested have no direct connection to the theme of the post, and are actually very good activities for the whole company to participate in.

Effetti said...

Dear Larry L,

Appreciate the comments, thank YOU !!

Writing, spelling and particularly "punk-tu-ation" were never my strong suits. In future, I'll try to keep more continuity within the posts.

In closing, may I offer that the delivery of positive / negative assessments is a valuable skill in successful leadership and team building, which when done well leaves others still willing to contribute?


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