sales strategy

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Living in the now is what marketing directors are hired to do.  There is nothing more stimulating for a marketer than watching the orders come in. Units, dollars, cases…these are the things that generate wood. Behind the arrow. 😉  Sales are the real data. Being able to interpret feeder data and relate it to sales is important, but sales are the business.

Strategy is the landscape that surrounds sales; the lens through which we see and interpret them. Yet sales-driven organizations don’t always care about strategy, they care about the now.  They live in the now.  A good part of my brand planning rigor is devoted to tracking the sales and selling experience.  It feeds the strategy.  But sales and sales tactics that live in the now without a paean to strategy become easily tired.

Marketing directors need to balance the now with the long term. Slow and steady do not get marketing directors to the head of the line.  Meg Whitman, CEO of HP is no marketing director (Oh yes she is) but she’s being given time to turn HP around. Slow and steady.  Marketing directors don’t have that luxury; especially with dashboard jockeys on every horizon.  

The key for any new marketing director or CMOs over their first 100 days is to learn the business, properly cultivate the marketing department, quickly plant seeds, and share successes. With a plan, with a strategy, all tactics become accountable.  Good sales and bad sales become obvious. Now. Then. And when. Peace.


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Windshield time is a great way to learn from the people who make sales happen — to travel with sales people and see how they sell and customers buy.  Everyone in a company would benefit from exposure to this type of “belly to belly” selling.

I’ve used the windshield time over much of my career: with light bulb manufacturers, telephone companies, hardware and healthcare providers. Invariably, when you ask sales people what makes them great or what makes the company great they all agree on one thing:  It’s about relationships. Okay, maybe price too…but relationships are most talked about.

If 50% of sales energy is invested in relationships, I say we are leaving an awful lot of product sell on the table. I’m not saying relationships aren’t important: “Hey, want to go to a Knick game?” I’m saying relationships are the price of business.  Being able to communicate, be friendly, and provide empathy (the basis of relationship-building) is not a sales strategy. 

A sales rep who only gives good lunch is not the SME (subject matter expert) I want to have a business-building relationship with. Again, I’m not saying a sales person cannot be a friend. I’m saying relationships are not brand building blocks – the are the air surrounding those building blocks.  When brand planning, you must push past relationship speak. Peace! 

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