Marketing issues can sometimes appear to be sales issues. The two functions are related but not the same, but in some ways the roles can be so close that it’s difficult to tell why a drop in revenue happens or growth has slowed. Here are six very commonly encountered issues that business leaders should look to their marketing team, not sales, to solve.
Your Sales Are Based Upon Price
When customers buy your products (or services) based on the price, your marketing is not achieving the goal of communicating value. Worse yet, once a customer has paid a lower price – even if you tell them it’s an introductory rate – it can be extremely difficult – if not impossible – to raise the price substantially. The role of marketing in this regard is two-fold: Determine the price point the market will bear and communicate the total value of your offerings so customers see the total value, not just the pricing. Task your marketing team with developing a comprehensive and consistent story about the value your offerings provide, not a comparison of price points.
Your Customers Can’t State Your Differentiator(s)
How well do you think your customers would do at identifying the difference between your company and your competitors? Do you frequently hear your company being compared to others in the same space – even those that clearly do not provide the same product, service, or value your company does? Is your sales team running up against what the “other company” will do, or that company’s pricing when they pitch to customers? If any of these sounds like your company, you have an issue with the clarity or consistency of your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
You Don’t Have A Unified Plan For Taking Your Message To Customers
What do you post in your blogs, versus your emails, or social media? Why are you posting those types of messages? What is the plan for leading a prospect through the byer’s journey using a multi-channel approach? Do you have a plan that unifies all communications, or are your sales reps always putting together their own materials to leave with prospects? If any of these sounds like your company, it’s well beyond time to create a unified marketing strategy and plan for your business. Not doing so will damage the reputation and understanding of your brand.
Your Sales Leads Come Mainly From Your Sales Team
Leads should be something that the sales team brings in from referrals and their prospecting efforts, but they should also come from prospects that find you. Those who find you when they need your offerings are not only more likely to close faster, they are also more likely to be repeat customers. Prospect database development should be included in the marketing strategy; and be a focal point in a comprehensive marketing plan and program. Sales reps should be getting leads form the marketing efforts, not the other way around.
Your Longtime Customers “Didn’t Know You Offered That”
If your longtime customers don’t know the full suite of your offerings, your marketing is not working very well. The last thing your sales reps want to hear is that a good customer purchased a companion product from one of your competitors because they did not know you also offered that product. I once had a client that provided IT managed services who was asked by one of his clients if he could “set up a new computer.” My client sold computers at a significantly lower price than the retail store where the new one had been purchased. And the reason he was not given the call? You guessed it: His client told him “I didn’t know you sold computers.”
You Haven’t Added Or Changed Offerings In Years
Your customers are growing, technology changes, and markets change. So many things can change that your products should not be static. You really need to keep your ear to the tracks to listen to what customers want net, or they will likely find it elsewhere. Product development is also a role of marketing, and, once again, this should be included in your marketing strategy.
When you have a marketing problem, how much time are you spending working on a solution? Do you develop a marketing solution – which is consistent across your company and customers – or a sales solution which is “customized” based on each customer’s complaints or needs? A comprehensive marketing strategy with a plan and managed implementation can solve all of the above issues.
Most small business leaders spend less than 5 hours per week on their marketing. How much can you solve in that period of time? What other marketing related investments – learning, tools, consultant, etc. – are you making? As Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”