When your marketing and public relations programs bring in qualified leads on a daily basis, it’s easy for some sales people to rely on this treasure trove of ready-to-close leads and become passive towards prospecting for new business. As they devote their efforts to lead response and proposal development, sales meetings and follow-through, they close one sale after another – and another – and everyone cheers the sales reports. Could there really be anything wrong with this scenario?
Effective marketing and PR delivers much more than just targeted sales leads. When sales people inadvertently put prospecting on the back burner they fail to take full advantage of the opportunities created by advertising, publicity, direct mail and other materials. A well-coordinated marketing program expands name brand awareness, establishes credibility, creates value for products and services and builds a presence implying the company is even larger and more successful than it may really be. It instills confidence in prospects that establishing a business relationship will be a positive experience. Brand awareness, credibility and confidence are hardly quantifiable items that can be placed in a spreadsheet next to 100 sales leads. But when sales people call on prospects, those who are supported by an effective marketing program often enjoy getting through and actually speaking with their prospects. Representing a seemingly familiar company (“Sure, I know your company – I see it every time I pick up a magazine.”), they set up meetings while their counterparts who toil without an advertising or PR presence behind them are more often dropped into voicemail. Marketing creates innumerable opportunities like these but uncovering them requires making calls rather than sitting back awaiting orders.
Consider these conservative calculations:
If the less tangible qualities of the marketing program influence only one phone call in 10 then a sales person making even a single call per day or 240 per year would be well positioned to close 24 more sales per year – these in addition to the sales closed by converting the sales leads raked in by the marketing program. If the product, equipment or service is priced at $100,000.00 then the sales person may be missing out on $2.4 million in sales annually. As philosopher William James said, “Refusing to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he had failed.”
The intangible benefits of smart marketing, in addition to favorably influencing prospects, also influence existing customers. By maintaining name brand awareness and recognition among this key group, the marketing program continuously reinforces their wise decision to work with you and may keep customers from granting meetings with your competition. It may even spark referrals. With continued confidence in a vendor, why bother switching? This reluctance to switch vendors may even minimize the risk when compelled to pass on price changes.
When the marketing program generates leads and the sales team converts them to sales, everyone is pleased. Yet if business is this good then how many other companies are also ready to buy but haven’t been contacted? How many prospects may be ready to grant a meeting after having seen the ads and/or articles but simply have not been called? Combining aggressive sales efforts with a powerful marketing program creates an unstoppable team with the energy and ability to shatter your sales goals.