"Customers will accept not-so-perfect products if the service aspect of the "whole product" is exceptional."
The Role of Marketing The role of marketing continues to change. As the organization has evolved, the success of its sales initiatives has become directly linked to the marketing department's willingness to step up and take ownership as the information provider and sales opportunity generator. In fact, in most organizations today marketing now owns the communications function. The corporate web site, for instance, has matured into a strategic communications channel. As a result, the marketing team is rapidly gaining more respect and additional resources.
Research Market research is an ongoing process in which the organization evaluates the business proposition it delivers to the customer. This includes defining distinct competency, market research, technology assessment, customer surveys, prospect evaluation, and competitive review.
How well do you really know your distinctive competency? To find out, ask your customers these questions:
1. What do you think of our product? 2. What do you think of our company? 3. Have you seen any "good" products lately?
The answers will tell you what your marketplace believes is your distinctive competency. Then make sure it matches your corporate message.
Lead Generation Lead generation is a simple process once you understand your marketplace and how your product adds value or solves a problem for your customers. Your company's web site, for example, can be a tremendous vehicle to generating leads quickly. Anyone can create a form to post on the web site to collect all the information you could want from your prospects: names, titles, phone numbers, budgets, buying habits, and customer needs. In fact, if you place a direct self-gratifying "reward" to the prospect for providing the information (like $100 for everyone who fills out the form), you will get more names that you know what to do with. If $100 seems like too much, analyze what a new lead is currently costing you to capture! Organizations must find unique approaches to managing the customer enterprise and utilize the Internet to share and manage leads and corporate information with their marketplace.
Lead Qualification Lead qualification is critical to managing resources and meeting business objectives. Too many organizations do too little qualifying of leads and consequently pollute the sales funnel. Understand the 8-4-2-1 rule: 8 qualified leads turn into 4 sales presentations, which turn into 2 sales quotes that result in 1 sale. Take the time to evaluate your last quarter's leads to sold reports to determine exactly if sales are getting lost.
"If you understand the 8-4-2-1 rule, you won't have to wonder where sales are being lost."
Analysis Quantitative analysis is the ability to evaluate sales wins and sales losses to determine to whom you are selling and to whom you are not selling. Build questionaires for your salespeople to fill out after each sales presentation. Interview your customers and all prospective customers who did not buy from you. Look at product profitability, trend analysis, and market analysis.
"Interview prospects who did not buy -- you will be surprised why you lost the sale."