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August 21, 2018

Marketing is Not a Substitute for Sales

For years, I’ve said that ours is an industry that does not embrace sales & marketing. And even for those firms that employ marketing, rarely do they have anyone dedicated to selling.

Forgetting for a minute the incorrect assumption that, “Selling doesn’t work for a firm like ours,” when asked about it, the response is often, “We don’t need sales… we do marketing.”

Seriously?! Let’s think about that for a minute…

Marketing Can…

Marketing can do a lot of things for an organization…

  • Marketing can help to position your firm in the markets you serve… and communicate your points of differentiation.
  • One of its biggest benefits is that marketing can create and maintain a high level of awareness in the minds of your prospective buyers.
  • And done right, marketing can generate a constant flow of in-bound sales leads from inquiries and gated content downloads.

Marketing Can’t…

And those are all good things, to be sure. But they are all at the ‘start’ of the buying-n-selling process. What marketing can’t do are all the ‘next steps’ necessary to move a prospect closer to a decision.

  • Marketing can’t pick up the phone in response to those inquiries and downloads. It can’t have a conversation with those prospective clients to qualify them and understand their needs.
  • Marketing can’t exhibit or network at an important industry conference… to connect – in person – with prospective buyers and establish the beginnings of a relationship that leads to business. Remember… people do business with people they like, not marketing they like!
  • Marketing can’t stay in touch with prospective clients after that initial conversation, while they’re in the decision-making mode. “But what about email marketing?” you say. “Email can be a great way to nurture prospects.” Email IS a great way to stay top-of-mind with prospects… but it can’t answer targeted questions or prod them along when the process stalls.
  • Marketing can’t make a great in-person sales presentation… standing in front of a room full of a prospect’s buying team and telling your firm’s story in an engaging and compelling way.
  • And marketing can’t pick up the phone and rekindle a relationship with a lost client.
  • Or put together a compelling sales proposal that gets right at the heart of a prospect’s needs.

I’ve heard it said, in today’s B2B environment – with all of the resources available online – that 70% of the buying decision is made before the prospect ever picks up the phone to talk to anyone who works for the seller. And I completely agree with that.

But, it’s that last 30% of the process that’s so important.

The bottom line is this… even if you’re not going to hire a dedicated salesperson (though, you should!), you MUST dedicate (and commit to) a large percentage of someone’s time to be responsible for that 30%.

Remember, while it’s a critical part of your overall growth efforts… marketing can’t do everything.

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