Marketing Planet

Sales success: what it takes to get there

Sales and Marketing, risks of the limit?

Sales and marketing are often mixed in companies. The marketing department may depend from the sales director or both marketing and sales depend on a general director. Some companies have a marketing departement that is not very much developed since the general mangement doesn’t account enough added value to marketing. A market study will often be rare in this organisation. In "En Vogue" companies marketing is an independant department and may be linked to communications. In that case, the risk of too much focus on communication and branding may take the real target out of sight. Marketing should help the sales department and be at their service to develop new products and market them. The limit is thus hard to find. A ready-for-sales product is packaged, sales arguments are ready, pricing is fixed and a communication campaign has been studied. Upwards in the value chain, hopefully a study is done regarding the needs, expectations and market situation.

The limit between pure marketing and sales is hard to establish. Cooperation is very important to success, though not always easy. Interests, politics and ego can play a hard game if the rules are not clearly identified. In case of a product failure where lies the mistake: in sales or marketing? It can be hard to tell.

The importance of respecting the sales staff

Imagine that sales and marketing work well together, everything is thus well prepared and the sales force can start. Nothing seems to be in the way to success. Pay however attention to the following elements:

  • provide a good sales training and verify the understanding.
  • be sure to have the support from the sales supervisor or director.
  • make sure the sales force is motivated, if they are not seek why and work closely together. Why are they not motivated, what can you do to motivate them? Their motivation is a key element between success and failure.
  • work with them on a pilot customer. If any problems arise you will have to be there to solve them. (If you don’t they will not feel supported and no longer be motivated). It is advisable to start a pilot before the launching phase.
  • create success stories for the obtained successes. This will encourage the other sales staff and strike the ego of the one having obtained the result. Depending on your company activity, the success story can be used for internal or also external communication.

The customer: don’t forget him

Once these elements mentioned above are under control, the customers turns out to be a part that is very often neglected in sales and marketing. Don’t try to make things more complicated: KISS Keep It Simple and Stupid!

  • make sure your offer is seen (it is not that easy as it seems, trust me). There is a mass of communication and people are getting often tired of all the information they receive daily. How do you get noticed within the variety? Without being noticed your product will not get sold. Test upon yourself the number of publicity you don’t read. What gets your attention?
  • let it be attractive. Make your customer want to buy it. Your product can be very good but is your customer doesn’t have the same impression he will certainly not buy it.
  • do not complicate the description of the product. We have all had the need to impress and show the best side of everything. Nowadays the customer is no longer without understanding - stupid - and he doesn’t want to be treat like this. Be transparant and honest and explain your product in a simple and quick way. Your customer is demanding and doesn’t want to loose time.
  • make it easy to buy the product. Having come this close to a purchase, you should not fail by not providing a purchase facility. ex: providing a sample of a product for free is not a final destination. Where can he buy it? He will not try 3 shops in order to find it, in that case he will have bought the competitive product that is available next door and will forget yours immediately!

Aftersales: do you need to?

Ok, he bought your product, you passed the magic door to success. To become a sales success you will need a significant turnover. That can only be obtained if your product continues to be sold. Be aware of negative "word of mouth" publicity that will turn down potential customers or that will turn them into a one-time-buyer.

If your product is bad or if after sales is required and lacking, your product will be traced and with no reaction it will become a dead weight. You should neither leave room for competition to attack agressively your market.

Follow-up if you don’t want to go down

Sales success is a long term project. As long as a product is a star all goes perfectly, but you will attract competition. Whatever the situation may be, a close follow-up of the product is needed. Dashboards, previsions, surveys and feeback from the sales force are essential to verify and adjust.

Do you really think that success is an overnight affaire? A good sales success is a product that pays back all the investments, leaves a margin to develop new versions and prepares the future.

A chain of actions in the right way only will lead to a sales success

In the 80-ies, there was a music trio "Stok, Aitken and Waterman". They launched amongst others Kylie Minogue and had new stars every fortnight. In fact, their success was due to the extreme strict management and the use of key elements that had proven their success. They didn’t step aside from a success story that they used as a "cow" and all their stars operated in the same way. As long as the public accepted it they were "in" and took advantage of it.

It shows that a sales success is very well managed and leaving the least of elements up to chance. A good preparation, operation and follow-up are what will be needed to reach success. Some flair can help you make a difference but don’t let is be the only card you count on.