To support your team and finance operations, an executive team must be able to generate large volumes of revenue throughout the year. This revenue generation takes place through a combination of marketing, sales, and service. The customer has to
- know that a product is available (marketing)
- be convinced to buy that product (sales), and
- be pleased with the purchase (service).
We have been discussing how research leads to better product positioning, and that is certainly an important part of marketing. We will zero in on the other components of revenue generation in this edition.
Many companies assume that all they have to do is make a product or offer a service and everything else will fall into place. Nothing could be farther from the truth! If no one knows who your company is, what the offering is, and how/why to buy it, you will either have inventory (goods) or idle workers (services). Similarly, if buyers know your business has something to offer but have no reason to purchase your offering over another’s, you will not make sales critical to business survival and growth. Providing a quality product in a timely manner an correcting defects quickly translates into repeat sales in any industry.
Sales depend on three critical elements:
- the quality of leads
- the quality of the sales team
- buyer perceptions
The three need to converge into transactions built on relationships. Buyers are like pupils in an educational system–the sales team and the marketing team are the teachers. The marketing team must supply enough information so that the target buying market can learn about your offering. What is supplied to the sales team is information to reinforce the message: these products or services meet a distinct need in the mind of the buyer. As feedback is collected from target buyers, those conversations become a means to qualify leads that are much easier to convert.
Inform the general buying public both directly (in face to face situations) and indirectly (in various forms of media, including social). Failure to reach either audience results in insufficient leads for the sales team–both in quality and in quantity. If your marketing team is not accountable for lead generation, it should be. Those who do not perform the lead generation function well should be replaced with others who are tuned into what makes your business continue to exist: revenues. The marketers can improve effectiveness by paying attention to statistics–whether it is website inquiries, newsletter subscribers, store visitors, or something comparable. There has to be several metrics in your setting that you can identify that make the conversations very professional an on point all the time.
Think through things like your incentive programs for your sales team, but don’t neglect to think through how to equip the individuals for success with well produced collateral, clear messaging and selling tactics, and sufficient training to overcome potential objectives smoothly and respectfully. Appreciation notes to customers are an art that has lost ground, but that demonstrate a personal touch that often leads to new customers. In your training sessions, emphasize product or service features, how and why they are important, how you have positioned your offering versus the competition, what your perceived competitive advantage is, what common objectives are, and how you want prospects to be treated when in a consultative sales conversation.
Buyers also need to be instructed about what they encounter. Make an effort through both marketing and selling activities to run through the competitive advantage positioning messages that you have developed. Be consistent. Be passionate. Be sensitive. Emphasizing your research findings as to what potential buyers want and how you have tailored your offering will go a long ways to build identification with your company and its product or service. Think about where the buyers hang out and “meet” them with a compelling invitation.
Service will be tackled in the next post!