When salespeople are not selling; – look to the sales manager.
When they are not motivated to see customers; – look to the sales manager.
When there is no enthusiasm in the team; – look to the sales manager.Sales Managers don’t look to themselves in these cases, they blame the Salespeople and the Salespeople blame the Sales manager.The other evening, after a talk, a sales manager came up to me and told me that they were having a real problem with their sales team. “They are just not performing,” “they are not motivated,” “I talk but they don’t listen,” “there is no drive, no commitment, nothing happening.”Now, all of what’s missing in this team is actually missing in the sales manager!It all starts with the sales manager.This particular person who told me this has been with their company for over 30 years and has been the sales manager for just over 20 years. They have been doing the same old thing over and over and are now wondering why it’s not working. The answer is simple. The enthusiasm has died. Not the sales people’s enthusiasm but that of the sales manager! It’s not the salespeople who are bored and have no drive, it’s the sales manager.Only when sales managers understand that the success of their team is their responsibility, will they start to make some headway to improving the situation.The sales manager first has to manage and motivate themselves before they can manage and motivate the team.When the team is motivated it’s not a new light that’s been turned on. It’s a light that was always there and will continue to be there. But it needs the switch to be flipped before it comes on.”That makes sense but how do I do that?”By sticking to the simple basics of Leadership and Motivation and using “The 6 key elements” to keeping the Sales team motivated.1. Provide inspiration.
2. Build positive attitudes.
3. Show recognition.
4. Goal setting.
6. Build team spirit and create fun.Yes, enthusiasm and excitement are what the salespeople need more than any skills training. They need to be reminded of the basics but most importantly, they need their enthusiasm ignited.Enthusiasm is everything in sales!When salespeople are enthusiastic and excited about themselves and their profession, they will start feeling motivated and look forward to getting out there and seeing their customers.Skills or no skills, this is what makes salespeople successful. When salespeople are enthusiastic, nothing will stop them. The customer can’t help getting enthusiastic as well, it rubs off on everyone.Only when sales managers accept full responsibility for their team’s performance, will they realize that the buck stops with them.They need to be the role model, the manager, the leader and the coach; all in one. They make it happen!They set the tone. That’s their job. They get results through their people. Their success depends on the success of their people. They need to manage less and LEAD more!A good sales manager spends less time in the office analyzing everything and playing with numbers and spends more time out in the field with his salespeople and their customers.”Our sales are down. If we increase the call rate by 10% and close 1 in 4 instead of the current 1 in 7 we will achieve target” This may be the answer (On paper) but how do you achieve it? What has to happen to increase the call rate and closing ratios?”The salespeople must want to achieve this. The sales manager has to sell the idea to the salespeople. They have to get buy in from the team and this is where good leadership comes in. Only a good leader can get the team to work together to achieve a common goal, budgets, the sales targets etc.It is at this point where the sales manager usually fails. They stay in the office and spend their time analyzing numbers and coming up with all sorts of solutions – only on paper.A good sales manger will get out of the office and lead by example. They will spend a full day working with a salesperson, finding out firsthand what the problems are and how to fix them. They need to speak face to face with their customers to gain information that will help them to come up with ideas for increasing sales.By doing this they will get respect from the sales team and will get support for their ideas to increase call rates and closing ratios because they are talking from the point of being there and experiencing the situation first hand.YOU CANNOT MANAGE OR LEAD A SALES TEAM FROM BEHIND A DESK.By spending time out in the field with salespeople, sales mangers will experience what the salespeople are experiencing and can then coach them on how to improve and what to do to start getting more sales.Salespeople will perform for a sales manager whom they respect. And that respect will only come from a trust and belief that the sales manager can do what they are asking the team to do.The Sales Manager MUST LEAD BY EXAMPLE!It’s all about enthusiasm and excitement. Sales people continually need motivation in order to sell well. They require Inspiration from their Manager to promote enthusiasm and drive.They need a Manager who leads by example and provides an exciting environment in which to perform. Salespeople should feel enthusiastic about making a sales call.Remind yourself that you are in the best profession in the world!Feel good about yourself and your profession and then get the sales team to feel the same way.So it’s no use complaining about the Salespeople not performing, not being enthusiastic and not listening.If this is the case, then you are not performing as an effective Sales Manager.Salespeople need a Manager who CARES!!!
When salespeople are not selling; – look to the sales manager.
Having spent many years working with small and midsized B2B and B2C organizations on their marketing and marketing communications strategies and plans, I believe I’ve got a good sense of the issues facing them. Generally, at the top of the list, is the lack of a real marketing plan. How is it possible that something so basic is missing? My conclusion is that, despite possessing the skill sets that drive their organization’s success, founders and/or management simply do not have:
Time to think about marketing at all, because there is always something “more important or urgent” that needs their attention;
A real understanding of the power of marketing and how it can significantly improve profits and return on investment (ROI);
The resources, budgets and people available – marketing and marketing communications is “unfamiliar and scary”, and there are always other areas that need support first;
The knowledge of how to seek out and evaluate professional marketing help.
These are concerns regardless of the type of organization – start up, early stage or established companies, and even nonprofits for that matter. And, without real planning upfront, many brands are operating with a “Ready, Fire, Aim” reaction to the marketplace.What Will Hiring A Marketing Or Marketing Communications Professional Do For You?In order to accomplish short and long-term objectives you need to develop a meaningful marketing strategy and an integrated marketing communications plan and tactics. At its core, having a professional marketing program will improve a brand’s profitability and ROI. This task is often outsourced, frequently with a part-time Chief Marketing Officer.The process starts with the outside consultant learning about the brand – its strengths and weaknesses, competition, distribution, business plan objectives, existing communication materials, employee involvement. During this learning period, the consultant also avails himself of any pertinent primary or secondary research. Most important, this period is also the time for establishing trust between the organization and the consultant.While some tasks may be completed directly during this learning period, an outside professional would use this knowledge to prepare:1. A marketing and marketing communications strategy, along with a positioning statement. The positioning statement is a succinct description of the core target audience to whom the brand is directed, and a compelling picture of how the marketer wants the audience to view the brand.Sound simple? Take a minute and answer these four questions about your brand:
The target audience, in very specific detail?
The category in which the brand competes, and its relevance to customers?
The brand’s benefit and point of difference?
A reason for the customer to believe – the most compelling proof?
The positioning statement is the credo for the brand to live by. All marketing and marketing communications should flow from this positioning and be understood by all employees, agents, partners and management.2. An integrated and holistic plan with tactical expressions – media programs; creative executions, including new and/or traditional advertising; public relations; content marketing (social media, articles, blogs, white papers, video); packaging; point of purchase; employee engagement; and, events.The use of internal or external staff to create the above will be directed and evaluated by the consultant or, if necessary, specialists may be recommended.3. Recommendations for primary or secondary research when clear cut answers don’t exist on specific subjects. Marketing depends on a complete understanding of the customers’ “wants and needs” as well as how they relate to your brand and competition. Not just what your staff thinks; rather, information. Facts beat opinion every time.4. A procedure of measurement and evaluation of the objectives of the agreed upon plan, as well as the established objectives to be accomplished with each target audience and marketing communication task. Benchmarking and on-going analysis is key to successful marketing programs, allowing for change or refinement as you proceed.5. A format for informing and discussing the reasoning behind the marketing planning, so that everyone in the organization understands why the specific strategies, plans and tactics were developed and implemented. The consultant becomes a “teacher” and the entire organization becomes brand advocates.Marketing consultants have increasingly become members of the C-Suite because of today’s turbulent and rapidly changing environment.What Talents Should A Marketing Consultant Have?Look for a consultant, full or part-time, who is:1. Willing to learn your business from the ground up and doesn’t have a “one size fits all” mentality;2. An established professional, with extensive experience across industries and brands in B2B, B2C and nonprofit organizations, large and small. Expand your horizons and don’t settle for experience in only your niche or industry;3. Media neutral and willing to embrace analytics to develop a variety of programs as well as to measure them. In today’s complicated marketplace, a consultant must understand new and traditional media, the difference between efficiency and effectiveness, “likes” vs. “sales”, the dangers of digital ad fraud, etc., etc.;4. Apolitical and willing to tell it like it is, so candor will flourish in your relationship. Having your consultant free to demonstrate the discipline of marketing and marketing communications will build trust and a meaningful partnership;5. Has an established network of marketing communications specialists who can be called in to provide solutions when necessary.The marketing and marketing communications strategic and tactical challenges of today are growing exponentially. But, as with our uncertain economic and political environment, putting your head in the sand isn’t a viable response. As Will Rogers said, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Should I use inbound or outbound marketing? Where do you find that balance between outbound and inbound marketing to maximize and grow the flow of leads? What should you consider when concocting a synergic marketing mix to include both? To answer all these questions, let’s start by understanding each of the marketing techniques, its strengths and weaknesses.What is Outbound Marketing?
Outbound marketing can be simply described as a straightforward business exchange proposition. “Hey there, want to buy my thing?” is your basic message and approach of outbound marketing. It’s the oldest and most fundamental part of any marketing strategy, and is also what non-marketers assume marketing is all about.Examples of outbound marketing include telemarketing (“cold calls”), paid mailings (both electronic and “snail mail”), advertising (banner ads, radio ads, billboards, etc.) and even door-to-door sales. It’s all about reaching out and pulling the prospect in.Strengths of Outbound Marketing
Not only is it the older and better polished set of techniques, outbound marketing generates sales leads almost immediately. It goes beyond saying that it’s no magic wand, but when it comes to “sealing the deal”, your go-to tools are those in your outbound toolbelt.1. Easier to measure ROI2. Quicker to show impact3. Potentially PersonalizedWeaknesses of Outbound Marketing
Many businesses and brands love outbound marketing for its quick and easily measured results. However, they equally hate the cost and too often the reaction of the target audience, which can easily manufacture a negative sentiment toward the brand.1. Intrusive2. Expensive3. Ineffective on its ownWhat is Inbound Marketing?
In short, the idea of inbound marketing is to create a pull effect to bring in pre-qualified leads instead of pushing intrusive messages.Inbound marketing activities include opt-in email marketing, content production and promotion, social media, and search engine optimization efforts (SEO), among other things.Using this method, a type of funnel is created with leads coming in at the top of the funnel (TOFU) and being “nurtured” down the funnel with marketing messages tailored to the stage that the lead is in until they are “ready” to be approached with a message directed to start the purchasing process.Strengths of Inbound Marketing
Though it existed long before social media and even online sales, the inbound methodology has taken over digital advertising by storm in the past decade. With growing banner blindness, do-not-call lists and the rising cost of users’ attention, it’s no wonder so many brands and businesses include inbound marketing in their strategies.1. Cost-effective2. Unintrusive3. BroadWeaknesses of Inbound Marketing
For B2B marketers, it’s often hard to explain the value of inbound marketing to executives who just want to see those leads flowing in and converting. It’s no longer a new approach and methodology, and yet there are reasons brands sometimes hesitate to prioritize inbound marketing activities.1. Slow to show results2. Harder to measure3. ImpersonalBrewing Your Marketing Mix
Let’s go back to the question we started with: which should you be using – inbound or outbound? Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each, you can see why both are necessary ingredients in your marketing mix. But how much of each, and when?A number of variables affect the inbound to outbound ratio of every brand, product, campaign, and even specific transaction. The impact of some might be less than of others, depending on your unique business and product.Deal SizeProduct TypeFunnel StagesThe Marketing Mix and Match
Combining inbound methodologies and outbound marketing techniques in your marketing mix is not always easy, but is usually worth it. By defining the correct balance between the pull techniques of inbound and the push techniques of outbound, you can combine both to create an optimized lead nurturing and conversion process. It all depends on how well you know your target audience, and how willing you are to make the effort to cater to their needs along the journey down the funnel.
As reported in The Working Capital Journal, traditional working capital loans are currently available from a shrinking number of commercial banks. Most of these business lenders are not among the relatively small group of larger banks which have received bailout funds. Small business owners should familiarize themselves about which commercial lenders are still actively providing this kind of business finance funding.
In most cases the active commercial lenders for this specialized form of commercial funding are limiting working capital loans to businesses which are current in their debt payments and are showing a net profit (based on recent financial statements). If these two conditions are met, new commercial loans can frequently be obtained to refinance lines of credit and term loans which have been cancelled or recalled by many lenders. For businesses not qualified for commercial financing using these two requirements, there are alternative funding sources such as business cash advance programs.
Many small business owners also rely on personal lines of credit to finance some of their business operations. There have been many reports of widespread cancellations and reductions of these lending programs as well, especially those involving lenders which have received a multi-billion dollar cash infusion from U.S. taxpayer money that was intended to facilitate the lending of money to businesses and consumers.
Personal and business lines of credit have been eliminated in many cases by lenders due to a reduced ability to pay by borrowers and deteriorating business conditions. As reported in The Working Capital Journal, a high percentage of borrowers, however, had an excellent payment history for many recent credit line reductions or cancellations.
Meanwhile, there are banks willing to make working capital loans. The most notable examples are (for the most part, anyway) not banks which have received bailout funds. In general, these commercial lenders have been willing to provide working capital financing, either in the form of new business financing or refinancing lines of credit and term loans which have been recalled or cancelled by other lenders.
Because it basically indicates that bailout funds have been given (so far) to lenders who primarily have a history of making bad loans (virtually all lenders receiving bailout funds to date), the lending activities described above are a serious concern to many observers. At this point, little attention has been given to lenders with a healthy balance sheet in federal attempts to get more funds into the hands of consumers and businesses.
Based on recent commercial lending activity, there are several notable conclusions.
(1) Businesses need to increasingly prepare for life without relying on a traditional bank line of credit and instead consider other viable sources of commercial financing such as business cash advances (which provide working capital based upon future credit card processing activity).
(2) The recent unwillingness by most lenders receiving bailout funds to report in any meaningful way how and where these funds have been used would certainly seem to be a loud and clear signal that these particular lenders are probably in worse shape than they are reporting to anyone.
(3) Commercial lenders that have a history of making good loans rather than bad loans should be the focus of further government funding programs.
(4) Business owners should be willing to seek out commercial finance funding sources beyond their previous banking relationships when they encounter difficulties obtaining working capital loans and commercial loans from normally dependable lenders.