As a business owner, if someone were to ask you what your biggest challenge is when it comes to sales and marketing, what would your answer be?
When approached with this question, the majority of business owners had this reply:
The need for more simplicity.
It is ironic that, when once we were all on fire about technology and business owners wanted to make sure they were using the most cutting-edge software and apps to help accelerate their business, now the watchword of the day has become simplicity.
In Part 1 of our series, “Bridging the Gap Between Online and Offline Sales to Accelerate Your Business – Part 1,” we discussed how to more seamlessly integrate the 2 worlds of sales: online and offline.
In Part 2, we are going to address the challenge of getting back to the basics and simplifying your sales and marketing process to more effectively accelerate your business. In our age of technology, with new ways of tracking sales and collecting data appearing on the horizon on a daily basis, it can become overwhelming to salespeople and often hinder their sales process.
Your salesperson has one thing on their mind: making the sale. A seasoned salesperson knows intuitively when to move forward with a lead and when to back off, and ultimately when to accept defeat. If you were to ask them what they wish would happen, they would likely say they wish they could just be left alone to do their job.
What throws a wrench in the works is often the great divide between online and offline sales and the conflicting mind-set of your sales team and marketing team. Your salespeople can often begin to feel like a hamster on a wheel—their sales process clogged by reporting, data collection, and other technology.
Whereas, your marketing team is eager to work new leads using all of the technology and digital resources at their command. We like to call this “too many cooks in the kitchen.” Here is a great example:
Your salesperson mans a booth at a convention. They gather leads—some leads the salesperson wants to protect and hold—but the leads are also required to be entered into a database for tracking and marketing follow-up.
Of course, the marketing team is gung ho about reaching out to the new leads with emails and Facebook pixel retargeting. However, marketing must understand that the salespeople do not want their leads to receive redundant or irrelevant emails, SMS messages, etc., so the tool that must be used is a very robust CRM (e.g., Infusionsoft) that allows sales to track leads and indicates to the marketing team what leads they should work, without each other coming across as a pest to the prospect.
The above situation is the number one “beef” with salespeople—that marketing bothers their leads. Yes, marketing thinks salespeople do not enter their leads in a database/CRM so that marketing will not pester their leads. Both are correct, yet both are wrong and are acting off ego. This is why the sales manager gets frustrated with a lack of pipeline facts.
It is imperative that your sales team and your marketing team are on the same page and learn to work in tandem when it comes to both offline and online sales and the process to achieve success.
The best way to begin this process is by getting back to the basics and not losing the art of simplicity. This article from Fast Company, “The Beauty of Simplicity,” does a great job of pointing out how elegant and effective simplicity can be when it comes to making sales for your company.
In fact, the article states that “making things simple is the new competitive advantage.” The article is written from the viewpoint of Marissa Mayer, Google’s director of consumer products. The article dubs Ms. Mayer as, “Google’s Priestess of Simplicity.”
The Viral Solutions team has broached the subject of simplicity and getting back to basics in several of our former blog posts. For instance, in this post, “MultiSystem Chaos: When Marketing Technology is Too Much of a Good Thing,” we discuss how likely it is that you have marketing technology systems that…
- Duplicate each other
- Aren’t cutting it
- Are so complicated that you don’t even use them, at least not to their full capacity
- Aren’t integrated, and are therefore tedious time wasters
What often happens is that you end up with numerous different systems that aren’t integrating with each other, and it’s utter chaos—multisystem chaos. As a follow-up to that blog post, this one, “Multisystem Chaos: How to Minimize Your Marketing Tools,” offers several helpful ways that your business can get back to basics and embrace the art of simplicity by eliminating unnecessary, outdated, or redundant marketing tools.
Okay. So, it all sounds pretty easy, right? You streamline your process and simplify things and everybody is happy. Unfortunately, that may not happen, at least not initially.
It is likely that when you begin the process of simplifying, you are going to run into resistance because here is the rub—you have to keep each of your teams happy.
Most people are naturally resistant to change. And your teams are made up of human beings. The sales team wants more sales and less reporting and technology; the marketing team is usually made up of data geeks who are chomping at the bit to contact the leads they have been provided by your data collecting system and CRM. They are eager to contact the leads through social media, email, SMS messages, etc. But your salespeople do not want them inundating their new leads with too much contact or clogging up the emails of their prospective clients.
It has already been established that companies are sending too many emails to their customers. Read this article from Business Insider, “Stores Bludgeon Their Customers With Too Many Emails and It’s a Mistake.” With that knowledge, you don’t want to make the mistake of sending too much communication to new leads and turning them off before they get a chance to be turned on.
So now that you can see the problem, let’s talk about definite solutions. One great way to begin implementing your need for more simplicity is to take on a more laser-focused approach to gaining leads. We’d like to refer you to this blog post, “Market Targeting: How to Avoid Havoc and Target a Winning Segment.”
Below is a quote from that blog post:
“Sometimes it’s what you don’t do that moves the needle the most. Sun Tzu, in his book The Art of War, penned this: ‘There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must not be attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.’ Michael Porter, a prolific author of 18 business books and Harvard Business School professor, is quoted to have said, ‘The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.’”
To help you even further, we would like to offer the following 3 basic steps that you, as a business owner, can instantly implement to begin the process of simplification and accelerate your business without losing your competitive edge.
- The first step is to make sure you have ultimate trust between you and your teams. As a business owner, you are the leader. John C. Maxwell said, “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” The people we speak of in this instance are your sales and marketing team members. You initially hired your salespeople and those on your marketing team because you trusted them to do a good job. Trust them to do so and let them know that you do.
- The second step is good communication between all parties involved. Hold company meetings, announcing your intention to get back to basics and embrace the art of simplicity. Let your teams help you decide which data collection processes you are currently using are working and which are not. Allow healthy debate between your sales and marketing teams. Let them express their ideas and frustrations about how things are going now and what they would like to see changed so that they can better work together.
- The third step is making sure you are getting feedback from your teams as the new mind-set of simplicity is embraced, new ways of doing things are performed, and old ways are discarded. No process of this magnitude will come without hiccups, but making sure you have your finger on the pulse of changes will go a long way toward making things run more smoothly.
By taking advantage of the information we have provided in this blog post, we know that you can definitely begin the process of getting back to basics and embracing the beauty of simplicity. These changes you implement will go a long way toward bridging the gap between offline and online sales by simplifying the process.