Don’t Blame the Sales Team for Poor Marketing

There is a big difference between marketing and sales. If you confuse these two areas in your business you can be creating problems that you don’t want and might not even know you have.

Marketing involves everything that brings attention to your business, public relations, advertising, promotions, pricing, store layout, and location, etc., up to the point of personal contact.  The sales area is personal. Anytime a prospect or customer has a personal interaction with another person in your business, they have stepped into the sales department. In a broad sense, your installers, technicians, receptionist and customer service personnel all work in the sales department.

I know that Amazon doesn’t have salespeople per se and they still make sales, I get it. But they don’t have a very big sales department. Most of their sales come through their marketing. So an email from the company is marketing. If a personal email comes from a person in the company then we have crossed over into sales, because now you are starting to develop a personal relationship with the prospect and a person in the company.

When the marketing department and the sales department do not work together like a hand and glove you will be inefficient, less effective and it will cost you money. The key is to work together as a team. Sales need to utilize marketing to their advantage and marketing needs to communicate with the sales team what they are trying to do. Any conflict needs to be resolved so that everyone can benefit.

Make sure both departments are accountable for their own goals as well as working together. Be very careful when one department starts to point fingers at the other. Marketing and branding help to build the impression of a company, but the sales team helps to build the relationships and personal customer relationships.

If you want to know more about how to build a sales and marketing team while setting the accountability standards, I would love to have that conversation. Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com

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How Does Crossroads Consultants Help Business Owners Solve Business Problems?

This is a quick look at how a business consultant may help a client.

Consulting involves changes. If nothing changes there is no need for a consultant. Even if we only provide information that you didn’t have before that would change the basis of which you might make a decision.

What you may want is to prevent something that is detrimental to you or your business either at present or sometime in the future. This could include new competition, regulation, the loss of a vendor, poor employee morale and engagement, dropping sales, lowering profits, etc.

The other thing would be to reach or progress toward a goal or potential in your business. This could include improved sales or profits, taking advantage of new products and services, hiring the right people, improving performance and productivity, investing in new equipment or facilities, or expansion of some kind. All of these would help you to improve your business in the future. You need to make sure that the risks are calculated and the proper processes are put in place.

I make sure that I get the right perspective on the situation. That means that we want to make sure we don’t get just a little bit of information and make a quick diagnosis of the problem with an even quicker prescription of a solution. Without asking enough questions and getting the proper perspective this would be considered “malpractice” and is not acceptable.

Once I have some perspective on a situation then I start to focus in on potential details that may be causing or influencing the issue. Here is where any consultant should be worth their weight in gold. Many times it is not the obvious cause that is the problem; it is the hidden elements that are the real threat to success. A good consultant will not move too quickly and just go with the basic obvious cause. Looking for other influences can really prevent an expensive disaster.

A good business consultant will also know when they need to bring in additional help with specialties in other disciplines. As an example one client was having some real troubles with some billing and cash flow issues. An accountant was brought in to take a look and was able to see some of the problems fairly quickly. In this case the accountant saw that the problem was the poor use of the accounting software, but upon further review the business consultant was able to determine some additional issues of employee morale and management practices that were also influencing the issue. So while the accountant had solved the problem for a little while, it would have returned in the near future without other adjustments.

No matter what your problem, challenge or goal is, if it is more than a simple vendor problem call Crossroads Consultants and get a complimentary conference call. I have connections with specialists that can help you in areas outside of business management consulting. My goals is to help business professionals to improve their business results and performance, if a simple introduction to someone else that is better suited to meet your needs is all that it takes, than I am glad that I can help you and know that I will gain your respect and hopefully trust for when an issue that is more specific to my expertise comes along.

Stan Broesder is the founder and owner of Crossroads Consultants, a business management consulting company that develops management skills and organizational efficiencies for business professionals. Using Strategic Planning, management systems and employee engagement, Stan helps businesses to improve their performance and ultimately their profits while becoming better at planning and executing plans.

Most of Stan’s clients are in Western North Carolina, specifically in Lincolnton, Hickory, Lincoln and Catawba and surrounding counties. He can be reached at 980-241-0189, by email at Stan@MyCrossroadsConsultants.com or through his website. I can help most business professionals to reach their goals, be more profitable and develop higher performance for themselves and their business.

Holding Others Accountable

Holding other people accountable whether they are employees, volunteers or vendors can sometimes be very difficult. With just a little planning, you can reduce problems and achieve your objectives with a lot less stress.

  1. Communicate specifically and clearly.

Make sure that you have communicated to the other party exactly your expectations. The vagueness of our instructions can lead to only partial work getting done or lower quality. Make sure that you are communicating exactly what you want to have happen and when we want it to happen. Where there are areas that are ambiguous make sure they are discussed and resolved. If the “how” is or isn’t critical make sure they know that.

  1. Confirm the understanding of the area of responsibility.

Ask for feedback from the person who you want to hold accountable for the outcome. Make sure they understand what the end result should look like, including the quality. If there is a certain process or way that you want it done that they understand that as well. Asking for and getting feedback emphasizes the importance of the responsibility and encourages a satisfactory outcome. This confirmation can also become an agreement. Ask them if they can fulfill your request. If the other party doesn’t feel that they can provide the outcome you desire, you need to know that ahead of time so that you can make necessary adjustments.

  1. Consistently follow up.

In order to initiate and improve accountability of those you work with, you have to be consistent in follow up. It provides a way to make sure that the area of responsibility is completed. Others learn quickly that you will do the follow up and provides some additional motivation. If there is a problem, this is the time to address it and to find out what went wrong. Was the area of dissatisfaction due to a communication shortfall or was it something else?

These three points won’t guarantee that the individuals that you are working with are truly responsible in their work, but it will help to minimize the issues and hopefully catch problems before the deadline arrives. If you want someone else to be responsible, plan on holding them accountable.

What if every day was as productive as the day before vacation?

You have been planning on this vacation for months. But there is always so much to do before you go. You have been working hard trying to prepare for being out of the office for an extended period of time. As the last day before your vacation approaches you are forced to make choices on what gets done and what can be put off to after you return.

Then the last day or two before you leave you have even harder choices because of the normal interruptions and as everyday new fires, issues and demands enter your life. Now what can you delegate to get things done while you’re gone? What can you do while you’re driving home after work? Any necessary meetings are kept unusually short. Lunch is on the fly if at all. You double check your list to make sure you got the important things done. You stop on your way home for those last minute things that you told your spouse you would pick up.

Now, when you are able to exhale, you think about all that you did in the last hours, day, days and even the week before your vacation. Wow! If only you could get that much accomplished every day or week. What changed? The business is still the same. Everyone else is the same. What changed? You! The sense of urgency caused you to focus and utilize your skills to the highest level. Only you changed. You became more effective and efficient because of focus.