There are both art and science in sales and marketing. There are tools, metrics, and standards to meet with developing leads, creating content, and closing a sale. However, when you elevate sales and marketing to a true art, you’ve reached a level of sales expertise and marketing prowess that allows both your instincts and tactical skills to work fluidly.
When you’ve reached that level, that’s being SM-art™!
SM-art™ is a raising Sales and Marketing to an art form. At Spearhead Sales and Marketing, we pride ourselves on doing just that. How? Read on to find out…
How to be SM-art™
Here are some basic keys to being SM-art™:
- Design the buyer experience as a whole
- Recognize the contribution of non-sales and marketing roles to the buyer experience
- Support high-level salespeople with brand strength, lead generating marketing campaigns
- Keep strategic planning tied with execution
- Be practical, not academic by leveraging instincts, improvisation, and creativity
- Adapt to the unique nuances of your marketplace
Your brand isn’t your product, sales process, logo, or physical company assets. It’s not even the people involved in the process. Your brand is the feeling people have about your company: your reputation and your implied brand promise. Here are the components of your SM-art™ branding process:
- The Higher Calling
- Your Company
- New Products/Services
The following are highlights from a Spearhead presentation on the Art of Sales and Marketing.
The Higher Calling
This is the energy source of a SM-art™ brand. Basically, it’s the vision, hope, drive, purpose, and accomplishment of the branding effort. It’s the emotional connection to everyone involved with your plan that resonates with the viewer.
The higher calling includes your core values, core purpose, vivid description, and your Big Hairy Audacious Goal – or BHAG – a term coined in the mid-1990s which encourages companies to define large-scale visionary goals that are emotionally compelling.
Taking advantage of McKinsey’s “7-S Model” to analyze your companies organizational effectiveness will help to work through any strategic or planning issues. The seven components include:
Strategy: Plan or course of action leading to the allocation of a firm’s scarce resources, over time, to reach identified goals
Structure: Characterization of the organization chart (functional, decentralized, etc.)
Systems: Procedures and routines such as meeting formats, reporting systems, order flow, etc.
Staff: Key player demographics, backgrounds, future potential
Style: Characterization of how key managers behave in achieving the organization’s goals; also, the cultural style of the organization
Skills: Distinctive capabilities of key personnel or the firm as a whole
Shared Values: Significant meanings or guiding concepts that an organization imbues in its members
We define the sales function as “a relationship development process, beginning with a first impression, growing in trust, sharing opportunities and challenges, collaborating on an envisioned future and partnering to see it through.” To put that in perspective, it’s vital that your sales process focuses on the following components/stages to ensure success:
Styles: Do your salespeople fit in any of these segment types?
- Customer Service – passive, takes orders, win/lose doesn’t matter
- Enticer – feature preacher, closes prematurely, discounts quickly
- Ambassador – leads with price, loses on price, confuses friendship with selling
- Consultant – solves problems, sells concepts, leads with results
- Strategist – advisor, knows the customer’s marketplace, deep relationship
Behaviors: What type of behaviors do your salespeople exude?
- Asking – asks questions, leans backward, deliberate, quiet/submissive
- Reserved – unresponsive, limited personal feelings, preoccupied, wants facts/details
- Outgoing – animated, smiles, open/eager, attentive, shares personal feelings
- Telling – makes statements, leans forward, quick, clear/fast-paced, firm handshake
Size: Does size matter in sales and marketing?
As the size of the sale or account increases, customers are expecting your sales force to become more of a consultant or strategist to recognize issues before they become problems.
Advisor: What are the tenets of being an advisor as opposed to a salesperson?
- You bring credibility to the process
- You are a trusted voice and point of contact
- You identify unseen opportunities and know the customer’s marketplace
Trade-off: Can you benefit from both traditional and automated marketing technology?
- Traditional – prospecting, providing information, voice of customer, project play by play
- Technology – website, lead generation, advertising, automated response/follow up (like ONTRAPORT
Both combine to provide for more high-level help to customers, improved brand strength, credibility, and trust.
Sales Process: What type of processes are there?
- Basic (3 stages to prospect) – Brand (awareness), Permission (education), Responsive (two-way qualification), Collaborative (path to deal), Considering (advance the relationship)
- Complex – New Opportunity (unrecognized problems), New Customer (special treatment), Repeat Customer (ask for referrals), Partner (advocates; shared future)
Obviously, sales are important, but you can’t forget about the other tier: marketing. Here’s why you shouldn’t focus on a sales-only approach:
- 45-65% of leads buy from someone within 6-18 months.
- Unfortunately, 80% of leads are never followed up on.
- Most salespeople give up after two attempts.
- Most buying opportunities occur between 7-12 attempts.
- Salespeople only spend 22% of their time actually selling!
It’s just as important to have everyone involved in the marketing process as it is to have them involved in the sales process. Finance, operations, branding, product development, etc. all should have a cross-functional role in selling and marketing the company. Everyone wins when everyone is involved!
Sales is the focus of what we’re trying to do, right? Well, you can’t have sales if you don’t have customers! We can’t stress enough how important it is to focus on the needs, desires, pain points, etc. of your current and potential customers. Those customers will need to see value in your product/service – simply put:
Value = Perceived Benefits / Cost
If that value is not positive, you’re not doing enough to convince the customer of how you can help solve their problem. According to Steve Walker, Chairman and CEO of Walker, there are three qualities of organizations that are truly customer focused:
- Strong leadership
- A solid system for gathering and distribution customer insights
- Willingness to take action on input from customers
Maintaining these attributes gives you a 7 to 1 advantage in market performance!
As with your sales partnerships, marketing content, and customer-oriented view, it’s always important to try something new and shake things up. One surefire way to do that is to introduce new products or services – that align with your higher calling (Core Values, Core Purpose, Vivid Description, and BHAG). Introducing new products or services gives you a chance to refresh your company’s vision, offer new solutions, be innovative, entice company-wide integration, and execute for new business development.
In order to know where your company stands in the market, it’s helpful to see how your competition is doing. You may want to gather some intelligence on their activities by inquiring with your major customers, sales team, marketing department, or product development group. These people will have the most up-to-date information and clearest view of your competition. Another method is to look at the industry as a whole. Researching sales, advertising/marketing, R & D, and product development expenses could give you a benchmark on the health of your competitors and how you match up.
Being SM-art™ with your sales and marketing is an in-depth, multi-faceted, and multi-phased process, but with all of your team working towards the same goals – increased sales and happy customers – it’s well within your reach.
Contact us today to experience how Spearhead Sales and Marketing brings maximum, sustainable impact to businesses that are dedicated to optimized sales and growth. We focus on tailored programs in both the traditional and digital spaces that maximize relationship building, lead generation, innovative marketing technology tools, sales partnerships, digital services, and strategic planning and development to build your customer base and close sales. Spearhead will be your agency of record for record-breaking performance!