A few years ago 3FORWARD was helping a startup-outsourcing client launch a new business line. Our role was to assist them in hiring the core of their sales organization and to help them develop a lead creation process to feed their hungry sales team. The launch was proceeding very slowly and the CEO was getting frustrated that the head of marketing was more worried about the new firm’s brand image than he was in generating much needed leads and revenue. The marketing team was over budget and way behind schedule on the launch, the sales team was ready to sell but was missing some fundamental selling tools.
During a weekly status review meeting the CEO realized that progress was not being made fast enough and declared “Good today is better than perfect tomorrow.” He instructed the marketing team to use the branding and messaging as it existed today and told them to focus 100% of their resources on getting the sales team “sales ready”. His rationale was that non-core selling activities could be improved over time but he needed sales effectiveness now, not in 6 or 12 months.
Is Marketing Helping?
Think about your current situation, are you considering entering new markets or channels, grow your lead pipeline or create other new opportunities for your sales team? If you are, how well is your marketing organization supporting these activates? If you are a sales leader asking for support in these areas you may be hearing statements like these from marketing as they push back on your needs: “How receptive would the market be to this program,” or “Bring a business case and we will look into it.”
Quick Market Testing
The fact is it does not take a yearlong study to test some basic concepts and premises. Start by building some simple messages and test them on a sample of your targets. Use a large enough sample size to have some statistical credibility, but not so large that it would take months to complete the test. It also makes sense to talk with some existing clients to get their perspective, they may not be prospects for the new offering but they will have some good observations. If the initial reaction is positive then more investment is warranted to prove the full business case.
If you are a CEO or CSO you know too well that your revenue clock does not take time off for holidays or vacations. It doesn’t care if the sales team is at full staff, or if you have market relative products/services, it continues ticking away day by day until the end of the sales year. If someone in your company has a good idea to help you grow revenue then check it out before your competition does and don’t let naysayers deter you!