I just finished up another meeting with a client. They engaged me to document their messaging and create a marketing plan for a new product. This product is very different than the products and solutions they have been offering; it’s in a different market, it has a totally different sales cycle, and it has competition. The frustration I have is they don’t want to do any marketing – they are going to continue with their sales strategy to get that first sale. Once they get that first sale, then maybe marketing.
Collaborating with a colleague, we came up with this quote and I truly believe it. If you don’t spend resources to communicate about your product, your value proposition, or your expertise, how will anyone hear? It’s like the old saying – if a tree falls in the forest does anyone hear? If you are only talking among yourselves about your product, does anyone hear?
1:1 versus 1:Many
Some companies have a philosophy that just putting a sales person out there to sell will bring in product revenue. Yes, this is the sales person’s job and they will go into the market to talk 1:1 with prospects. This works to a point, but there is a limit to what a salesperson can do. The biggest limit is time – there is a finite number of hours in a day. They can only talk to so many people in the course of a work week.
1: Many – that is marketing. Marketing takes the message and uses marketing tools to “talk” and to get the message out to many people with one activity. For example, if I can take one blog, publish it in an industry publication, and then tweet it over the next 6 weeks, it is likely that one blog will have an audience of 3-5 thousand*.
Where I get frustrated
I really like this sales person. They are a good person and would do anything for anyone. But, they are being set up to fail. They are not getting the support they need – awareness of this new product and bringing in leads – the things marketing does. They are spending time educating the client on the product and proving its credibility instead of taking sales activities to the next stage.
Now, I’m not looking for this client to hire me, I just want them to spend money on marketing to help their sales person be successful. Will they get a sale – likely because they are good at what they do. Could this instead be 5 or 6 sales if they had marketing support – highly likely because the word would be spreading outside their circle of influence.
And I feel they are losing their opportunity to gain market share. This product category is hot now and I am watching their competitors use marketing to gain market share. And it’s working for them.
And don’t even get me started on the money spent for product development and the possibility to recover that.
I go back to the quote – without marketing, you are just another company with an idea. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on marketing. Just don’t send your sales team out there without the support they need to be successful.
* This is a theoretical number. A true number will depend on the readership of the publication, the number of Twitter followers, and the engagement of the audience on Twitter.