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How CEOs Can Drop The Ball With Marketing

Hello,

I've found a brilliant article here on sales and marketing. That fact that most B2B businesses under $30 million in annual revenues don't even have a marketing department is pretty shocking. Not even a minimum wage kid.

They just have armies of salespeople who try to sell often high ticket items through cold prospecting.

http://www.raintoday.com/pages/1763_who_s_on_first_how_ceos_can_drop_the_ball_wit h_marketing.cfm?broadcastID=419&linkID=8121&ID=282 55

Thoughts - by Bald Dog
I read the article and didn't see "cold prospecting" mentioned anywhere. Did I miss it? - by Calvin
I read the article and didn't see "cold prospecting" mentioned anywhere. Did I miss it?
It isn't mentioned per se. It's just my conclusion that if we don't market our services, we have to pound the pavement and hammer on phone dial pads to chase down prospects to make some cashflow. And that's waht so many companies do. That's why thery keep overbloated sales forces. To compensate for the lack of marketing. - by Bald Dog
I would say that many companies rely on their salesforces to generate business. It's part of the job description. However, I didn't get the impression that pounding the pavement and hammering the phone dial pads were considered major sources of new business. - by Calvin
I would say that many companies rely on their salesforces to generate business. It's part of the job description. However, I didn't get the impression that pounding the pavement and hammering the phone dial pads were considered major sources of new business.
I think I've mixed in my own experiences as well. If we don't do marketing (having prospects come to us) the only option is to chase them. - by Bald Dog
I think I've mixed in my own experiences as well. If we don't do marketing (having prospects come to us) the only option is to chase them.
Yes, they come to you or you go to them.

Where does referrals, networking, etc. fit into your model? - by Calvin
Where does referrals, networking, etc. fit into your model?
With referrals, instead of closing the deal, I start with offering free information and never ask for the sale. I let them ask me to accept them as new clients.

Networking is the same. I offer free info through my automated lead nurturing system. I don’t even talk to people (Well, I can’t since I don’t even have a phone), let alone meeting them until they make a conditional commitment to work with me if I can fulfil their buying criteria. Jacques’ High Probability Selling has been a good teacher for me. Thanks a lot, Jacques!

And I have pretty tough conditions for the first meeting. I request 1 hour of uninterrupted time. I require prospects to leave their mobile phones in their cars. I require them to bring a $1,000 cheque and all their business documents to the very first meeting. And I absolutely don’t tolerate the “I think about it” excuse. Prospects must make a decision by the end of the first meeting. Briefly, I don’t tolerate tyre-kickers.

And as a result of being such a hard-a.r.s.e, I get great, wildly committed clients. Yes, the tyre-kickers are convinced that I’m an arrogant b.a.s.t.a.r.d, who should have been be hanged right after his birth, but who gives a rat’s a.r.s.e about them anyway.

Thoughts? - by Bald Dog
What do you recommend for the companies referred to in the article? - by Calvin
What do you recommend for the companies referred to in the article?
I would say that they get rid of their image marketing efforts and replace it with multi-step direct response marketing. Ditching brochures and creating well-crafted direct response sales letters instead.

Eliminating fancy images from advertising and replacing them with hard-hitting copy.

Eliminating the gap between the sales and the marketing departments by building a kick-a.r.s.e business development team (a real team, that is) with a military commando mentality: Small group of cross-trained generalists light on the foot, armed to the teeth, deadly effective and dangerously agile and flexible. And have the courage to do what the competition is scared of. That is, doing bold things.

It works pretty well. - by Bald Dog
I would say that they get rid of their image marketing efforts and replace it with multi-step direct response marketing.
Let's use automobile sales as an example. If you were a local Dodge dealership what multi-step direct response marketing would you use?

Eliminating the gap between the sales and the marketing departments by building a kick-a.r.s.e business development team (a real team, that is) with a military commando mentality: Small group of cross-trained generalists light on the foot, armed to the teeth, deadly effective and dangerously agile and flexible. And have the courage to do what the competition is scared of. That is, doing bold things.
What would this business development team do specifically (light on the foot, armed to the teeth, deadly effective and dangerously agile and flexible)? - by Calvin
Let's use automobile sales as an example. If you were a local Dodge dealership what multi-step direct response marketing would you use?
I would write a Consumer's Guide entitled, "Seven Costly Mistakes People Make When Selecting Their Next Automobiles... And How To Overcome Them."

This report is informative full of relevant information, but also packs the deadly punch of great sales letter. No, the sales elements don't have to be obvious and manipulative. You can sell directly to the subconscious mind, bypassing the conscious mind.

This report sells the next step. The report also contains the qualification criteria for getting an appointment. For instance...

In order to request and appointment and/or a test drive, please make sure you have written proof of your ability to buy a vehicle if you decide so.

It keeps tyre-kickers away. And from here on it's the same. However, you also set up a keep in touch system with buyers. They receive your monthly newsletter with tips from the mechanic, the insurance person, etc. Vacation tips. Anything.

What would this business development team do specifically (light on the foot, armed to the teeth, deadly effective and dangerously agile and flexible)?
The same as the sales and marketing folks, except that they work together as a team (as opposed to a bunch of individuals), they are compensated the same way, so they win or lose together. Oh, and as professionals, they are paid salaries not that retarded commission rubbish.

Some folks crank the lead generation machine. Some folks do the appointments with qualified prospects. But they work synergistically as a team.

Thoughts? - by Bald Dog
This is the exact opposite of how most large companies operate. They spend a lot on marketing.
I don't think direct response marketing is all that well understood by business owners. They don't understand the power of a well written sales letter. When I decided to develop sales products, I took an expensive coaching program in how to write direct response copy. I wanted to be able to sell my products using my own voice.
Most companies websites have a menu of products to sell....and no compelling reason for people to buy. So, they click away before making a purchase.
They could definitely use some serius marketing advice.

Susan - by susana
I would write a Consumer's Guide entitled, "Seven Costly Mistakes People Make When Selecting Their Next Automobiles... And How To Overcome Them."
How would this message be delivered? - by Calvin
They spend a lot on marketing. I don't think direct response marketing is all that well understood by business owners.Susan
Great point. I’ve attended seminars and workshops with the best copywriters in North America, and I’ve hardly ever met a “corporate” marketer. Only entrepreneurs. The big companies are obsessed with image at the expense of the message.

It reminds me of an army that marches to battle dressed in the finest and most eye-poppingly amazing uniforms, great silk flags, etc. but don’t have weapons because that’s too expensive.

They are obsessed with this “branding” nonsense. Ben Mack has a concept of direct response branding. Amazing stuff. It combines direct response and branding.

And one more thing. When we look at the revenue per employee indicator, large corporations are way behind smaller entrepreneurial businesses. I’ve read somewhere that the average corporate “top dog” spends an amazing 28 minutes a day to perform revenue-generating activities. The rest is spent on meetings and other silly things. - by Bald Dog
How would this message be delivered?
By any means. Small ads in newspapers, magazines, direct mailings, website, letters to current clients, flipside of business cards. - by Bald Dog
Great point. I’ve attended seminars and workshops with the best copywriters in North America, and I’ve hardly ever met a “corporate” marketer. Only entrepreneurs. The big companies are obsessed with image at the expense of the message.

They are obsessed with this “branding” nonsense. Ben Mack has a concept of direct response branding. Amazing stuff. It combines direct response and branding.

And one more thing. When we look at the revenue per employee indicator, large corporations are way behind smaller entrepreneurial businesses. I’ve read somewhere that the average corporate “top dog” spends an amazing 28 minutes a day to perform revenue-generating activities. The rest is spent on meetings and other silly things.
What most big companies doen't understand is that 'message' is what gets someone to call them--not some pretty picture on a brochure.

Susan - by susana
Would someone please give an example of the image advertising you're discussing? - by saltydog
That fact that most B2B businesses under $30 million in annual revenues don't even have a marketing department is pretty shocking. Not even a minimum wage kid.
Is that really true? - by Marcus
Is that really true?
True? Who knows? I've read it on a reputable B2B blog and I have no reason to doubt it.

My experience confirms it too. What's the reason that these same companies maintain an oversized sales department?

Look at McKessen Corp., a market leader in health care supplies. A 500-person company. Personal revenue is $12 million per employee (not per salesperson). And I don't believe that all 500 people are salespeople. A company needs a kick-a.r.s.e marketing programme to sell this amount of stuff. A motivated, super aggressive sales force is not enough.

Michael Schumacher can be the best F1 driver but if his tank is empty, he’s dead meat on the track. None of his skills can save him. Salespeople are needed to drive home the message and close the deals but marketing, is the fuel to help them to access the decisions-makers’ offices without pavement-pounding and dialling for dollars.



And least this is what I think about it.

Thoughts? - by Bald Dog
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bald Dog
That fact that most B2B businesses under $30 million in annual revenues don't even have a marketing department is pretty shocking. Not even a minimum wage kid.

Is that really true?

Marcus if your company is making $30 Million in Annual Revenue without even a minimum wage kid in the marketing department then I would say keep up the good work!
- by Houston
Marcus if your company is making $30 Million in Annual Revenue without even a minimum wage kid in the marketing department then I would say keep up the good work!
Houston,

In my view it's not the total revenue that counts, but the net profit per employee. As a mentor of mine says: Sales are vanity, profits are sanity. That is, it's not what you make but what you actually keep that counts.

If it takes 500 people to make $30 million, then there is a problem. Wal-mark is the largest retailer in terms of revenue. It's a nobody in terms of profits.

Harrods in London is one of the largest in terms of profits. And pretty insignificant in terms of revenue.

Peter Drucker On Marketing... "Foreign managers take marketing seriously. In most American companies marketing still means no more than systematic selling. Foreigners today have absorbed more fully the true meaning of marketing: Showing what is value to the customer."

Thoughts? - by Bald Dog
Peter Drucker On Marketing... "Foreign managers take marketing seriously. In most American companies marketing still means no more than systematic selling. Foreigners today have absorbed more fully the true meaning of marketing: Showing what is value to the customer."

Thoughts?
Does anyone else think that paragraph is one enormous generalization? Peter Drucker said that? Citations please. - by AZBroker
Does anyone else think that paragraph is one enormous generalization? Peter Drucker said that? Citations please.
Yes, he said that in Practice of Management (1953). General comment. Yes. Since business ought to be built (although most are not) on general principles, not ad-hoc fads, practices, academic theories, tactics and methodologies.

The principle of the farm is that as you sow so you reap. Yes, some genius can say to that you can have great harvest without planting. And you may believe him. It doesn't mean that the genius has found a way to shortcut a universal principle.

If you read Drcuker's books, you'll see that they are based on observations and applying universal principles to business.

Thoughts? - by Bald Dog
Do you think these companies that reached annual revenues between $20M and $30M did so without identifying and fulfilling the needs of their customers?

Do you think these companies could have sustained those revenues over time if they were not providing value to their customers?

Do you think these companies would have been able to compete in their markets if they had turned a blind eye to pricing, promotion and distribution? - by AZBroker
Do you think these companies that reached annual revenues between $20M and $30M did so without identifying and fulfilling the needs of their customers?
Not at all. I think they kept a balance of listening to clients and innovating regardless of what clients wanted. Let's remember, no one has ever wanted aor needed the web. It was marketed and sold to us.

Do you think these companies could have sustained those revenues over time if they were not providing value to their customers?
No way.

Do you think these companies would have been able to compete in their markets if they had turned a blind eye to pricing, promotion and distribution?
Not at all. Although this coin has two sides. One side is competing with the rest and the other side is to invent a brand new "battlefield." FedEx doesn't compete with the mail service. It's totally different. - by Bald Dog
Not at all. I think they kept a balance of listening to clients and innovating regardless of what clients wanted. Let's remember, no one has ever wanted aor needed the web. It was marketed and sold to us.



No way.



Not at all. Although this coin has two sides. One side is competing with the rest and the other side is to invent a brand new "battlefield." FedEx doesn't compete with the mail service. It's totally different.
So the CEOs didn't drop the ball after all. - by AZBroker
So the CEOs didn't drop the ball after all.
Not per se. But they do by trying to acieve certain ends using the wrong means.

Systematic marketing is just an easier way to achieve the fulfilment of your three questions.

I've read somewhere that marketing is bringing people to the door, and sales is bringing people through the door.

So, marketing is really to communicate with people and discover wheteher or not they want to come to the door.

Thoughts? - by Bald Dog
But they do by trying to acieve certain ends using the wrong means.
By whose standards and who are they to say?

I've read somewhere that marketing is bringing people to the door, and sales is bringing people through the door.

So, marketing is really to communicate with people and discover wheteher or not they want to come to the door.

Thoughts?
I've read somewhere that marketing is...
  • identifying and fulfilling the needs of their customers
  • providing value to their customers
  • pricing, promotion and distribution
... among other things. Would you agree? - by AZBroker
By whose standards and who are they to say?
Oh, nothing major. They are just my fiendish standards.

I have some joint ventures running with some organic farmers. From a former life I am butcher (among others) and when the animals are ready, I knock them in the head and we ship them to the US as super- expensive deli meat.

It's not too hard to imagine that where there is blood and raw meat, there are flies. Not the tiny flies, but the big horse flies and bluebottles.

Of course I want these flies out of the way, so they can't wreak havoc with the meat.

At this point we have two distinct options:

1. Chasing the flies with a rolled-up newspaper and flattening them one-by-one. It's doable but it takes too much time and energy, and the number of flies I can kill is very very limited.

2. Creating a "honey pot". This is a jar halfway filled with sugared water. We all now that flies love sweet stuff. Then I spread honey on the inner side of the lid and screw it on the jar. Then, with the knife sharpening steel, I punch a small hole on the lid. The hole is just big enough so the biggest flies can squeeze through and get to their oh-so-much-longed-for sugar. Then I put out the jar in the working area, and get on with my work.

The interesting thing is that all the flies disappear. They all go to the jar. They are not interested in the "competition" (blood, meat or even the people) any more. They are only interested my unique offer, the sugar-water in the jar. And of course after tasting my offer, they can't get away, and they all die in the jar.

What is the lesson here? We created the "honey pot" and the prospects (flies in this case) came to us without chasing them.

And now you may say, you can outrun prospects and catch them. Well, not really. All right. Maybe sometimes. There is a reason for this...

A Zen master and his student were in the forest when they saw a fox that was chasing a rabbit.

Zen Master asked his student: "Who do you think will win?"

"The fox of course. It's bigger, stronger and faster." - the student said.

Then the Zen Master told the student the rabbit would win.

"But why, Master" - the student asked.

The master's response was simple: "You see, the fox is running for a meal. The rabbit is running for his LIFE!

You can chase your next fee, commission, sale, that is, your next meal per se, but your prospects are running for their lives. You can never catch them. Or in the best case you catch a few of them for one-off sales. Then the word starts spreading and everyone will hide from you. Soon people will place guards and “No Solicitors” signs on their premises.

Back to the flies. Now I don't say that we want to kill your prospects, and if they want to leave us, they are free to do so, but attracting them can follow the same logic. Well, I don't mean you collect prospects in a jar of sugared water. You can replace the jar with a free report, a free audio download or whatever you see best for your specific target market.

Yes, it takes some time, money and effort to build a prospecting "honey pot" and concoct the right bait for your ideal clients, but once you do it, you can have your ideal prospects come to you seeking your expertise. Imagine. No more chasing. No more convincing. No more overcoming objections. No more price pressure and demands for discounts. And no more begging for business.

I've read somewhere that marketing is...

  • identifying and fulfilling the needs of their customers
  • providing value to their customers
  • pricing, promotion and distribution
... among other things. Would you agree?
I agree. That's why I find it hard to separate marketing and sales. That's why I prefer to talk about a seamlessly integrated business development department.

What do you think about this oddball perspective from the Buthcer of Langley? - by Bald Dog
What do you think about this oddball perspective from the Buthcer of Langley?
I don't view "prospects coming to us vs. us chasing them" as an oddball perspective. - by AZBroker
Jacques’ High Probability Selling has been a good teacher for me. Thanks a lot, Jacques!
Do you think high probability prospecting is chasing leads? - by Houston
Bald Dog, here is a thread about sales vs. marketing skills - http://www.salespractice.com/forums/t-315.html

Which way would you vote? - by Mikey
Where does referrals, networking, etc. fit into your model?
Is proactive solicitation of referrals part of your marketing plan? - by Calvin
Bald Dog, here is a thread about sales vs. marketing skills - http://www.salespractice.com/forums/t-315.html

Which way would you vote?
Mikey,

In my experience when qualified prospects come to me, they have already sold themselves on me. I can be a bumbling idiot at selling, I get the downpayment and we start the project.

Now I admit I'm not a good salesman. That's as certain as the sunrise. But... And this is what I've found valuable... I'm a kick-arse diagnostician (My engineering background helps a lot). Instead of taking the client's problem on a face value, I start digging deeper.

And then tell the client, just as a good doctor would, “Joe, I believe your story, but according to the facts, you have syphilis and your dick will fall off in two weeks.” And that will horribly impact his career as a strip dancer who makes over $1 million a year, and has about $15 million to make until retirement.


What happens here?

Moronic prospects start arguing that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Smart prospects will go white, start sweating and then ask you, “Where can we go from here?” They don't want to lose their earning potential.


At this point there is nothing to sell. And there is no price objection. Actually we're solving a $15 million problem.

Do you think he is willing to invest, let's say, $250,000 in the remedy? You bet he is.


Is proactive solicitation of referrals part of your marketing plan?
I believe they give it to you when they are ready for it. But…

Let’s say you’re a financial advisor who has ongoing lifetime relationship with clients, and your clients have many contacts who need financial advising help, and they fit into your DIeal Client profile. Then it’s fair to ask. And guess what? If after one 1-2 years, if the happy client doesn’t introduce me to anyone, the client should be ditched.

Ideal clients should brag about you and your work, and should be keen on introducing you to people they care about.

Do you think high probability prospecting is chasing leads?
I think it’s a very carefully planned selection process: "Come to me and the best of you will have the privilege to work with me." Some may say this is arrogant. No. I just have a strong conviction for the value of the service I offer, so I don't offer it to losers.

What Jacques’ promotes is that it’s all right NOT to close each and every deal. Good deals will close fairly easily, and there is no need to struggle with problematic deals.

Some people say that the biggest sceptics and cynics become the some of the best clients. Maybe. But personally I don’t have time and energy to convert them. Using fishing language, when I go fishing, I want fresh hot fish and chips waiting for me. All I have to do is to eat it and drink a galss of red wine on it.
Thoughts? - by Bald Dog
Mikey,

In my experience when qualified prospects come to me, they have already sold themselves on me. I can be a bumbling idiot at selling, I get the downpayment and we start the project.

Now I admit I'm not a good salesman. That's as certain as the sunrise. But... And this is what I've found valuable... I'm a kick-arse diagnostician (My engineering background helps a lot). Instead of taking the client's problem on a face value, I start digging deeper.
Marketing skills and sales skills. That's a good combination. ;sm - by Mikey
Do you think high probability prospecting is chasing leads?
Absolutely. HP telephone prospecting isn't about "having prospects come to us" it's about picking up the phone "to chase them". - by Agent Smith
Absolutely. HP telephone prospecting isn't about "having prospects come to us" it's about picking up the phone "to chase them".
That's quite possible. But then I'm doing the HP process the wrong way round and I'm damn glad for it. I don't think I could handle all the rejection that comes as a by-product of chasing type prospecting.

But maybe I'm too sensitive and should become a monk. - by Bald Dog
That's quite possible. But then I'm doing the HP process the wrong way round and I'm damn glad for it. I don't think I could handle all the rejection that comes as a by-product of chasing type prospecting.

But maybe I'm too sensitive and should become a monk.
I doubt you are being too sensitive since rejection comes up a lot in discussions about cold calling, canvassing, telephone prospecting, etc. - by Agent Smith
I doubt you are being too sensitive since rejection comes up a lot in discussions about cold calling, canvassing, telephone prospecting, etc.
Having thought of it, actually what I am sensitive to is when I get dragged all over hell’s half acre from meeting to meeting but the prospect keeps postponing the decision. When a prospect, after a few emails, says outright that she is not interested, that's fine.

Just recently I got an email from a prospect to re-write all his company's promo materials, and he wanted to meet. I emailed him and suggested to him that first we review a few things on email. He told me we would either meet at his office or he goes somewhere else. I recommended him to go somewhere else.

I just want to make sure that I only meet wildly committed prospects not the hesitant ones.

So, it’s sensitivity to a certain kind of, not even rejection but rather, hesitation. - by Bald Dog
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