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Sales & Marketing: Striking a Balance to Strike it Rich
Sales versus marketing. Marketing versus sales. It’s a classic battle. But here’s a question for you:
In the world of staffing, which one is more important?
Most people in our industry will say “sales.” A few will argue that marketing is more critical, but the people who are the most successful know the real answer: BOTH ARE MOST IMPORTANT!
One plus One = 200 percent!
Sales without marketing will produce results. And marketing without sales can also yield a positive return. But to get the greatest ROI, integrate your sales and marketing efforts.
Need proof? Consider these statistics on average response rates for lead generation marketing (Source Direct Marketing Association 2005 Survey):
- Direct Mail: 2.77%
- Dimensional Mail: 3.67%
- Postcards: 2.19%
- Catalogs: 3.67%
- E-mail: 2.48%
- Telephone: 8.55%
- Package Inserts: 1.74%
- Statement Stuffers: Less than 1%
- Coupons: 4.29%
- Banner/Rich Media Ads: 3.52%
- Search Engine Marketing: 1.07%
- Newspaper Space Advertising: 0.5%
- Magazine Space Advertising: 0.17%
- DRTV: 8.14%
- Radio: 0.31%
Yet the response rates for integrated marketing campaigns are typically above 10% and can be as high as 18% or more.
Think of the implications of these numbers. If you already run a strong sales organization, an investment in marketing can more than double your sales results…at FAR less than double the expense. And, if you are doing marketing that is not integrated with sales, a little of the right follow-up can produce as much as 8 to 10 times the response!
So if integrating marketing and sales is such a good idea, why do so few companies do it? Who knows? Some companies say it’s a lack of time. Others say they don’t know what to do. And too often, staffing executives are reluctant to spend the money on an integrated approach.
Whatever the reason, don’t let your organization fall victim to excuses. The following tips will show you just how easy it is to integrate your efforts.
How to integrate your sales and marketing
- Build a Foundation
Just like building a house, your sales and marketing efforts need a solid foundation. Here are some ideas on how to build the right foundation for your firm:
- Positioning Message
This is how you want to be seen in the market. Ideally, you want to convey a very specific and clear value or benefit. Even better is to “own” one or two key words. For example, Wal-Mart owns “low cost” and Domino’s owns “delivery”. What do you want to be known for? And, just as importantly, how will you prove that you really own those words?
- Corporate Identity
Unfortunately, some people do judge a book by its cover, so it’s important that every point of contact you have with clients and candidates has a professional appearance…and a message that is consistent with your positioning.
From your logo and tagline to your business cards, letterhead, and fax cover sheets, and even the messages delivered by your sales and service team, everything should be consistent. While small inconsistencies may not seem like a big deal, they will cause people to doubt the truth of your promises, which will only make your sales efforts harder.
As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. And most often, your website is the place where you will make your first impressions on clients and candidates. Over 90% of your potential clients and candidates will check out your website before seeing you in person. Is your site sending the right message?
Be sure the appearance and copy clearly convey your positioning. Review the structure to ensure people can easily find what they are looking for. Include contact information on every page. And consider adding features that will encourage clients and candidates to keep coming back. These features can include an interactive job board, online job order forms, candidate applications, and anything else that would make your clients’ and candidates’ lives easier or make it easier to do business with you.
The right collateral can really help your sales team and recruiters differentiate themselves from the competition. Your collateral materials can educate people about your unique capabilities and/or service processes, help you sell higher level solutions, and help you build trust with prospective clients.
Collateral materials can include brochures, presentation folders, sell sheets on specific services, PowerPoint presentations, educational articles, promotional items and other drop off pieces.
- Training – and More Training
Going back to the house analogy for a second, training is like the mortar of the foundation. A strong training program ties everything mentioned above together. It ensures your people’s words and actions are in-sync with your positioning message, and it can be used to create processes that ensure that your service is consistent.
- Before You Sell…Think like a Marketer
Marketing could be compared to a game of chess. Both take creativity, planning and sound strategy to win.
Here are some thoughts on how to think like a marketer:
Not all clients are good clients! Determine the types of companies you want to do business with. Start by evaluating your best customers. What do they look like? How can you categorize them? Consider characteristics like their size, industry, location, the number of employees and types of services they provide. When selecting prospects to target, start with those firms that most closely resemble your best clients (and avoid those that are most like your least profitable and most difficult clients).
Your sales message will be most effective when it reaches someone who already knows you and has a positive perception of your firm. To create this initial impression, look for ways to surround your ideal prospects with direct and indirect marketing.
The first way to surround prospects is with your promotional activities. These can include email, direct mail, postcards, print advertising, radio, PR, etc.
The second way to surround prospects is by leveraging “decision influencers” – those people who influence your ideal prospects. Influencers can include superiors, subordinates, peers, consultants, and even other vendors. Make a list of all the people your prospects turn to for advice and information, and then try to determine the best way to reach those people and keep yourself top-of-mind.
The third way to surround prospects is through sources of information. What trade journals and other publications do your prospects read? What associations and professional network groups do they belong to?
Your goal is to either have your firm referenced by these sources of information, or even better, to become a source of information. This can be done by teaching workshops, writing articles, and publishing your own electronic or print newsletter with educational information.
- Integrate Marketing and Sales
As any seasoned sales professional knows, selling is a process not an activity. To integrate your sales and marketing efforts, start by diagramming (or making a list of) all the steps in your current selling process. Next, look for ways you can use marketing to make the process more effective.
Here’s a diagram of a simple process we recommend to many of our clients:
And here are a few specific examples of how you could integrate your sales and marketing activities:
- Create better drop offs to make cold calls more memorable.
- Develop new sales collateral to give presentations more impact.
- Design an educational micro-site (mini website) to teach people about the value of staffing services.
- Draft standard e-mails to simplify follow-up.
- Document case studies to prove the value of your services.
- Use direct mail to create awareness before you call.
- Create sell sheets on each of your individual services to help promote specific solutions.
- Implement an e-mail newsletter to keep you top-of-mind between calls.
- Use postcards to keep in touch with smaller prospects.
- Use personal letters to cross sell within client companies.
- Create presentations on strategic staffing or behavioral hiring that you can present to the local SHRM chapter or at a Chamber of Commerce event.
- Schedule a sequence of mail, e-mail and telephone follow-ups so that every new prospect goes through a consistent process.
Putting it all together
Personally, I like to look at sales as being the present and marketing as the future. Selling is the direct action taken to get a customer. Marketing creates selling opportunities in the future by generating demand for your services.
The key to successfully integrating sales and marketing is in your ability to strike a balance between the two and plan ahead. Remember, if all else fails you can always call Haley Marketing!
Remember, Haley Marketing can help! Whether you need assistance with direct marketing to get the door open or nurture marketing to keep it open, call on us. We have two new, and very cost effective solutions that can help your business to stand-out, stay top-of-mind, and increase sales.
Just give us a call if you'd like to know more: 1-888-696-2900.