Robyn's head shot
     Start the new year off right by integrating your sales and marketing,  a resolution worth setting in 2013!  
Best Regards,
The Magic of Sales and Marketing Integration
     Once upon a time, an enterprising company hired a marketing firm to create a dynamic, multi-faceted campaign that included advertising, PR, and targeted email.  A few days after the campaign broke, the company received an envelope containing a check and a note saying, "I've been waiting forever for a product like this!  Send me 1000 of them right away!" The CEO ran to the bank with that check immediately, ran back, and waited for the next day's mail.  And the next, and the next and the next....and guess what happened?  Nothing!  That's because the chances of receiving a large order without a nudge or phone call from your sales staff is roughly the same as receiving a bucket of magic beans.  Far better to follow standard protocol - once your marketing campaign breaks, have your sales people step in, follow up on the leads, and close the deals.
     "Sales and Marketing" are often lumped together as if they were one function, when in fact they are distinct, separate functions that need to work together. The role of marketing communications (MarCom) is to create your brand image, to make your target audience aware of your brand or product, and to generate leads.  Rarely, if ever, will MarCom alone make the sale for you.
     The role of your sales staff is to turn MarCom's leads into sales. Yet, when sales are down, people tend to blame their marketing efforts.  It's always a good idea to reevaluate how well your marketing is working.  If the anticipated number of leads is being generated, however, the marketing is doing its job.  Then it's time to consider the efforts and methods of your sales staff.  Here's how: 

-  Understand your sales funnel.
  Remember this formula: 
#leads = #presentations = #proposals = #sales

     Every business will have a different sales funnel.  If you have never analyzed yours, go back through your sales records and tally how many proposals were presented, on average, before a sale was made.  How many presentations did your sales people make before they were invited to submit a proposal?  And how many leads did they follow up on before they received an appointment for a sales presentation?  If this data is sketchy, your sales people haven't been diligent about record keeping, and that means they aren't aware of how they're doing in these areas either.  You'll need to put a simple tracking program in place immediately so each sales person - and you -- can see and analyze this data.  Study your funnel at least monthly so you can see where work needs to be done, and share it with your sales staff.
  -  Scour your client database for leads.  Current, former and potential clients are all candidates for new sales, but you'll need to keep in touch with them on a regular basis, with a top-of-mind awareness program going out at least monthly.

-  Prioritize your leads.  Does the lead fit the criteria you've established to be a viable lead for your organization?  If you haven't set criteria for qualifying leads, analyze the types of leads that have turned into sales in the past.   Make a list of their similarities, and pull out the new leads that share these traits.  Make these your sales staff's first priority. 


-  Cultivate your leads over time.  Even a solid lead may not be ready to buy when you present to them.  Cultivate them by keeping in touch, asking regularly about their needs, and when they are ready to buy they will most likely buy from you.  If you present to them but don't keep in touch, you've helped your competition, because when the prospect is ready to buy they'll buy from your competitor instead. 


-  Set goals for each step.  Sure, every company sets sales goals.  But how do they get there?  Give your sales reps goals for the number of leads, presentations and proposals they should have each month. 


-  Have an awesome preheat letter.  Hire a marketing professional to write a dynamite sales letter, and be sure your sales reps send it out weekly.  It's an easy way to generate leads.


-  Stop doing what doesn't work.  It's human nature to keep doing something that's become a habit.  If you realize something isn't working, insist that your sales reps stop doing it that way. 


-  Present proposals in person.  Sure it's easier to email a proposal, but it definitely sells better in person!  With all the time that goes into preparing proposals, give them their best chance by presenting them face-to-face.


-  Hold people accountable.  If you're responsible for the bottom line, you have to be prepared to be the bad guy.  Make sure everyone is following the plan, not skipping steps or hanging on to comfortable methods that just don't work anymore. 
     You don't need magic beans or a star to wish upon for your sales to pick up - just cold, hard calculations.  Make sure your marketing efforts and sales funnel are working smoothly and in tandem, and sales will surely follow.

About RMR & Associates
Headquartered in Rockville, MD, RMR & Associates, Inc. (RMR), has been addressing the unique needs of clients serving commercial, B2B, government and IT sectors for more than 25 years. RMR's integrated marketing includes public relations, social media, advertising, direct mail, media buying, list rental, website design and interactive marketing. RMR's unique national experience and knowledge base has helped to build an extensive network of key contacts among venture capitalists, key organizations and key business leaders. With more than 400 product and company rollouts and repositionings, RMR has garnered results for local, national and international clients such as AOL, Insoft Corporation (acquired by Netscape), Telogy Networks (acquired by Texas Instruments), and consumer accounts such as Subway, .ORG, The Public Interest Registry and UMUC.
For more information on RMR, please contact Seth Mininsohn at RMR & Associates, Inc., 5870 Hubbard Drive, Rockville, MD, 20852 by phone at (301) 230-0045 ext. 360 or by e-mail at General information can be obtained by accessing the Web site at