Transform Your Frontline Sales With Customer Centered Marketing

If I told you that your frontline sales efforts need to include a heavy dose of marketing, you'd probably say “duh”. After all, sales team tools provided by marketing such as brochures and presentations as well as lead generation programs provide fundamental support to the selling process.

We'd all agree that delivering these programs and materials is the domain of marketing. This is very basic stuff and a fairy straightforward definition of marketing.

But that's only part of what Make Your Marketing Sell tells us.

Peter Drucker, the legendary management consultant, believed that marketing encompasses the entire business, including selling. And most importantly of all, is always seen from the customer's point of view.

This requires an important shift in our thinking. Sure, there's a difference between marketing and sales but these functions need to work closely together. In fact, the marketing people need to be part of the sales process.

Say this to someone who came up through the traditional business and marketing ranks and you'll drive them crazy! The conventional 'wisdom' is that marketing is only concerned with long-term business issues and consists primarily of office work to produce brochures and programs.

Talk about crazy!

The Marketing and Frontline Sales Alliance

It's simple: customer-centered thinking drives revenue. When marketing is involved in the sales process, wonderful things happen.

When I joined a telecom equipment manufacturer as the division director of marketing, their revenues were less than $400,000. I immediately made a lot of changes, but the most significant was in philosophy. This directly resulted in driving revenues to over $84 million in three years.

As with most companies, before I arrived marketing had been relegated to researching the market, setting product pricing, developing sales material, and promoting the company in various ways. Important marketing functions for sure, but just a subset. As Peter Drucker implied, the definition of marketing is broad.

Make Your Marketing Sell

So, how did we do it? The entire marketing group was turned into a sales-centric team. We did everything in our power to understand the needs and wants of our customers, plus those of the frontline sales force too. We also targeted our customers' customers as well. In addition, everyone in my organization went into the field to help our sales people on a regular basis.

A key feature was the Services Creation Program. It was squarely designed to be easy for our telephone company customers to implement - an action oriented plan - that evolved around the services that they created using our products.

The sole purpose was to help our customers accelerate their time to market and generate revenue, and to purchase lots of our equipment as fast as possible.

The effort we put into this was intense and the list of what we produced was incredibly comprehensive, but it worked. Some of the elements of the Services Creation Program included:

  • Built a password protected extranet website dedicated to this customer segment will a ton of materials for their marketing people to access and customize;
  • Put together an applications and services guide that took an extensive look at applications and value-added services that would drive increased revenues, customer loyalty, and profitability;
  • Developed a series of customer presentations, marketing material, post card mailers, and advertising pieces that could be easily customized by our customers;
  • Provided both on-site and online training for our customer's sales and marketing staffs;
  • Designed a seminar to help them reach their target audiences and assisted them in marketing and managing the event.

As you can see, the difference between marketing and sales is less than you thought! Focus on making your marketing part of the frontline sales force.

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