Businesses turn to marketing to drive revenue, but are you really ready?
Before investing in marketing you must ensure other key areas of your business are ready first.
- Your Product or Service. If your offering isn’t ready for the market, your marketing will not solve your problems.
- Your Sales Organization. If your sales organization is not ready to sell your new offerings, your marketing will not solve the problem.
If marketing is driving demand for a new offering but sales is not ready to close on opportunities, the immediate impact of your effort will be lost. The impact doesn’t stop there, the lost credibility also hurts future opportunities.
As a buyer, I have experienced this multiple times. When an organization begins marketing an offering and the sales team has been armed with the standard set of sell sheets but cannot answer additional questions, it becomes clear it isn’t a core offering yet.
Not only does this hurt the company’s chances on selling this offering, it also hurts their chances of selling future new offerings until I see they have had the time to polish and refine them.
Product and Service Readiness
Similarly, sales cannot sell an offering that your are not ready to deliver on. Products that are released before they are fully tested, if sold, undermine the trust sales has developed with your customers. The end result is an unhappy customer and a broken sales relationship.
This may seem like a small business or startup problem, but it can be seen in a wide range of organizations.
- New Releases. Even large B2B companies have struggled with new products released without adequate sales education or before they were ready for the market. Consider, for example, the Cisco Cius tablet for business, which some publishers have listed as a top product failure of 2011.
- Educated Buyers. As buyers take on more of the burden of research and education, sales must be ready to followup with a conversation that is relevant to a more informed buyer. Ardath Albee’s (@ardath421) post What Happens When Inbound Marketing Works illustrates this nicely.
- Make sure your product or service is ready.
- Next, check that the sales organization is ready.
- Finally, start your marketing.
What companies have you seen attempt to fix their product or sales problems with marketing? Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).