August 20, 2013

Old school sales vs. marketing, toasters made from scratch, and math.

Sales vs. marketing?

Special attention to the “versus” part today. We talk to companies of all sizes and categories, often sorting them into four distinct tribes: sales-driven, outbound-marketing-driven, inbound-marketing-driven, and confused.

One sign of a confused company is a single person in charge of “sales and marketing,” which should raise a red flag. Which one is she really good at? Are these part-time functions?

For total neglect of marketing, however, nothing beats the sales-driven company. They’re still out there, still grinding away at dial-and-smile cold calling. Old school. Glengarry Glen Ross coffee-is-for-closers old school.

sales vs. marketing

A toaster, from scratch.

“But it works!” they say. Make 300 phone calls, endure 299 rejections, e voilá! A lead! Sales managers everywhere still demand call sheets showing great quantities of calls, on the (dubious) assumption that this is the best use of a salespersons’ time. But frankly, the arithmetic stinks.

Consider your 1000 best prospects, the unknown ones who need you most, the ones searching for your product/service/policy/membership/idea, scattered out there among the enormous masses of non-prospects. Lots of haystacks, very few needles. You don’t have Coca-Cola’s budget, so you can’t afford to talk to everybody.

Better to have those hot-to-trot 1000 perfect prospects find you. Raise a hand, make contact, inquire, open a dialog. You’d better hope they do, because you finding them is a costly, slow, inefficient process compared with today’s digital inbound marketing strategies.

Which reminds us of the guy who made a toaster from scratch. He mined and smelted the iron and copper, and made his own plastic in a heroic if quixotic experiment. It cost 500 times as much as one you could buy at a store, and took 9 months to build. Yes, it could be done, and yes it worked (however briefly) before blowing up.