Marketing and sales are different – but they work together.
It is crucial to achieve a structure in which the different elements of your business are given the same weight, care and attention.
Now, this sounds straightforward. But business success, strangely, often gets in the way of achieving this structure.
Most people enjoy doing the things that they do well. We’re not that keen, however, on the things that we struggle with, or that have forced us to deal with failure. So, as we go about our business tasks, we all have a strong tendency to follow the things that are working, and that we are enjoying, while quietly forgetting about the other stuff. This is why there are so many businesses with great adverts, but terrible sales processes!
Only when we learn to manage all components – with equal effort – is it possible to set up a business that is able to grow on a sustainable and predictable basis. And, ultimately, sustainable and predictable growth defines long-term business success.
So, as you read this chapter, try this approach: Create a three-column table on an A4 page. As you read, write down, on the left-hand side, the segment headings that excite you. In the right-hand column, jot down the components that feel a little out of reach, or far-fetched, for your own context. Then, at the end of the chapter, use the middle column to write down all those components that meant little to you at all.
Here’s an example of how such a list could look:
In this example:
- The person is clearly a little intimidated in general.
- Let’s assume they get over their fear and manage to push the five items from the Scary column to the Exciting column. In a sense, this is a big win – getting over their fear and doing
- What about the middle column? In focusing too much on the poles of excitement and fear, there’s a strong chance they will miss out on four vital steps in the process!
Balance is what you’re after. Your day can’t be spent only doing things that excite you. Nor should the whole day be spent facing your deepest fears. The best-case scenario is that you do one thing, from each column, in sequence.
If you do that, you’ll not only overcome your fear of doing things that feel intimidating or hard to understand or execute, you’ll also make sure you get a grip on all those other things, the stuff you could have just ignored.
Once you have created a similar list, pin the page to your office/desk wall. Keep looking at it and re-doing it until you are sure that there is genuine balance between the three elements. This can be a great, simple way to ensure you maintain balanced focus over long periods of time.
When the time comes to start activating your Marketing and Sales thinking, consult your list again. Are you favouring the left column and ignoring the right- hand side? Are the middle column items fairly represented? Your action plan shouldn’t lean to the left or the right. It should be balanced. If your plan doesn’t fairly represent work on all three columns, you need to stop and re-look at your approach until it includes fair representation!
Time, Processes And Complexity
Understanding the Time / Complexity graph below is key to understanding how Marketing relates to processes.
This simple but powerful graph illustrates something we all know instinctively (but struggle to factor into our working lives), by making two points:
- The more time you allow yourself to carry out a project, the more complex the project will become.
- The more complex a project is, the more time you are likely to need to complete it.
The good news is that all humans are vulnerable to these principles. In the late 1970s, Nobel Prize-winning cognitive scientists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky identified the human tendency to get trapped within the Time/ Complexity graph. They called it the Planning Fallacy, whereby we have a very strong tendency to underestimate the cost of things and the time it will take to do them, while overestimating the benefits that will result.
Fascinatingly, we all do this when estimating our own actions, even when we have been told how long it took other people or groups to complete a similar task.
According to Wikipedia:
In a 1994 study, 37 psychology students were asked to estimate how long it would take to finish their senior theses. The average estimate was 33.9 days. They also estimated how long it would take “if everything went as well as it possibly could” (averaging 27.4 days) and “if everything went as poorly as it possibly could” (averaging 48.6 days). The average actual completion time was 55.5 days, with only about 30% of the students completing their thesis in the amount of time they predicted. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planning_fallacy )
Because Marketing and Sales sometimes involve seemingly creative parts of life, such as writing articles or holding events, we are especially vulnerable to getting caught out by the Planning Fallacy. We work too long on creating a piece of content and forget about how it fits into the rest of what we need to do. We work too hard on an event (and spend too much money on it), which hurts the overall business, even though everyone has a wonderful time. We spend too much time scrolling through Facebook, distracted by our business’ position within the distraction machine, forgetting about the task at hand.
This is why clearly-defined and easily-repeatable processes are so important. Once a process has been perfected and modelled, it can be executed quickly and cost-effectively – by anyone. The individual will also have a clear guide and track record to adhere to, in terms of time and resources spent on the activity.
Marketing and Sales workers are very similar to college students, and – without a structure to follow – manage their time and complexity demands just as badly. When business people make these mistakes, the business suffers.
This blog article is adapted from my latest book The A-Game Marketing and Sales Manual. Get A FREE copy now by following this link: https://www.amazon.com/Game-Marketing-Sales-Manual-Strategies-ebook/dp/B083THNT8Q/
By KK Diaz: Business Strategist, Digital Marketer, Author and Speaker