How well does your automobile run without gas? OK, it doesn't - - duh! So, let's say your car doesn't have any gas but you still expect it to provide your transportation needs even though you don't plan to add any gas to it. Hmmm. Crazy, huh?

Well, many businesses do the same thing. When revenue drops, guess what gets cut? You got it - marketing and sales. But wait - - are those not the two very areas that will generate revenue for the business? Then, let's only cut back on marketing. Uh, oh. You just cut off the fuel that is supplying your sales engine. Can you already hear the sputtering noise of a struggling sales team?

"Even worse, marketing and communications are often cut more than other areas. Our work is sometimes perceived as being expendable, rather than recognized as a critical means of generating revenue, raising awareness, etc." - Nancy Schwartz & Company

It's a tough business decision when things are not going according to plan, but to slam the door on your marketing efforts, initiatives and proactive efforts doesn't help. Think back to the dot com days when in 2001, the dot com bust all but killed advertising, trade shows, etc. The smart companies took advantage of this and invested in their marketing. They didn't run and bury their heads in the sand. Vonage is struggling with this very aspect and it seems 'doing anything' to recognize profitability. It will be more than interesting to see how (or if) they recover.

This isn't to suggest you ignore poor business performance and allow the bleeding to continue. Great company leaders understand there are plenty of overhead areas that can be reduced before shutting off their sales fuel. And, making the right adjustments to your sales and marketing efforts during these times will eventually pay off for you. Otherwise, you're going to be expecting the improbable and likely the impossible.

Fuel-up and go get those deals!

As someoneone who has spent many years in numerous marketing roles with small to Fortune-level corporations, I've heard plenty of misconceptions about the terms 'marketing' and 'sales'. Like me, I'm sure you've heard people say they are one in the same. Sometimes the terminology is even interchangeable. For instance, one will say they are looking for an individual who can 'market' their offering when in essence, they are looking for a sales person.

Obviously sales drives the business - how else do we derive revenue? But, a clear distinction between sales and marketing can often help companies understand these roles and make the most of them.

Breaking it down, marketing takes the responsibility of educating potential buyers of your existence in the marketplace. This includes anything that helps create awareness that you are a potential source for a sought after solution. Marketing creates all the tools and support functions to help make sales successful.

Sales builds rapport with prospects by establishing personal relationships, negotiating and finalizing the deal.

Think of of it this way: marketing informs and sales closes.

But, the two work hand-in-hand to persuade prospects that will eventually become customers. The two cannot successfully exist in their own silos. Collaboration is the key.

So, the next time you hear these terms being referenced as one in the same, you'll know that's simply not the case. Properly unified, sales and marketing will drive business growth.

When Zack Johnson landed his tee shot on the 16th green in the third round of the Masters, he was thinking possible birdie; par worse case. Three putts later, the golf professional left with a shocking bogey. Johnson could have made a huge issue out of this mental lapse, but instead he forged ahead.

Then, in the final round, Johnson found himself atop the leaderboard. He had to be thinking 'man, I was just a visitor here a few years ago...now look...' Lurking just a few holes behind him was the number one golfer in the world, Tiger Woods, who is known for snatching victory out of the hands of the lesser knowns. Johnson would have none of that as his steely eyes maintained a constant focus on playing his game.

After slipping on the coveted green jacket, reality set in for Johnson - he had just staged off his competition to win one of the golf's most prestigious events.

In business, we often need to have a focus like Zack Johnson demonstrated in his victory at Augusta. If we lose sight of our objective for a moment, we too, may walk away from a certain opportunity with utter disappointment. It can happen fast and sometimes before we recognize it.

Competitors can be vicious and stealth-like. Take Zack Johnson's example and keep your eye on winning the prize. No doubt, that green jacket must have felt great.

Like many of you, I've been amazed to watch customer service drop to all time low levels over the past 20 years. Back in the day when I was bagging groceries to cover my expenses, we were taught that the customer is always right. Always? Yep. Don't question it. Try that today. In fact, it's nearly the opposite where businesses somehow think they are right - no matter what.

Have businesses forgotten where their revenues come from? Here's a hint: the customer. OK, that was a big hint. But, walk into a retail establishment and it seems half the time one is left feeling they were a bother to the employees of the business. How dare a willing spender of cash think for a second that they are to be dealt with in a respectful, friendly and courteous manner!

And it isn't limited to the consumer market. Nope. Many corporations struggle with delivering meaningful exchanges with clients - that is, paying clients. It is amazing that one has to really dig around and look under a few layers before finding a business that really seems to care about their customers.

Could this be why so many businesses fail? Is the customer, in fact, always right? They may not be, but ignoring or mistreating them will surely cost you. Simply making them feel like they are always right will score points for your business.


Patty Seybold does a masterful job addressing this very issue in her book The Customer Revolution. Visit her blog for discussion points around creating great customer experiences, measure customer value and more.



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