Monday Mornings with Madison

Monthly Archives:
April 2016

Meeting Infinite Sales Demands with Finite Marketing Resources

There is a silent (or sometimes not-so-silent) battle waged between what the sales department wants and what the marketing department can and should deliver. Business leaders may only be vaguely aware of this tug-of-war but it exists in most organizations. There are two reasons for this. First, salespeople are always under great pressure (internal and external) to make sales. Not only does the company want them to sell more, but they themselves want to earn more. But selling requires a lot of time and effort. To ease the burden, they look to marketing for help. Second, salespeople are bombarded by other companies’ impressive marketing efforts. Newsletters. Email drip campaigns. Remarketing Campaigns. Seminars. Blogs. Billboards. Ads. Videos. Tradeshow exhibits. Competitor marketing is particularly irksome. Logically, salespeople believe that if they do the same marketing, they too will succeed. This is the business equivalent of “keeping up with the Joneses.”

In most companies, this ‘sales-marketing tug-of-war’ plays out with sales making infinite demands for marketing support with little understanding of the budget or resources required for implementing those ideas, or if those strategies fit in with or duplicate existing efforts. Sales teams claim that they either cannot meet their sales goals or they can be exponentially more successful if their specific marketing ideas are implemented. Unlimited sales demands are thus made on marketing departments that have limited resources. What is the company’s leadership to do? To handle infinite sales demands with finite marketing resources, leaders should implement this three-step process. Continue reading

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The “Many-Sizes-Many-Approaches” Business Model

One of the hardest things for businesses to understand is how their clients truly think and feel. One of the most common mistakes entrepreneurs and managers make is to assume that customers want the same things that they want. Typical thinking goes something like this: “If I like X, then my customers must like X too. If I really dislike Y, then I’ll bet my customers must really dislike Y too.” This “Just Like Me” mentality seeps into sales techniques, marketing campaigns, operational procedures, customer service policies and more. But, in truth, management is often totally out of touch and confused about what their clients want or need in order to be satisfied and remain loyal. This “Just Like Me” thinking is like a poison that seeps into the water… it blends in and contaminates everything. It makes a manager mistakenly believe that he knows what’s best for clients because everyone thinks and feels just like he does.

Why are business decision-makers so sure that – when it comes to their business model, operational practices and service delivery methods — they know definitively what all their customers like and want? The truth is that what people like, want and value is as varied as there are scents in the olfactory spectrum (1 trillion). And that is part of the problem since business people want / need to find the “one right answer” for how to service clients. They are looking for a “One-Size-Fits-All” approach, and often the easiest solution is to say “I know best.” But is a “One-Size-Fits-All” approach for servicing customers best? Is there an alternative? Continue reading

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Honesty and Integrity in Business

If there is one single quality that every business should seek in its employees, colleagues, vendors and even customers, it is honesty. But not only should businesses want to see that quality in its people, honesty should also be the bedrock principle upon which all organizations function. Indeed, Harvey S. Firestone, inventor and founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, one of the first global makers of automobile tires, said “I believe fundamental honesty is the keystone of business.” Likewise, Ed MacMahon, the late singer, comedian, program host and announcer, once said “Honesty is the single most important factor having a direct bearing on the final success of an individual, corporation, or product.” General wisdom dictates that honesty is one of the most important qualities that a person or company can demonstrate.

Yet, it may seem that honesty is becoming something of a scarce commodity in today’s business world. At ostensibly every turn, there are examples of “the end justifies the means” behavior in corporate America. Job applicants exaggerate on resumes with the goal of landing a job. Quarterly reports overstate projected earnings to elevate stock values. Business owners overstate their pro formas to get the highest valuation possible from investors. Real estate owners overstate a property’s value in order to negotiate the highest price in a deal. Customer service representatives cover up mistakes for fear of losing clients. Is dishonesty on the rise? Has honesty and integrity all but disappeared in business? Continue reading

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