Marketing alone won’t solve your revenue or profit woes. It can actually erode profit further if done in a vacuum. Profit comes from a combination of factors working well together. If you want better business results, you need to break down the profit barriers between marketing, sales and operations.
Avoid Operating in a Vacuum
Marketing simply provides an opportunity to generate additional revenue. The key word here is opportunity. Regardless of what marketing tools you choose, most marketers evaluate their effectiveness based on activities or engagement metrics such as likes, clicks, calls, requests for quotes, appointments or visits.
But as the owner, actual sales generated and the associated profitability are far more important to your bottom line. Metrics like sales conversion rates, dollar amount of sale, and gross profit margins are vital measures for sales and marketing.
So how does your operations fit into marketing and sales discussions? Think about service levels and the impact they have on your reputation (future sales) and repeat business. The best marketing and sales efforts will be wasted if you don’t deliver what you promise customers in terms of quality and service. Customer satisfaction, on-time delivery, quality (rejects/reworks) and customer retention metrics can help you determine how well you perform in this critical area.
When you want to grow both revenue and profit, where should you apply your resources – time and money? The metrics above can be useful uncovering opportunities and weaknesses. So, it’s a good starting point. But here are a few other things I find helpful with clients.
Connect the Dots – and the People
Growing a business requires a full team effort. You need all your employees to provide creativity and commitment. It’s difficult to be successful when your marketing, sales and operations teams operate in silos. While they all have their roles, they can accomplish more when they work together with one common goal – to acquire and retain quality customers.
Bring down the barriers that tend to exist in many businesses – big and small. Connect the dots and leverage everyone’s knowledge and experience. Whether you are building a plan or solving a problem, tap into all the people resources in your business. Different perspectives can often bring better solutions or ideas.
Fix the Weaknesses
Before you invest more money in marketing, make sure your team is ready to convert the sales and deliver what you promise. There’s no point in getting leads – and then disappointing prospects or customers along the way.
For that reason, my work with clients on marketing always starts with an analysis of sales and operations. And yours should too. In addition to the metrics I mentioned earlier, here are a few additional things to consider as you look to improve these three areas:
- Do our sales people have the training and skills to nurture leads, sustain relationships and close sales?
- Are we prospecting for our own leads or do we rely heavily on inbound leads from other sources?
- Is there too much emphasis on sales – and too little on profit or long-term value?
- Do we track activities and results so discussions with others, including the owner, are based on data – along with customer feedback and gut.
- Do our people have the training and appropriate levels of authority to do what is needed to solve customer issues or problems?
- Is there too much focus on the quantity of work done – and too little on the quality?
- Are we using technology to continuously improve efficiency, response time, scheduling and communication?
- Do we have a consistent method to get feedback from our customers?
- Do we track complaints and metrics that are important – and work as a whole team to correct issues we uncover.
- Are we opening the right doors for sales – and reaching the right prospects?
- Is our message compelling and clear so it sets the right customer expectations?
- Does our pricing align with our brand and value proposition – while providing the margins we need or want?
- Is our marketing diversified to reach prospects through various methods?
- Are we consistent and timely but flexible enough to take advantage of unique opportunities that may arise?
If you want a business that consistently delivers sustainable growth and profitability, break down the profit barriers and leverage your business for success.
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