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Fine in the Past: Hindered by Antiquated Sales and Marketing Policies

I call it Fine in the Past. It refers to all the sales and marketing efforts, ideas, policies, principles, techniques, and strategies that worked well in the past, but are no longer effective. The past is everything that’s pre-2010. I still recall a poignant moment with an attendee at one of my corporate sales training and business to business sales seminars. During the break he came up to me and said this: I’ve been in business for seventeen years. And we have done well. But now, it seems like everything is changing, and I do not know what to do.

He went on to explain that he had built his formerly thriving tool and die business on certain core principles: Quality workmanship, competitive prices, and good service. Those principles adhered to with discipline and conviction had brought him word-of-mouth business consistently over the years. But they were no longer working, and his business was floundering. The pain and confusion were written all over his face as he contemplated the prospect of seeing his business wither away.

Those principles are some of the most common examples of Fine in the Past Business principles and policies that were sufficient on which to build a business, but today are not. At one time, you could distinguish your business from others on the basis of these and other Fine in the Past principles. Now, however, the bar has risen. Because there is so much churn in our marketplace and the competition is so fierce, the kinds of service and quality that were sufficient to distinguish yourself from your competition are no longer sufficient. Your customers expect previously outstanding levels of service and quality from every supplier. What was sufficient a few years ago is still necessary today, but no longer sufficient. That reliance on quality service and word-of-mouth marketing is an Fine in the Past principle. When viewed from the perspective of effective sales and marketing approaches, these principles are passive. They rely on your customers coming to you, recognizing the superiority of your product or service, and then talking about you to others. Your job is to create an attractive operation that will pull customers to you and then keep them coming back.

When everyone else operated in similar fashion, which was Fine in the Past But when more and more competitors appear, and they make the same claims as you do, your reliance on passive marketing methods relegates you to second choice. I have seen literally hundreds of businesses of all sizes who never reached their potential because of an inability to do sales well. We learn in corporate sales training and business to business sales seminars that they were perfectly capable of rendering outstanding service at competitive prices but struggled to survive. These Fine in the Past principles were so deeply ingrained in their mindsets that they never learned to do sales as well as they could, and their businesses never reached the level of prosperity and success that they could have reached. The economic landscape is littered with the remains of businesses who were excellent in providing their product or service, but mediocre in selling it. Here are some other Fine in the Past practices. See if they apply to you.

Creating sales by relying totally on outside sales people.

It was OK to hire a number of sales people, give them some basic training, and then charge them with Go forth and sell a lot. This was the standard for corporate sales training. Sales territories were geographically based and each sales person was a clone of the other. Accountability was a nasty word that no one repeated. Alas, this Fine in the Past practice is a prescription for inefficient sales practices. The better approach is a variety of sales methodologies, based on the potential and dynamics of the customer.

Sales management by pay plan.

In other words, pay them straight commission and everything will take care of itself. There was a generation for whom this worked. Unfortunately, today’s work force is rarely motivated by just money.

Reliance on on-the-job training.

Everyone can learn how to be an effective sales person. Just put them out there in a sales territory, and sooner or later they will figure out how to do the job well. When the job of the sales person was simpler, and the customer less sophisticated, this was OK. Today, of course, it positions your sales force as the less educated, less competent one in the market.

Hiring by feel.

When it comes time to hire a new sales person, find someone who has some experience in the industry and about whom you feel good. This is a prescription for a group of clones who please the boss but are rarely what the job demands. There are far more sophisticated and effective hiring criteria and practices than this one. The list of Fine in the Past positions can go on for quite a while. These are the most common. If they apply to you, it is time to rethink your position and move your sales and marketing efforts into the 21st Century.

Developing The Skills To Succeed As A Sales And Marketing Specialist

Graduates of UK universities who are just entering the sales and marketing field should understand the responsibilities they will be expected to fulfill. Sales and marketing specialists in a variety of industries typically work on a diverse portfolio, with several clients juggled in the air at once. Specialists will typically work with recurring clients but there are always new clients, with unique needs, who need the attention of the young professional. As well, the creative work of developing ad campaigns and taking out clients is balanced several times over by administrative work. In the end, the life of a young sales and marketing specialist can be pretty stressful.

However, young professionals in the UK need to rise above these pressures. After all, the way a sales and marketing specialist handles the daily stresses of their job demonstrates their capability for more advanced jobs. Young professionals need to be able to handle their job responsibilities and exceed expectations in order to succeed in their career.

The question for these specialists is how to get the most out of their potential. The bad news for graduates is that there is no silver bullet that eliminates the doubts that make work tough. Indeed, many professionals in sales and marketing would be quick to tell graduates that a dynamic approach to daily work is the only sure path to success.

The good news for sales and marketing specialists is that there are plenty of tools to success in their profession. One common way in which new specialists develop their skills is to take advantage of every education opportunity at their disposal. Online courses, local universities, recruiting firms, and corporate-sponsored courses are great ways to boost knowledge.

Another way to improve skills is to volunteer time for projects outside of a specialist’s purview. For example, a retail marketing specialist can help perform pricing and inventory jobs in men’s wear when their specialty is in small electronics. This type of cross-departmental volunteerism, when time allows, can help a specialist develop a broader range of knowledge and a better relationship with their co-workers.

Finally, sales and marketing professionals should develop a sophisticated knowledge of their industry. Whether it is IT products or telecommunications, specialists need to be able to sell their client’s products against dozens of other competitors. Reviewing industry publications, speaking with colleagues at conferences, or reviewing a competitor’s website can go a long way toward success in sales and marketing.

Sales and Marketing Jobs – The Fastest Path to Corporate Success

The founder and CEO of a well-established group of companies noted that the first and most important rule in sales and marketing is to educate yourself first. That is the primary reason why you go through the long years of education, work hard to earn your sales or marketing degree and prepare yourself to go out to the very competitive sales and marketing world.

Many people mistakenly consider sales and marketing as two identical entities. While the there is a direct, significant correlation between the two, they are also significantly different. Marketing is about reaching and persuading prospective customers to avail of your products and services. Sales, on the other hand, is the process of sealing the deal through a signed contract or an availed product or service. Without marketing, you would not have prospective customers what it is you are selling. Yet, without sales, your daily closing income would be depressing. To put it simply, marketing only matters if it is, at the end of the day, converted into sales. There is a continuous cycle between marketing and sales, and you must be able to understand it in order to be successful in the field.

It is highly understandable why many new graduates try their best to land a job that would speed them up to financial stability. Many of them believe it is the graduate marketing and sales job they are aspiring for that could bring them to that desired disposition. Graduate jobs in sales and marketing are the fastest path for college graduates to corporate success. This can be attributed to the fact that sales and marketing jobs are people-oriented occupations.

Marketing plans are important to a business’ success. The weight of this responsibility is typically carried on the shoulders of college graduates who occupy marketing positions. Most fresh graduates start out as marketing agents in various firms. The job responsibilities will challenge you to produce results in the form of sales. In addition to the training that the company you are working for provides, you also continue to develop certain skills that are necessary for you to communicate better with your prospects and customers. Those skill will keep the company moving in the direction that would meet the needs of your target market.

On the sales front, you should learn how to treat every customer like royalty. Relieve the customer of any obstacle in order to make things easier for him or her. Remember that a single obstacle might cause him or her doing business with you. Because of today’s highly competitive markets, it is very difficult to acquire and retain loyal customers. You have to keep giving them what they want and, at the same time, do so in the most pleasing and professional manner. Sales professionals continuously learn how to read their customers in order to provide better service. Passion grows for their customers that enables them to understand their thinking and reasons for buying.

It is important to note, however, how imperative it is for sales and marketing professionals to allow their target clientèle to take the lead. Instead of coming up with new services or products that are not really wanted by their prospects and customers, they should be able to offer genuine solutions that will turn any deal into a no-brainier. Knowing your target market needs will get you a long, long way.

Those who are able to come up with intelligent marketing strategies as well as those who are able to significantly raise the company’s closing rate will definitely be recognized. This success does not come without the individual’s constant willingness to learn new things and continuously develop the skills they already possess. Those attributes are the things that companies are looking for in every employee. Having those capabilities will definitely get you recognized and promoted in the long run.

Many people believe that the motivation that drives sales and marketing individuals has to do with the commissions companies usually offer when reaching a specific quota. It is no denying that this is partly true. However, the more important motivation are the individuals that sales and marketing people deal and commit with everyday. As already stated above, sales and marketing is all about people. Sales and marketing jobs require the individual to deal with people everyday. With the training that you gained from school and the company you work for, the skills you learn everyday and the passion you develop for your job, is what makes a real difference to your clients and to your overall success.

Being successful in sales and marketing may come relatively faster than other careers, but it still requires time and practice. If you commit yourself, keep an open mind, learn from your mistakes and be patient, your success will follow shortly.