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The Inbound Sales and Marketing Blog

Why You Probably Need a Marketing Automation System

With today’s decision makers and influencers scouring the web for information during the buying process, digital marketing has become an undeniably important partner in revenue generation. While I will always be the first to affirm that salespeople create, build, and sustain the relationships that drive business, marketing plays a huge role in supporting them.

Now that the bulk of marketing has shifted to digital channels like search engines and social media, you need to consider what’s tying it all together and linking it to your sales process. This is where marketing automation comes in.

Sales Leaders and Company Owners: The Sad Costs of Not Investing In Marketing

Recently, I was talking with one of my business partners here at Convergo. He’d talked with a business owner about moving from a tactical to a strategic approach with their marketing. In principal it sounded good. However, when presented with a relatively modest budget compared to current annual sales revenue, all of a sudden strategic marketing didn’t seem so important.

I get it. I’m a recovering sales rep. In 1993, I took a job with Lanier Worldwide, a hard-charging sales organization that at the time only believed a cold call happened when you walked in the door of a business. At the time, we didn’t even use the phone. We carried demo machines in the back of our vans. It was all about cold call, demo, close. Don’t come back to the office until you have demoed at least two machines.

Having come from a rich heritage of intense sales activity combined with drilled in sales skills, I understand the importance of prospecting.

Sales Prospecting With a Positive Attitude

Consistent prospecting is essential for sales success. Without a steady stream of prospects, the funnel dries up. Then you end up taking desperation deals and flipping your base.

Effective prospecting requires a positive attitude. The challenge is that if there is one thing that can chip away at your attitude, it’s the rejection you get while prospecting. As a sales professional, you need a proactive plan to keep a positive attitude.

In today’s negative world, a positive attitude stands out. A positive attitude is contagious.

Don Hutson offers inspiration on the importance of a positive attitude in the first chapter of Selling Value:

“High performers are motivated and ready to make great things happen! If they get some motivation from their boss or significant other, or another source, that’s fine, but they understand that their PRIMARY source of motivation comes from within.”

Our responsibility as sales professionals, sales leaders, and business owners (all of us are in sales) is to maintain a positive attitude.

How can you cultivate a positive attitude to fuel your prospecting? Here are a few ideas!

How Much Money Will Ineffective Sales Prospecting Cost You This Year?

Stephen Covey says that highly effective people put the “big rocks in first” because if you don’t do the important things first, they get crowded out by the smaller things.

The biggest rock for any sales professional is prospecting. It’s the #1 driver of success and the #1 thing that gets pushed to the bottom of the priority pile. Jeb Blount, the author of Fanatical Prospecting, famously said, "The #1 reason for an empty pipe is the failure to prospect!"

What’s The Annual Financial Impact?

What’s the annual impact of inconsistent prospecting? I think this is a worthy question for every sales professional, sales team leader, and company owner to consider.

To calculate the impact, let’s begin with some assumptions.

Consistent Execution: The Secret To Revenue Growth

“Execution is the single greatest market differentiator. Great companies and successful individuals execute better than the competition.”
- Brian P. Moran, The 12 Week Year

If you want to be successful in growing a company as a business owner, or growing a territory as a sales rep, you need to execute consistently. You can have a great vision, amazing products, and all kinds of great intentions. But the marketplace only rewards ideas that get implemented.

Execution needs to happen in the three core areas of your business that touch your clients and prospects. Let’s consider each of these in turn.

Flipping MIF Is Easy. Net-New Is Hard.

In the office technology industry I serve, we talk about Machines-in-Field (MIF). Every 3-5 years the leases on these machines expire or the machine wears out. Sales reps “flip the MIF” when they upgrade customers to new equipment.

MIF-flipping plays a critical role. After all, we need to maintain our customer base. However, we also work in a mature market. That means that average selling prices are dropping faster than cost of goods. Each year the delta between sales price and cost gets squeezed a little tighter.

What does that mean?

Companies and sales reps that have historically depended on MIF-flipping will suffer a slow and painful decline.

Some businesses are counteracting the revenue decline by purchasing more MIF to flip. The top line revenue of these businesses look good, but ultimately, these businesses will also feel the pain.