Is a perfect union possible? The topic of unions can be a touchy subject in the world of contracting. So, I’ll keep my opinion to myself regarding the unions you might be thinking of when first hearing that word. Shift your mind, however, to a different kind of union. The one I’m referring to is more like a cohesive relationship or a marriage of two incredibly important aspects of your business.
Marriage is a department many of us could use help with since the United States leads the world in negative divorce statistics. Regardless of where you look for data, there are alarming failure rates when it comes to staying together. The goal of any marriage is for both parties involved to enhance each other’s lives and work together in harmony, right? Since I’m not here to give you personal relationship advice, allow me to explore another incredibly important union in your life. This is the reciprocal relationship between sales and marketing in your company.
The marriage of a successful sales system and a phenomenal marketing system are critical when it comes to the strategy of service business success. However, most companies we work with have a tough time keeping that marriage functional and happy. Part of the reason for this weakness is the roles of sales and marketing are not clearly defined and how they work together is not fully understood.
First, let’s talk about the role of marketing and how it affects sales. We know we are in a somewhat seasonal business and it’s very important to always have a good flow of new leads coming in the door. Obviously if there aren’t many leads, you probably aren’t having a record-breaking sales month. So it’s crucial to have a marketing plan in place during the shoulder seasons to drive those leads.
The problem is, many leaders are so focused on the marketing aspect of keeping leads coming in the door they tend to lose sight of what those leads mean. They mean sales opportunities. So, what is being done to ensure each lead is being maximized? What sales training is being facilitated with your team regarding sales conversions, enhancements and upgrades? Your precious marketing dollars are being wasted if the sales process is ineffective. This is an example of how the sales and marketing union can be imperfect.
I’ve seen this in my own service companies over the years as well. Several years ago, we purchased a small two-truck HVAC service business. The previous owners wanted to sell the business because they “just couldn’t get enough calls.” This is something we hear all the time in our industry, right?
I’m not saying this isn’t a real issue; however, it’s just as important to investigate how effectively each call is being executed from a sales and service perspective. In this case, we saw very low customer service and sales results and we knew they could get higher average tickets with some focus and training.
Creating a solid foundation
Once we got the company’s team members on board with our training system, communication skills and value delivery, results began to soar overnight. In fact, we more than tripled the company’s sales in a 12-month period. This gives you an idea of what can happen when an imperfect sales and marketing union evolves into a happy marriage.
Sometimes the pendulum swings the other way. Sometimes a company is so focused on the sales, service and what’s in the pipeline right now that it fails to keep consistent marketing messaging and advertising in front of its target clients. I’ve also seen this firsthand in my own companies.
For many years now I’ve been at the top of the game in this industry when it comes to sales training, coaching, schools, online training, etc. I’ve been blessed with great clients who are action-takers and implementers, so it can be easy to help them skyrocket sales results. Because I became so good at helping others get better results on the calls they had, that was our entire focus. We lived it and breathed it.
However, we had a hole in our service businesses because I was the one who did all the marketing before I got so entrenched in sales training. Taking any attention away from marketing leads to an imbalance in the sales and marketing union, and it can happen very quickly.
Seeing what occurs when sales and marketing are treated as independent aspects of the business led us (in my service businesses and The Blue Collar Success Group) to become laser-focused on the alliance between the two. Splitting sales and marketing focus is completely ineffective. Paying close attention to one and not the other will always create problems, so we developed a strategy to help us focus on the interactions between them.
There is nothing better than a solid union, so it makes sense that the combination of a great marketing program happily married to an awesome sales and customer service program creates strength within a company. This has allowed our results to improve across the board exponentially and help our clients greatly improve their sales and marketing efforts.
You must become a specialist in both, and then understand how they work together. One of my mentors once said the two things you should never delegate in any business are the checkbook and the marketing. I also believe you need to really understand sales and communication to be effective as a leader, especially smaller companies. We all start out wearing a lot of different hats (which is necessary at first) but as we grow, sales and marketing should always remain at the top of our minds.
In our coaching groups we focus on one thing and one thing only: growth. Period. Business growth, financial growth, personal growth, team member growth and more, but it’s all about growth. If you don’t want to grow, keep doing what you’ve been doing and you’ll get the same results. If you want to grow, however, the fastest way to accomplish this is through clear focus and execution of an effective sales and marketing system in your business.
To answer my initial question about the existence of a perfect union: yes, it’s possible. When your sales and marketing processes are working as a cohesive unit, they are serving your company in a productive way. When one of them is off, an imbalance will occur that you might not even realize immediately. A perfect union takes work, but as you diligently focus on improving this crucial connection between sales and marketing, the work will pay off in the form of a strong, profitable company.