Monthly Archives: September 2011

sales, marketing, processes and lemmings

A popular misconception about Lemmings is that every once and a while, they all suddenly run off a cliff and commit suicide. Unfortunately, its not a misconception when talking about sales & marketing processes in a professional services environment.

As I’ve mentioned before, in any organisation, there is generally only 6 core Tactical Sales & Marketing activities. ie.

  1. Generate Leads
  2. Qualify Prospects
  3. Close Customers
  4. Delivery
  5. Account Management
  6. Analysis

Knowing this makes life fairly easy as you can then measure not only the effectiveness of each activity in your pipeline, but how the activities are connected.

I say this because the most common problems I see in organisations is the disconnect between the separate activities. I.e. one process doesn’t automatically handover to the next. eg.

  • Leads being generated, then not being qualified.
  • Prospects being identified, but not being sold to.
  • Sales been closed, but services not being delivered.

I was once involved in a campaign where we delivered qualified prospects to a car yard. People that were in the market for a new car and wished to test drive the model. The initial campaign failed as the sales team was hesitant to call the prospects “as they may have changed their mind, and that would be depressing”. Note the campaign was saved by changing our process to finish with a booked test drive, rather than just contact details of a hot prospect.

Recently I ran a new client engagement campaign for a professional services organisations. After running a series of events in an agenda, I found that the main sales person, who was also the CEO, was simply too busy to do anything with the new relationships we had developed.

Sadly, I can’t see this issue changing as the sales and marketing function of most professional services organisations never gets the focus it deserves, and as people are turned over, the lessons will be there to be learnt again and again. Like Lemmings, almost.

fools, charlatans & the internet

I can’t stand dealing with fools and charlatans, it drives me mad. The only resource I have that’s finite is my time, and every second wasted with idiots and liars, I will never get back.

But everyday I meet or contact an number of new people or businesses, that I have never dealt with before. So I have a quick system of validating their bona fides before investing time into them.

Here’s four resources I regularly use to conduct a quick check on new businesses I interact with.

ASIC

If your company name has Pty Ltd or Ltd on the end of it,and you are in Australia, I better be able to find you in the ASIC register. If you’re not there, you’re lying to me. If you’re from the UK or the USA, I can easily find you there as well. And by the way, checking your ABN number is as easy as going to Business.gov.au

Whitepages

If your address isn’t on your website (which makes me nervous), I better be able to find you in the white pages. If not I have to ask “why are you hiding”?

Google

If the only reference I can find to a business business name when searching on Google, is on your Linkedin profile, I really have to wonder whether the business actually exists? Additionally, if I conduct a search on your asserted address or phone number and find 50 other companies sharing that address, I can be fairly sure your business is not substantial.

Whois

Sometimes the Whois database come in really handy, as it can tell you who owns a domain name and the registered address. This information isn’t always available, but it it does it gives me two more reference points for ferreting out information on you at ASIC, the Whitepages and Google. For international enquiries (eg .com’s I tend to use www.Geektools.com )

So why do I point this out? Because at least once a week, I come across someone who’s being fairly generous with the truth. When I gently confront them (eg “your ABN number doesn’t seem to be exist, can I confirm it?”). I always get a story about some muckup that’s just occurred. However when I do the same check a week later, nothings changed.

Its not just scammers you have to be on the lookout for, its idiots who don’t play by the rules and therefore waste your time and put you at risk.