Most Fridays, I take great joy in reading Hank Barnes #FridayFails. Hank features terrible prospecting emails, calls, LinkedIn messages and critiques them–always with a bit of humor. A lot of the emails inflicted on me are the subject of Hank’s columns. It always is fun to read them, chuckle, and ask oneself, “How could people be so clueless?”
Hank’s posts happen to be a lot of fun, but we see hundreds of articles every day about poor sales and marketing execution. My own posts, often, focus on huge gaps in sales and marketing execution.
In my experience, the majority of sales and marketing leaders, as well as practitioners know best practices with sales and marketing.
We know we must be customer focused.
We know we must create value in every customer interaction.
We know we must align the customer buying and our selling process.
We know we must understand the customer business, their markets, priorities, strategies, goals, challenges–engaging them in conversations that are impactful and relevant to them.
We know that we have to present the value of our products and services in ways that are impactful and relevant to customers.
We know we must research, plan, and prepare for each interaction with the customer.
We know we must focus on our ideal customers, that we are more effective when we focus our efforts on our sweet spot, venturing outside it wastes our time and resources as well as the prospect’s.
We know, as leaders, we must coach and develop our people. We must hire the best. We must provide tools, programs, processes, content, training that enable them to be productive and effective.
We know the importance of culture, engagement, empowerment, leadership in driving high performance in organizations.
We know the fundamentals of effective sales and marketing, how to be relevant and impactful to our audiences.
We know we must be disciplined and structured in our marketing approaches–segmenting customers, creating high impact/relevant communications, not wasting time on things that are irrelevant.
We know we must be disciplined and structured in our sales approaches–prospecting and finding new opportunities, qualifying them effectively, moving them through their buying process, and, again, creating differentiated value based buying experiences, managing our time effectively and for maximum impact.
We know relationships and trust are the foundations of success within our organizations and with our customers.
Most sales and marketing leaders know the “right” or impactful ways to drive performance in their organizations. Most sales people, at least those who have gone through any level of training know the principles of modern sales, buying and how to be effective. Most people I encounter are knowledgeable of the fundamentals and principles that drive high impact sales and marketing. (Of course there are a small number who are clueless or unethical, I don’t waste my time on them–and nothing we say will ever have an impact on these people.)
Anyone who has followed any writing on sales or marketing for at least since the early writing of Peter Drucker knows the basic principles of effective marketing and sales. Thousands of books have been published. Billions are spent in training, seminars, and workshops on how to be effective sales and marketing professionals. The words change, the technology we leverage change, but the underlying principles are constant.
Yet, there is a chasm between what we know to be right and our abilities to execute it.
Why do otherwise smart and driven people, consistently do things that go against what they know to be best practice? It seems like insanity to keep doing what we know doesn’t work.
I’d love your perspectives on what holds us back.
Why do we seem committed to what doesn’t work, when we know what we should be doing?
What is it about human nature, that keeps us, so consistently from changing?