7 deadly Sales & Marketing Sins

7 Deadly Sales and Marketing Sins…

Is there anything worse than watching people make the same Sales and Marketing mistakes that you have before? Well probably yes, seeing as though this is a special Halloween edition we’re sure there are worse things, like being chased by blood thirsty aliens through outer space or finding out the batteries in Chucky were really out the whole time (shock horror), but when it comes to Sales and Marketing, knowing what horrors await might not save you from Freddy’s clutches but it could just save you a small fortune and let’s face it – that’s worth 5 minutes of anyone’s time right?

In this blog we share 7 of the most common sales and marketing mistakes, or sins if you like (advance warning – we love a good Halloween pun!), of what to watch for and how to avoid becoming the victim of your own personal horror story!

Sales and Marketing Sin 1 – Sloth & Failing to plan

The first in our Sales and Marketing sins has to be Sloth, laziness, or in our world, failing to plan. It’s the equivalent of walking straight up to the “monster” without so much as a second thought. Lack of planning is a fundamental no-no in the Sales and Marketing world, we’re not suggesting you can plan for every eventuality, but a good outline plan should go further than “we need to do some marketing”. Often when we talk to businesses about supporting their Sales & Marketing Objectives the goals can be pretty vague or broad. Getting really clear on your objectives is crucial to avoiding this deadly sin.

Instead of planning for £500k turnover or £200k growth try “Goal 1 – Achieve £50k turnover from product group A” or “Goal 2 – Grow revenue from the Service Sector to £100k by acquiring 4 significant new clients”

Getting specific and absolutely clear on what you’re trying to achieve from your Marketing Plan will give you great direction (and accountability) later down the line and of course save you from facing the demons unprepared. If you’re ready to build out a framework for your own Sales and Marketing success, we’ve created a quick Funnel Builder that’s free to use here.

Sales and Marketing Sin 2 – Pride & Lack of Preparation

If you’re a fan of a good story, which we happen to be, you’ll recognise this character… you know the one who runs straight into the dark, never switches on the light or famously says “I’ll go on alone” – rookie mistake people! These willing victims are classic examples of lack of preparation and more than a little bit guilty of our second sin, Pride.

Knowing your enemy, your strengths, and your competition has a massive part to play in creating a successful, high performing Sales and Marketing campaign and avoiding the key Sales and Marketing mistakes. So, get prepared before you embark on any activity and certainly before you start spending money.

Keys to Sales and Marketing Preparation

Before you unleash your creative prowess, the first step is get all of your accounts, sales numbers, and performance data in one place. Take a good look over your own performance and what’s actually working for you, and for your sales team.

Consider your channels, your teams, and your options – for example if you’re running hybrid online and offline models i.e., face to face sales and e-commerce, what areas specifically are working and not working – where are you winning and losing against competitors?. Here’s a quick step process to consider as you plan for successful marketing. Think about the following as a prompter for your own SWOT (Strength/ Weakness/ Opportunities/ Threats) analysis.

  • Where do you sell? And where are your opportunities? Everywhere/ Sectors/Geographic locations?
  • How do you sell? Online/ In person/ A mix? Is it direct or indirect?
  • Who do and could you be competing with? Be sure to include internal teams and/or “doing nothing” as a competitor.
  • What’s your price point? Are you cheaper, more expensive, about the same? Price can be a key differentiator but doesn’t always win the day.
  • What’s your real difference? What makes you special and unique? Your people, service, technology? Ability to defeat demons? Whatever it is use it to your advantage.

Having a plan doesn’t always mean that you’ll avoid running into pitfalls or avoid all of the Sales and Marketing mistakes but doing the preparation and understanding and/or re-evaluating your market will make sure that you’re at least prepared for the fight.

Sales and Marketing Sin 3 – Gluttony & Lack of Information

Gluttony is a major pitfall in many Sales and Marketing programs, I know what you’re thinking what on earth has stuffing my face got to do with making my Sales and Marketing more effective? Well – too often in programs we see the want for more, more clicks, more impressions, more leads etc  etc – and unlike that last slice of chocolate cake, more isn’t always better.

Better is better and by that we mean more effective. More effective campaigns and teams don’t rely on volume for volumes’ sake, they carefully analyse data at all stages of the funnel and understand what’s really working and what’s not, cutting out any waste or lack of performance rather than invest future budget into underperforming campaigns. Much like locking the door before the “killer” arrives or switching on the lights instead of walking into a horrific trap, good data analysis across your channels and at all stages of your sales cycle will not only help you avoid wasting money but ensure that you’re continually pushing forwards with performance improvements too.

As we always say at The Demand Generation Team “you can’t improve what you can’t measure, and you can’t measure what you can’t track”. So, if data is your own personal monster, then here’s a quick snapshot of some key areas you should be tracking – note some of these are “vanity” metrics but have a part to play in the overall buyer funnel

Above the Line –  (by channel)

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • CTR
  • Engagement
  • CPM – Cost per 000 impressions
  • CPC’s – Cost per click
  • Adds to cart
  • Form Fills

Interaction Metrics

  • Time on page
  • Bounce rate
  • Exit rates
  • Engagement (based on defined values)
  • Form starts
  • Form completions
  • Abandoned carts
  • Video Plays
  • Direct calls
  • Store visits (if applicable)
  • Bad Data

Sales Conversion Values and Measures

Our key recommendation would always be to extend any data analysis you’re doing to the real value you’re generating to avoid major Sales and Marketing mistakes. Working backwards from sales made and revenue generated from your marketing plan will give you the best view of what’s working and what’s not. Make sure that your CRM or Shopping cart is plugged in to your marketing plan and use the insights to learn quickly what’s working and what’s not. As ever if you think we can help with giving you a better understanding of your data then do get in touch.

Sales and Marketing Sin 4 – Lust and choosing the right platform

How many times have you heard the latest buzz around the newest platform, tool or must have technology? Unfortunately, much like the unwitting victim in this tragic tale, all too often both Sales and Marketing teams can get distracted by the sinister glow of the prize and throw all caution to the wind in choosing the right platforms from which to generate the best results. Lusting after big volumes, huge impressions or that millionth follower can be a major sin in the quest for commercial performance.

Your choice of channel(s) should be built on the relevance and fit for your audience not just where you think you should be or where the most volume is. Here’s a quick example;

You know that your ideal buyer is mid 40’s with a family

You know from research that they’re likely to be well traveled

You know that they are likely to respond well to video content

You know that they buy most often on or around their own birthday

So, what does our sinner do?? What rookie Sales and Marketing mistake do they make? Ignore the behaviour and customer profile information and instead invests heavily in the channel with the volume but no profile data – the result? Lots of money spent and no return, proof if you ever needed it, that this unwitting victim has been sucked into lusting after volume within a second thought for return. If you’re after better returns and not just lusting after the vanity metrics then map your potential buyer and any profile data you have against them to any channels you might be considering before diving right in – same goes for search and shopping channels too. Look deeper than just headline numbers and understand the search volumes with your demographic profiles and identifiers layered in to avoid this deadly sin.

Sales and Marketing Sin 5 – Greed & not understanding your customer

The customer is the hero in all of our stories, right? You’d think so but not so for many businesses that get so tied up with their own proposition, how great they are and all the great things they can do that they lose sight of what really matters – solving their customers problem. And this sin is more prevalent than you might think – from companies proclaiming their latest award or newest model, self-promotion at the expense of the customer is everywhere.

Now before we go any further we should say that we’re not against a bit of self-promotion, that is definitely not a Sales and Marketing mistake, in fact, showcasing awards, achievements or credentials can be a great way of building trust with your audience but not at the expense of really understanding your buyers.

Whether you’re B2C, B2B, B2B2C or any other combination, your buyers are real people with real issues, goals and ambitions, all elements that our Sales and Marketing sinners ignore in favour of broadcasting “me, me, me”. This approach is more likely to get your head chopped off in our horror story than win you any new customers but it’s remarkably simple to switch this approach around.

Building buyer personas that focus on the needs and challenges, wants and desires and obstacles or blockers of your audience is an effective way to put yourself in the mindset of your would-be-customer. Understanding what makes your customer tick, what might help them or might solve their problems will help you to position your business, product, or solution more effectively as a potential consideration. Especially where content and acquisition are concerned, creating a picture of what might drive early buyer stage activity can you a unique competitive advantage over any so-called sinners hell bent on shouting only about themselves.

Sales and Marketing Sin 6 – Envy & the Sales and Marketing divide

Ooooh, this is always a tricky one but it’s real and most of us will have encountered this at some stage in both Sales and Marketing. Without pulling any punches here are just some of the deadliest sins of them all –

“All the leads are rubbish”

“Sales aren’t following up”

“Marketing don’t understand what I want”

“I don’t get enough leads”

“I have no idea what they spend their time on”

“We don’t need them”

“It’s not working”

We could go on, but you get the picture, unfortunately it can be the case that lack of understanding, performance, respect, or a combination of all three is creating internal friction and stealing focus from the job in hand. This divide between Sales and Marketing is unhelpful and detrimental to many businesses where ultimately both sides are driving towards the same goal, business growth. If you have this in your organisation however large or small then start working on bridging the divide as soon as possible as it’s one of the biggest Sales and Marketing mistakes, and one of the most common. Organisations that suffer with this sin are likely to see poorer results from both disciplines than those that optimise collaboration between them.

If you haven’t already then building a consistent of definitions for what a good lead or opportunity should look like is an ideal first step – check out the blog on Sales and Marketing Funnel Definitions to get you started. Similarly, a shared Sales and Marketing funnel that provides accountability for all and better management visibility can be incredibly helpful in bringing both Sales and Marketing together to work towards common goals and setting collaborative targets. Whatever you do, address this now as this sin rarely resolves itself – ignore it at your peril!

Sales and Marketing Sin 7 – Wrath & Customer Advocacy

Get your Sales and Marketing right and your customers will be your single biggest asset but get it wrong and boy will you know about it. All too often in the quest for business growth Sales and Marketing teams chase new business and neglect their existing customers, we’re all familiar with it right? Phone companies offering deals for new customers, switch and save promotions, exclusive discounts for first time buyers? Happy, well serviced, and valued customers will think twice about moving supplier whilst neglected, undervalued, or even ignored customers are much more likely to leave you – which leads to the last of our deadly sins and a common Sales and Marketing mistake…Wrath and Customer Advocacy.

Customers are the lifeblood of all of our businesses and just like all our customers want and need to feel valued and understood. You may solve problems for your customers, create opportunities for them, provide services or products that they value in their lives and businesses but rest assured if and when that stops happening or suddenly you’re not as attractive, competitive, or valuable as perhaps you once you run the risk of feeling their wrath as they look for better elsewhere. it’s widely thought that acquiring a new customer costs around 5-25x what it does to retain a client. For some businesses this can be as much as 50-100x more depending on your model.

Whilst it may be unlikely that the hottest topic in Sales and Marketing is customer retention it’s one that simply cannot be ignored.

If you’re looking to avoid this deadly sin then head over to our “How to improve customer retention” blog to explore the four key areas of;

  • On Boarding
  • Communication
  • Value
  • Exclusivity

And that’s it folks, 7 deadly sins in Sales and Marketing with more than a pinch of how to avoid some of these shockers, we’ve stopped short of sharing any horror stories as we’re saving it for our Marketing House of Horrors blog, but if you think we can help turn you from sinner to saint in any of these areas then get in touch below, we’d love to help.

Posted by Helen Brookes on Thursday 7th October 2021