The line between sales and marketing is now barely visible for companies approaching it correctly. For the rest lingering, out of date sales and marketing habits put their prospective clients at arm’s length and threaten nearly irreparable damage to the brand. Relationship building, though always important in business development, has been amplified by a shift to relationship marketing and from deceptive, quick turn, marketing practices.
Every day we see a number of companies using new technologies with old methodologies. From tactical to philosophical, here are 6 sales and marketing bad habits everyone should work to break.
1. Skipping the Branding steps
I’m going to start here because Brand is the place to start. How do you ever expect to effectively communicate who you are, what you do and why it matters if you have no clarity yourself? You won’t. And no one will believe it if it isn’t clear and full of conviction. Branding is important possibly now more than ever as consumers see the purchases they make as reflections of their own brand. Consumers, us, you and me, we want to connect with something other than a price tag.
Your brand is a core, a person that you talk from the perspective of and make decisions based upon. It’s just like having a best friend and being able to say, “John would never say that. That’s not like John.”
Create it. Live it. Arm your entire team with it. And use it as a gut check for everything else you do to grow your business.
2. Running your email campaigns on Purchased Lists
How many times have you received an unsolicited email and said, “how the hell did they get my email address?” or “why am I getting emails from this person?” It’s irritating. You’re busy and so are your prospective clients. Don’t waste their time and yours by spamming their inbox. Not only is it bad for your brand, it harms the chance for long-term, trust-based relationship development and it can get you in some hot water.
You may get a hit here or there but the truth is emailing to a purchased list simply doesn’t give you consistent results. Think about it, you bought a list of names. Do you think that list provider only sold that list to you? No way. The names and email addresses on that list have been bombarded with unsolicited emails. Your delivery rate is likely to be very low.
Don’t just take my word for it.
Email marketing today can still be effective but it requires a strategy around creating content and attracting folks to opt-in. Those leads are higher quality and the time from both sides is better spent.
3. Focusing on quantity over quality
This is everywhere in marketing and sales and social media has only fueled this numbers fire. From obsessing over the number of Likes on a Facebook page to buying Followers on Twitter to buying email lists to mass email to – more has been associated with better when targeted is the way to go.
It doesn’t matter if you have thousands of Twitter Followers if none of them engage with you and share your content. Same goes for Facebook. And the email thing, we’ve touched on a bit already, but the fact is no one wants to hear from you all the time. And when you are reaching out it better be useful messaging. It’s not good enough to segment messaging by only age and location any longer. Get to know your audience better and then deliver relevant, timely content at a pace that doesn’t beat them over the head.
In every aspect of communication, the shift is to reduce the noise.
4. Being too guarded
The greatest thing social media has done for business is to allow companies to open up to their audience. We get to see behind the curtain. Sometimes we learn that the Wizard is up to no good. Sometimes we learn that the largest companies in the world are quite endearing. The fact is companies make mistakes. They’re run by humans who do the same and we should expect nothing less. It’s the way companies react to those mistakes that we should hold them accountable for.
Relationship building requires give and take which often times means being vulnerable. Companies who delete legitimate negative feedback from their Facebook page or leave comments off of their blog posts simply for the goal of shining a strictly positive light on their brand actually do the opposite. They create a fake, unbelievable picture of their company.
5. Relying on “Me Too” Marketing
Ever have one of those moments as a kid where your reasoning for doing something was because everyone else was doing it? Yeah, it wasn’t smart then and it isn’t smart now. Just because there are a lot of businesses on Twitter doesn’t mean you have to be. It may or may not be right for you. Do some research or get someone to help you do some research. Just because your competitor’s website has a super fancy flash-based landing page doesn’t mean you should.
When you fall into Me Too marketing tactics without a damn good reason why you should do it you waste your time, run a risk of low ROI on your efforts and water down all the work you’ve done to stand out.
6. Not measuring your efforts
Spending time and money on marketing and sales efforts and not measuring the results is like paying someone and not knowing why you’re paying them. What to measure, how and what to benchmark the numbers against should be built into your strategy before you start executing. Make sure what your measuring helps provide perspective on hitting goals. Set a timeline for reviewing the results and tweaking your efforts.
Beware of paralysis by analysis, however. Reviewing too soon and too often could lead you to make changes before your strategy has been proven.