For over a decade, the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing has been helping associations take a more strategic approach towards revenue development. One of the biggest challenges has always been the integration of marketing strategies and tactics with the sales efforts of the organization. That’s why I’m really pleased to announce that we’ve joined forces with Sandler Training – Ottawa to develop a unique revenue development training solution for the association sector.
Our upcoming workshop Dealing with Association Revenue Challenges shows you how you can integrate these two disciplines to take association revenue development to the next level.
Why is Integration so Important?
A marketing plan is essential for a successful business. It is a road map that defines your vision and goals and what you must do to achieve your mandate. It articulates who your customers are, the unique value that you deliver to your customers and how to get your product or service in the market and in the hands of your customers when they are receptive to buying from you.
Whether you are selling memberships or specific products, a marketing plan answers the basic questions:
* Who are my most valued customers?
* What would they want to buy from me?
* How much are they prepared to pay for it?
* How do they find out about my organization?
* What are my competitors doing?
* What must I do position our organization uniquely in the marketplace?
* How do I measure progress?
Therefore, the role of marketing is to establish and communicate your organization’s unique value proposition to the marketplace and generate interest and demand for whatever it is that you are selling. Without a marketing plan, you will probably work much harder and get significantly less results because your efforts will not be focused.
How Marketing Fits into the Sales Process
Ultimately, the job of marketing is to generate demand and sales leads. Based on my experience in both marketing and selling, a “warm” (qualified) lead takes about half the time to close the sale than a “cold call”. There is nothing more difficult and time consuming than making a cold call to a prospect that has never heard of your organization or worse, has a preconceived notion of your organization’s value (or brand) in the marketplace.
A properly executed marketing plan is one that converts “suspects” (broader potential audience) into “prospects” (potential customers) whether it be through online inquiries, direct mail pieces, advertising, social channels or other targeted communications. It provides your sales team with information about your core customers and qualified people to call.
Unfortunately, too often marketing is associated with just communications and is viewed as a necessary expense for an organization. And too often, marketing people complain that they “don’t get no respect” in their organization. That’s because they’re not demonstrating their value in delivering potential customers to the sales team, whether it be potential new members, sponsors or exhibitors.
On a final note, the responsibility of marketing is not to directly generate sales. Its job is to define the products that their audiences will buy, when they will buy them and at what price and communicate with the marketplace. If the sales team doesn’t follow-up with leads, does a lousy job at selling the product or doesn’t service the customer to their expectations, the sale will not be made or will be lost and many of these elements are out of the hands of the marketing department.
The most effective organizations are those where the marketing and sales functions work together to generate business for the organization. This is why the two functions need to be seamlessly integrated; because the success of one depends on the other and when both of these functions work together, the results are significantly improved.