Is Marketing Necessary to Scale my Business?

Published June 13, 2019 by Laura

I am confronted, daily, with the question, “Is marketing really necessary?” For years I have had countless sales managers and other executives tell me that it is the face-to-face relationship that really counts– That the salesperson is who does the work to cultivate and close the deal. I’ll be honest, I’ve done a terrible job of marketing for myself. Like many CEO’s, I open my inbox and phone app each morning, and a stream of hundreds of other marketing mail floods my inbox. I delete them all. However, let’s be real– I don’t have time to read them. I also don’t have time to take all of the sales calls that come to me each day. Does this sound familiar? However, today is different. Today I have decided to scale my business. So in short, yes, I am about to start marketing my business with marketing tactics. As the first order of business, I am sharing three reasons why I know marketing is necessary to grow my business.

I started my marketing company, EMKTG, more than two years ago. I make plenty of money without a large staff to focus on sales. I have put only four blogs out there, of which my team members mostly wrote, and as a consultant, my website is simple. Like many other marketing service oriented people, I’ve been so busy with existing clients that I’ve completely neglected to spend time marketing my own company. It has been easier to spend time making money through meetings with existing clients than to spend time to expand my business. However, this day is different. So what am I, a global marketing expert going to do to scale my business?

Marketing vs Sales

One of the primary questions the owner of a company asks themselves is where to invest when looking to grow the business. Do you add salespeople to the team? Or spend time and money on marketing? The answer is usually controversial.

I once had a CFO look at me straight in the face and rank the internal teams by their level of importance. He put “marketing” last. I was dumbfounded. Is this thought the reason their salespeople were making more than the head global marketing executive? I knew I wasn’t alone.

Honestly, that CFO was likely trying to cut me down because I was a real threat to him or maybe it was that he didn’t respect women. I was smart, I was studying a masters in executive leadership, and I had finally been invited to sit at the executive table to discuss global strategy with other key stakeholders from around the world.

Today, I’m blogging you because as a leader, manager, executive or whomever, telling marketers (or anyone) that their work is meaningless is total crap (not to mention wrong from a leadership perspective). I GET to say this because, as the marketer, I have the microphone on the largest public stage in the world, but also because I know how to drive traffic to a website. I have an audience that is interested in listening to my stories because they are more positively stimulating than a stuffy conference room with people trying to “one-up” each other for political gain. Also, did I mention that online marketing stories stick? Website content is on the world wide web for all time, continuously being scanned by search bots.  When done right, (which by the way, is what marketers are supposed to know better than the rest) my stories positively, and ongoing, influence how well my website and it’s individual pages, like this blog post, will rank.

The Sales Relationship

A sales relationship? Yes, that is correct. That’s what you said? Yes, and that’s what I am saying as well. Google defines a relationship as, “the way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave toward each other; An emotional association between two people.” Let’s take this a step farther, shall we?

To some, the word “relationship” makes them cringe. If you are one of these people, you may have gone through a long and grueling divorce, like me, or have had a few painful interactions with others that you’d rather not have to think about again. Underneath it all, you may still feel angry, hurt, or even annoyed by the memory. Although I am now happily re-married, I had to work through that pain.  It took time to change my mind. It took a lot of nurturing via conversations with friends and loved ones to arrive at the conclusion that it was a GREAT idea to get re-married.

On the other hand, you might LOVE the word relationship. You might wake up every day with a big smile on your face, grateful to be alive, and extremely happy with the people you get to interact. Most of us would say we would like our every day to be more like the second scenario: HAPPY. The point here is that every interaction we have creates a memory. It’s a marketers job to make sure those memories people have with your brand, are excellent ones.

So again, I will go back to the idea of sales as a relationship. Yes, sales individuals cultivate and (hopefully) close the deal. How? Well, typically through phone calls, psychology, discounts, research, emails, face-to-face visits, negotiations. If a sales representative is doing all of that, what is the marketing department doing? Good question. Because that is marketing; The action or business of promoting and selling products and services, including market research and advertising.

These activities are what cultivates the customer relationship and win the deal—marketing research, communication (experience), intelligence, and getting your name out there! Depending on the size of your company, whether you have an internal marketing team or not, the responsibilities of these activities will fall into a different set of hands based on each person’s unique skill set.  At least that’s how it should work. So this means figuring out how to set up your teams to best cultivate and sustain those customer relationships.

A large part of promoting your brand is digital—and often salespeople do not have the skillset to know how to market your brand online or to automate internal processes that work, thus effectively increasing your reach without adding time and overhead. Substantially, through creative marketing activities, you can amplify your sales revenue.

Scaling Your Business

Did you know that 65% of a company’s business on average comes from existing customers? In some industries its higher than this! So herein lies a fundamental question for you: How do your customers feel about you? Is the feedback honest or coming from the salesperson? An anonymous survey will help you to determine the truth.

Did you know that 80% of customers are willing to pay more for positive customer experience? That means that by investing a little extra on marketing to gauge and uniformly nurture your customers’ brand experience online, you can raise your prices over that subpar competitor without making your customers angry – which is how to scale your business. Adding value to your brand reputation increases how much a customer will pay to use your product or service.

Did you also know that lowering your customer churn rate by 5% can increase profitability by 25 to 125%? Who do you think can help you figure out how to reduce that churn and strategically nurture your customers to a broader audience than your sales team can reach on their own? Too bad marketers don’t usually get a portion of the profit. Oh, wait, yes they do—it’s called marketing investment! At some companies, marketers get commission and bonuses based on the sales that they help close. Because let’s be real, it’s a team effort. Let’s not get hung up on titles.

If you want to scale what the very best salesperson may be doing with her or his clients, start blogging on interesting topics that are relevant to your customers. Collectively amplify your brand’s voice, automate the internal processes, emails, and marketing actions that have been working for your very best salespeople. Most of all, treat people with respect.

That’s it for now. I will be writing to you every week from now on. Thanks for listening.

Laura

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