A focus that hurts sales as well as marketing

Freight forwarding has always depended heavily on effective sales functions for success……….But the B2B environment has changed and buyers are in control

Cold calls are not accepted, sales visits turned away, personal meetings difficult and entertaining increasingly frowned upon.

Buyers are in control and marketing need to engage them, so that their sales colleagues can do their thing.

It’s a challenge that forwarders are increasingly recognising, with many deciding to establish a high-level marketing position.

In today’s wired world information is easy to find, which is why buyers research potential vendors at their desk and – if you’re lucky – invite you in you later in the process. Typically when they’re ready to buy or change vendor.

And while it’s true that there are more ways than ever to advertise and send marketing messages, it follows that there is more ‘noise’ than ever for you to try and drown out.

And even if your message does get through, buyers filter out anything that doesn’t instantly engage them.

It’s a challenge that forwarders are increasingly recognising, with many deciding to establish a high-level marketing position.

But here it often faces a dilemma.

No one in the company is trained in marketing, the forwarding sector does not yet have many experienced senior marketers and marketers outside the industry are not knowledgeable about forwarding or shippers buying behaviour.

The most typical resolution is giving the responsibility for marketing to the head of sales.

But the new Sales & Marketing Director continues to worry about his teams performance or a competitors price-cutting, instead of considering the business’ situation, looking at new consumer needs, considering competitive challenges, and developing new strategies for company growth.

And they will probably continue to spend as much time fire-fighting and dealing with operational issues as they did when they had responsibility for sales on its own.

This doesn’t meant that sales directors are precluded from being effective marketers. It just takes time – up to five years – and does it really make sense to divert their attention from what they do best

So, if not sales, order doxycycline uk where is this person to come from?

Internal or external, the ideal marketing manager should have general management experience; not just sales and marketing experience.

Marketing must be effective in working with other departments, because developing, evaluating and launching new services will safeguard the business’s future.

To deal effectively with sales, operations, finance and the management team, the marketing executive should have spent time with (or have an intimate knowledge of) these departments, so that they truly understand their problems and these departments know that marketing understands their situation.

You’ll know when your external appointee or marketing trained internal appointee are on form when they deliver in five key areas:

1. Customer focus Recognising the critical need to focus on the market and customers; selecting the best verticals and segments to serve, and gearing the business up to offer superior value to meet customer needs. An elementary requirement that many businesses never grasp.

2. Integrated marketing Designing activity that serves the needs of important customer verticals, geographic business functions and services.

3. Adequate marketing information Studying and truly understanding customers’ perceptions, preferences, and buying habits, because trying to operate on ‘gut-instinct’ ultimately means that the competition will move ahead and customers will leave you behind.

4. Strategic orientation Whether or not the organisation embraces strategic planning, marketing plans will not bear fruit unless they are efficiently carried out at various levels of the organisation and the interests of the customer must be paramount for all employees.

5. Operational efficiency. Marketing plans are implemented in a cost-effective manner, and are the results monitored for rapid corrective action.

CONCLUSION

We tend to confuse marketing effectiveness with sales effectiveness.

This is a mistake that hurts sales as well as marketing, because one  is focused on short-term success and the other stable long-term growth.

You may have THE best sales force; one that could not perform any better.

But………..if they don’t have the right service and solutions to sell, understand the best customers, and have the best USPs to offer, their efforts count for little.

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