I worked at a company and the CEO often said we just needed more sales. While closing more contracts, getting more orders and such would’ve brought in more revenue, it was not that simple. Lacking powerful, updated marketing materials backed by research and strategy was the underlying problem.
Putting pressure on your sales team to produce more without investigating critical issues like branding, core messaging, positioning and what sort of supportive materials are available can actually end up pushing quality sales executives to look for another job. So, note to top sales producers… don’t take a job unless you have a strong sense that you can sell the company and their offerings.
It is very common to see crappy looking web sites, cheesy or cheap looking brochures, even business cards that define a businesses’ low level of professionalism. Nowhere is this more felt than in the front lines of a sales process. And why is it that companies procrastinate on getting good looking materials that will facilitate more sales? I don’t know. You tell me.
Maybe it’s because they have never had to be the one leading a sales effort when the company wasn’t their own. It’s a lot easier to sell products and services when you are the president or CEO. You know the business inside out and people like dealing with the top gun. But sales professionals, even high level people need strong supportive materials to compliment their skills.
For those of you who have never relied on selling for your income, please consider these realities;
- People in decision making roles are very nervous about choosing new vendors. Most people have made some poor decisions in the past and are continually trying to minimize their risk of entering into a business situation with a company that can’t provide what they need.
- People think a lot about what the sales person says, considers the company’s reputation, looks over the web site, checks references… all that, but will put the most weight on feelings that can’t totally be rationalized. They will decide who to offer the business to based on how much hope of success got planted and how much fear of failure got weeded out.
- Supportive materials such as web site, business cards, brochures and the like provide another dimension to the story that doesn’t lie. In other words, what you say in a sales process is automatically discounted because people are smart enough to know that sales people talk a good game. But how you act and how your materials present can’t be excused. It is what it is.
In conclusion, you are likely chasing away sales if your web site and printed materials look outdated or put together by a graphics design amateur. People will get a feeling about your company through these materials and though it may not be accurate, to them it’s real and no amount of talking will remedy that feeling.