Magazine article Marketing

Customers Are about Sales, Not False Friendship

Magazine article Marketing

Customers Are about Sales, Not False Friendship

Article excerpt

"Dear John," said the note from the CEO-from-hell to his marketing director. "What do you know about the 54 areas of marketing waste identified in the consultants' report? I want us to have a lean, mean, selling machine and I hold you accountable! Cancelled your lunch and will see you in my of rice at 1 pm to discuss improvements."

These "Dear John" letters are on the increase. As professional marketers we should keep ahead of our CEOs, but research reveals a tide of discontent from those outside marketing, finding us a bunch of overpaid, underworked individuals, spending money like water, with no idea of business performance and more interested in loving customers than selling to them.

So what should be done? Accountability and measurement are being heralded as possible solutions. But will they do the trick? I think I can offer some answers, having spent 20 years working with marketers to measure and improve performance.

First, our obsession with loving customers and one-to-one relationships has become a distraction. We need to get back to the basics of selling, and tracking the origins of sales success.

I'll illustrate with the example of an industrial giant whose sales were declining under growing competition. Its sales and service people saw themselves as 'account managing' and 'relationship building', abhorring the idea of selling.

When we work-shadowed these 'account managers' we found them showing up unannounced at customers, and inviting themselves in for tea and biscuits. …

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