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Friday, May 4, 2012

A Good Today Is Better Than a Perfect Tomorrow BY DAN HUDSON MAY 4, 2012 •

A few years ago, my company was charged with helping a startup business launch a new line. Our role was to assist in a lead-creation process to feed their hungry sales team. The launch was proceeding very slowly. The marketing team had gone over budget and was behind schedule on the launch. The sales team was ready to sell but was missing some fundamental selling tools.

During a weekly status review meeting, the frustrated CEO declared that “a good today is better than a perfect tomorrow.” He instructed the marketing team to use the branding and messaging as it then existed and told them to focus 100 percent of their resources on preparing the sales team to sell. His rationale was that non-core selling activities could be improved over time but that he needed sales effectiveness now, not in six or 12 months.

Is marketing helping? Think about your current situation. Are you considering entering new markets or channels, growing your lead pipeline or creating other new opportunities for your sales team? If you are, how well is your marketing organization supporting these activities? If you are a salesperson asking for marketing support you may hear statements such as “How receptive would the market be to this program?” or “Bring a business case and we will evaluate it.”
Quick market testing. The fact is that it does not take a yearlong study to test some basic marketing concepts and ideas. Start by building some simple messages and test them on a sample of your targets. Use a large enough sample size to have some statistical credibility but not so large that it would take months to complete the test. It also makes sense to talk with some existing clients to get their perspective. They may not be prospects for the new offering but they may have some helpful observations. If the initial reaction is positive then more investment may be warranted.
Take action. If you are a CEO or CSO you know too well that your revenue clock does not take time off for holidays or vacations. It doesn’t care if the sales team is at full staff or if your marketing messages have been perfected. It will continue ticking away day by day until the end of the sales cycle. If someone in your company has a good idea to help you grow revenue, check it out now before your competition does. Don’t let the marketing naysayers deter you!

Dan Hudson is the co-founder and president of 3forward and has a B2B sales and sales leadership background of more than 30 years. He can be reached at dan.hudson@3forward.com.

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