A random act of kindness is defined as a non-premeditated, inconsistent action designed to offer kindness towards the outside world. Things like buying the stranger in line behind you a cup of coffee, or shoveling snow off of someone’s driveway.
While these types of random acts of kindness are a wonderful way to give back, it doesn’t work quite so well in the realm of sales and marketing. In fact, they can ruin a company’s reputation and ability to grow. You would think CEOs would all shy away from letting this happen. But it’s happening all the time in businesses of all types and sizes.
In executive staff meetings, the management team remarks that sales is not meeting expectations. Suddenly the meeting is filled with marketing experts, regardless of their expertise. A lively discussion ensues:
- We need a brochure
- The website is outdated and not delivering leads
- Let’s run an advertisement
- We need to do more social media
- Let’s run an end-of-month sale or promotion
- We need to do more events
- Let’s do a press release and get an article about us in a trade publication
Then, everyone leaves the meeting and many of these “new” programs get launched without connection to the business strategy or each other. And even more frightening is that often sales and marketing both start their own independent programs. Marketing will send out an email campaign with a new month-end promotion and sales will do a calling campaign with a different month-end promotion…to the same prospects! This is the birth of random acts of sales and marketing, emphasizing the “inconsistent” part of the definition.
The end results are tactics that are not aligned to a business audience, to business goals or to a strategic initiative. So, when I am working with CEOs and senior management teams, I tell them to step back and ask a series key questions to ensure alignment and focus:
- What is our target market?
- What are your plans on growing your business based on that target market? Did you set goals and objectives for marketing and sales to match those plans?
- What does success look like, and how are you measuring it?
Based on the answers to the above questions we can then dive a little deeper:
- Do we clearly understand the wants and needs of the target market?
- Do we know enough about our competitors and why they win?
- Where do our prospects go to research new products and services?
- Who and what influences them?
- How do they want to engage and eventually buy?
Now we can ask about alignment and focus:
- Is our company and our partners aligned around our target markets and plans?
- Do we have the right promotional marketing methods identified, and marketing automation deployed, to achieve our growth objectives?
- Does sales have a role to play in the programs?
- Do we have a measurement and feedback system that allows management to see progress and adjust plans?
It is time to stop for a moment and make certain you clearly know your audience, set your business goals and objectives, and align your marketing and sales plans and tactics to those goals. Move past the random acts of sales and marketing and start working with organizational alignment focused on precise and intentional actions. Your business and customers will love it.
You might be interested in checking out our ebook, where we’ll take a look at the research we compiled from our own direct conversations with CEOs and sales and marketing leaders. You’ll not only see how your organization stacks up to these business leaders, you’ll also be able to read their suggestions on how to improve sales and marketing alignment. You’ll also hear from several Chief Outsiders CMOs who have developed their own successful approaches to achieving sales and marketing alignment.