Remember the story of the frog that got caught in a vat of milk and had to kick and squirm and fight until it churned the milk into butter and was able to hop out? Given the current lull in the US economy, your company may need to do the same thing when it comes to sales and marketing in order to achieve significant fourth quarter earnings and hop into 2013 unscathed.
On the upside:
“Retail CFOs expect a 4.5 percent increase in total 2012 sales,” states a press release BDO USA, LLP put forth earlier this month as a result of a recent BDO study. Similarly, the newly released Robert Half Technology Hiring Index and Skills Report reveals that “9 percent of CIOs said they expect to expand their IT departments, and 6 percent anticipate cutbacks, for a net 3 percent projected increase in hiring activity,” according to a summary of the report’s findings recently posted on Collegerecruiter.com.
On the downside:
Dissimilarly, the majority of mainstream media outlets, including The New York Times, which recently published an article by Nelson D. Schwartz entitled, “Earnings in United States Are Beginning to Feel a Pinch,” and a host of financial analysts seem to agree that the US economy is currently stalled. The aforementioned study and report, other independent reports, and many of the major companies’ anticipated fourth quarter earnings. The aforementioned study and report, other independent reports, and many of the major companies’ anticipated fourth quarter earnings reports may indicate that the overall outlook for fourth quarter earnings is good, but that doesn’t mean that fourth quarter earnings will come easy.
What does all of the above mean for your company? In keeping with our frog analogy, it means that your frog may not be able to churn milk into butter simply by kicking and squirming once it finds itself in a pinch; in order to be truly successful, it may be in your frog’s best interest to prepare now for a fourth quarter marathon.
Below are two things you need to do now to help your company achieve significant fourth quarter earnings at an accelerated pace.
1. Generate large numbers of qualified leads.
Generating large numbers of qualified leads is easier said than done. Ultimately, you have two options: the first is to hire and train more in-house salespeople to help you generate and qualify leads; the second is to outsource certain lead generation tasks, which may include lead qualification, scoring, and nurturing tasks, inbound and outbound sales and marketing tasks, and tele-prospecting.
How can you determine whether it’s in your best interest to build your internal sales team or outsource certain sales functions? If you’re feeling the end-of-the-year crunch, reputable sales management consultants can be your best friends. They can help you analyze your sales processes, make accurate assessments, provide appropriate recommendations, and increase revenue in accordance with your company’s sales goals and within specific time frames.
2. Bridge the gaps between sales and marketing.
You may be generating slick ads, regular e-newsletters and e-blasts, and other marketing collateral, but if your marketing efforts aren’t translating into quantifiable sales, chances are that your sales and marketing departments, like most typical sales and marketing departments, aren’t converging or working together in optimal ways. In order for your investments in marketing to truly pay off, you have to create synergies between sales and marketing departments based on complimentary, if not mutual, goals.
For example, if your sales goals include lead generation through tele-prospecting, your marketing goals should include increasing the number of qualified prospects by completing actionable tasks. It may no longer be enough for your marketing department to launch expensive print ads or put out regular e-newsletters and e-blasts. To get the sales numbers you need now, you may have to reassess a number of your marketing practices, change routines, and abandon things like purchased ads and standard e-marketing practices in favor of implementing strategic, cost-effective, proven e-marketing methodologies.
It’s human nature to stick to established calendars and routines, but if your sales and/or marketing departments are stuck in routines that are no longer generating tangible results, it’s time to shake things up.
Time is a-wastin’. Determine which sales and marketing tasks you need to eliminate, change, or outsource now, and you can enhance fourth quarter earnings while ensuring that your sales and marketing departments run smooth as butter into 2013.