Marketing and sales goes hand-in-hand and when marketing is done right, it can affect sale cycles in a good way. We interviewed Maurie Schreier-Fleming of Best@Selling on the topic of how effective marketing can impact your sales cycles.
BMC: How long has Best@Selling been in business and how did you get started?
Fleming: Best@Selling started in July 1997 because I wanted to work for myself after having worked for the major oil companies (mobil and Chevron ) for over 20 years.
BMC: How do marketing decisions affect sale cycles?
Fleming: Effective marketing really helps shorten the sales cycle. With great marketing leads, they are qualified and there is a real reason to have a salesperson help quide customers to help them understand why they should buy now.
BMC: What are the two most common mistakes you have seen companies make when it comes to integrating marketing with sales?
Fleming: The first mistake is that they are not integrated. Marketing and sales view each other as the enemy or with disrespect. As a result, they don’t work together. The second mistake is that sales does not give marketing enough information about what is working in the field. It is the difference between 20,000 ft. of marketing and on the ground with sales. You see so much more. That information has to get back to marketing because they will learn what is working and what is not.
BMC: What other factors can affect sale cycles and why is it important to pay attention to them?
Fleming: The ability of the salesperson to question strategically and quickly create rapport are critical to shorten the sales cycle. You get important selling information if you do these well. The salespeople who do not question well think that talking is selling. They are the ones who create really long sales cycles if they do sell at all.
BMC: Last words of wisdom in regard to sales cycles
Fleming: Know your ideal prospect. Don’t kid yourself that a C account will be an A account. Make sure you’ve qualified them well. i.e. They have a need, a budget and you have the product for them. Always look for things to improve. Selling is a never ending process.
Maura Schreier-Fleming is president of Best@Selling. She works with sales professionals on skills and strategies to close business faster. She often speaks at sales conferences and trade association meetings across the country. Her selling columns appear in the Dallas Business Journal, The Insurance Record magazine and Jobbers World. She can be reached by e-mail at info@BestatSelling.com and by phone at 972.380.0200.