In a recessionary environment like this one CEOs at early stage companies are asking themselves whether Marketing is still essential to their acquisition goals. Here are a few pitfalls of that thought process;

SALES ACTIVITY 1: Generating lead lists & engaging in mass outbound acquisition activities

RISKS: Can they segment an audience, write & design an email and adhere to CAN-SPAM laws? Also, if 50% of Sales time is spent on this, that’s 50% less actual Sales productivity

SALES ACTIVITY 2: Attending industry conferences & trade-shows

RISKS: Conference investments are often made without a rigorous plan – social media promotion, well designed presentation, giveaways (plushies do well! see example), networking meetings set in advance, invite-only event, rapid lead followup, ROI calculation to decide on future events.

SALES ACTIVITY 3: Creating pitch decks, conference presentations, one sheets, white papers

RISKS: Does the one sheet overcome the targets audience’s objections or answer FAQs? Is it a PPT with clip art? Everything you give to a potential client is part of the sales process. If you don’t look professional they won’t trust you.

SALES ACTIVITY 4: Frequent updates to entire company on everything competitors are doing.

RISKS: Constantly checking on competitors in the rearview mirror is a distraction and creates spin. You need clear market positioning , value-added differentiators and a defined target audience. Don’t play your competitors strategy, create your own path to growth.

SALES ACTIVITY 5: Buying up digital media

RISKS: Adequate research on the publication’s audience, reach, negotiating KPIs and designing a compelling asset is essential to success. Media buys are an expensive calculated risk. Even when leads are guaranteed, said leads may be unqualified and irritated (e.g. ever gotten 2 calls & an email after downloading a harmless looking white paper?)

Sales operators are motivated to hit numbers. When they aren’t fed leads, they take the initiative to seek their own.

A CEO who lets their Sales team step out into the cold prospecting world without a marketing partner could see their efforts relegated to the spam folder, dollars disappear into the void, and the company’s reputation compromised.

Sales people spike on building 1:1 relationships, identifying pain, and matching that pain with the company’s solution. They are less attuned to the holistic customer experience; the messaging, social media, website, communications or advertising activities that will ultimately allow your company to achieve scaled growth.

If Sales is your ground game, marketing is your air cover.