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Three Steps to Connect Marketing to Sales

In theory, sales and marketing should be two of the most integrated and connected aspects of your Club’s operation.  The reality, unfortunately, is that in some businesses they are operating almost independently and singing entirely different tunes.  For the Club, what this divergence leads to is ineffective messaging and lost prospects.  The importance of connecting sales to marketing is clear, so the question is: how can we achieve it?

To understand how to improve this connection, it is first important to understand the difference between the two disciplines of marketing and sales.

Marketing is a management planning process; it is focused on the strategies and techniques of crafting goods and services, all the way from a concept to an end-product or service.

The sales process is focused on the strategies and techniques of convincing a customer to exchange their cash for that product or service.

The marketing process develops a perceived need for your product in the mind of a customer, and the sales process then allows the customer to satisfy their perceived need for your product by purchasing it.

Although separate and distinct disciplines, marketing and sales efforts must be carefully aligned to achieve their highest potential in generating a steady stream of customers for your Club.

Using this three-step procedure to connect your marketing to sales will put you on the path to generating more qualified prospects and selling more memberships.

Step One – Clearly Define Your Four P’s

Successful marketing captures your business through the lens of your customer’s needs – and the satisfaction of those perceived needs – by defining the “Four P’s” of your offering: Product, Price, Place, Promotion.

To test how well-defined your product is at this moment, ask each member of both your management and sales teams to give you their “elevator pitch”.  If those pitches are not identical, or if they are not focused on precisely what differentiates your Club from its competition, then you have work to do.

Defining your Product properly begins with your mission statement – the single sentence that describes why you exist.

Once you have that definition, you must develop your brand position – an expression of what makes your Club distinct, unique, and fills a particular consumer need in a way that none of your competitors can.

Your brand position is critical: If you do not understand what you are offering, neither will your prospects.  Even more disturbing is this reality: If you don’t define your product, someone else will, and you may not like their story.

After “product” comes Price, Place and Promotion:

Price is self-explanatory.

The definition of Place is a clear analysis and understanding of the specific target audience for your product, and the tactics you have selected and employed to reach that audience.

Your definition of Promotion is the complete list of methods you will use to broadcast your product to your audience – for example: brochures, a website, mobile apps, print or digital ads.

With your “Four P’s” clearly defined and in hand, let’s move to Step Two.

Step Two – Singing from the Same Sheet Music

Step two along the path to connecting marketing to sales is teaching your team, particularly your sales force, to “sing from the same sheet music”.

To do this you will need to train your team to:

a) be comfortable with presenting your Club according to this script

b) understand the importance of presenting a consistent image and message when promoting the Club in the marketplace

Consistently reinforce and remind your staff of its importance in all employee communications.  You could do this as part of your email signature, through a notice on employee message boards, or verbally during employee meetings.  Just as consumers are bombarded with over 3,000 messages a day, so are your employees.  Make sure it’s your message that sticks.

Constantly encourage employees to share how and when they have promoted the Club and reward them with both private and public recognition for their efforts.

With your marketing in place and your implementation team deployed, it’s on to Step Three.

Step Three – Track, Analyze and Adjust

Your Club is now positioned consistently across all communication channels and your employees are all singing from the same sheet music, but how do you know for certain that marketing is now connected to sales?

The answer is through data collection and analysis.

  • Ask consumers where they learned about you when they visit or call the club
  • Incorporate unique URLs and telephone numbers into published advertising to identify what technique connected with what specific audience
  • Google analytics provides a wealth of data about prospects who have visited your website: where they visit from, what pages they visit, how long they spend on your site and more
  • Social media sites also provide data on likes and engagement
  • Tracking pixels can also be added to emails and webpages to follow the activities of users

Review and analysis of this data will expose what is working and what needs to be adjusted to create maximum impact.

The combination of a clear and consistent Club message, the effective broadcast of that message to your target audience, your sales team singing the same song, and close attention paid to what is working and what is not will connect your marketing to sales – providing a steady stream of qualified prospects to your door and new members to your Club.

This article was authored by GGA Senior Associate and Marketing expert Linda Dillenbeck.

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