The Blue Collar Success Group
Back in July of 2009, Plumbing & Mechanical Magazine did a feature cover story on the service business I owned at the time, Peterson Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling. The title of the story means a lot to me personally to this day. It was entitled: It’s About People, Not Plumbing. This way of thinking is how I built my service business basically from scratch and had so much success over 20 plus years.
I still believe in this thought process 100%. Your people make the difference. Regardless of how many trucks you have or total team members you employ, in the client’s eyes it is your people that create the biggest differentiator between you and your competition. How well you train your team in communication skills, sales and ultimate customer service is a huge factor, but that’s not enough. They must also believe in the training, accept the training, and then create improved behaviors with clients in the field based on the focus of the training.
However, your people alone are not enough for you to enjoy the success that you desire and deserve. You must look at the most important relationship in your business that has to do with systems you design and build which your great people run and manage. This crucial relationship is between your sales and marketing departments. Don’t get sidetracked here if you are a smaller contractor that doesn’t have dedicated people or teams that run these two departments. They exist in your business one way or another regardless of company size.
I want you to really see these departments in your own business. If, like most people, you have viewed them separately, then begin to ask yourself some quality questions regarding the strength of their relationship with each other. At The Blue Collar Success Group, we call this Critical Synergy: The Marriage of Sales and Marketing. There are only a few truly critical synergies in your business that can set you up for tremendous success, or create challenges and issues that completely block achieving your budget and goals.
We teach this concept to our clients using the marriage metaphor because everyone can relate to marriage in one way or another. Think about yourself and your marriage or intimate relationship. Is this your first marriage, or like me, have you had one in the past that ended up not working out? Either way you know the tactics and strategies that make the difference between a phenomenal marriage, a mediocre one, or a downright miserable situation.
In live training sessions we’ve asked our audience the simple question, “What makes a great marriage?” We get feedback like trust, honesty, passion, understanding, commitment, and many more aspects. The point is that we know and understand the key factors to make a marriage work well, but are we employing the same passion, trust, and understanding when it comes to the sales and marketing marriage?
Many times we see a tremendous lack of unity when it comes to this critical synergy in our own companies. You could even be the person running all of the marketing as well as all of the sales training in your business, but even within yourself there can be a disconnect when it comes to marrying these two together perfectly.
The goal becomes getting sales and marketing speaking the same language and really understanding each other’s role in the success of the company. We need to eliminate the battle that happens so much when salespeople are whining, complaining, and blaming the marketing department because they are generating “bad” leads. We also need to eliminate the marketing department getting upset if sales aren’t being closed at the expected rate based on the budget. We are all on the same team with a common goal, and it’s time to start acting like it!
A healthy marriage between sales and marketing has one single focus and one common goal: Drive more revenue. Period. Sometimes one side will be stronger than the other. That’s okay as long as we’re working together with that one common goal of driving revenue. This is no different than any marriage; sometimes one partner has to step up and lead for a period of time, but if there is synergy in the relationship, both parties have the same goal and help each other through challenges.
If sales and marketing fall out of love (so to speak), bad things happen. I’ve seen it take place in my own service business in the past, but we addressed it, fixed it, and that is one of the reasons I am so passionate about this subject and helping you get better results. There was a time years ago that I personally handled all the marketing in my service business, but as we grew and I began training and consulting, I handed it off didn’t stay on top of everything that was going on. Learn from me on this and don’t let it happen to you.
It is absolutely fine to delegate some of the tasks regarding marketing, but you must remain engaged regarding copywriting, messaging, blogging, results measurement, etc. In fact, one of the great marketing minds of our time, Dan Kennedy, has a saying about two things that you NEVER delegate in a business. One is the marketing—the acquiring, optimizing, retaining, and multiplying of customers. The other is the checkbook and keeping on top of the crucial numbers that effect it.
When I became a trainer in this great industry, I focused primarily on sales process. We created the Ultimate Client Experience service call process and began helping contractors all over the world improve their sales exponentially. We had so much success with sales training that our clients began asking us about marketing tools, strategies, and help. We had the realization that marketing in our own service business could still use some improvement as well, so this became immediate and dedicated focus.
We sought out the best service business marketing systems available. With the assistance of my friend, mentor, and marketing guru Joe Polish, we created a specific Marketing System for Contractors. As I began to see the critical synergy of marrying sales and marketing, the game changed overnight in the service businesses we work with.
If sales and marketing don’t have critical synergy in your business, it will be very difficult to grow. So, focus on your messaging and the cohesion between the two departments, making sure that what you are communicating in your marketing is also what you are delivering in the sales process. Get your team members involved and explain how sales and marketing work in unison to help the company thrive. As you shift your thinking about sales and marketing from separate departments to one great partnership, you will start to see the true growth potential for your company.