Growth at the Speed of Trust

Our age is one of disruptive change, not only in politics but also in business. Now, more than ever, getting sales and marketing to work together, and mean it, offers opportunity to reshape the time-honored mathematics of collaboration. Not only can 1 + 1 = 3, but also 4, 5, 6, 7, and more–in fact, a lot more.

So, what’s the problem? Consider these three questions about your company.

1)      Is your sales process aligned with your brand?

2)      Do you miss revenue targets when a new product or service steps into the spotlight?

3)      Is your sales team trained well enough to use consultative selling to anticipate disruptions in the marketplace?

Answers of “No,” “Yes,” “No” in that order, or “I don’t know” in any order, justify a closer look and, most likely, some changes.

Earlier this month, a meeting of the American Marketing Association’s Chicago chapter addressed the topic of “Managing at the Speed of Change.” Attending were senior-level marketing executives from large global corporations and middle to lower middle-market enterprises. A current concern is that at times things just seem to be moving too fast. Keeping track even of significant changes, often disruptive, has become a greater challenge. Influencing changes and disruptions after the fact even more so.

We co-sponsored the event, along with Moringstar, the research and investment firm. Our president, Phil Krone, was asked to speak to the group, onstensibly about our firm, Productive Strategies, which he founded nearly 25 years ago. The invitation made sense, even if our firm wasn’t a sponsor.  At Productive Strategies, we’re in the trenches every day, helping companies across industries to grow their top lines.

But Phil didn’t talk about Productive Strategies, at least not before practicing what we teach in our popular consultative sales training course, FOCIS [TM].

We know from experience and research that the very best salespeople deliver value during the sales process–and in every other interaction possible. That’s primarily how they get to the top and stay there. And by “best” we mean the 20 percent whoconsistently bring in 80 percent of the new business in nearly any company, professional services firm, or organization. Delivering value before the sale is a key way they build trust.

Here are the thoughts and ideas Phil shared with the marketers.

1. In disrupted markets, sales must be the front-line of discovery so that marketing gets the information and insight from the field to make effective decisions about brand, product, and service.

2. Once those critical decisions are made, sales processes must be adjusted to align with them.

3. When change impacts products or services–when features, benefits, new products, new services–are introduced, sales-force behavior often regresses.Consultative selling developed with careful discovery is replaced by the canned pitches of transactional selling. Prospects are pushed toward the “latest and greatest” instead of pulled toward solutions tailored to their specific needs.

4. Then, all too often, sales unfairly points a finger at marketing for poor leads, ineffective messaging, or otherwise “not doing its job.” But, in fact, increasing the top line requires both sales and marketing. Marketing must boost awareness and image through communication that educates and informs. But that’s not selling. Once a sales rep has stepped through a prospect’s door, the communications must be persuasive. Unfortunately, many salespeople (if not most) simply extend the marketing process. They continue talking about products, features, and benefits, instead of helping prospects to understand that those products can solve their problems by delivering more value than any other products on the market.

5. The good news is that such predictable scenarios don’t have to happen, if sales and marketing are working together productively. And that’s where we come in. We can work alongside marketing executives and managers to:

  • Train salespeople in the discovery skills they need to gather the best marketing intelligence possible
  • Adapt and customize sales processes to account for changes in buying motives, differentiation, competition, and new products and services.
  • Enable salespeople and managers to incorporate the behaviors of the very best salespeople in their behavior as a matter of course.

Together, as they learn to support and trust each other more directly, marketing and sales teams can make the most the most of the customized consultative sales process development we offer. They can learn to meet change in their target markets more readily and to turn that change, and future change, to long-term advantage.

Change the mathematics of collaboration.

Transform disruption in the topline into dollars on the bottom line.

Just get in touch with us at 312-560-0992 or We would love to learn about your issues and opportunities.

Scott Pemberton is a senior consultant at Productive Strategies, a management and markeing consulting based in Northfield, Illinois. The firm offers some 30 products and services to significantly improve consultative selling skills and processes, lead generation and appointment setting, and marketing and marketing communications. Scott can be reached at 312-560-0992 or


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