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Why Most Sales and Marketing Techniques Don’t Really Work

Saw a pretty cool movie recently with my wife.

A movie that explains why a LOT of customers don’t buy. And reveals a sales and marketing “secret” that can dramatically increase your profits.

Anyway, the movie is called “Fire Proof”.

It is an unabashedly Christian movie about a fireman and his wife on the path to divorce — but whose hearts are changed by a 40-day “test” the fireman’s father gives him.


I can ALREADY see some peoples’ eyes rolling reading this.

“C’mon Ben! Why are you wasting my time with this!”

Patience, grasshopper.

All will be revealed in a second.

You see, there are many themes running through this movie. Some are obvious (such as, “never leave your partner behind, especially in a fire”.) And some are not-so-obvious.

The sales lesson is one of the not-so-obvious ones.

It goes like this:

When the main character (the fireman) first tries to save his marriage, he only goes through the motions as he follows his dad’s 40-day plan. In fact, he goes the first 20 days without his heart being in it at all — only thinking of what he will gain from his efforts.

His wife (not surprisingly) sees right through him.

She doesn’t buy his act.

And as a result, she DISTRUSTS him even more.

Which is where the sales lesson comes in:

How many of us go through the motions like this when selling? Without truly CARING about our prospects? Without caring about their pain and challenges? Without caring about anything except “sucking as much money as possible from their bank accounts”?

I’m not saying this attitude can’t work.

Especially when selling to the low-hanging fruit (who buy anything).

But most people see right through it. And will naturally distrust you (and not buy from you) as a result. This is why I believe if someone wants to take their business to the “next level” they can’t just go through the motions.

You must CARE about your customers.

Your heart has to be into helping THEM first.

And you have to believe (REALLY believe) what you’re selling is going to change their lives for the better.

I realize this is a little “touchy feely”.

But when your heart is into helping your customers like this, success is almost automatic.

You automatically do what’s in your customer’s best interest. Automatically create (or pick) the BEST products to sell. And automatically do things that POSITION you as someone who cares — and is therefore trusted and believed.

This caring stuff isn’t always “sexy.”

But it works like gangbusters.

And in most cases, your competition is probably NOT doing it.

Love to Hate You: Bridging the Gap Between Sales and Marketing With Marketing Automation

With traditional B2B marketing tools, it’s difficult to measure the impact of marketing on driving not only qualified leads but increasing revenue. One “common” complaint from Sales is that Marketing isn’t turning over “good” leads.

Enter marketing automation, where Sales and Marketing come together in a common and transparent goal. Not only does marketing automation allow both Sales and Marketing to work on generating and identifying the best leads for the company, it can also significantly reduce the lead to sales time and optimize your sales department efforts.

Here are 5 ways marketing automation can help create a collaborative environment between Sales and Marketing.

Note, I’m partial to Pardot as it’s the system used by my company and my clients, but the information provided should be basic to most marketing automation systems worth their salt.


Google Analytics is great at providing basic insight into your website visitors, but you’d be amazed at the depth of information provided by a marketing automation system.

Marketing automation allows to you see each website page a potential customer visited, how long they were on that page and the path they took throughout your website. This is invaluable information in understanding what products or services a potential client is interested in, making the Sales connection even more meaningful when it does happen.


With marketing automation you can set a scoring and grading system for each identified person that your company interacts with. This allows the contact to go through the lead nurturing cycle at their own pace, giving them an opportunity to learn more about your company without pulling the Sales trigger too quickly.

With lead scoring, you can assign various points for each action a lead takes, from visiting a particular website page to signing up for a webinar to following one of your social media channels. This type of scoring is an easy way to follow the contact along the buying cycle as they become closer to being sales ready. The basic premise is the more a contact interacts with your company the more interested they are in your product or service. With 80% of website visitors not being sales ready upon their first visit, lead scoring reduces the risk of losing an opportunity by making contact too soon.


With the ability to track your leads’ activity, you can identify lapsed leads as they re-engage with your company. Here’s a real life example.

One of my clients tried booking an intro meeting with a contact several months ago, but had no luck. That contact stayed in their e-mail database and we’re able to see that they continue to interact with the company via email content. As the interaction increases and the contact’s score increases, we’ll identify the appropriate time for Sales to reach out to them again. Not only is my client able to stay top of mind with the lapsed lead, they can also track their interest.


Database segmentation is key to successful email campaigns, but many B2B companies aren’t doing it. Simply segmenting by vertical market / industry can make a huge difference in your open and click-through-rates (CTR). With one client’s segmented database, we see an increase of +10% on open rates when the communication is targeted to that contact’s specific industry.

Since marketing automation allows you to track an identified visitor’s path through your website, you have deep insight into their interest. With this insight you can tailor your communication to that visitor based on their needs. It’s as simple as creating a drip campaign geared specifically to their needs and guiding them through the buying cycle.


I’ve read statistics that lead to close ratios can increase by +70% if a sales enquiry is responded to within 10 minutes. With marketing automation you can set up a system where your Sales team is notified immediately when someone completes a Contact Us form. Not only does sales receive the lead’s profile in real time, but they also have a view to exactly what pages the lead visited, how many times they’ve been on the site and what other interaction they’ve had with your company.

This is invaluable information for Sales; as they start creating a relationship with the lead they don’t have to dig through their CRM system and hope all the information is up-to-date.

Less than 30% of B2B companies are currently using marketing automation, despite it’s demonstrated ability to bring more qualified leads to Sales and increase company revenue. Marketing automation is a powerful tool that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Held Back Sales and Marketing

The best sales and marketing is less about promoting and more about holding back.

As strange as it sounds, in order to keep a customer engaged – especially early on as you strive to build a relationship and trust – the best thing to do is to not give them what they want. Instead, stimulate interaction by giving your customer some of what they ask for while delivering a complete experience in successive stages.

Your goal is to engage your customer in a number of ongoing conversations and interactions instead of just one and you do this by providing breadcrumbs for them to follow you down the path of mutual benefit. To that end, here are Don’ts and Do’s for engaging in what I call “Held Back” Sales and Marketing:


(1) Don’t talk about your product… unless you have no other option! Bad sales and marketing is about incessantly pitching your product. Good sales and marketing is about uncovering need and developing relationships

(2) Don’t answer every question: There are 2 problems with answering every question a customer asks. First, it gives them control of the conversation. Second, if they have all their questions answered they no longer need you. Instead, create suspense and next steps

(3) Don’t provide all information: This follows from point (2) and is also contrary to traditional sales and marketing approaches. The fact is that if you provide a customer will all the information they are looking for – especially in a complex, multi-step sale – then they often go off and make their mind up by themselves

(4) Don’t suggest solutions: Going back to point (1) we need to keep in mind to let customers “discover” the solution by themselves – your solution. Your job is to listen and lay breadcrumbs based on what they are saying. Try not to jump ahead but instead lead the way


(1) Do engage and listen: If there is one thing that most sales and marketing professionals are not as good at as they should be, it is listening. We like to proclaim and explain whereas we should rather develop a talent for creating and managing discussions with customers

(2) Do ask questions: Remember that a person asking the questions and listening is the one in control of the conversation. Rather than give in to the temptation to lapse into sales-and-marketing-speak, use thoughtful pauses in the conversation to ask more questions

(3) Do build trust and rapport: A common misconception in sales and marketing is that your job is to talk about your company, products and services. While this certainly is the endpoint of a customer discussion, the starting point is building a relationship

(4) Do book the next step: Once you have built sufficient credibility with the customer through your professional empathy you may take on the role of guide. Your job is to engage customers on a journey, step by step, to a mutually beneficial desired outcome

Rather than trying to push customers forward, hold back and create a sales and marketing “pull” instead!