Let us think about this question for a moment. Without marketing, you would not have prospects or leads to follow up with, but yet without a good sales technique and strategy your closing rate may depress you. Marketing is everything that you do to reach and persuade prospects. The sales process is everything that you do to close the sale and get a signed agreement or contract. Both are necessities to the success of a business. You cannot do without either process. By strategically combining both efforts, you will experience a successful amount of business growth. However, by the same token if the efforts are unbalanced it can detour your growth.

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Your marketing will consist of the measures you use to reach and persuade your prospects that you are the company for them. It is the message that prepares the prospect for the sales. It consists of advertising, public relations, brand marketing, viral marketing, and direct mail. The sales process consists of interpersonal interaction. It is often done by a one-on-one meeting, cold calls, and networking. It is anything that engages you with the prospect or customer on a personal level rather than at a distance. Your marketing efforts begin the process of the eight contacts that studies show it takes to move a prospect or potential client to the close of the sale. If marketing is done effectively, you can begin to move that prospect from a cold to a warm lead. When the prospect hits the "warm" level, it is much easier for the sales professional to close the sale.

Do you see the cycle? As you see in my explanation above it takes multiple contacts using both sales and marketing to move the prospect from one level to the next. That is why it is import that you develop a process that combines both sales and marketing. This will enable you to reach prospects at all three levels; cold, warm, and hot. It is all about balance. Are you unsure of how to integrate your marketing and sales? Try this. Take a few moments and divide your prospect lists and database into categories of cold, warm, and hot leads. Then sit down and identify a strategy on how to proceed with each individual group. For example, you could try the following methods of contact:

 • Cold Lead Strategy - Send out a direct mailing or offer them a special promotion

Warm Lead Strategy - Try a follow-up call, send out a sales letter, or schedule a special seminar or training session to get all of your warm leads together. Once you have moved your prospect to the "warm" level, it is time to proceed in closing the sale. This will be easier to do if you somehow engage the prospect. You can do this by conducting a one-on-one call, make a presentation, or present a proposal, estimate, or contract.

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What if you are uncomfortable with the sales or marketing process?
An alternative that often proves successful is to collaborate with someone that possesses the talents that you feel you lack in. You can do this by creating a partnership, subcontracting, or hiring in that talent.

Remember the key to success in marketing and in sales is balance!



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