By Robin Robins, President, Technology Marketing Toolkit, Inc.
I had a very interesting call with a new client the other day. I won’t name names and you’ll see why in a minute…
His senior sales rep, who had been working for him for years, went off the deep end, broke into the office after hours to have a party with a couple of strippers–liquor everywhere–and then stole a company van for his getaway car until the cops showed up. (My client was awoken in the middle of the night when the security company called to say someone had broken into the office. He had no idea who it was at that point.)
When the sales guy was arrested, his boss (my client) found out that this sales guy was bi-polar and had stopped taking his medication. His condition was completely unknown to my client and came as a complete shock.
Obviously this is a pretty misfortunate scenario and one that most IT business owners wouldn’t have to deal with — BUT, it proves a very important point I’ve been driving home for years about automating your sales and marketing system so that it is not 100% reliant on a PERSON to get it done.
This client had a situation that is similar to 99% of the IT business owners I work with – the operations of the business (particularly the sales and marketing part) has absolutely no systems, processes, or metrics in place and only gets done if there is a particular person doing it. No one else knows anyone else’s job, how they do it, the processes and communications they use, and so on.
To make matters even worse, this owner didn’t even have a central database of his customers. Each sales rep (including the one who recently had a meltdown) is their own independent island responsible for managing their own database, their own activities, sales pitch, marketing materials, and daily activities.
This is an incredibly dangerous place for you as the business owner because each sales person holds all the power in marketing and selling YOUR services to YOUR customers. If they leave, everything they’ve created and developed on YOUR DIME walks out the door with them. Had this owner taken time to enforce documentation and development of universal systems with the sales force, this disaster would not have been as bad.
Naturally you are going to have to find top people to run your organization. I’m not suggesting that systems will erase the need for that. But when there is no formal sales process, training, or marketing system in place, you are really starting from anunnecessary disadvantage when hiring new people or replacing those in the current position. If this client had his sales system documented, it would not only be easier to replace this person, but it would also make any replacement’s ramp-up to success much faster because they are simply plugging into an already proven system instead of having to figure it all out from scratch.
Here’s another reason why this is dangerous…it makes you, the owner, incredibly dependant on your sales staff’s ability and willingness to do a good job. If they suddenly lose their motivation, what do you do? What if all your new business flow is dependent on that person networking and making cold calls…when they become ineffective, the flow slows down or stops; whereas if you had a SYSTEM in place for building loyalty with existing customers and cultivating new opportunities, their dip in effectiveness would be minimized.
Can you imagine Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald’s franchise, depending on the employees he hired to do a good job? Never would have happened. But because he systematized everything, he was able to build one of the most successful and profitable businesses in our history; all run by teenage kids.
So here’s a suggestion…
Get your butt to one of my final, half-day Client Attraction and Marketing Blueprint seminars so I can SHOW you what an auto-pilot marketing system looks like in YOUR exact IT services business.
I’ll give you precise case studies and examples that are specific to your business – not theoretical, “pie-in-the-sky” fluff that is just too vague. I’ll take the mystery out of marketing your business and show you how to “can” and “clone” your sales and marketing process so it requires very little effort to attract pre-sold, pre-qualified clients on a regular basis.
Go here and register NOW: www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com/event
You’ll see, firsthand, why so many computer consultants have eagerly sent me all those raving-fan testimonials.
Dedicated to your success,