We get a lot of one-off inquiries from people who want to engage with our firm to increase sales. While we appreciate the interest, we can usually tell in about 5 seconds if it is going to work out or not.
One of the most important things to understand about marketing is that it will never close the deal for you. Closing a deal, making a sale or getting that person into that used car today takes skilled sales experience. Not always. You get lucky and circumstance can lead to a sale, but the fact is that sales is as much of an art as marketing is.
Marketing is the vehicle that helps you identify and qualify your audience/consumer. It gives you the tools you need to reach them in a relevant way, when they are ready to make a decision, providing them with the information needed to perform the desired result.
Sales is the call to action, virtual or in person, that prompts them to make a decision. E-commerce differs in that good marketing drives the consumer to your site and sales is virtual - with a strong call to action and good service being the mechanism that helps close the deal.
In face to face business transactions though, the marketing won't be the aspect that inks the deal. You can qualify all the "hot leads" you want, but unless you have a sales cycle that follows up effectively, you won't meet the goals that you've made for your business. Qualifying leads is on piece of the puzzle. Market research and detective work are another part. And finally, the relationship, whether it is an immediate connection forged by personality or a long term development, is what makes the sale.
Business owners need to ask themselves if their sales cycle is missing any pieces. Are sales staff (or yourself in some cases) trained in how to effectively make a sale? Do sales staff (or you) have the right personality to make these calls? Do they have the training needed to negotiate effectively?
Make sure your company isn't setting itself up for failure by leaving components out of the cycle. Marketing and sales need to work in tandem with your brand for the best success.