Doing and selling: Putting marketing into the mix

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Our ongoing poll -- which shows the importance of repeat and referral leads for AEC businesses and practices. This survey looks more closely into the other categories, for effectiveness.

TrustThere are yin and yang issues in business. Like centralization/decentralization, innovation/stability, and whether businesses should use dedicated sales representatives or have seller-doers. And we’ll throw into the pot the relationship between sales (business development) and marketing: When does one end and the other begin.

You could cop-out and say “everything is right, some of the time” but of course that doesn’t provide much guidance to a business leader (or marketer) trying to determine where to focus your priorities. However, all the best practices in the world still come down to the fundamentals:

  • Current and potential clients generally need to trust you to do business with you (or you need a monopoly or offer a service that cannot be replaced);
  • Trust is earned best through relationships and experience; generating positive word-of-mouth, repeat business, and references
  • Once you’ve earned that trust, you can execute marketing strategies to enhance, encourage and support it. (Social media, publicity),
  • In this context, trust makes sales and business development relatively easy, because (a) you will only try to sell to people and organizations who really could benefit from your services and (b) your reputation will either precede you or can be easily verified/checked by the potential client.

The importance of these points can be summarized in how you define and structure your marketing strategies. You start from inside, and build out. The highest efforts should be expended in really providing/caring/serving your clients and achieving leadership in your work (the doing). Then the selling arises naturally.

And the marketing — well, you can systematize your approach; capturing your reputation, referrals, testimonials to plan your advertising, PR and social media presence to generate a controlled and predictable inbound lead volume.

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