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December 23, 2013

6 Marketing & Sales Lessons I Learned from our Workshop Participants

We just wrapped up our second M|R Marketing Workshop™.  For the past 6 weeks, I have worked with several firms from around the world (gotta love technology!) helping them to learn the process of creating a marketing & sales plan for their firms.

While I’d like to think they learned from me, I also learned some things from them… or at least made some interesting observations:

  1. This is still not an industry that embraces marketing & sales!  Though, there is the hint of change coming… I’m seeing more people in ‘marketing’ roles, but “senior execs” (with other corporate and operational responsibilities) are still the primary ‘sellers’ (even in some very large H50-level firms).  And you simply can’t serve two masters.
  2. The workshop participants were a diverse group… different sizes, different specialties, different disciplines… and yet, their marketing & sales issues were very similar.  We all like to think our needs are unique… but the fact is – we’re all in the same boat!
  3. While there is a lot of sexy technology out there that many marketers gravitate to… most still need to develop an understanding of the fundamentals – creating plans, setting strategy, measuring and managing effectively and so on.  Without the fundamentals in place… you’re just wingin’ it!
  4. When creating their first marketing & sales plan, most people tend to want to do too much… putting everything but the kitchen sink into it – only to find out they can’t get it all done.  Better to do a limited number of things… but do them really well.
  5. Even dedicated marketing people get too busy to work on marketing plans (which makes no sense to me!).  They get so busy “doing,” that they get way behind on the “thinking” and “planning” that must take place for a well-thought-out marketing & sales initiative.
  6. The founders & presidents (or other senior execs) of research firms still make most of the decisions on the revenue goals and marketing & sales strategies for their firms (and even some of the tactical decisions).  Fine.  Unfortunately, they often do it in the absence of information and client/prospect input… relying instead on gut feel and the “it’s worked in the past – let’s do it again this year” philosophy.  “The buyer’s perception is the seller’s reality”… time to open your eyes and ears!

Here’s my point… if you’re a small-to-mid-sized firm in the MR industry… and you’re struggling with the best ways to build awareness, position your firm in the marketplace and grow revenue – you’re not alone.  That describes the vast majority of firms.  It’s also the opportunity… if you take the time to create and execute a well-formed marketing & sales plan, you’ll be giving your firm a big competitive advantage over those without that kind of focus and effort.

Note: We’ll be delivering the M|R Marketing Workshop again in 2014 – in the summer and in the late fall. If you’d like to be notified when the 2014 dates are announced, Click Here.

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