You’ve undoubtedly heard the question so many times that you probably think it meaningless: “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” Outside of metaphysical or possibly evolutionary concepts, the answer is correct either way. And so it goes with marketing and sales in the AEC community — though most of the time, we are wildly and (irrationally) focused on the final, estimating, quoting or RFP response stage.
I see this in the level of enthusiasm for the first two Construction Marketing Ideas webinars. Lots of interest in Matt Handal‘s session on proposals, but less interest (so far, though I will do what I can to balance it) with the upcoming Sept. 10 event about prospecting from Bobby Darnell.
Plenty of people, of course, have trouble distinguishing between marketing and sales because they don’t really understand their work — so, as Brian Javeline indicates:
It always makes us laugh when we get a business card from someone and it says in their title “Sales & Marketing”. We love to then ask, “So which do you like more, sales or marketing?” We get so many strange faces and answers and it’s obvious many do not know what we are referencing. Bottom line, most sales people are not marketing people, and most marketing people are not sales people. And most contractors, if we had to bet, are better at sales than they are at marketing – if they even know what marketing is to begin with.
We are not looking to be demeaning at all, but the nature of so many contractors is geared toward short-term goals so there is a natural gravitation toward trying to close the deal versus giving any or little attention to long-term objectives.
Yet the very best salespeople — and best selling organizations — understand how marketing and sales integrate, because if you can build the trust BEFORE you try to sell anything, you’ll undoubtedly achieve much better results afterwards. And, as Javeline reports in his posting, this “best result” occurs by delivering really good service, and then gathering the evidence through client testimonials, photos and referrals. (The egg, er the chicken . . .)
Of course, specialized sales skills will help you in your business. So will understanding how to manage the RFP process to make your proposals irresistible. (But you really should know when you should even bother with an “irresistible” proposal response.)
However, I think you’ll achieve far better results by balancing the near and long-term objectives, so encourage you to join Bobby Darnell’s Sept. 10 event.