Change your Company from Sales Driven into Marketing Driven

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Stephen Monaco
CEO, United States

Change your Company from Sales Driven into Marketing Driven

Benefit of being a market driven company rather than one driven by sales.
Far too many companies maintain an antiquated mentality and are still driven by sales, instead of changing their focus to one that is driven by marketing. It's baffling to me why sales driven companies remain as such, and maintain their short-term approach, when they could be systematically transitioning their organization's culture into one that embraces the concept of being market driven.
Why should a company be 'market driven'? Market driven companies surpass their rivals by developing superior levels of ability across the areas of research, pricing, product development, distribution channels, promotion, and market management.
How do you know if your company is driven by marketing or sales?

Hint: If the title of the most popular song in the corporate hymnal is "Churn 'em and burn 'em", it's a safe bet that your company is driven by sales.

Another sure sign that a company is sales driven is their sales team can't stop talking about their latest product or service offerings long enough to listen and learn about customer's needs. Sales personnel are constantly in touch with existing and prospective customers, and these dialogs could be excellent sources of determining customer needs.

Companies that are driven by sales focus primarily on acquiring customers, grabbing market share, achieving immediate revenues, and controlling costs. They concentrate heavily on increasing short-term ROI which isn't necessarily bad, since consumers always have needs that must be satisfied, and those needs create opportunities for peddlers. However, over the long haul, organizations that are driven by sales grapple with differentiating themselves from their competitors in any other way except with pricing, which turns into their key marketing tactic. While companies that operate their businesses as such may reduce short-term risk, this method does nothing in the way of developing products lines that carry on. And that makes long-term success an uphill battle.
In contrast, companies that are genuinely market driven demonstrate an outlook that's more long-term, and their approach concentrates on concepts like total customer satisfaction, managing the customer experience, customer retention, and customer lifetime value. Engaging customers at a level that enables a clear understanding of their needs presumes that if customers are delighted, not only will the revenues come, but profits will escalate and growth will ensue.

Market-driven companies are externally focused and gaze outside the company for the input required to develop solid strategies and make tactical decisions. Being market driven means developing a thorough understanding of market dynamics and consumer needs. This external focus makes opportunities more readily identifiable so the company can capitalize on them.
By staying connected to their customers and cultivating those important relationships, market driven companies are typically better equipped than their sales driven rivals at anticipating market changes. Maintaining close links to customers and therefore to the market, the insight gained by companies that are market driven provides competitive advantages that greatly improve their ability to offer real value to customers.

Developing an organization that's marketing driven isn't brain surgery, but it requires a great deal of commitment across the entire organization in order to be successful. Organizations that want to evolve must consciously make this a priority and dedicate enough attention so that it becomes the strategic objective of their company. But company executives frequently miscalculate what is actually required to put such a dramatic change of business strategy into action. Companies get tripped up while attempting to implement market driven strategies because their organizations are poorly suited for such an undertaking.

And sweeping change isn't going to happen overnight. It's completely unrealistic to expect an internally focused organization to suddenly have close ties to the market. It would be like taking the string section from an orchestra and expecting them to suddenly play the brass horn instruments just because they are skillful musicians. It simply isn't going to happen without reconditioning. Rethinking the whole organization and developing new competencies takes time. Executives talk about their companies becoming marketing driven, but having the wherewithal to effectively make such a comprehensive transformation throughout the organization is an altogether different story.

Successfully implementing and carrying out this strategy pivots on whether this mindset becomes a central part of a company's composition through and through including the long-term allocation of sufficient capital and human resources, including an exceptional Chief Marketing Officer.

The senior-most marketers must be thought-leaders, since more so than any other member of the executive team, the strategies they set quite literally mold the company's identity, drive business performance, and champion the customer's needs. Managers that operate at this level, shoulder great responsibility and need considerable latitude, as their obligation to deliver is paramount.

With this realization, it's apparent that along with CEOs, marketing chiefs exert considerable influence in determining the direction of their corporation as one of the most vital decision makers in the organization.

These challenges require the qualities of outstanding leaders and the support of CEOs who willingly embrace their marketing chiefs as strategic allies, and recognize that the wide-ranging issues which focus directly on customer satisfaction are the components most vital to ensuring the company's success. Chief executives who don't openly champion the endeavors of their senior marketer's customer-centric efforts, do so at their organization's peril.

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