I want you…I need you…but there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you – now don’t be sad….cause two out of three ain’t bad. ~Meatloaf
One of the more popular singers of my youth, this was the signature line from one of his two most popular songs. We’ll save the review of Paradise by the Dashboard Light for another time.
Here’s my problem. I’m pretty sure that two out of three doesn’t work so well in the game of love. And I know for certain that two out of three doesn’t work at all in the world of business development.
Successful business development (long-term revenue and profitability growth) can’t happen without all three of the necessary elements in place and working well. All organizations must be able to do three things; attract, acquire and retain the right customers.
Attract. An integrated marketing communication plan usually consists of a variety of parts that may change over time but committed to so that no gap in getting your message out there exists. A winning marketing communication strategy could be made up of any number of tactics including unique lead generation methods, personalized direct mail and promotional products. The key is to get and hold a prospective customers’ attention.
Acquire. For there to be a synergy between marketing and sales support, both groups must get on the same page. If marketing thinks one thing and sales believes they need another to close deals, only friction and inefficiency will exist. Better to have an open dialogue so that the all too often pointing of fingers for lack of results isn’t allowed to happen at your place of business. If your marketing efforts are helping you get to the table with opportunities, the trick is to find ways to assist your sales group in closing more of them.
Retain. With retention rates at all time lows and customer loyalty harder to come by, it is important to prove your value to your customer on an on-going basis. In the “good old days”, we could get by on being just good enough. But in the 21st Century, performance is not a nice to have but a must-have in order to keep your customers for the long haul.
Picture a stool. You can be supported quite comfortably on one that has three legs. But have you ever tried to support yourself for any length of time on a stool that only has two legs? If you have great marketing that helps you find customers and a great sales effort that helps you get customers but an inadequate customer service effort that does not allow you to keep what you’ve gained, then what have you got? Or, if you have good sales production and convert most of your opportunities and good customer service and keep almost all that you earn but marketing does not drive enough opportunities to sustain your organization, what have you got? A one or two-legged stool will only get you so far.
Meatloaf was wrong. Two out of three is not enough. If you only have two pieces of the business development puzzle that work, eventually, you might not be eating anything but meatloaf for dinner.
Photo: ZME Music