The Kingdom of Success
How Social-Networking Strategies Transform Sales Practices

Sales and Marketing Progress Begins by Asking Better Questions

Werner Heisenberg once said, “Nature does not reveal its secrets; it only responds to our method of questioning.”

But Tony Robbins put it bluntly: “If we continue to ask the same old questions, we end up getting the same old answers, which prevent us from improving.”

If you are a sales and marketing leader who wants to achieve better results, here is a quick reality check. Scan the 15 “old” questions below, and consider replacing them with new ones you may want to ask yourself (or your team members) so you can get to richer information – which will lead you to better decisions and greater revenues:

1. Old: What does your sales funnel look like? New: How does our company generate demand?

2. Old: What percentage of leads turns into sales? New: What are our conversion metrics by lead source?

3. Old: How many leads does marketing generate each month? New: What percentage of revenue is generated by marketing?

4. Old: How can salespeople make more calls? New: How do we prioritize and nurture sales leads? How many marketing-generated opportunities does the sales team close?

5. Old: How long is the average sales cycle? New: How do we measure our revenue cycle from first speaking with a prospect, to turning that meeting into an opportunity, to closing?

6. Old: How can we improve productivity? New: How can we accelerate the deals in our pipeline by customer category?

7. Old: What’s the ROI per salesperson? New: How can we calibrate our sales and marketing metrics so we can achieve ongoing improvement quarter over quarter?

8. Old: How do our sales compare to our competition’s? New: How does our Website compare to our competitor’s? How does our competitor generate proposals and quotes? How does our competitor interact with prospects? What social-media strategy did they implement?

9. Old: How can we get marketing to generate better leads for the sales team? New: What obstacles do we need to remove so that we can truly align sales with marketing?

10. Old: How can marketing and sales work closer together? New: How can we get sales and marketing to agree on what a lead is? How can we create a culture of measurement in which we measure the velocity of all prospects across all stages? How can we integrate and align marketing strategies and tactics with sales strategies and tactics?

11. Old: How do we get people to change? New: How can we collaborate to improve business results across all processes?

12. Old: How can we train our people and make the training stick? New: How can we create a coaching and mentoring program that helps our people grow and create more value for our customers?

13. Old: How can we improve management reporting? New: How can we get managers to spend more time with their reps and customers? How can we get marketing to learn from salespeople and customers?

14. Old: How can we increase the consistency of our sales process? New: How can we engage our customers so that they’ll share their buying processes and we can, in turn, adjust our sales process and create a better customer experience?

15. Old: How can we create sales incentives that increase sales and profits? New: How can we align the rewards with the right behaviors that lead to greater revenues?

UPDATE: If you want to be part of the future of sales and marketing, register to join me at the Sales 2.0 Conference, March 7-8, in San Francisco.

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Michael Hanson


You hit the nail on the head with #1 - if your company fails at generating demand everything else you can possibly do is a futile effort at driving sales rather than capturing or reallocating value in the marketplace. I've worked for companies that leveraged both marketing and sales in a cohesive manner to generate demand as well as companies where the focus was leads in quantity not quality. In the short term, revenue can be driven (not earned), and the company's marketing / sales efforts appear successful. In the long term, well, to be blunt, the companies that failed to generate demand are no longer here.

Rick Demko

Great reminder! I heard someone once say Marketing is talking about yourself. Public relations is about getting others to talk about you. But Sales, Sales at its core is all about listening.

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