Sales Leakage Consulting, Inc.
The condition called Learned Helplessness, was discovered and popularized by psychologist Martin Seligman. He found that when he placed dogs into an inescapable environment and administered electric shocks the dog will eventually stop trying to escape. If the dog was placed into an environment where it could escape and given shocks it would not try to escape. It learned to give-up. This discovery has had a major impact on human psychology.
This same issue stalks the lives of marketing and marketing communications managers the world over. In most instances they have been placed into an environment where they have been taught it is futile to prove the return on investment for lead generating activities. After time passes they quit trying to prove an ROI for their programs and suffer the consequences of LearnedMarketing Helplessness.
Even, unfortunately, when they change jobs and have full access to prove the ROI for lead generation, because of their"LearnedMarketing Helplessness", they don't try to escape the confines of their past. They are afraid that if they try to prove the value of their programs, someone will shock them.
Because they will not try to prove the ROI for lead generating tactics, they spend their company's precious assets on a crap-shoot of what works and what doesn't with nary a look back to see what created, or failed to create, sales results.
Learned Marketing Helplessness Can be Broken
As an instructor at workshops and seminars, and in my articles and books, I focus on the subject of Marketing ROI. In most instances I am looking into the faces of marketing people who are so beaten down and restricted that they listen with hope, but have no stomach for escape.
After these workshops, attendees will come to the podium and ask,"Is it really true, can I prove the ROI for lead generation and will people listen?" I tell them; the problem is that they must stop asking for permission to do their jobs. They must use the CRM (and marketing automation system) for the primary task that it was invented for and prove that:
“Inquiries turn into leads and leads turn into sales in a predictable manner."
It is easier than they think, I tell them, but first they must believe it is possible. With belief will come a determination to never be confined again by small thinking management.
Now that we know the cause for an aversion to proving marketing's ROI, I challenge marketing management to break the bonds ofLearned Marketing Helplessness and demonstrate the ROI for a tactic or program. For instance, pick a trade show or a direct marketing campaign to measure. When you prove the ROI for the first program you will be free forever from the confines of theLearned Marketing Helpless.
Six Steps to Break the Learned Marketing Helplessness Cycle!
- Learn how to predict the number of inquiries needed to make quota for your sales channel (a simple formula). Quota $/Average Sales Price/45%/Market Share % = Inquiries 45% equals the number of buyers in a group of inquiries.
- Create programs to support your own marketing"quota" for inquiries and qualified leads.
- Ensure that sales is following up and reporting on 100% of the inquiries you give them.
- Use the CRM system for one of its primary intended purposes: Proving the ROI for marketing expenditures. Report the results: The good, bad and the ugly.
- Adjust your investment. "Marketing managers must spend money on things that work and let their competitors spend money on everything else."
- Repeat the cycle: Predict, create programs, follow-up 100%, use the CRM system, adjust spending, and report the results.
What do you think? Is it time that marketing management breaks the bonds of Learned Marketing Helplessness?
About the author
James W. Obermayer is the President of Sales Leakage Consulting, Inc., and the founder and executive director of the Sales Lead Management Association. He is a four time book author and a motivational speaker on sales and marketing topics.
McClure, Friedman, Johnson, Nasser, & Obermayer, Find Lost Revenue, Uncover Hidden Causes to Common Sales and Marketing Problems, Solutions Press, Chapter 6, page 22 and Chapter 7, page 24, February, 2009.
James Obermayer, Managing Sales Leads: Turning Cold Prospects Into Hot Customers, (Mason, Ohio, Textere an imprint of Thomson/South-Western, 2007) and Racom Books, page 21.
About the Author
James Obermayer is a principal in Sales Leakage Consulting, Inc., an Orange County California based sales and marketing strategy consulting company, and a principal of Cerius Consulting. He specializes in helping small to medium-size companies identify sales and marketing leakage issues that stifle sales growth and waste valuable marketing dollars.
Obermayer is also an author of "Managing Sales Leads, Turning Cold Prospects into Hot Customers" and "Sales & Marketing 365". He is also co-author of "Managing Sales Leads, How to Turn Every Prospect into a Customer". In addition, he has written more than 80 articles on sales and marketing management.
He is a frequent speaker at conferences and training seminars for such organizations as the Direct Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association and at corporate sales meetings. Obermayer speaks on range of topics from Marketing ROI to stimulating salespeople to follow-up sales leads. Read more.