Market leading Sales forces are singularly focused: to sell stuff. Sales are one of the most accountable areas of the organization and often are under the constant microscope of senior leaders as they have a significant, immediate, and direct impact on the bottom line. Companies must enable their salespeople and not emasculate them. Over the past 25 years I have always preferred to hire the sales stallions over order taking geldings. Stallions require you to have a high emotional intelligence, and they will often try to get your goat, however they consistently produce and add value. While geldings wait to be told what to do, how to say it, and where to go. Mavericks are saying get out of my way or I will run over you.
The product everyone has been so excited to launch is now in the hands of your sales team.
You thought this day would never come fast enough as your life has been a series of meetings, planning, possibly training and now your “birthed your baby”. However if you are like 90% of the organizations out there you are practicing “mullet marketing” and you are missing ( falling short) of your new product launch sales goals and making that baby uglier by the day.
Why do new products fail to hit sales goals so often? The answer is often “Mullet Marketing”.
I was flipping channels the other day and a comedy was on from the 1980’s and the main character had a mullet haircut. As the character explained his hair cut was; short in the front and long ( all business) in the back…and it struck me how this is how most companies launch their new products.
Teams build a new product and or service and they rush to market so as not to miss a perceived window of opportunity. They feel their idea is so brilliant that how could it not be a huge profitable hit? They leap from idea to tactics. ( no strategy because they have not done the market work)
Then reality hits and the Silo’s form as everyone spend time and energy trying to cover their tails….
“We talked to our key accounts and they said it would be a hit…must be a sales execution problem”
“ we hit our timeline on the web content, ads, and brochures and coffee mugs… must be a product design issue…”
Engineering and Design
“ you’re lucky to launch anything given the terrible product requirements we received, luckily since marketing and product management dropped the ball we designed something even better than what they were asking for…”
“ we conservatively invested $xxxxxxxx expecting a strong ROI and we are not hitting anywhere close to the numbers we were given and I’m looking for a throat to choke…
“ we are having a tough enough year as it is, we were counting on this new products revenue, don’t tell me why you can’t hit your numbers…”just make it happen!”
So what happened? You thought your new mouse trap was going to take the market by storm.
In the majority of cases it is the result of; Mullet Marketing; a short amount of effort before launch then all hands on deck after launch to figure it out and drive revenues. Teams that practice Mullet Marketing often measure each silo’s specific goals without a cross functional goal that defines a win for the team.
Market leaders understand the importance of marketing and product management prior to product design and definitely prior to launch. Market leaders spend time with customers, as well as non customers to understand the market. They clearly identified the market problem, the product requirements, buyer personas, buyer criteria and buying process.
Market losers believe they can “baffle the market with their brilliance” and we often hear this product is so smart …”even a monkey could sell it.” They spend very little time in the market doing their research and as a result spend a great deal of time and energy ( and more $’s) trying to drive revenue after launch.
So what kind of marketing is your organization practicing?
Just as a mullet hair cut stands out in our society today, companies practicing “mullet marketing” stand out as market losers in the markets they serve.
Have you ever seen mullet marketing work?
Who in your organization is held accountable to “figuring it out” and or “making it happen”?…after a mullet marketing product launch?
Have you been in a meeting of the silo’s…how did that turn out?
Market leaders understand the importance of spending the most time and energy prior to launch to enable and empower their sales teams to win new product sales.