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October 2010 | Volume 28 / Number 5
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Do You Have a Sales Prevention Department in Your Company? Part 1

By Nadji Tehrani,
Chairman and Founder, Technology Marketing Corp.

Back in the February 1994 issue of Telemarketing™ magazine (the parent publication of this magazine), I wrote an editorial with the above title. Since then, I have received several inquiries about this very important topic. In fact, as recently as last week, we had yet another request for a copy of this editorial. Based on the extreme importance of this topic, I decided to revisit this matter and expand upon it with greater detail.

Most Companies Have One, But They Don’t Know They Do

As I indicated in my editorial in 1994, many companies actually have a sales prevention department, but they are completely unaware of this fact. When I say “sales prevention department,” I don’t mean that these companies literally have a separate department with that title. However, the regular violations of certain important rules that I have indicated in this editorial actually constitute a cancerous problem within many companies. To succeed in business, you need to understand your customer’s needs as well as your customer’s needs.

Sales And Marketing Are Everything In Every Company

As you may know, I have been a student of marketing for the last 25 years. In fact, we do have a marketing test at TMC that 99 percent of the marketing managers who have taken it have failed. In my view, the test is a simple one and contains the basic knowledge that every true marketing manager must possess. There is no point in hiring a marketing manager who cannot even define marketing. In many of my previous editorials, I have elaborated on this topic, as you may know.

In many companies, the sales department is regarded as the most important department in the company. Of course, here at TMC, we do not subscribe to this thinking, because we feel every department is equally important. Having said that, my frequent associations with many CEOs within our industry and elsewhere have led me to believe that most companies, in fact, consider the sales department one of the most the important, if not the most important department.

In my way of thinking, this is not true. I feel that if you are going to rank the departments, marketing should come ahead of the sales department. Here is why.

All Sales Begin with A Sales Lead

Among the paramount responsibilities of the marketing department are to create awareness about the company, articulate the benefits of dealing with the company and highlight the company’s differentiation from its competitors. The cumulative results of the above mentioned marketing functions eventually lead to the all-important lead generation that is vital to any company’s growth and prosperity. In other words, the sales department will be crippled if the marketing department does not generate a stream of continuous, qualified sales leads for the sales department.

Among the paramount responsibilities of the marketing department are to create awareness about the company, articulate the benefits of dealing with the company and highlight the company's differentiation from its competitors.

Sales Prevention Diagnostics

Having stated the above importance of the sales and marketing departments, there are many details that need to be addressed if sales prevention is to be avoided. In this editorial, I will try to refer to as many of these problems as possible, and I ask our valued readers to address whichever factors that are most appropriate for their situations. Here are the areas that are most likely to contribute to sales prevention:

  1. Ignoring the golden rule of integrated marketing and, most importantly, ignoring the golden triangle. When a company ignores the rules of integrated marketing and the golden triangle, which includes print, online and event marketing, the company has, in fact, prevented maximum lead generation for the sales department.

  2. Ignoring marketing completely. Believe it or not, many companies give lip service to marketing and, as far as I have been able to study, such companies either go under or, if they exist at all, they really don’t get anywhere. I recall a pair of companies that started out in the Chicago area at the same time. Company A was a master marketer and Company B did not care about marketing at all. To make a very long story short, the owner of Company A is a billionaire today while Company B is still struggling and has gotten nowhere in the same period of time!

  3. Wasting sales leads. Many companies spend a tremendous amount of money every year attending trade shows or advertising in print and online and generating a considerable amount of leads. However, research indicates that as many as 70 to 80 percent of sales leads generated are either ignored completely or followed up too late to be of any use. Indeed, this is one of the leading causes of sales prevention.

  4. Ignoring your customers’ needs and, most importantly, ignore your customers’ customers’ needs. In this highly competitive business environment, the companies that go beyond the call of duty are those that will survive. Once again, as mentioned in many previous editorials, to succeed in business, you need to understand your customers’ needs as well as your customers’ customers’ needs.Let us remember that customer care is the only sustainable competitive advantage.
  5. Ignoring sales training. Many companies, particularly the entrepreneurial small and medium-sized companies, have a tendency to ignore sales training. This is practically unthinkable. How can anyone expect a sales person to sell anything without knowing the benefits and features of the products or service they are expected to sell? Believe it or not, this problem continues to exist.

To read on about sales prevention, check out our November issue for Part 2 about this very important topic.
As always, I welcome your comments. Please email them to me at

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