Fuel Oil News

Fuel Oil News September 2015

The home heating oil industry has a long and proud history, and Fuel Oil News has been there supporting it since 1935. It is an industry that has faced many challenges during that time. In its 77th year, Fuel Oil News is doing more than just holding

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I s your company practicing "sales prevention?" It could be that your company is afflicted with that malady but is blithely unaware of it. So warns Megan Smith-Gill, owner and president of Gill Marketing Group, who discussed the subject in a seminar at the Atlantic Region Energy Expo held May 12-14 at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Gill Marketing Group is a full service, strategic and creative marketing agency, working primarily with companies in the energy industry, helping them better understand their business growth goals and how to achieve them, Smith-Gill said. "That requires examining processes and procedures that may be getting in the way so that we know where we need to make changes," she said in an interview with Fuel Oil News following the Expo. "People come to me wanting to put together highly effective marketing plans and campaigns," she said, "and, while that ultimately is what we do on behalf of our clients, we have to look at the whole business before we can implement the marketing." Marketing's "job" is "to make the phones ring, to drive sales leads into a company," Smith-Gill said, "but far too many com- panies fail to think about what happens once that lead comes in." It's not uncommon that companies spend a lot of time, money and thought on how to get the phone to ring, and not enough time, money and thought on their sales process, Smith-Gill said. "The sales process is what's going to convert those calls into new accounts," she said. "Marketing is not magic," she emphasized. "It can drive the leads, but sales has to close the loop." Or, as she sometimes puts it using a sports metaphor, "Far too many com- panies fail to take the ball from the red zone into the end zone." Some companies unwittingly engage in "sales prevention," Smith-Gill observed. The processes and procedures they follow are "not ideal" for prospective customers. "A lot of times they're ideal" —i.e., easier—"for the company," she said. Companies that have "an outside sales model"—retaining a sales company to close sales—are sometimes, though not always, susceptible to "sales prevention," Smith-Gill said. In such cases, a marketing plan can be working well, driving sales leads. Phone calls come in from prospective customers, but opportunities are bungled because the people fielding the calls haven't been prepared to close a deal "right then and there," Smith-Gill said, when the caller "is raising a hand saying, 'I want to do business with you.'" 30 SEPTEMBER 2015 | FUEL OIL NEWS | www.fueloilnews.com BUSINESS OPERATIONS What Ails Your Sales? Good marketing makes the phones ring—now someone has to nail the sale BY STEPHEN BENNETT IMAGE ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/FRANK MERFORT.

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