The Sales Lion

Why Marketers Need to Let Go of “Marketing”

Why Marketers Need to Let Go of “Marketing”

Marketing has a problem.

And although we’d all like to think it’s getting better, for the most part, it is not.

Just the other day, I received a message from the owner of a marketing agency who was deeply discouraged. Why? Because he had been losing too many of his retainer clients.

Seeing his distress, I initiated a quick phone call to offer some advice.

You see, although I don’t have all the answers, I am approached by marketers as well as marketing agencies again and again with this same issue.

They’re frustrated because although they “get it” (this thing we all call “marketing”)—their organization/clients don’t seem to catch the same vision.

But most of these issues are rooted in the words themselves.

Marketers like to talk about marketing.

Agencies also like to talk about marketing.

Both miss the mark.

Years ago I learned one fundamental truth, one that hasn’t waned in the slightest:

If you want to get something approved in business, you call it “sales.”

If you want to get something rejected, you call it “marketing.”

That’s exactly why I named my company “The Sales Lion.”

Sales moves the needle—at least, in the eyes of senior management and decision makers. Besides, can you imagine us being called “The Marketing Lion”?

Not good.

This is why all conversations in marketing need to start and stop with sales.

Now granted, if you’re COKE, maybe this doesn’t so much apply. You’ve got money to blow, so good for you.

But most companies aren’t COKE.

And most need to generate revenue.


As you likely know, I speak all over the world. And the reason why I have had consistent success with getting buy-in from these audiences comes back to the way I frame the conversation.

It’s about sales.

It’s about revenue.

It’s about the impact “marketing” actions will have on the bottom line if everyone does their part. (But again, rarely do I ever even use the word “marketing” in my talks)

When I spoke on the phone with the business owner that was struggling, all of his conversations with clients (before and during the engagement) were about marketing—campaigns, activities, etc.

But because he wasn’t spending enough time focused on the numbers that mattered most, he was losing customers.

Sure, they liked him, but they were still leaving him.

My friends, let me be abundantly clear:

Just because a client “likes” you doesn’t make them a customer for life.

Nor does the fact that they “value the relationship.”

Rather, the question businesses are constantly asking themselves is, “But are they making us more money than we’re spending? Are they worth it?”

The same could be said for every position within a marketing department.

“Are they worth their salary? Do they truly drive company revenue?”

If both aren’t easily answered, there is a good chance they’ll fall victim to a CFO looking at a financial spreadsheet and classifying said person as an “expense” and not as “revenue.”

My point herein is this:

Words matter. Sales will always trump marketing.

With this being the case, let’s make sure the way we—as marketers—talk, teach, and do business in a way that the money trail is always self-evident.

Only then will “revenue” be attached to our name.

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