The Secret Sauce That So Many Get Wrong In Marketing and Sales 

What are the ingredients missing in the way that many businesses approach marketing and sales? 

It is not so much that they do not have plans and capable people.  In many cases the company had a good bit of success in growing their brand and business. They saw opportunities to address customer needs and create value. They worked hard and were able to increase revenues, often increasing the number of products offered and customers or geographies served.  

Customer Understanding 

A common dynamic that occurs during growth, including initiatives to improve efficiencies and profits, is that many businesses lose sight of their customers’ evolving needs and values.  While growing, they became removed from the customer and complacent rather than striving to know and serve their customers better. 

Some might say that only large businesses have the resources and expertise to understand their customers intimately, including the types of products and experiences that they truly value and will pay a bit more to enjoy in many cases.  

Smaller organizations who value their customers have many tools available to them as they work to understand their customers’ needs, both met and unmet, and their level of satisfaction. 

From effective customer service that values and serves the customer to digital surveys there are abundant opportunities to build and sustain these vital relationships and in turn sell more products and services to them.

Shared Vision and Values

The second trap that many companies fall victim to as they grow is becoming siloed and disconnected. Sales and marketing strategies and practices are not effectively coordinated. Operations, technology, and finance are similarly disconnected.  

Teamwork, collaboration, knowledge sharing, and ideas suffer. Employees become part of fragmented divisions and fiefdoms. The alternative is one of a sense of team and everyone in the organization realizing that they have the opportunity to impact sales and customer experience, 

Lacking in most cases is a common vision for the organization, including its purpose and how it will grow and serve its customer.  Great organizations understand the value of building shared principles and practices, including means of learning from mistakes, and employees understanding the value of each customer. 

Ongoing Improvement 

Another element to the secret sauce is a commitment to ongoing improvement and making sure that our product is differentiated. The alternative to be avoided is falling into a sea of sameness where you have not continued to differentiate your brand. 

This includes realizing that we cannot take our customers for granted, or risk competitors seizing the opportunities to enlist them, and in turn build their relationship while often ending yours.

In a world in which product cycles are increasingly shorter, technologies and change continue to accelerate, and industries and traditional ways of doing business are being disrupted; failing to evolve our products and practices is a risky proposition. 

Expansive Thinking  

The final ingredient to our secret sauce is a lack of expansive thinking.  Many businesses become stuck in their ways and believe that traditional tactics for serving and attracting customers will continue to be effective. They do not explore new means of addressing their customers and building relationships with them, testing the water with novel approaches and seeing which might work and add customers and profits.  

Another example of limited thinking is underestimating the number of audiences that they must consider in their marketing efforts, including employees and the prospective new employees that they must retain and attract to serve their customers and sustain growth.  

This narrow thinking extends to promotion including advertising and messaging that screams at the customer rather than engaging them. This is particularly true of small and medium sized businesses in which leaders fall into the trap of believing the customer is like them.  


The secret sauce to marketing success fundamentally include customer understanding and respect, internal teamwork and collaboration, and continues with commitments to ongoing improvement and expansive thinking.  

You see this in so many great brands, including Apple and Amazon, brands that understand our needs and buying habits incredibly well, companies that are always striving to create and market products that will serve our needs and desires for the future as well as those we recognize at present.