I thought it would be helpful to share 3 terms that I use often in my writings and work.

Sales process –– These are the steps common to most transactions. Those step begin with a client attraction process. Then come information gathering, rapport building, education, and so on all the way through pricing, closing the sale, delivery or fulfillment and follow-up after the sale. Finally, comes maximizing and leveraging the relationship. No two are alike. But every business or organization has a sales cycle of one kind or another.

Sales cycle –– This is the amount of time the sales process takes from start to finish. Naturally, the less time it takes, the better for you and your business. Some products and industries must learn to live with very lengthy sales cycles. But even a sales cycle of 18 months can be shortened.

Good marketing –– Because I believe there is a 99% probability that marketing does not adequately support the sales process, I say that “good marketing” is any activity that speeds, shortens, streamlines, or favorably influences the outcome of the sales process.

There’s a case study on my website (it’s in my book, too) that demonstrates this. The company, a home remodeling company, used their first exterior home remodeling project in a given neighborhood as both a marketing and sales process activity.

Scheduling jobs on Saturday, bringing a golf cart with them to the job site, a large cooler of bottled water, and giving rides to parents and their children, they turned this into a client attraction process that supported information gathering, rapport building, education, and more.

As you consider the entire case study, see how marketing was always designed to directly support the sales process –– and support it at a number of different points in the sales process.