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February 2010

January 2010

Are Marketing Managers Victims of Learned Helplessness?

How do Marketing Managers stop being victims?

The condition called Learned Helplessness, was discovered and popularized by psychologist Martin Seligman. He found that when he placed dogs into an inescapable environment and administered electric shocks the dog eventually stopped trying to escape. If the dog was placed into an environment where it could escape and given shocks it would still not try to escape.  It learned to give-up. This discovery has had a major impact on human psychology.

This issue stalks the lives of marketing and marketing communications managers.  In most instances they have been placed into an environment where they have been taught it is futile to prove the ROI for lead generating activities.  After time passes they quit trying to prove an ROI and suffer the consequences of Learned Marketing Helplessness.

Even, unfortunately, when they change jobs and have full access to prove the ROI for lead generation, because of their "Learned Marketing Helplessness", they don’t try to escape the confines of their past. They are afraid that if they try to prove the value of their programs, someone will shock them.

Because they will not try to prove the ROI for lead generating tactics, they spend their company’s precious assets on a crap-shoot of what works and what doesn't with nary a look to see what created sales results.

Learned Marketing Helplessness Can be Broken

As a speaker at workshops and seminars, and in my articles and books, I focus on the subject of Marketing ROI.  In most instances I am looking into the faces of marketing people who are so beaten down and restricted that they listen with hope, but have no stomach for escape.

After these events, attendees will come to the podium and ask, "Is it really true, can I prove the ROI for lead generation and will people listen?" I tell them, "You must stop asking for permission to do your job."   They must use the CRM (and marketing automation) systems for the primary task for which it was invented and prove that:

"Inquiries turn into leads and leads turn into sales in a predictable manner."

It is easier than they think, I say to them, but first they must believe it is possible. With belief will come a determination to never again be confined by small thinking management.

Now that we know the cause for an aversion to proving marketing’s ROI, I challenge marketing management to break the bonds of Learned Marketing Helplessness and demonstrate the ROI for a tactic or program. For instance, pick a trade show or a direct marketing campaign to measure. When you prove the ROI for the first program you will be free forever from the confines of the Learned Marketing Helpless.

Six Steps to Break the Learned Marketing Helplessness Cycle!

1. Learn how to predict the number of inquiries needed to make quota for your sales channel (a simple formula). Quota $/Average Sales Price/45%/Market Share % = Inquiries 45% equals the number of buyers in a group of inquiries.

2. Create programs to support your own marketing "quota" for inquiries and qualified leads.

3. Ensure that sales is following up and reporting on 100% of the inquiries you give them.

4. Use the CRM system for one of its primary intended purposes: Proving the ROI for marketing expenditures. Report the results: The good, bad and the ugly.

5. Adjust your investment. "Marketing managers must spend money on things that work and let their competitors spend money on everything else."

6. Repeat the cycle: Predict, create programs, follow-up 100%, use the CRM system ROI capabilities, adjust spending, and report the results.

What do you think? Is it time that marketing management breaks the bonds of Learned Marketing Helplessness?

Sales & Marketing Management and the SLMA Partner on a New Business Social Networking Site for the Industry

New York (January 19, 2010)—In partnership with the Sales Lead Management Association (SLMA), Sales & Marketing Management (SMM) launched, a new social media and networking community exclusively geared toward sales and marketing professionals.

Registration is open to everyone—sales and marketing executives and association members, students, and suppliers—and is completely free. Members are encouraged to create their own profiles; network and find mentors; form discussion or chat groups; share content and best practices; take part in and/or present educational Webcasts, including those from SMM and the SLMA; and download exclusive research, case studies, white papers, event handouts, and articles from SMM, the SLMA, and other industry experts.

The site also features exclusive complimentary online training tools and other widgets that can be customized for member organizations, as well as SMM Rewards Exchange, powered by, which offers prices below major retailers’ from leading brands for sales performance rewards, engagement and motivation solutions, and business gifts.

"SMM is pleased to partner with the SLMA to bring to the sales and marketing community," said Joyceann Cooney-Garippa, SMM’s group publisher and show director. "There’s no question social networking is big and here to stay. We took the lead by leveraging this explosive phenomenon along with our 92 years of expertise to launch a sales and marketing-focused professional network for the optimal benefit of our members and advertisers alike. We’re thrilled to see the network take off!"

"We are excited to join forces with SMM and because sales lead management is inseparable from marketing," said James W. Obermayer, SLMA’s executive director. " is not only perfect for our panel of experts and members to broaden their networks and to develop professionally through peer-to-peer learning, it is also a great opportunity for the SLMA to further accomplish its mission of helping companies implement best-in-class sales lead management processes and procedures for a competitive advantage and more predictable revenues."

About Sales & Marketing Management

Sales & Marketing Management is the leading authority for executives in the sales and marketing field. In every white paper, along with its Website, Webcasts,

e-newsletter, broadcasts, business social network, and more, readers have easy access to the most relevant trends, strategies, exclusive research, expert voices, and cutting-edge case studies designed to help them sell more, manage better, and market smarter. Sales & Marketing Management is published by Nielsen Business Media, a part of The Nielsen Company, a global information and media company.

About the Sales Lead Management Association

The mission of the Sales Lead Management Association is to help companies become successful in the critical business process of managing sales leads


Marisa Grimes   646-654-5759

Sue Campanale  714-637-6989