My Favorite 'John Wayne' Thoughts for Marketers and Salespeople

Posted by James Obermayer on Apr 21, 2015 9:00:00 AM

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John Wayne

I’m sure each of you has your favorite John Wayne movie quote. My favorites are from John Ford movies, and I think each can be adapted to the circumstances sales and marketing people face each day.

"Well, there are some things a man just can't run away from."

Yep, you can hear John Wayne say this in the still popular film Stagecoach (1939) when he played the Ringo Kid. This is easily adapted to, "Well, there are some things a salesman just can't run away from, and that's sales lead follow-up." In spite of the accountability that CRM brings and the follow-up that marketing automation creates, B2B salespeople have to do the final step. Without the final step and actually talking to a prospect, billions of marketing dollars are wasted every year.

"Out here, a man settles his own problems."

Wayne played Tom Doniphon in the 1962 film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. My adaptation goes something like this: "Out here, a marketer settles his own problems." Marketing people have a tendency to blame salespeople for the lack of follow-up, and they are right to a degree. But with the advent of CRM systems and marketing automation, it’s time marketers solved their own problem by automating the follow-up. With these marketing tools and new ones every day, inquiries can be qualified and non-buyers weeded out so that salespeople spend their time only on qualified prospects.

"Sorry don't get it done, Dude."

As Sheriff John T. Chance in the 1959 film Rio Bravo, Wayne was a 'no excuse' kind of sheriff, and we identified with him. My adaptation to this quote is for management, but I only add a few words: "Sorry don’t get it done in sales and marketing management." Statements such as:

"Sorry, the salespeople won’t listen to me and follow up."
"Sorry, I can’t prove the ROI because salespeople won’t follow up."
"Sorry, the salespeople won’t use the CRM system and record results."
"Sorry, but setting up a campaign and measuring ROI takes time."

Sorry, sorry, sorry is just a bunch of sorry excuses. My recommendations:

  • Sales management needs to enforce the policy of 100% follow-up.
  • Marketing can reduce the burden of 100% follow-up by assuming the follow-up duties and filtering out the students, prisoners and competitors.
  • Follow-up can be accomplished by someone other than a sales representative until the prospect is ready to buy.

And lastly, there is Wayne’s famous line from the movie Sands of Iwo Jima (1949): "Life's hard. It's even harder when you're stupid."* I’d change it to: "Life's hard. It's even harder when you don’t follow up a sales lead."

Enough said, don’t you think?


Jim ObermayerToday's blog was submitted by James Obermayer, Executive Director and CEO of the Sales Lead Management Association and President of Sales Leakage Consulting. James is a regular guest blogger with ViewPoint.

*This quote has various sources and some variations "Life is tough," etc., and has sometimes been attributed to Sir Charles Panther. But it's most often quoted as coming from John Wayne.”


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Topics: B2B Marketing, B2B Sales

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