Lessons to be learned in Kitchen Nightmares


Fox TV’s Kitchen Nightmares provides it’s audience with a voyeuristic perspective on the process of aligning a business to recover from poor service, bad food, dated decor and terrible judgement. The foul mouthed egomaniacal drill sergeant for this exercise tears through the business from outside signage to walk in fridge– all the while deriding the owners, chefs, and management for the state of the business.  Beyond the guilty pleasure that we get in seeing our hero demolish and rebuild the characters in the drama, there is also a lesson for sales and marketing professionals in almost every episode.

Each episode begins with Gordon Ramsey assessing the first impressions of the business– decor and menu. This is followed by a tasting of a sampling of the food and service, and then a tour of the kitchen. We see this from the perspective of a retail service transaction, but in all truth, this is what prospects and clients do everyday in every initial business transaction.  What we are seeing is Ramsey assessing the gaps between marketing, sales, and production.

Marketing and Sales professionals today face steep challenges in a rapidly evolving communications revolution. Companies are investing thousands of dollars in Web 2.0 overhauls, paying hefty retainers to high priced SEO guru’s, and hiring small mobs of recent college grads to tweet and post their way into a new age of technological enlightenment. What this means for sales people is that they are standing at the ready for all the wondrous onslaught of marketing qualified leads that aren’t appearing, and marketers can’t really tell which way is up anymore.

A recent survey done by the Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA), the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) and SiriusDecisions titled “The B-to-B Sales and Marketing Integration Survey” revealed a number of the industries worst kept secrets:

  • Only 57% of respondents reported a general willingness to make the other group successful.
  • The majority of respondents admit that their sales and marketing groups spend less than half of their time working together as part of their lead process.

The report wraps with 5 key recommendations but there are 2 that jumped out to me:

  • Organizations need to reconcile their current sales process with their customer’s buying process. Use the customer buying cycle as a tool to communicate with marketing.
  • Sales needs to agree with marketing on the lead types that need to be created, the lead definitions, and the actions sales will take with leads provided to them.

These 2 recommendations are often overlooked in tight economic times, but might be key to your organization’s success.

Consider how to map your site content and navigation to your customer’s buying process.  You should include a technology layer in your site, so your sales teams can see all the relevant data around your each visitor’s actions.  Hubspot is an inbound marketing platform that does exactly that with salesforce.com – the results being that your sales and marketing teams have detailed insights into the engagement, alignment and demographics of your prospects.  When you’ve got the connection between your marketing engine and the sales team, be sure you clearly define and communicate targets for both groups.  Your marketing team needs to be accountable for a specific number of marketing qualified leads, just as your sales team is accountable for revenue targets.

So what does this mean for you? Why should you discuss this with bv02? It isn’t because we are foul-mouthed egomaniacal drill sergeants (well, not all of us,) but because we bring an expert’s perspective and ample experience.  This is invaluable in assessing the current state of the integration of your sales and marketing processes from anonymous web visitor through to defined revenue opportunities.