Summertime is traditionally when most of us kick back and relax in the sun. But marketing managers know it's also the calm before the storm. With so much revenue potential on the line in Q3 and Q4, summer is when managers turn their attention to setting strategy for ramping up their sales teams toward fall success.

So, how is your money best spent? What really helps salespeople move business through the funnel? What messages are most likely to resonate with customers? The following 10 tips are based on years of experience living the challenges you face at yearend.

Tip No. 1: Know how your efforts fit into the big picture

Too often, marketers are overwhelmed by the "crisis du jour" and not afforded the opportunity to look at whether individual projects can make a measurable impact on marketing or company goals. As you approach Q4, remember: While you may be working toward short-term objectives, they can have long-term results.

The ultimate goal of your efforts, of course, is to support your sales team's ability to generate revenues. We call it "marketing for sales enablement." And, as you'd expect, the discipline of enabling sales is a process, not an event—just like the discipline of sales.

As a marketer, you're likely very familiar with the customer "buying cycle" of awareness, consideration, preference, purchase, and repurchase. What you might be surprised to learn is that 70% of a company's marketing budget is typically spent on the awareness phase of the buying cycle , and too little on the balance, where the real selling is happening.

Salespeople actually follow a similar cycle of embracing, and then successfully representing, your company's product or service. If you consider that your salesperson is your first customer, the process makes sense. We refer to this as the "buy-in cycle," and it includes awareness, knowledge, application, expansion:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Nitschke is vice-president and managing director of client services at Launch International (www.launchinternational.com).