In a simpler time (shortly after opposable thumbs came into fashion), it was common for marketing and sales departments to exist merely as separate entities with a shared goal; one driving awareness of the product and the other to close customers. However, now website traffic and the hunt for leads and boosting engagement are two sides of the same coin.
Sales is dictated by concrete facts (KPIs, commission, annual revenue, etc.) whilst Marketing is a far more ephemeral beast. It’s easy to dismiss Marketeers as glorified party planners and blog writers when their success is so much harder to gauge. In turn, Sales is relentless in quantifying and qualifying. An excellent salesperson can fall victim to slow months and unforgiving targets that don’t account for bad luck or faulty strategies.
So what do the two have in common?
When marketing and when pitching a service or product you have to be bold to catch the audience’s attention. To do this you need to be creative. All too often, salespeople fall into the deep ravine of cliché when desperately trying to capture the imagination and prospects can quickly get wise to fantastical claims of doubling revenue overnight. This is where salespeople can take a leaf out of the Marketeer’s playbook.
The modern marketeer will often use a hot button issue or trending topic to coax the eyes and ears of their audience and the principle is simple; make work interesting. When fully engaged in their role, a good salesperson can wax lyrical about the benefits of a product for hours and the aim of both marketing and sales is to get customers to want to do the same. To do this, you need to bait your hook with a tasty morsel of something removed from dry statistics and faceless data.
Whether you use football analogies, celebrity news or current affairs to pull people from a work-related coma, the marketeer’s Excalibur is using something vibrant to explain something technical.
The problem for salespeople is how do you do this without veering drastically off-topic? When approaching a prospect on the phone, a clumsy attempt at small talk can be more uncomfortable than a kazoo solo at a funeral, so how do you apply creativity to a conversation with someone who wants to talk brass tacks?
The simple solution
The solution lies in simplicity. Take your customer’s goals and tell them in the simplest terms possible how you can help them to reach them. A salesperson could take a 1000-word blog about how Ben Stokes is similar to a good CRM and turn it into a single punchy sentence. The Salesperson’s role also goes beyond the traditional understanding of pitching and starts to involve some detective work. By asking open questions, you not only gain insight into a business model, but you engage the person you speak to, thus creating a dialogue that captures their attention whilst remaining relevant to them.
By doing some benevolent spying, the salesperson can provide valuable ammunition for marketing campaigns; by listening to prospects and customers you learn where their Achilles’ heel is situated. For example, if tracking the ROI of campaigns has been a problem for multiple prospects, the Marketeer will know what will halt the scrolling finger of those browsing their LinkedIn feeds on their lunch breaks.
Sales & Marketing Utopia
In the ideal workplace, the Marketeers tee up the Salespeople to establish fruitful relationships which build the customer base and the audience for further content. Marketeers can share what posts have been receiving high levels of engagement and Sales can tell Marketing what buying signs they discover in conversation. However, all too often there is a disconnect between the two, where both departments are in the dark about the other’s role.