Sales credits marketing for the win


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Image by Metro Transportation Library and Archive via Flickr

“I just gave my prospect the materials sent over by marketing, sat back and waited for them to sign. It was that easy!”

OK marketers, you can wake up from that dream now.

I know, you don’t really expect things to happen that way, but you do wish sales were more responsive to the materials you create, with input on the front-end and a willingness to use them as you advise.

A great post on barriers to sales and marketing alignment identifies 5 reasons sales tends to remain out of alignment with marketing. You can also read this and additional ideas at CultivatingYourCustomers, by Mark Price.

As I read Mark’s post and then back to the original article, I am reminded of my friend Tom, who some years back who described his use of marketing materials as ‘bag diving’: “When I was new I would just reach into my bag and dive for anything marketing gave me. I thought that was how you sell, because that what they told me to do. Boy, was I naive!”

Kris Bondi notes that two of the mistakes marketing tends to make are (1) giving sales the wrong materials and (2) assuming sales will make due with whatever they are provided. Maybe for a newbie like my friend once was, but as he got to know the ropes, reaching for those materials would seem less like ‘bag diving’ and more like ‘dumpster diving’. He just stopped taking them with him and saw them as a waste of his time.

So here’s my take on what ends up in the bag and what ends up in the dumpster:

  • Less experienced and less confident sales people will make due with whatever they get, even if it just covers the basic features and benefits of products/services or highlights the brand promise. Essentially they hope the marketing materials will do the job for them.
  • More experienced sales people, especially those who have internalized the idea of solution selling and consultative selling, don’t want those materials. They want tools that augment their engagement with the prospect, like something that helps a prospect move through a complex decision. When you believe that it is your interaction with the prospect that advances and closes the sale, you don’t want that precious contact time diluted with brochures.

If you want sales to use your materials, then start thinking of them as customers, not just a passive channel between you and your market.

What’s the best example you have seen of sales making great use of marketing materials? What’s the worst example?

BestCustomerConnection, by Marc Sokol

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Marc Sokol
A psychologist with an eye for the ways organizational dynamics make it possible or impossible to delight customers, I see the world from the eyes of customers, employees and leaders who strive to transform customer experience.


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