Selling is a Partnership

While we’ve talked about selling to all the customer-facing people in your organization,
we want to focus a bit on selling to your sales force. There is an assumption that a great
compensation package, President’s Club, and an Annual Sales Meeting in an exotic
location are the key components to motivating sales people. Well, they certainly don’t
hurt! But there are other really important factors that should not be ignored if you want
your products and services to reach as many of your prospects and customers as
possible.

Communicate – Do marketing and sales personnel meet regularly to discuss markets,
competitors, upcoming product launches, wins and losses, strategy and messaging? Do
marketing people see sales people more frequently than quarterly sales meeting? Do
sales people have input on upcoming marketing campaigns and messaging?
Treat the Team Right – Do unto marketing or sales, as marketing or sales would like to
be done to. What do your sales reps really need to help communicate to a client? Don’t
guess or assume – ask them! What do marketers need to know about key customers or
competitive activity? Don’t assume that they already know, share your “street info”
with them.

Increase Marketing Programs – it’s too easy and too risky to cut marketing dollars in a
downturn. When times get tough – don’t just tell sales people to “go out and sell” –
make sure they have the communication tools to do it with. And consider this – all your
competitors are cutting back on marketing too. Isn’t this the BEST time to get your voice
heard above all the others?

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes – Marketers should do a regular tour out in the field –
partnering with their sales reps at least once a quarter. They should hear real customers
talking real issues up close and personal. Sales reps should also do a tour in marketing –
learning the challenges and lending field perspective to marketing strategy and
positioning.

Pre – launch to Sales – Test marketing campaigns on a selected group of sales people.
Check for message clarity, competitive responses, presentation needs, product
understanding. Is the product easy to sell? Are there any compensation changes? What
program incentives are there? If they aren’t crystal clear on all these items – and they
haven’t bought in to the entire program, they won’t sell it. Period.

Our perspective is that marketing and sales need to really understand and integrate
their view of the customer. While that seems obvious – it’s hard to do when each
group’s orientation towards the customer is different. And quite simply – both
departments don’t spend much time together! Often there is a true lack of
understanding on the part of marketing what a day-in-the-life of a sales person is really
like – and vice versa. Selling is hard. Marketing is hard. If everyone just does their job,
the sales will pour in. Right? Wrong. It takes more than an excellent marketing
campaign or a stellar sales person. You need both to mesh. Marketing needs to sell to
Sales first. And Sales needs to help Marketing in crafting a message that will speak to
real prospects and customers.

— Lisa D. Dennis and Charles E. Dennis
© Knowledgence Associates, 2002 / All Rights Reserved

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