Sales and Marketing Sitting in a Tree…

K.I.S.S.I.N.G.  Well not really, at least, for now.  If you are a marketer, I implore you to read this article in entirety.  I can assure you with 100% confidence these 4 tips will change your working relationships with sales teams (in essence changing your life, forever):

  1. As a marketer, you are often times well connected on a stronger emotional level with your clients, peers, friends and family.  Therefore people trust you more than those in sales.  However, you often times make terrible sales people because you are so afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings or rushing the relationship, you don’t realize how much time has passed since you began conversing.  And herein lies the inherent problem which creates an unbelievable amount of friction between sales and marketing steps from the previous statement.  My money is tied to the timeline, and you are doing everything you can to prevent things from moving too fast.  It’s basically like two people trying to date who shouldn’t be dating in the first place.  One is ready for commitment and then other one wants to take things slowly.  It NEVER works.  If you trust the company you work with you must allow the sales team to remove the emotion from the equation and talk more directly about the problem at hand and how to come up with a solution that makes the client’s problem go away.  This is called a professional relationship, not a personal relationship. We are involved to fix an initial problem, and hopefully build strong relationships along the way that allow us to find other problems and fix them too (in turn creating enormous levels of trust and rapport).
  2. Because people trust you, they tell you their problems – and they tell you quicker and with more accuracy.  We as sales people often spend months courting a client. First, building rapport and establishing trust.  Making phone calls, booking meetings, working their “linkedin” connections and scouring through potential referral sources.  Then we start doing discovery to uncover as many of their pain points as possible.  They THEN spend time researching and preparing a well-thought out proposal.  And we THEN talk with account managers, marketers, content writers, social media department heads, web developers and designers to try and gain feedback as to what ideas would be good for the pitch.  And we THEN start the process of booking the meeting.  And after the first meeting, we sometimes find out their is a board involved, so NOW we book the next meeting and start again from the beginning.  My point to this is simple, as deeply connected marketers you have the power to relieve sales teams of MONTHS of work and effort when you already have an existing relationship.  You save the company money in R&D, you save the sales teams time and actually enable them to MAKE MORE MONEY.  This is the #1 driver for anyone in sales, MONEY!  We take the risk of making nothing for the upside of making more than we could dream of.  And yes, it will be risky to connect us because sales people are sales people but relationships require risk to grow, mature and deepen and isn’t that how you created the relationship in the first place?
  3. If you have a connection to someone on the inside of another company or you worked at a similar company, you know things (and things you probably shouldn’t know).  But that is why as marketers you have a significant opportunity to help your current company grow.  You’ve got insider access to know what the external company is currently experiencing.  And people don’t watch what they say around marketing/production teams, they watch what they say around sales/consultants.  Why?  Because they know if they have a problem, it is probably going to cost money to fix it.  And on that note, they are 100% correct. And on a second note, there is NOTHING wrong with the fact the problems cost money, and sales people exist to make money off fixing those problems.  So here are a few questions you are able to answer instead of sending the sales teams blindly down the road of courtship (and this matters because you will be executing on work you actually enjoy and are experts at because sales sold what you told them to sell):1)  Is this external company operationally sound?  Are they ready for an external partner because they are at capacity?
    2) Have they been in the industry for 5 or more years?  Have they started to figure out hiring 10 people for the price of 1 is better than 1 for the price of 10?
    3) Are they the type of people who talk about the future?  Are they innovative? (if your company is a digital agency like mine, this is a very important question).
    4) Have you experienced how vendor relationships have started, progressed and ended?  What can you tell the sales team from your experience?You have the immediate power to change the direction of the sales team, reduce the time they spend selling specific products they don’t really apply and start selling products that truly fix your clients problems.  In turn creating trust between you and the sales team.  How is the sales team supposed to create trust with marketing if marketing isn’t keeping sales up to date on emerging trends?  Or what their capabilities are?  Did you want us to read your minds?  Because we are not THAT manipulative.  We are actually the only ones who truly have the POWER to make sure you’re work is relevant, comes with an accurate timeline, and is interesting enough to keep you inspired each and every day.  To hate us, is to hate yourself.  To embrace us, is to embrace yourself.  I recommend starting to embrace sales teams everywhere you go.
  4. Lastly, it’s we who do the dirty work, the scary work, the vulnerable work.  Remember the number of fear in the world:  public speaking.  Just saying the word probably stirs up some emotion.  Now add confrontation in front of it.  Didn’t get any better, did it?  Now we live in the connection economy and the economy of permission marketing (thanks Seth Godin) so you would think sales should all be rainbows and butterflies because we are calling people that want to hear from us.  Yes, we are getting to that point.  But when will it be fully realized?  When is the day each lead we receive signs up for everything we’ve been told to sell them?  The answer is, NEVER!  It’s not going to happen!  Data has it’s limits.  Interactions have their limits because human beings are never the same.  We are all in essence living in our own created world where today we need one thing and tomorrow something completely different.My hope is that you’ve continued to read this article, and honestly maybe even read it again.  Shoot, what if you decided to post it up in your office or share it with someone you know needs to hear it?  All of the above are great, but even if you just learned ONE THING about sales teams and how to build rapport, trust and work together, that is good enough.  Just make sure you implement these ideas so we know we’re on the same page or getting close.  In the meantime, we will continue to try and read yours minds to ensure what we sell makes everyone’s lives a little better (because we know you think we have that super power).  In fact, if you would speak to us, you would find out we don’t and your lives and work environments will begin to dramatically better the day our conversations begin.See you at the water cooler (maybe under the mistletoe?) K.I.S.S… okay, maybe we’re still not there yet.  That’s okay.  Remember, we’re not all manipulative like you think we are.  We can wait  🙂

    Evan

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