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I’ve been a marketer and a sales person both.
During the years I worked as a sales person and sales manager I became unhappy with the way sales people’s jobs were defined. This dissatisfaction drove me to define more efficient ways for sales people to sell. Luckily for me, Web 2.0 and social media technologies showed up around that time that really helped to make this possible (what has become known as “Sales 2.0”.)
But as a sales person if you make use of these Sales 2.0 tools something odd happens: you start to do things marketers do.
A lot of the things Sales 2.0 and Social Selling gurus (like me) are asking sales people to do cross over into (god forbid!) the world of marketing. We ask you to use tools that your marketing colleagues have been probably been using for quite a while. We ask you to figure out your Linkedin profile when your marketing colleagues probably put up your corporate Linked profile a while ago. We ask you to start using Twitter when your marketing colleagues probably got on there a year or two ago. We ask you to start getting your email lists together when your marketing colleagues spend all day mucking with your corporate email program.
So does Sales 2.0 and social selling just make you’re a poor shadow of a real “professional” marketer?
Well, sort of, but not exactly.
You see, there’s one thing your marketing colleagues will never do. They’re scared of it.
Marketing people never actually talk to prospects.
Marketing staff are programmed to stop before any real human engagement. They don’t pick up the phone and speak to a prospect. They don’t go to meetings. And they certainly don’t try to build personal relationships with prospects.
People buy from people they know, like and trust. Your marketing colleagues may get your prospects started on “knowing” your company but you don’t get far selling something without some real human interaction.
If you’re selling anything much more than a book, there will be a point where, at a minimum, you need to speak to your prospect on the phone. And if your price point is much higher than an HDTV, you may well need to meet your prospect in-person.
Sales people take responsibility for connecting with prospects on this real human level. They put themselves out there to get things sold not just generate a lead. And to get things sold you need to take things off line and engage in real human interaction.
Many of the tools you use in executing Sales 2.0 and Social Selling tactics are the same ones your marketing colleagues use. But as a sales person, your end goal is different. You use these tools to get the sales process going but you don’t stop there. You keep going to build human connections and from those connections close deals. You don’t stop with generating leads.
Which Sales 2.0 tools do you use? How do they help you sell?
Ralph Fabre says
Spot on Nige!
Sales people need to spend some time writing copy, planning campaigns, buying advertising and examining traffic analytics and transactions to tie in the campaign strategy and the sales tactics.
Marketing needs to spend quality time on the phone and in person meetings so they can create better campaigns.
With the tools we have at our disposal today sales and marketing functions are easy to traverse. At a minimum, sales and marketing need to collaborate daily. Sales can help marketing with important feedback to refine marketing campaigns.
This is “the” intersection between sales and marketing and SFDC (Salesforce.com) is beefing up their analytics and reporting for this exact reason.
Customers will say revealing things to a sales rep that marketing needs to hear. “We found your product after conducting an exhaustive search online.” As a marketer, I cringe at this remark because we pay for Adwords and Adcenter keywords as well as syndicate content organically. As sales reps, we have to be able to ask a client the “how” question on the spot and drag that valuable intel back to the cave.
If we don’t infuse business intelligence and marketing into the process, we will continue to trudge along in highly annoying, inefficient, robotic hunt-fests and marketing cannot wait out an entire sales cycle to find out their marketing campaigns are off target.
Let’s not exclude programmers from this process. Most often, these folks get ill-defined requirements from the S&M (Sales & Marketing) crowd. Combining sales, marketing and development moxy are ideal convergence goals for any organization that needs to work in-sync.
Happy Hunting, Happy Farming!
Ralphy Jay Sales & Marketing Aficionado
Nigel Edelshain says
Great points. Thanks so much for diving in with such in-depth knowledge.
As I know you, I know this comment comes from some serious real life learning and has a lot of serious value!