The company I work with has recently undergone structural changes and new tasks have been assigned to the management team. One of mine has been to plot a course for sales growth through regaining lost accounts and up selling current accounts with monthly direct mail packages. This has been an interesting journey to say the least; the unique opportunity to taste what a salesperson is faced with on a daily basis is something that will completely shift my outlook on how sales and marketing operates together.
I’ve read countless articles and books regarding the division of marketing and sales gurus and have first hand experience as a marketing professional dealing with the pitfalls of an enormous sales team that is made up of all 1099 individuals. Our (the marketing gurus) opinion has always been that the sales team cannot handle a lead properly and that the tools we provide to help grow their sales are looked upon with distaste. It is clear that there are two different people here- a sales professional and a marketing professional, each with their own idea of how to gain traction in the marketplace.
The salesperson can confidently approach an existing or potential client and present the products and services his or her own way, a way that they’ve used in the past to ‘close the deal’. Sales are really the frontlines for properly executing the campaigns marketing puts fourth and sometimes both parties forget that. The marketing professional spends his or her time in the office reading, studying, learning and executing some of the most creative methods for drawing interest in the products or services the company offers, most of which are usually very successful. Here’s the problem – the marketing guru hasn’t necessarily ever had the sweet taste of sales and the sales guru typically cannot relate to the creativity of the marketing department or its methods for driving business.
The past few weeks I’ve served the company I work with by cold calling (I know, I know. It’s terrible!), sending creative email and video campaigns, building lists of data regarding lost accounts and SELLING products. I’ll be honest, it is another ballgame. I cannot tell you how many slammed doors, rude emails or ‘to busy to talk’ reposes I’ve had, it’s amazing that a salesperson who spends their own hard earned gas money, time and effort trying to reach an account makes his or her living doing such a thing. On the upside, I was very successful reaching some people and discussing products and services they are now participating with and I absolutely love ‘making the deal’! It’s always fun working with someone to reach a point where you both can agree upon.
So how did this really shift my focus? It’s simple. I’ve started to reevaluate everything I do as Marketing Director with the knowledge I have recently gained. While creative campaigns look great on paper and sometimes generate leads, it’s the phone call or visit afterwards that really determines the success or failure of the effort in marketing. With every campaign, I have started to adjust the simple things like wording, imagery and delivery to better inform a potential client so that passing the lead to sales will make for an easier transition.
Results of these efforts are still pending but I expect a new unity to form at the company I work for and now make it a point to solicit regular feedback from the sales team. This new insight will greatly improve my efforts in marketing and I am thankful for the opportunity I was given to learn something new.