I hope all is well with you and you're having an excellent week so far! I've been running around as I am sure you have been, too. There's a certain excitement and electricity in the air -- people are still very much concerned about the economy, rightfully so, but I'm also sensing a willingness for people to dip their proverbial toes into the pool. It's long overdue!
With that in mind, it seems to me that it's never been more critical to make sure that our sales and marketing teams support and understand one another. Our job as marketers and sales people is to deliver solutions in ways meaningful to the customer. The delivery method may differ (or not) based on our role as marketer or salesperson but the fundamental mission is the same. We provide solutions. We fix stuff.
I read a research synopsis posted on MarketingProfs which caught my eye. Essentially, it said the following:
- Salespeople feel that there is no compelling differentiator between their offerings and the competition's. Only 38% of those surveyed felt that there was a compelling value story to tell to their current customers and prospects.
- Salespeople don't find the tools developed by their marketing peers to be helpful to "close" the sale. About 75% of salespeople will revise the material to suit their needs.
- Finally, salespeople don't feel like they are given the training and support they need from managers especially as it pertains to differentiating their products from the competition.
Oh, dear. This is (sadly) not surprising to me as it underscores the internal branding and external branding disconnect we talked about previously. If our salespeople aren't owning the message, how can our customers and our prospects? Seems to be a tough nut to crack, huh? Well, consider these:
- It's easy for us to forget that we have multiple customers: inside the company and outside the company. Both of which have expectations which we should be exceeding. There's no point in trying to close external sales if we can't seem to close our internal ones. We have to understand and accept that marketers fail salespeople when salespeople don't know what to say when someone asks "How are you different from Company X?"
- And before salespeople reading this missive get too excited and say, "See! Marketers aren't closing me so it's their fault!" this goes both ways. Salespeople have an onus to own the brand / product promise, too. If they don't believe in it or understand it, they can't sell it.