“Sales Must Think Like Marketing”

Sales must think and act like marketersMy initial thoughts were that this was a good message to retweet. However, the more I thought about it, the more unhappy I became with the thinking behind the message.

I’m well aware of who Jill Rowley is and of her reputation as a Social Selling evangelist/guru and one of the world’s Top 30 Social Salespeople. I follow her on Twitter, which is how this tweet appeared in my stream.

That’s how I also know that the quote is actually from John Jantsch‘s new book. He is regularly cited as a resource in the likes of Wall St. Journal, New York Times, and CNNMoney for his “practical take on small business.” He was described by Seth Godin as โ€œthe Peter Drucker of small business marketing tactics.โ€

So, two heavyweights think that this is a good idea. What exactly is my issue?

I actually agree with the sentiment that sales professionals need to change the way they are perceived by their customers. I wrote about it in this blog post: Is Selling in Crisis?

No, my issue is with the assumption that marketers are the role models to follow to make it all right in the world of the customer. Seriously?!

Marketers are the people responsible for this little catalogue of errors: 8 of the Biggest Marketing Faux Pas of All Time. Yes, I’ve deliberately picked a set of extreme examples but why not? I am trying to make a point, after all. ๐Ÿ™‚

Don’t get me wrong; there’s a lot of current marketing practice that is absolutely spot-on. I’m a huge fan of the concepts of content marketing, as promoted by Valuable Content in the UK and the Content Marketing Institute in the US.

But there is still a LOT of old-fashioned, one-way, ‘look at me’ marketing that is created in isolation by people who never even speak to customers or colleagues who speak to customers before launching their latest campaign. There is still a lot of arrogance that ‘Marketing knows best’ because they are ‘strategic’ whilst Sales is ‘tactical’ and doesn’t need to bother its pretty little head with the bigger picture.

(By the way, I also don’t support the position that ‘Sales knows best’ just because it does speak to customers!)

Whether you like it or not, the customer has the balance of the power in the selling/marketing//buying relationship these days. You need to have a consistent approach and message across all of the ways in which you communicate with your customers.

Collaboration is what’s required. Sales and Marketing need firstly to speak and LISTEN to each other then they both need to think like and listen to the customer in order to completely reframe the way the customer perceives their offering. Get away from this silo mentality, this ‘I’m better than you’ thinking. Sales and Marketing should share the common goal of attracting and winning customers. You’ll do better if you work together and think like the customer.

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