Manage Your Marketing: Remember You’re in SalesA few weeks ago I was in Barnes & Noble and I happened to glance at the business best sellers shelf (as I am wont to do). A book sitting there caught my eye. It was Daniel Pink’s To Sell is Human. The title got my attention for a couple of reasons. First, as we have discussed many times, there are silos between marketing and sales departments in most companies. The title made me wonder if Pink would offer an argument that would help to destroy that (needless) division between sales and marketing. The title also got my attention because as a marketer, I have always known in my gut that I also need to understand what’s happening in sales. As Pink notes at the start of his book, very few people like to think of themselves as sales people. Why is that?
Pink suggests that most people equate “sales” to being shady, like the old stereotypes of the used car salesman. In fact, in a questionnaire that Pink cites in the book, many people, when asked, answered that sales made them think of primarily negative personality traits. However, Pink argues that “sales” is more than just trying to sell a product. “Sales” can mean trying to get a person to buy into your ideas or, as he says, “moving people.” If this is not marketing, what is?
But I must reiterate – being in sales is gross!
I think a lot of people have this gut reaction to the idea that they are in sales, especially people who are using social media as part of their marketing campaigns. The emphasis in the online world has long rested on relationships versus “selly” engagement. There is a sentiment that if you try to “sell” online it will be a real turn-off. For marketers, this creates a conundrum and this conundrum lies behind the entire controversy regarding whether it is possible to calculate social media ROI. If you are hesitant to sell anything online, it will of course, be extremely difficult to realize any return on your investment.
Beyond the online world, it is also important to visualize your marketing content as if it is an army of non-human sales representatives for your company. Instead of knocking on doors, your ads appear before eyes of potential customers. Instead of traveling city-to-city, your email marketing calls for attention in someone’s inbox. Your content is intended to help increase sales. It may not be a direct line like it would be for door-to-door salespeople, but the intent is the same. You are striving to convince someone to buy your company’s product or service. If you are using social media marketing, you are like the old-fashioned store owner who knows everyone’s name, who cares, but who also is still trying to sell something. One does not need to be a snake oil salesman to be in sales.
There’s no reason for silos
Marketing and Sales departments are often pitted against each other in companies. When things go wrong these departments point the fingers at each other. “Sales are down because the marketing is bad.” “Sales are down because the sales team isn’t converting leads into sales.” When things go well, the departments compete for credit. The faulty logic is that sales and marketing are diametrically opposed. This is simply not the case. If you are truly enmeshed in marketing for your company, you are in sales. If you are trying to promote ideas that will help your company grow, you are in sales. Indeed, in an ideal situation, marketing will work with the sales team to make sure all messaging emanating from the company is consistent and effective.
The next time someone says that marketers don’t really understand the world of sales, or the next time you hear a marketer talking disparagingly about the sales process, remember that marketers are also in sales. Marketers are humans. And, if you agree with Daniel Pink, to sell is human.
Do you agree?
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cloganese/251083239/ via Creative Commons
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