Do you ever wonder why the best marketers have such great sales skills? Or why those marketing gurus are always so enthusiastic about getting people to buy their products? Or why they’re able to get people to say yes to their ideas without even batting an eyelash? Maybe you’ve been wondering these things too. But if you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a lot of time pondering these questions without coming up with a satisfying answer. Well, wonder no more! I’ve cracked the code on why the best marketers also understand sales. Let’s look at the top 5 reasons why the best marketers understand sales.
Marketing is About Understanding the Customer
The best salespeople understand the needs and the personalities of their prospects or customers. They understand how and when to speak to them, and how to address their most important concerns. This is no different than with marketing. Marketers, likewise, need to understand the needs and the voice of their target audience. The best marketers do not convey their messaging with the tone and delivery that they prefer, but rather in the tone and delivery style that best suits their target market. I have seen countless times, the messaging from businesses that was blatantly not the voice of the business or the target market, but rather the voice of the marketer. This is a recipe for disaster. Marketers need to think like salespeople to be effective marketers.
Marketing Understands Sales Goals
Every salesperson has sales goals. Or at least they should. Furthermore, they should understand how to reach these sales goals. Believe me, I have been in multimillion dollar organizations that had absolutely no idea of how they were going to reach their sales goals. Why is this important for marketers to know?
Let’s use a simple example. Let’s say that the sales goal for a business development manager (a fancy way to say salesperson) is $500/month. Remember, this is a simple example! They can make $200 from one product, $100 from another product and $50 from another product. However, the sales cycle for the most expensive product is longer than the other two. There is more competition for the $200 product and market penetration is tougher. They decide to get one $200 sales, one $100 sale and four $50 sales per month. This distribution can help the marketer understand where to best allocate their resources. Let’s just say that the profit margin on the $50 item is the highest. Hmmm, perhaps we should allocate most of our resources to market the $50 product and sell more of those. There are many scenarios that can be illustrated here. But you can see that understanding the sales goals and more can greatly aid the marketing department in establishing priorities with resources to help the sales team reach their goals more quickly.
They Always Look for New Opportunities
The best salespeople are always looking for new opportunities, whether it is through an upsell to a current customer or finding new customers. Marketers are consistently looking for new marketplace opportunities, like salespeople. However, I would argue that the creative minds of marketers enable the best to see opportunities that may seem hidden to most. In my opinion, this is one of the hardest parts of marketing. It is easy to follow the status quo, and extremely hard to stretch your mind to create innovative opportunities for an otherwise, seemingly common product or service.
I remember when I was in pharmaceutical sales, and we were selling an antidepressant. This was around the same time that smoking cessation patches were new and in demand. The company also had a smoking cessation patch. We decided to market the antidepressant as a supplement to the smoking cessation patch. While the patch took care of the nicotine withdrawal, the antidepressant eased the anxiety and withdrawal symptoms of quitting. It was a huge success. Rather than just sell the antidepressant as a stand-alone medication with a lot of competition, we offered a totally unique approach.
They’re Presentable and Fluent in Communication
This one goes without saying. Salespeople need to know how to communicate fluently. They also need to be presentable when selling. With marketing, the messaging needs to be concise and creative enough to engage the target audience. There can be no ambiguity when communicating with the prospect or current client. Moreso, sometimes the marketer must deliver the messaging in the least number of words possible. Think Twitter and the 280-character limit!? Or perhaps a 1-minute video? This is definitely not a task for the novice communicator.
They Know When, Where and How
In my pharmaceutical sales days, or years (approximately 22 of them) I remember certain doctors only being available on certain days at certain locations. I also remember scanning their office for clues about “what was important in their lives”. If the waiting room had a lot of photos of family, and Redbook and Parenting magazines on the table, this was a clue to me that they were big on family and probably very friendly, and more relationship focused. Conversely, if the waiting room had a bunch of diplomas and accolades on the walls, then they were more about the data, and wanted to be praised for all their accomplishments. This helped to craft my communication style appropriately.
The best marketers look for the same kind of information on when and how to best communicate with their audience. This is especially true when it comes to social media. It is very important to look at the data and understand the best time, day, frequency, and medium type to use for your target audience. Those marketers, or agencies (and there are many) that just post randomly on what they think is best without analyzing the data are doing themselves, their clients, and the industry a great disservice.
There are a ton of blogs out there that talk about why marketers need to master the art of sales and salespeople need to master marketing. I think you get the picture. The best marketing is done when integrated into the sales process. The best salespeople are also the best marketers, and the best marketers are the best salespeople. It’s good to know that the best marketers set themselves apart from their competition and are able to successfully engage with their audiences. They not only know how to talk to them, but they also know how to listen and how to respond to their needs and challenges. The best of the best understand the importance of sales and marketing as a team effort.