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10 Things Every Salesperson Needs to Know About Marketing

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When done correctly, marketing provides the air cover for the sales teams on the ground working hard to close deals and increase revenue. It’s a much needed partnership.

It’s wonderful when sales and marketing are working together and finishing one another’s sentences. Unfortunately, this tends to be the exception and not the rule. More often than not, the sales team see all that marketing isn’t and often struggle to see the true value that great marketing brings to the sales organization.

To be fair, not all marketing is great. But for the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on effective marketing that actually drives sales. If your company’s marketing isn’t accountable and isn’t driving sales, then there is a bigger issue at play (and we can tackle that one separately).

  1. No one wants to be “sold,” but everyone likes to buy: High-pressure sales tactics never work, because even when you’ve “won” the sale, it’s at the expense of the relationship. Marketing creates the desire that makes it much easier for sales teams to add value to the decision-making process rather than aggressively trying to close the deal. When a qualified prospect is interested in buying, it’s ready for a knowledgeable salesperson to answer its questions.
  2. People buy on emotion and backfill with logic: Marketing provides the emotional “sex appeal” that tugs at a person’s heartstrings. Before you ever buy a car, your heart has to jump ever so slightly as you fall in love with the vehicle you now need to justify buying. This is true with any sale that’s not an impulse buy. Before a purchase decision is made, you first have to “feel” that the product or service is right for you. Marketing plays an important role in that emotional connection with the very thing you are looking to sell.
  3. Great marketing tells a great story: Behind every great marketing campaign was a simple story just waiting to be told and retold. This is part of why we survived as a species all these tens of thousands of years; it’s part of our survival instinct. From Subway’s story about Jared losing weight eating nothing but Subway sandwiches to Apple encouraging us to “Think Different” to De Beers reinforcing the idea that “Diamonds Are Forever,” these stories help us make buying decisions with confidence.
  4. Big data can help determine when a person is “sales ready”: It’s true that there has been a tremendous amount of hype around the concept of big data, but what you need to know is that your marketing team, when working with data scientists, can strip out all the noise and focus on the attributes that help you know when a potential customer is sales ready. Adobe has built entire ecosystems around these triggering events (which is why it spends a lot more of its resources on technology than on the creative suites that made it famous).
  5. There is science behind the art of persuasion; much of that is marketing: In his latest book, Robert Cialdini identifies 52 small changes you can make immediately to ignite big influence and the desired results for your business. While all of these small changes impact sales growth, most of them are about better marketing techniques that have a proven sales impact. Sales teams benefit, but much of the impact is based on approaches marketers take to persuade people about the product or service being offered.
  6. Word-of-mouth marketing can be grouped into six STEPPS: Jonah Berger wrote an incredible book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, and explained why people choose to share both online and in real life. He researched and published the answer to why people choose to talk about brands, products, and services and provided tons of examples of great marketing that did just that.
  7. Marketing helps prospective buyers know, like, and trust you (or at least your company): Before anyone wants to buy anything from you, the customer first needs to know, like, and trust you. This is because, at the end of the day, everything is about people working with other people. If I’m going to buy anything from you, I need to feel like I know you, then I need to be sure I like you and ultimately trust you. Marketing helps get you closer to these goals by building the brand and providing the social proof needed to establish these core elements.
  8. When done correctly, marketing makes your job a lot easier: Marketing is like having a really great wingman (or wingwoman) who introduces you to someone at a party. Even if you’ve never talked to this prospect before, the marketing that preceded your conversation provided the emotional firepower to endear you to that customer long before you ever talked to him or her. Ideally, the marketing has provided the thought leadership and positioning that led this person to want to speak with you in the first place.
  9. Marketing people love and respect salespeople: When the marketing team understands that the sales team is driving the revenue that pays their salaries, they don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize your ability to drive sales. More than that, marketing people realize just how challenging it is to drive sales throughout the organization, and they respect the people who consistently deliver the results.
  10. You need each other: Marketing can’t do its job effectively without the support of the sales team. Working together is much more powerful than fighting for control. The flip side is also true. Sales without marketing is a much more difficult road to success. Without marketing, your focus is to make up for all that lost ground–telling the story, being persuasive, qualifying the lead, determining the emotional connection, objection handling, and everything else. It certainly can be done, but it’s a lot harder to grow the company without the support of marketing.

The bottom line is that, when done correctly, marketing provides the air cover for the salespeople on the ground working hard to close deals and increase revenue. It’s a partnership, to be sure.

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