A great looking brochure, app, or presentation can be impactful. But can your sales reps sell with it? That is the question. Will they be successful using your messaging and your tool?
Marketing without a well-informed strategy is scattershot. It’s like you grabbing a hand full of darts and throwing them at a board and hoping something sticks. Some might hit the corkboard. However, when you do it again, you get a different set of random hits. We define this approach as Scattershot Marketing™.
In the development of marketing plans and materials, sales reps should be included. It’s because they can offer insight that marketing may not have. In fact, marketing people without sales experience face pitfalls. Simply put, they don’t understand how sales will use it.
Sales Versus Marketing
Being asked to do more with less is commonplace. However, it’s essential to cut the right things. Many companies think it’s too costly to bring sales into marketing discussions when they should be out selling. Spending time in the early stages of strategic development allowing sales and marketing to share knowledge is essential for success. In the end, it will save money as well as time.
Marketing may have no firsthand knowledge of selling. They have never been on a sales call and have no idea how a salesperson uses aids during a customer presentation. And the counterpoint is the sales rep may have difficulty explaining how the piece isn’t what they need. It may take a brainstorming session to explore all the needs.
A knowledge gap can produce a divide between sales and marketing. And it’s not unusual for that gap to create tension. In this situation, marketing creates a brochure that lacks the key points sales want to highlight. For that reason, sales won’t use it, and marketing can only wonder why.
Repeating the Cycle
Consider the following scenario. It’s one I’ve seen play out more than once. Marketing is ready to deliver a new product. All their boxes are checked. It’s great-looking, well written and on time. At this point, a key stakeholder sees it for the first time. They have concerns after reviewing it. But marketing tells them it’s too late to make any changes.
Frustrated, the sales rep goes to a higher up. What’s more, the higher-up agrees with the salesperson’s perspective. It’s not the tool sales needs or wants. In brief, due to deadlines and budget, it is not only a problem; it’s a crisis. Soon, the finger-pointing begins, and blame is assigned. However, the cause of the issue is not a person or a department. It’s the process.
Solving The Problem
Overcoming communication challenges is what marketing does best. First, they start by identifying the factors that make up the issue. After that, they gather information to learn about those factors in-depth. And to support this discovery process, sales reps should be part of it. What’s more, they can educate marketing on what it means to walk in their shoes and what it’s like on the front line working to win customers.
Also, marketing needs to communicate what they can develop to that address the needs of sales. Ultimately, each side’s goal is to do what it does best—all while supporting each other.
For marketing work to stand out, the tools they develop need to be more than good looking; they need to be the tools that can build your business. In truth, great marketing doesn’t happen accidentally. It’s informed, strategic, and relevant.
The result gives both sales and marketing what they need.