At a recent networking meeting I spoke to a salesman from a printing company, about how he was looking for someone to do marketing for his company, to support their sales team. With too much work to do already, none of the salesmen have time to do any marketing; and in any case, he told me, salesmen canít do marketing. He said that sales and marketing are very different animals and I had to agree with him.
But this got me thinking. I agreed with him that salesmen canít do marketing, but I do believe that marketing professionals can actually be rather good at selling. If youíre a salesman you might disagree with me; if youíre in marketing, you might disagree! Let me know by clicking here to answer my latest question on LinkedIn.
Why Canít Salesmen Do Marketing?
Many years ago, before I ran my own business, I had a proper job at a printing company. I was employed as the Sales and Marketing Executive and was there to support the sales team. They took an old fashioned approach to sales. They all had 'old school' contacts - people with whom they had done busines for years and played golf with. Each week they'd go and visit their contacts and pick up the next piece of work.
The company didn't really do marketing - they thought that the best way to get more work was to keep visiting their contacts. I introduced the idea of a quarterly newsletter (the paper variety - well it was a printing company) which we posted to lots of contacts. Then we started running events at the office, to show clients and prospects what we actually did and how the printed happened. It took a lot of effort to persuade my boss, the Sales Director, to spend money on these activities. Finally, after 18 months of banging my head against a brick wall, I decided that I could have more fun running my own show.
So I set up my marketing and copywriting business. As the only person in the business, I soon realised that I had to do the sales as well as the marketing; but it must have worked, because the business grew steadily. It wasn't until I had been in business for about eight years that I had any proper sales training and when I did, I realised that all along I'd been doing quite a good job of the sales. I learnt a process for making it smoother, but a lot of the questioning I learnt was what I had been doing for years.
These days, at Appletree our sales and marketing go hand in hand. I still believe that when you get the marketing right, sales comes easily. When you have a solid way of establishing your reputation, a great way of building strong relationships wth contacts (clients and prospects) and a sensitive way of understanding the challenges they face, you can create exactly the solution that they are ready to buy. My final close is often "So when would you like us to start?" And the answer if often "Straight away!" Job done!
So is it true that salesmen can't do sales? Or is it a case that marketing people are very good at sales, because we get the marketing right? Can you do sales without marketing, or marketing without sales and still grow a business? Share your thoughts by clicking here to answer my question on LinkedIn.