The intelligence test-type analogies to follow aren’t quite right, nor are they scientific. Yet I think there can be value in relating the push/pull perspectives between sales and marketing initiatives. In sales, an individual’s first task is to reach out to potential clients, discovering them through research and initial contact, or prospecting.
Marketers in theory have a variety of tools to make the first contact with potential clients ranging from community service, referral follow-up programs, broadcast, print and online media purchases, and social media activities. These can be in the broadest sense be described as advertising. The goal is for the potential client to take the initiative in calling or communicating interest or reaching the level of trust that when the sales rep communicates initially through prospecting there is much less resistance to the new relationship.
The question is whether marketers should spend more time learning effective selling processes, and whether sales representatives should develop an understanding and skill in the marketing arts. The answer, I believe, is absolutely “yes” to both questions.
Marketing and sales, while distinctive disciplines, cannot live without each other — especially in the business-to-business architectural, engineering and construction community. We need sustained, effective, and thoughtful relationships built through client experience and business development processes to stay in business. Yet we also need a way to efficiently build relationships, communication and trust with new clients, both to grow the business and diversify revenue sources (it is dangerous to hitch our business on one ‘rising star’ client — only to see it collapse later.)
Sales or business development representatives, and rain-maker seller-doers, meanwhile, need to understand the overall marketing process to wisely allocate their time and relationship-building skills, and also to counsel marketing representatives on the do’s and don’ts of effective new client communication.
This leads me to encouraging you to consider participating in the upcoming webinars, including tomorrow’s Bobby Darnell’s program about effective prospecting (Sept. 10) and Patrick King’s look at thought leadership on Oct. 15.