At its most basic, marketing is the act of selling or promoting products and services. If you consider yourself a part of the marketing tribe, this definition isn’t news to you.
But it’s time for a gut check: Promoting and selling are not mutually exclusive. As a marketer, your ability to promote depends on your ability to sell.
Knowing how your products are sold connects you with buyers; connecting with buyers provides insight into the roadblocks they encounter as they research, purchase, and use your products and services.
Failing to understand your customers’ mindset and buying cycle can impact everything — from how you create and distribute marketing content to how you launch products and resolve customer service issues.
Selling makes you a better marketer. If you’re not currently a closer, you need to become one.
The First Step Is Acceptance
Repeat after me: “My name is [your name], and I have a selling problem.” Rather, you have a problem from lack of selling.
It’s 2016. The silos between sales and marketing are melting away as we all drive towards the singular goal of generating revenue efficiently.
It’s imperative that marketers understand, support, and empower their sellers.
All too often marketers focus much (if not all) of their energy and attention on creation and promotion. However, marketing is rooted in selling, and can be a significant enablement tool and sales generator.
When Gutenberg invented movable type, he enabled businesses and individuals to economically deliver stories to the masses. This revolution helped launch advertising, which evolved into marketing.
The end goal now is the same as it was at the beginning: Create visibility, generate engagement, and close revenue.
Whether you’re rebranding your company’s image, externally connecting with prospects, internally encouraging adoption of a sales enablement tool, or emphasizing the importance of service level agreements, you’re selling.
The difference lies in the audience you’re selling to, and how you’re positioning and framing the conversations.
You’ve been a seller since the day you embraced your role as a marketer. Learning how to be a better seller can help you become a better marketer.
The (Sales) Struggle Is Real
You can’t know what your sellers experience in theory; you must experience their struggle first hand. Knowing the unique challenges your sellers face is a critical component in understanding how to support them and your customers.
Engaging with prospective customers can be as simple as taking a few hours to call on leads, or as complex as initiating a lead qualification position on your marketing team.
Regardless, it’s imperative you (yes, you) spend time engaging leads. This will pay off figuratively – through knowledge you can use to hone your marketing content – and literally – since any deal you close is revenue that can be directly attributed to your marketing department.
When Marketers and Buyers Meet, It’s Magic
Get in touch with your inner sales self. There are 5 critical steps to selling as a marketer:
- Make a connection. Connecting with buyers is the most difficult — and fruitful — aspect of the job. You can’t create a sustainable, excellent experience for buyers if you never speak with them.
- Discuss the buyer’s goals. Once you’ve successfully engaged a buyer, learn more about their needs by diving deeper into the end results they desire. Try to get as specific as possible and identify roadblocks that make those goals challenging to achieve.
- Work through the buyer’s overall strategy. Discuss whether or not the strategies and tactics they’re using are working. If their current tactics aren’t working, recommend best practices and tools that will help them achieve success. If their tactics are working, discuss how you can help them create even more tangible returns.
- Pitch the value prop. You have a superior solution; guide the buyer to see how they can make the most of it. Illuminate the facets of your organization’s solutions that will better position your buyer for success.
- Ask for the sale. There’s nothing more harrowing – and rewarding – than the Ask. Close a deal and you’ll gain respect from the sellers you support. Lose the deal and you’ll better understand what it is to be a seller. Even top sellers rarely close more than a fraction of their prospects.
Support Your Sellers and Close by Proxy
Connecting directly with a large number of clients may not be as feasible as you’d like. Ensure you’re gathering additional market intel by taking a more active role in supporting your organization’s sellers.
As your sellers become more familiar with you, you can prove yourself a trustworthy confidant and credible resource.
- Be present. Attend meetings and keep an open-cubicle policy.
- Be available. Everyone’s busy and time is precious, but don’t sacrifice valuable exposure with your sellers by constantly shirking questions or one-on-one meetings.
- Be open. The number and types of questions you receive indicates the type of resource you’re seen as.
Most marketers are closers by proxy, generating revenue through the support they provide sellers. Since the root of what marketers do is enabling sellers to better connect with buyers, live the values you preach. Provide sellers the guidance needed to position your brand effectively, expend sales calories efficiently, and nurture leads profitably.
Ultimately your job is to bring in revenue. Do that by instilling confidence and empowering sellers.
Now go forth, and close.
Is your demand generation missing something? Step up your marketing game with the power of PR and content promotion. Download High-Impact PR Planning that Drives Demand Generation for more tips.
Author Scott Abbate is a Marketo-certified program manager at PR Newswire who enables sellers to better connect with buyers. Scott’s days are spent generating deliberate, meaningful actions with buyers, fostering sustainable relationships, creating loyal brand advocates, and travelling with his wife.
1 Comments on Blog Post Title
Great article Scott, you totally nailed it. Find their pain, ask questions. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.