Thor and Loki are in a lift in Sakarra trying to steal a ship to escape. But they will have to get past the Grandmaster’s guards to do so. As the lift carries them skyward, Thor says, “Hey, let’s do ‘get help’.
“Come on, you love it.”
“I hate it,” Loki replies. “It’s humiliating.”
“It’s great. It works every time.”
“Have you got a better plan?” Thor asks.
“We are not doing ‘get help’.
Obviously, they’re doing it. The lift doors open. Loki is slumped in Thor’s arms and Thor calls out to the Sakarran guards, “Get help. Please, my brother, he’s dying. Get help.” He picks Loki up and throws him at the guards, knocking them over.
“Classic,” Thor says with a grin.
“I still hate it,” says Loki as he stands up and dusts himself off. “It’s humiliating”
Thor grins. “Not for me it’s not.”
Sales and Marketing are a bit like Thor and Loki
Before anyone sends us letters of outrage, let me explain. I’m not saying either the sales department or the marketing department are intrinsically wicked or evil, nor are they good and heroic. What I am saying is that they are brothers from a different mother, or two sides of the same coin. They operate differently.
The truth is they need each other to be able to achieve the best results. But they can only do this when they work as a team.
Who gets fired first? Sales or marketing?
Many, if not most, companies, especially in an economic recession, give more weight to the sales department than to marketing. The marketing budget is always the first to be slashed, if not abolished altogether, and the marketing staff are always the first to be retrenched. This reaction is one of fear. “The only way to bring in the money is to make sales. We need more salespeople!”
It’s an understandable reaction. But it comes from a misunderstanding of the role that marketing plays in making sales. Especially in today’s world. Thanks to video marketing, 70% of today’s consumers decide whether to purchase your product, or hire your firm, before they step foot inside either your physical or online store.
So how should sales and marketing work?
It’s called teamwork for a reason
Sadly. what is true about sales and marketing is that, as with Thor and Loki, the two departments seldom talk to each other in any meaningful way. This will cripple your company. Not only do they need to talk to each other, but they also need to listen.
The sales department is talking to the customers. They know what the customers want. Marketing needs to hear that.
Sales also needs to listen. It’s no good if marketing creates fabulous content if the sales department ignores it when talking to customers. That would send contradictory and confusing messages to the target audience.
- Sales needs to tell marketing:
- What their customers are saying:
- What are they asking for, and about
- What their complaints are, what they like and dislike
- What they know and don’t know
- What they want and don’t want
- How do they shop – in person or online.
- Which physical locations or online platforms do they frequently use
As you can see, the conversations sales are having with their customers needs to go beyond, “We have this. Do you want it?”
- Marketing needs to create campaigns using this information. They need to:
- Answer the questions
- Address the complaints
- Educate and inform both sales and customers
- Create campaigns that persuade the customers that the product or service is what they want
- Run the campaigns on the correct platforms for the target audience
Remember ‘Give Heinz A Hand’?
In 1982, Heinz tomato sauce was thick. So thick you had to beat it out of the bottle! No matter how good the sales department were, people weren’t buying. Research and Development were going to have to adjust the recipe without losing any of the goodness and quality consumers had come to expect. Tricky.
Thankfully, the solution was found by the marketing department. They cleverly took that complaint and made it a unique selling point. They came up with the concept that Heinz tomato sauce made meals so delicious it deserved a round of applause!
Long before the white coats in research and development get their act together, it’s often the creatives in marketing who come up with solutions, or even new products or services. Much of the technology we have today, for example, was birthed in the mind of a science fiction writer. Not a scientist.
The key to better sales
Constant, meaningful conversation between the two departments is the best way to grow your company. Besides clever ideas and witty copy, the scope of the marketing department includes launching new products and services, revamping the look and feel of old ones, and educating all team members, not only the sales department, on ideas and concepts, as well as the reasons behind them. It’s this critical information that the sales department needs when talking to customers. The information everyone in the company needs to sing from the same hymn sheet.
Remember the Heinz commercial? What was the best video you’ve seen where a ‘problem’ was successfully marketed as a unique selling point?