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Call us for a chat on +44 (0)20 7836 3678 or Email Jim Piper or David Newman

Marketers are the midfield geniuses and sales people the centre-forwards


As the new football season kicks off, like most years, the initial enthusiasm, excitement and aspirations of the league crown took 90 short minutes on Sunday to instantly wane. As with most recent years, success will be a top 4 finish and a cup run.

It is probably a bit early to lose all hope yet, but it reminded me of an article I saw last year.

Marketing Week penned an article highlighting the differences between sales and marketing teams and used the football analogy in the title to describe this.

However, it then goes on to say that:

“Having been subjected to another PPI telephone salesman, I have to admit that I fear sales people play a completely different ball game to us marketers”.

The differentiation being highlighted that sales involves words like pitching, proposing, persuading, convincing and influencing, whereas marketers work hard to understand the benefits of an offer and communicate this, rather than the features. Marketers “invest time in understanding our customers, what their needs are, and how products and services can be positioned to address what we have identified our customers want”.

“We stand in the shoes of our customers”

Holy s**t! Who wrote that? It certainly isn’t someone who has much life, marketing or sales experience.

Bad marketing is bad marketing and bad selling is bad selling!!

Marketing and sales have always been the proverbial cat and dog, never understanding each other’s ways or working together. Marketing is fluffy, unquantifiable and pointless in the eye of the salesman and selling is dirty and full of shiny suits in the mind of the marketer.

Surely times have moved on and those perceptions don’t still exist. Anyone who thinks marketing is not designed to sell more is deluded and any salesman who doesn’t or can’t take time to understand their audience and communicate the benefits (specifically for that prospect) is a relic of the past. Selling has become more intelligent. It has had to. It is relationship building, establishing needs and objectives and matching those to a service you can offer. If there is no identifiable need or match at the time, there is no pushing. It is a polite farewell and if agreed, a timely call back scheduled. Sales should be aligned with marketing and both should support each other. Each can play the creative midfielder or the striking role.

A targeted sales campaign can be used for research, passing insights directly from the target market into marketing campaigns. It may be the marketing campaign that scores the goal through content driven nurturing. Equally, the traditional model of marketing playing the killer pass for the sales team to knock in will still be the case.

Of course I take the article with a pinch of salt, but if people really have that perception and lump all sales professionals in with that of PPI callers, what hope is there? I don’t think they do.

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