When those in marketing create new campaigns, sales personnel are often excluded. The logic behind this silo-ed process is that sales is perceived as not understanding marketing and therefore it is prohibiitve to include the sales department. From my experience, marketing doesn’t often understand sales.
If you are a small business owner, you should keep in mind that marketing efforts are not independent of your on-the-floor operations. Your marketing spend will go further with these important premises in mind:
- your marketing consultant/agency must understand your business mission and store culture.
- you must understand the marketing plans presented
- your staff must understand the execution and strategy behind the marketing plan
- you must provide easy to use results tracking tools for your staff
- your staff must report results and customer feedback
I’ve heard the argument – “A good marketing plan doesn’t need sales involvement.”
That is the kind of
bullshit rationale that comes from owners/managers who don’t respect their salespeople. (And then wonder why turnover is so high.)
Why must sales be involved in marketing?
Let’s use an analogy. Just as a meal is based on a cook’s skills, marketing success is based on a salesperson’s skills. For example, if you bring food to a cook without information on the desired meal, the cook is forced to focus on logistics rather than skills. S/he has to prioritize a) what the resulting meal is to be, and b) how to go about preparing it. Even then, the resulting meal may not be what was desired.
But, if you were to provide the cook with not only the food, but also the cooking tools, recipe, and clear instructions as to the desired result, not only will the cook prepare exactly what is desired, but will then be better able to focus on adding his/her unique cooking skills to the process for optimal results.
And so it goes with sales…
Using the analogy above, you can see how trying to implement a new marketing campaign with an uninformed, unequipped, and unprepared salesperson will sabotage your marketing goals.
As a small business owner, you have the advantage over large chains. Their corporate offices are distanced from actual business sites and must rely on strict guidelines to achieve minimal success. In a small business environment, one has far more ability to be hands on, communicate deeply to staff, and oversee execution. If you aren’t properly communicating your marketing plans with your sales staff, you cannot reap the benefits you truly seek.
Success vs Failure
Let’s look at two scenarios to illustrate how communication and cooperation between sales and marketing can enhance or sabotage results.
Scenario 1 – Undesirable
A consumer walks into a store anxious to buy your advertised item. but the salesperson approached knows nothing about it. The search for information presents, and the consumer becomes annoyed at the delay and confusion. There is so much effort in the process of determining the sale item and pricing that any opportunity to establish a consumer relathionship is lost on the clarification process. Add-on or ad driven sales strategies and opportunities are lost. There is little room for conversation as to why the consumer wanted the item and a lost chance to determine whether the item truly fit their need. This situation increases the likelihood of a return, and for a lost chance for conversion or multiple sales per transaction since the anxiety around the confusion dominates. It is only a highly experienced salesperson who can segue such confusion into a new start with a consumer in this situation.
Scenario 2 – Desirable
A consumer walks into a store anxious to buy your advertised item. The salesperson has full knowledge of the campaign because s/he has attended a meeting (or was otherwise fully informed) as to the marketing campaign strategy for increased sales and customer relationship building from said campaign. The salesperson confidently guides the relaxed consumer to the product area while procuring information to help cement the sale, present an opportunity for a more appropriate item, or even launch an upsell. A relationship is created with the consumer enhancing repeat/referral business potential. Results are documented for future marketing efforts to build upon. Palpable information is procured for an understanding as to whether the marketing campaign was a strategic win or simply incidental.