- Sales reps are people pleasers
- Marketers are crowd pleasers
Let’s explore this. Sales reps focus on relationships. They concentrate on doing and saying whatever is required by the dynamics of the situation with which they are dealing. They might be pushy in one case and passive in another; detail oriented with one type of buyer and big-picture with another. Every situation is unique.
In contrast, marketers focus on common denominators among different customer segments. Their goal is to identify the core needs that motivate all prospects in a particular segment to take a particular action. Having done that, they craft presentations and content to effectively discuss those needs and how their firms will address them.
So, whereas sales reps tend to be very reactive — adapting to whatever they think a particular customer situation needs — marketers tend to be very proactive. They systematically craft messages and programs that deliver a consistent message in a consistent way to a carefully defined segment of the market.
From this point of differentiation, a sales rep can derive at least three pieces of valuable insight.
- Think big. While it’s true that each customer has peculiarities, sales reps should still emphasize the big-picture needs that every customer has. Even if these themes aren’t top of mind with every customer, they are still there, waiting to be solved.
- Prospect to groups. In the old days, sales reps literally chased smokestacks; if they saw a building, they’d rush in and deliver a pitch. Much more efficient is to identify a type of customer that needs your stuff, and then find every one that’s similar. This way, you develop expertise in a given niche, which gives you credibility; and because you give a similar pitch repeatedly, you get very good at it.
- Style matters. Customers gain confidence when presentations are delivered in an organized way. What’s more, when presentations have a logical flow, repeat key points and are easy to follow, the message becomes far more memorable and persuasive. In B2B sales cycles can be long, so once the immediate impact of the personal side of the communication wears off, prospects need leave-behinds with strong ideas that won’t wear off over time.
Over to You
Sales people: what lessons have you learned from marketers?