Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer
You might know me as a writer, coach, content marketer, dog lover, editor, golfer, sales strategist, Diet Coke enthusiast, speaker, Allegheny alum, project manager, feminist, networker, or St. Louis Cardinals fan.
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In "Marketers Are From Mars, Sales Reps Are From Venus,” I outline some amusing stereotypes about the people who make up both sides of the B2B commercial coin.
I consider myself a “marketer” (albeit in air quotes because I’m really more of a writer, but that’s not the point). And as a “marketer,” I am fortunate to have a good relationship with our sales team.
Those stereotypes I wrote about – sales reps are overconfident, territorial, lazy, etc. – aren’t the case for my sales team. My sales colleagues are hard-working, personable, collaborative, and know their markets inside and out. One of our sales leaders is a fellow St. Louis Cardinals fan, several of them frequently ask about my dog Rosalita, and one always offers to bring me back a Diet Coke from his daily lunch run (and for that, Casey, I am truly grateful, especially for the caffeine delivery last Thursday).
Personal affinity aside, how I really got to know our sales team was pretty simple: I started going to their meetings.
I was an invited, willing, and welcome participant at these meetings. I realize that might not apply to all marketers wanting to crash the next sales party. But I’ve learned so much in the past eight months during roughly 125-ish hours in sales meetings (give or take a few hours). I’m not saying you need to commit three or four hours per week to extra meetings. But I am saying almost any marketer would benefit from regularly attending sales meetings.
You might be thinking, “I don’t have time for another meeting.” None of us do, so you’ll need to get over that. Bring your laptop – you can multitask.
Or you might be thinking, “I have nothing of value to add to a sales meeting.” That might be true, but only for now. The point isn’t to participate. It’s to listen and learn.
And you might be thinking, “Those sales meetings have nothing to do with my job.” That’s where you’d be wrong. Please, please keep reading.
As an editor who writes about marketing best practices, I’m well aware of the dysfunction that often exists between sales and marketing teams. I know of marketers who have no communication whatsoever with their sales team. I know of sales teams who realized (after budgets are allocated) that marketing targeted the wrong types of prospects. But I didn’t start going to sales meetings assuming I had it all figured out. We needed to get better alignment, and that’s exactly what these meetings started to do.
Our marketing efforts are now perfectly, magically aligned with what our sales team needs! I’m kidding, of course. There’s no such thing. But we are much more closely aligned.
For example, I’ve learned:
There's no software suite, no system, no process, and certainly no number of meetings that will give your sales and marketing team 100 percent perfect alignment. But with time, the more the sales team sees you, the more they'll start to "get" marketing. And the more time marketers spend with sales, the more they’ll start to “get” how their frontline colleagues help prospects navigate the buyer’s journey. If you’re a marketer who hasn’t attended a sales meeting lately, then it might be time to cozy up to a conference room table and see what you can learn.
We will not be great by what we accomplish, but by what we help others accomplish.How does this apply to your work as a B2B marketer?
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Learning to follow your buyer is a change in mindset
A transition from selling buyers on what you do to helping them accomplish what they do.