I owe much of my marketing knowledge to my 5 years in sales. In particular, these five years have helped me to understand that there are many similarities between marketing and sales, and the invaluable experience gained in sales is an excellent support for the marketing work.
Here are 5 key marketing insights I’ve made for myself while working in sales:
1. Both marketing and sales are about customer persuasion.
The salesperson’s job is to convince one particular customer, while the marketer’s job is to convince entire markets with multiple customers.
During my time in sales, the marketing department did everything to get customers to notice us, and the job of sales managers was to convince the customer to choose our product. This was a great division of labor, because a market full of buyers is much more difficult to convince than one particular customer, and we simply could not do without the help of marketers.
Now the situation has changed. The decision of modern buyers to buy a particular product or service by 60-80% is formed even before the conversation with the sales manager.
Therefore, companies should change their marketing strategies as quickly as possible and adapt to new realities, otherwise customers will exclude them from the list of companies under consideration even before meeting with the seller, thereby depriving them of the opportunity to somehow influence the decision to purchase a product.
2. Sellers have the opportunity and appropriate training to communicate with buyers before creating a strategy to convince them to buy a product.
Marketers don’t have this option.Working in sales, I built my phone communication with customers as follows: at the beginning of the call, I listened to customers to get an accurate idea of their needs and expectations; then, based on what I heard, I described our solution in such a way that it perfectly suited the needs of the client.
This approach was the most correct and effective, and if you, for example, suggested that sales managers stop listening to customers before voicing their offer, they would probably look at you as if you were crazy. But for some reason, marketers are expected to do just that — to make a specific offer without first studying the expectations and needs of the client.
3. Both departments should use their time effectively to convince customers.
The only difference is that managers are working to convince customers to make a purchase right now, while marketers are working to create persuasion strategies for the future.
By the time I started working in sales, I had fully realized the importance of marketing. Faced with the need to meet monthly targets, I watched our long-term plans suffer. I learned how difficult it is to balance short-term and long-term plans, and also realized that it is necessary to “tie” marketing indicators to the results that affect the performance of the next quarter or next year.
4. Despite the dozens of interesting things that a professional sales manager can learn about every customer, the ability to convince a customer to buy your product is based on only 5 key insights.
When I decided to help marketers understand their Buyer Persona, I realized that many of the techniques I used in sales were suitable for convincing only one particular buyer. Of course, tracking all the differences between customers could lead to too many disparate strategies. This approach was completely unsuitable for convincing a large number of people. After realizing this, I began to analyze what exactly helped me achieve success in sales, and eventually came to the creation of 5 rings of customer insight, which became the basis for the creation of Buyer Persona.
5. Regardless of the price, the fight for customers is won by companies that manage to gain the trust of customers.
The solutions I sold were significantly more expensive than those offered by our competitors. So we didn’t have a price advantage. We benefited from our ability to listen to our customers and use the insights we gained to convince customers that our product will make their lives better.
Today, when buyers can avoid sellers for a long time (due to the availability of a large amount of product information on the Internet), a large share of the responsibility for a successful sale falls on the shoulders of the marketing team. That is why modern marketers must constantly study customer insights, which are the basis for successful sales.
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If you need qualified help in studying customer insights and creating a Buyer Persona based on the information received, feel free to contact Premier SV — they will be happy to help.