As a sales manager, your main focus is to develop your team into a revenue-generating machine. But in some cases, the truth of the matter is that some Director of Sales are more Ignorant Ians than Awesome Andys when it comes to getting savvy on marketing strategy. In fact, we’ll recount a story about a mid-size company with an Ignorant Ian as their Sales Director. Ian’s blatantly ignorant, anti-marketing antics have earned him a certain relationship in his organization. Some of his antics are completely counter-productive and involve him blowing up in marketing meetings and yelling, “That won’t work, that won’t work!” Another episode involved him storming out of the conference room. But Ignorant Ian isn’t completely anti- marketing. He’s attempted his fair share of outbound tactics as well. In fact, he’s such a big believer in outbound that he recently reduced his sales staff so that he could hire not just one, but TWO full time cold callers. He doesn’t ‘believe’ in new marketing tactics or inbound marketing. He takes it so far as to forbid certain marketing tactics, such as business blogging, dismissing it as a waste of time and resources. His strong will forces the rest of the team to go behind his back to implement any sort of new, “trendy” (Ian’s label) marketing. He refuses to track other marketing leads through the sales funnel. Taking the lead, of course, but dismissing the source. Can you believe it? The saddest part? Ian’s not alone in his beliefs. We encountered another such character in our time at Hubspot’s Inbound 2013 conference. Play the video below to see what kind of tactics he was employing:
The question: Are YOU an Ignorant Ian? Its unlikely you are as extreme as these examples, but it’s that probable that you have areas with room for improvement. Here’s 5 ways out of marketing ignorance and into marketing enlightenment:
1- Be Open Minded
I know it’s hard to accept, but things change. Everything under the sun develops and evolves. Your industry is no different, and this means you will have to try new tactics to generate leads. Gone are the days of effective cold calling and mass mailers. Marketers now focus on organic website traffic through business blogging and thorough SEO. Accept this new inbound marketing, embrace it, love it. Remember change is ongoing, today marketing trends toward social media, tomorrow it could be something else. Keep an open mind, as marketing is constantly evolving.
2- Be a Team Player
Sure, you may play well with others on your sales team, but what about your relationship with the marketing team? The advantages of creating a strong alliance between your marketing and sales teams are unquestionable. In 2010, companies who did just that saw a revenue increase of 20%, while those who did not reported a decrease of 4%. Create a new team, a smarketing team. Buck up, be the bigger person and extend the invitation to become a bigger, better team with bigger, better prospects.
3- Take Responsibility
Just because you are in charge of the sales doesn’t mean you get to sit back and wait for the leads to be served on a silver platter. Does it? With inbound it does, but that doesn’t come without work. By supporting and working with your marketing team you can depend on them to generate leads, which leaves you and your sales team with the specific task of selling. Your responsibility on the sales side of your smarketing partnership is to close the deal. Your smarketing partnership should also provide the tools to equip your team with in-depth knowledge of your leads, making it easier and more efficient to close the sale.
4- Be Consumer Oriented
Hopefully this is not a new revelation to you. Your focus should not be the number of leads you’re getting or how your traffic is growing. While these are great metrics for measurement, your focus should be your customers. Try to view the company as the consumer. When you shift your focus to them and solve their problems in your sales meetings in a consultative way, with your products and services as your resources, your conversions will continue to increase.
5- Don’t Road Block
Lets say you are being an open minded, customer-oriented team player, trying new marketing approaches and taking responsibility for your sales, but you still struggle to accept the changes. That’s okay. Change takes time. Just don’t let your hang-ups and reservations stand in the way of your company moving forward. Take a deep breath, let the marketing team do its thing and see how things play out. You may be surprised by the results.
We all agree the world would be a better place with fewer Ignorant Ians. Its understandable if you find this list a little hard to swallow. While these suggestions are seemingly simple, keep in mind that change is challenging. That’s the nature of change. These are not quick fixes. You’ve identified areas in yourself that require a little marketing enlightenment. That’s the first step. Now, go and make the best of your new smarketing guidance by making inbound improvements in your organization.
For more related wisdom read Refine your Sales Strategy: Old School vs. New School Sales and Sales vs. Marketing: Who does What?