I grew up in the corporate world believing the idea that “everyone is in sales”. Daniel Pink’s “To Sell is Human” is one of my favorite books. However, “selling” has not evolved as much as organizations would like and is still in many ways an individual pursuit. Good salespeople find a way to get the job done, while companies struggle to figure out what to do with the other 75%. The more time I spend working with large corporations, the more I see a shift happening. Not everyone should be in sales. Everyone needs to be in marketing.
It’s All About the Experience
In a world dominated by sales, success used to be measured by outcome. Did they buy? Yes or no? In contrast, today’s consumers no longer look at it in those terms. They are as equally concerned with the journey as they are on the end result. For example, 75% of customers in the U.S. say that the customer experience is a significant factor in their purchasing decisions. According to Walker, customer experience is on pace to overtake “product” and “price” as the most important factor for consumers by 2020.
Marketing is responsible for the customer experience, from the time the consumer decides they need/want something to the time they buy. The experience is a fundamental part of the brand story. Every conversation, every interaction, every click reflects the company’s brand. In a world where companies are struggling to stand out from competitors, marketers have to work harder than ever to make sure the entire process is consistent with their unique story. For this reason, marketing needs everyone inside the company to be playing their part.
Mobilize Your Marketing Army
Marketers need to look at every role inside a company and understand how it impacts the brand. My team at InnerView has expertise with customer-facing teams, which are often the most critical. These are the people who talk directly to customers. This is the first audience marketers need to recruit to their marketing army because they have the most impact on the customer’s experience. A company’s brand is only as strong as what these employees say and do. These people are not in “sales”, or “customer service” or “technical support”. Instead, if they talk to a customer, they are part of the marketing team. They are brand representatives.
Marketers need to help this audience understand their vision. It is crucial for employees, partners or anyone else who wears the company logo to understand how important each interaction with a customer is. I’m not just talking about a greeting or smiling, I’m referring to the unique aspects of the brand that need to come through in each interaction.
A “brand” is a collection of promises that a company makes to its customers. Marketers are the ones who make the promises, therefore it is their job to make sure the company can deliver. That means every role in the company is in marketing. Yes, that includes sales.