Currently, I’m the founder and CEO of a small marketing agency.
Formerly, I was a salesperson.
And when you mention that you worked in both marketing and sales, it’s easy to think of a sibling rivalry whose bouts flare up worse than a bad case of red, middle school acne.
But it shouldn’t be that way…
Because sales and marketing are more intertwined than peanut butter and jelly.
They’re a POWER couple.
Jay-Z and Beyonce.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Sunday night and self-loathing. 😉
When used together, you get a match made in heaven.
Which is why I want to shed light on what I thought was hellish as a salesperson:
Being handed marketing material that didn’t resonate with the customer.
It made me wish marketers worked in sales so they could see how their message is received and understand the reality that salespeople live through.
Because marketing and sales are two sides of the same coin.
If you’re able to incorporate both perspectives into your campaigns, you’ll be able to create material that resonates with your audience at their core.
Here are nine insights marketers can learn from salespeople to help you create powerful creative for greater conversion.
#1) Marketing and Sales share a common goal
Please don’t spit out your LaCroix, but Marketing and Sales share a common goal.
And the goal is to sell a service or a product. That’s the reminder.
If you’ve only been in marketing, it’s easy to forget that the whole point of building your brand’s likeness, trustworthiness, and reputation is to make a sale.
Because if you only see the brand side of things, it’ll seep into your messaging:
Your content will be more about how great you are than how you help your customers solve their problems.
And that subtle difference makes all the difference in the world.
Everything you create at some level should have the end user in mind. Instead of focusing on yourself, focus on your customer and the problems you solve for them.
Not only will this improve your creative, but it will ultimately help you make more sales… which is the overarching goal of any company.
#2) Listen to your customers; they’ll tell you what they like
I’m a gamer from the ‘90s.
And the ’90s was the cheat code hay-day.
If you wanted extra gear, your fairy-cheat-code-mother was here.
All you had to do was press start, type in a code, and instantly have your cake and eat it too.
And it’s with that nerdy nostalgia that I’d like to share perhaps the greatest cheat code you can use to create powerful creative:
Listen to your customers… they’ll tell you what they like.
Too often, marketers will lead with what they want to say instead of creating what their customers care about.
And that’s a missed opportunity to connect with more people.
I can hear you now:
But we do listen to our customers! We have research teams, we run studies, and quite frankly, if you’ve been to those meetings, you’d know that!
Yeah, that’s great, but I think many of us are missing the elephant in the room… well, the office.
Your salespeople talk to your customers day in and day out. Talk to them. You’ll get real-time customer feedback.
Every company I sold for usually had a list of 5–10 reasons why someone should buy their products.
The list was usually created by a marketing department and had ALL the great talking points of your company.
But when you’re on the front lines selling the product, you found that most of the people bought your product for the same 1–2 reasons.
So what does this mean?
If 80% of your past 100 –1000 customers bought your product citing the same 1–2 reasons.
Building a marketing campaign around those 1–2 reasons might not be a bad idea.
And you wouldn’t know that unless you’re talking to the people selling the product day in and day out.
#3) You don’t create demand; you find demand
Borrowing a classic Gary Halbert line, do you know where the best place to sell hot dogs is? Into a starving crowd.
And in sales terms, we call this prospecting.
Prospecting is genuinely understanding and identifying your target audience so you can focus on marketing/selling to them.
It involves understanding your prospect’s problems, hopes, dreams, and solutions.
That’s why a smart marketer will study their target market deeply so they can create messaging that taps into an existing demand instead of trying to create the demand out of thin air.
Because the truth is:
It’s far easier to successfully tap into an existing demand than to spend resources to create a new demand.
This subtlety is the difference between pushing a rock uphill and rolling a rock downhill.
Great marketing taps into the mass desire of your audience. It speaks directly to your target audience’s problems, hopes, and dreams & leads them down a path of solving their problem.
That’s why the best salespeople aren’t usually that “salesy.” Instead, they find the demand for their product, acknowledge the concerns of their prospects and show how their products solve their problems.
Sovereignty is found in subtlety.
#4) Handling objections
When people hear the word objection, it’s easy to think the party’s over.
But as a marketer, understanding the common objections and learning how to overcome them is a treasure trove of material.
It tells you the pitfalls, the problems, and most importantly, the opportunities.
And the opportunities are creating material that directly speaks to the objections so you can build confidence in your product and sell more.
Think about it.
If you know that 80 percent of your potential clients have the same 1–4 common objections, how powerful would your marketing be if you could speak directly to their concerns?
Extremely powerful… It takes away the uneasiness right from the jump.
And when you’re able to handle objections efficiently, guess what happens?
Ask your best salespeople; they’ll tell you it gives the prospects confidence in your product.
#5) Understand what you’re promoting
Do you really understand what you’re promoting?
If you have never worked in sales, most sales training begins like this:
Under the promise of all-you-can-drink coffee, salespeople will be lured into a room and learn the ins and outs of their product until they become a walking, talking coffee-drinking brochure.
Because to sell your product, the first step is understanding your product.
Most marketers know what they sell. But do you understand your product like a salesperson does?
Could you sell your product to someone on the street?
Can you explain in depth how your product works and why it’s great for your ideal client?
Do you really understand the problems your product solves and what it’s like to live with those problems?
Can you list a few reasons why your product is better than the competition and adequately explain why?
If you can’t, you need to go back to the basics.
Creating great marketing campaigns is impossible if you don’t truly understand what you’re promoting and how it fits into your target audience’s life.
So take the time to truly understand your product so you can create material that clearly explains the benefits of working with you.
#6) Use your customer’s language
Now you’re speaking my language.
Perhaps one of my biggest gripes when selling was knowing how my customers described my product, the benefits they were excited about, and how to explain what we did in their words…
And then handing them a corporate-speak brochure that was more about the company and less about the customer.
Which, believe it or not, ended up not being a great resource for the customer.
Heed these words:
Markers should create material directly for their target audience.
- Use the words they use.
- Use analogies your customers understand.
- Get excited about the things your target audience gets excited about.
- Speak directly to your customers.
You sell more when your customers can easily understand what you do and how you help.
The act of communicating with your prospects in a language they understand gives you one powerful benefit.
And context + clarity are the cornerstones of effective communication.
#7) Make sure your features have benefits
Have you seen our new features?
Every marketer and their brother are excited to show off their features.
And why shouldn’t they be?
Features are the pan-searing sizzle that gets you off the couch and into the restaurant.
They create interest; they start talking points; they create separations.
The only problem is your customers want to know one thing:
What’s in it for me?
And the way you answer that is with benefits.
Benefits are how your product or service actually improves your customer’s life.
They payoff the features and typically require you to use, you, your & so that, so you can, language.
The new gizmo gives you time back into your day so that you can have more hours to spend with your family.
The whatchamacallit saves you money, so you can reinvest it how you wish.
The abc123 update is easier to use than the last version, so you can get more time to work on what you love.
Too often, marketers will lead and end with the features but don’t clearly explain how the features benefit the customer.
And this is the difference between talking about yourself or talking about your customer.
It doesn’t matter that the Widget 5,000 has titanium ions…
It only matters if those titanium ions help the customer out.
Know the difference; it will improve your creative and answer the most important question.
#8) Ask for the sale
If you want to become a great salesperson, there’s usually one mental barrier you must learn to overcome:
Asking for the sale.
Coincidentally, the difference between buying and selling comes down to the same constraint:
Asking for the sale.
It’s a weird and wild phenomenon, but those who ask usually receive.
And perhaps one of the easiest ways to add more sales, appointments, conversions, and even a higher CTR is with a call-to-action, or you know… asking!
As a marketer, it’s important to remember that if you’re connecting with a prospect, you should have a CTA somewhere on your piece.
Because if your prospect doesn’t understand the next steps or how to take the next steps, then your whole piece is missing out on potential customers.
This is kind of like you missing 100% of the shots you don’t take.
Moreso, as a consumer, there’s nothing more frustrating than being interested in a product but not knowing how to buy it or making it complicated to learn more.
This is a huge turnoff but also easily avoidable.
Now, I get it; there’s a difference between the upper and lower funnel. Nurturing pieces and closing pieces but on a minimum blue-hyperlink-level, make sure you have a CTA.
Because you’ll convert higher having a CTA than not having one.
#9) Use proof
The proof is in the pudding… but who in the Hell is walking around eating pudding?
Have you ever gone to a new restaurant?
The first thing many of us do is Google the restaurant’s name, check out the menu, and ummm…
Read the reviews.
Or have you ever bought something from Amazon?
Did you notice that right below every item is guess what…
Coincidence? I think not.
As a consumer, if there’s one factor that brings peace of mind, it’s having proof that whatever you’re purchasing works.
Because you know… most people don’t want to waste their money.
This is why great salespeople will show proof of concept because it lowers buying resistance and builds confidence.
As a marketer, you should find opportunities to leverage proof.
Whether you’ve won awards, have stellar reviews, or even have some eye-opening numbers to share, share them.
It gives the consumer confidence in your product.
And confidence in your product leads to confidence in the mind.
Both marketing and sales are essential. And perhaps the best way to explain the relationship is with fishing.
With great marketing, you can cast a wider net; and with a wider net, you can catch more fish.
However, with great sales, you can tie better knots and use tastier bait. When used together, you’ll have the best client acquisition system you can possibly have.
Cast your nets into the sea; the ocean is bountiful.