Why your old approach to silos at work is killing your business.
“…And that’s why I’m the accountant” came the proud guffaw from the presenter at the networking presentation. And instantly he lost me. I would never be a customer of this business.
We were at a networking event in Sheffield at a well-established group hosted by a local accountancy firm. The food was decent, the company was in good number, and active and I was looking forward to a talk about new innovations in the accountancy world.
As is usual at these events there was a really good mix of business types, sectors, decision making levels and cultures. But also what is customary at these events is, regardless of the persons’ job title, position, authority level or motivation, one thing is true; they are all responsible for marketing. They are all responsible for sales. They just don’t know it yet.
Everybody works in marketing.
In his powerful book, This Is Marketing, Seth Godin explains most succinctly that everybody is responsible for the marketing activity in their business. So why the snobbery? At the networking session I outline above, the suggestion from the accountant was that working in marketing was somehow beneath him. But he had just given a 20-minute talk about innovations in accountancy.
So why was this accountant working in marketing?
- Innovation expert.
- Events discussing their business with a room full of target market.
- Talking from a position of authority.
These are all classic examples of marketing!
A joined-up culture for responsibility and ownership of marketing across departments is necessary to understand and respect the value that marketing brings to the business in the modern era.
Leadership has a responsibility to market and sell their brand.
If we know that 92% of B2B buyers are prepared, willing and able to connect and build relationships with thought leaders in all sectors, why then would these people in positions of authority choose to hide behind classic ‘marketing’, that being printed catalogues, materials, expo stands – even corporate pens and mugs!
As a seller, a decision maker and a leader of your business – you have a responsibility to pitch up in the places that you are expected to be. You cannot hide behind what you assume ‘marketing’ to be. You cannot leave the sales activity solely to the sales team. The sales team will be looking at you to lead them. Your buyer is looking for you and if they cannot see your activity, your opinions and your position, they are less likely to build know, like and trust which leads to so much of today’s sales activity.
I don’t blame the accountant who claimed that ‘marketing’ was beneath him. I just feel he, and many others like him, are simply uneducated and blind to the fact that the modern buying customer journey has changed and the perception of where you need to be has changed too.
What do you want to be known for?
In our Plan. Grow. Do. training we ask attendees to identify what it is they are known for. We want to know what that person sitting in the training is the go-to person for, and why, in an environment where people buy from people like themselves, are they hiding behind the company line – often which the person questioned doesn’t know the corporate mission anyway?!
‘A one stop shop‘, ‘great customer service‘, ‘for all your [insert service] needs‘. These are not what you are known for. If you want to find out more about what you really are known for, then see what others say. Put your customers first and see what they say about what makes you remarkable.
Leadership in business need to take ownership of their positioning both in terms of corporate positioning and also, perhaps, more importantly, personal positioning. At our social media session where we share the value and importance of social media for a B2B business, we often hear push back and query about sharing opinion and position, and the fact that competitors may spy on them to poach staff, to poach customers and to ‘borrow’ ideas.
You are ruling out over a third of your market by not appreciating modern sales.
I find it hard to understand the hesitance to position yourself as a leading voice on social media given that 92% of all B2B buyers use social media to build relationships and make buying decisions. By turning away from social media, turning away from a modern approach to sales, business leaders and sales teams are shirking their responsibilities for sales effectiveness by claiming they ‘don’t do marketing‘.
Everybody works in marketing. Everybody sells. It is the mission of Plan. Grow. Do. to share this in an effective and powerful way. We guide you through the modern approach to sales, appreciating the traditional sales activities but also showing how a modern customer journey expects you to be where they are, both online and offline.
By building know, like and trust you will develop long lasting and meaningful relationships with the perfect target buyer. You must take responsibility for your own activity and understand that you as sellers and as business leaders are part of a marketing message. You are assets to your business and you must embrace the huge opportunities that modern selling can bring.
So step out of the silo behaviours, don’t talk down the impact or role of ‘marketing’ and understand quickly that you all work in marketing. You all work in sales.