Most facility service suppliers don’t have a true marketing department. This is a fact of life in the industry and salespeople are aware of it. Some salespeople say “no marketing department, then I’ll have fewer sales.”
However, not having a marketing department doesn’t have to inhibit sales. You may be able to sell more with a marketing department – but you shouldn’t sell less because you don’t have one. (I know, I once sold facility services for a large supplier that lacked a marketing department.)
Here are a few myths that touch the marketing-sales connection. They’re untrue but can seem otherwise, especially for salespeople working without a marketing department. Let me know if you disagree, or agree, with them.
Myth #1: Brand awareness is required for sales success
Brand awareness is a paper wall. It has two parts; awareness and relevance. Awareness is over in what seems like a nanosecond. Everyone is aware of Paris Hilton, Muammar Gaddafi and American Idol, but I don’t think buyers are contracting them for facility services. After awareness I believe relevance comes in the second nanosecond when buyers decide if the promise the brand makes is relevant to them. After relevance, buyers take a much more time consuming process of determining the value of that brand promise.
If buyers don’t know about your company, salespeople can help overcome their lack of brand awareness. At a minimum sellers can:
- Narrowly target buyers who reap huge benefits from your service
- Succinctly define your positioning (elevator) statement to use during face-to-face contacts
- Use benefit-based talking points in your voice & email messages
- Participate in association events – genuinely contribute (leaving your sales hat at the door)
These are definitely more marketing oriented than sales. In essence, salespeople become the marketing for their company.
Myth #2: Buyers don’t respond because they’re not interested
Sellers often jump to the wrong conclusion when buyers’ don’t return calls or emails. They take it as rejection when in many instances it’s only that buyers are overwhelmed. Buyers have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Their world, like yours, is under attack from info overload:
- 3,000 marketing messages an American views in a day
- 50 emails most workers can bear in a day
- 130 friends the average Facebook user has
Yes, there are uninterested buyers that don’t respond to sellers’ voice mails or emails. However, salespeople can improve their chances by doing the same steps mentioned in myth #1 above.
Myth #3: Buyers need to be educated on your service
Buyers don’t want to be educated about your service. They want insight into how your service will fix their problems or make their improvements. They want to understand how your service would be applied to their unique situation. They need to know the results they’ll get.
Buyers expect you, the seller, to know the minutiae and the details of your service . You (and your operations staff) need to be educated about what you’re providing.
Buyers are looking for insight.
Myth #4: Buyers can be made to do something they don’t want to do
Really? If you have that power over others then you’re wasting it in the facility service industry 😉
Of course no salesperson can magically persuade buyers to do something (take a call, meeting or give a sale) they don’t want to do.
Buyers buy when they want to buy (and when their contract expires). Salespeople should take themselves off the hook of unreal expectations. Accept the fact that buyers are beyond a salesperson’s control and begin to help buyers buy.