‘‘Abracadabra”… surprisingly enough we don’t prance around Sharper HQ casting spells to get our work done (although we’d happily use a ‘Wingardium LeviOsa’ spell or two to fetch a cup of tea or another pink lady apple)
So, when it comes to being briefed as a marketer – and this will ring true for those of you on the client side dealing with sales teams on the daily – why are we constantly asked to ‘work our magic’ on things?
Don’t get us wrong, it’s pretty cool to be thought of as a mystic, other-worldly creature and yes, unlike other business functions, like finance or HR, a lot of our work does involve masses of creativity and things that aren’t instantly obvious.
But marketing is a strategic function that’s a beautiful combo of art, science, reason and craft. Not spells and hocus pocus.
So if you’re a sales manager reading this thinking “what on earth are they grumbling about?” or a marketer who’s fed up of being asked to “sprinkle some marketing dust” on yet ANOTHER PowerPoint deck here’s a 3 pointers on how we can all live together a bit more happily.
Sales peeps, your Marketing team will be (or should be) great at taking your ideas and turning them into something of real value .
But, if you involve them right at the end of a project and expect them to polish the proverbial “you know what” then the outcome will be tantamount to rolling “you know what” in glitter. And how much strategic, commercial value does making “you know what” sparkly really add? Very little.
Give your marketing team the time and opportunity they deserve to really add that value the business needs.
Ideally, involve your marketers at the start of any project.
Their strategic input and different opinion will be valuable and they’ll be able to guide you on messaging, targeting, the best channels to use for outreach and more… not just make it pretty.
If you give your marketer’s adequate time, notice and a decent brief, then it’ll look like magic when the leads come flooding in… Sabrina style.
And Marketers, you’re not innocent in all of this. How close are you to your sales team REALLY? If you feel like an afterthought then start getting involved with your sales process at different and earlier stages.
You don’t need to be devising sales strategies and getting into the depths of commercial models, but getting sight of that information and making yourself known when your sales team are having those discussions will put you in a good (or better) position.
Show an interest.
Sales types; If you’re further down the line with your project before you ask for a marketers help it can be harder to just ‘dip in’ and add value as just discussed. But, any marketer worth their salt will still try to assist. But if you’re coming with an 11th hour request you need to give some clear guidance on where help is most needed.
Whatever it is you want, give some clear direction… who’s it for, what’s the key message, how will it be distributed, when is it going out?
PLEASE don’t use the age-old “Brief of Doom” that every marketer has received of: “I don’t know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it”. This WILL get you turned into a frog.
And Marketers, don’t be afraid to push back. Politely challenge requests and unpick what it is that’s actually being asked for. It may lead to a slightly awkward discussion – you never want to be seen as a blocker – but if it’s all for the greater good of delivering something that truly hits the mark for the business then hopefully your sales buddy will respect that. Hopefully.
Internal marketing teams will generally be spread quite thin and have a lot of people asking for their help. After all they’re usually quite a sociable and approachable bunch (that typically find it hard to say no to your request, because the brand is their baby and only the best will do!)
So sales teams, please don’t take advantage of their good nature and expect them to respond with a “how high?” when asked to jump. EVERYTHING is urgent by the time it gets to marketing.
Help your marketers out and plan ahead when you can. Of course some things will be adhoc or reactive, but surely not everything is? How are you getting anything else done otherwise? You’ll get much more value from your marketers if they have time to think about how they can best help you and aren’t expected to just add another plate to the dozen or so they’re already spinning..
And marketers, you are allowed to say no.
We know it can be hard – you’re a people pleaser, right? That’s why you’re in marketing – but you are allowed. One of the best techniques we’ve found is one that’s used in improv comedy called the “Yes, and… No, but..” rule. The Y.A.N.B. helps to always keep scenes moving in improv by never blocking progress.
If the response to a request is “Yes” move it on further by starting the next sentence with “And…” If the response to a request should be “No” avoid being seen as a blocker or unhelpful by starting the next sentence with “But…” and suggesting some alternatives (not excuses).
Try it out some time.
So, if you’re a sales guy thinking about asking a marketer to ‘work their magic’, stop and have a good think about what you actually want them to do.
And if you’re a marketer fed up of having to constantly “sprinkle fairy dust” on things, stop and have a think about how you can change the perception of the value marketing adds.
We guarantee you’ll both get a better result if you start to work like this
We’ve got no magic, but we’ve got plenty of marketing brain power…so if you need some help with your marketing click that button below and let’s have a chat.