As a marketer, I’ve encountered my share of sales leaders who thought they could get along just fine without marketing, thank you very much. And I don’t take it personally. Chances are they’ve had a previous experience that’s colored their perception of marketing. That’s why I’m sharing—and debunking— the ten biggest misconceptions I’ve seen sales teams have about marketing.
1. Marketing doesn’t need much budget
I’m as scrappy of a marketer as it comes. But in reality, it’s nearly impossible to run an effective marketing department without a budget. Advertising is not free. Neither is social media anymore. No, you don’t need a multi-million dollar budget, but it’s unrealistic to expect a marketer to keep the lights on without an investment. Depending on the product that you’re selling, marketing will need to spend to run brand campaigns, host events, build out a solid marketing tech stack, work with analysts, and attend trade shows and conferences, all to get in front of your target buyers.
2. Marketing is wasting budget on “awareness” and wooing industry influencers
Did you know that word-of-mouth from people they know is the primary influencer in a buying decision? Further, 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts. Yes, marketing does often spend some budget to get the ear of top industry influencers and convince them to collaborate with your brand. But that’s because it pays off—typically before a sales cycle even begins.
3. Great products don’t need marketing
Ah, yes, if you build it they will come! That made for a fun movie, but it’s just not how things work in today’s crowded marketplace. The internet allows people to buy whatever they want whenever they want from whomever they want. Your product needs to be well-made to earn its place in the purchase decision process, but first, they have to actually hear about it. And that’s where marketing comes in. We make sure to give prospective customers the right information at the right time in the right channel to make sure we’re part of the decision set.
4. Anyone can do marketing
You know when you’re in a museum and someone inevitably looks at a piece of art and says, loudly, “My kid could do that.” Yeah, well, marketers hear a lot of that too. And we receive a ton of unsolicited advice about what we should—or shouldn’t—be doing. But a good marketer is truly skilled at what they do, even if their secret sauce seems unclear. Unlike a sales cycle, where someone is visibly engaging with a customer, negotiating, pitching, often times the work of marketing is happening more behind the scenes, and the results can sometimes take several quarters to prove out. But a top-notch marketer is using data to make their decisions, staying on top of the best practices, honing their craft, applying prior learnings all day, every day. I guarantee that you can’t plop someone down without any experience and tell them to run your marketing team.
5. Marketing doesn’t need to talk to customers
Pretty much every marketer has been told that the second or third-hand information they get from sales about customers is enough to do their jobs. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The best marketers on the planet—whether in demand generation, brand, or product marketing—all make it a point to spend as much time with customers as possible. From listening in on sales calls, to attending customer events, to going on the road to shadow reps, this time in front of customers is invaluable. We’ll gain exposure to the vocabulary they use to talk about their experience with our company, the challenges that they face, and how best to market to our target audience. And that, in turn, will help us create much more effective marketing materials and programs for the sales team.
6. Marketing is the brand police
Contrary to popular belief, the marketing team actually doesn’t go skulking around in emails and files looking for branding violations. But when we are copied on that email you sent out with your handmade piece of collateral, with our outdated tagline and the logo of a client who expressly said we can’t publish it, we notice. It takes a lifetime to build a strong brand and just one misstep to undo it. We are all stewards of the brand when we work for a company, and marketing is there to help guide us all in the right direction.
7. Everyone in marketing is a designer
Whether you have them in-house or use contractors, graphic designers are a critical part of a solid marketing team. Design is the way you visually represent yourself to prospects, whether it’s on the website, in an ad, in a slide presentation, or otherwise. While you may see an artsy team hunched over a fancy monitor playing with images, this is just one part of a broader marketing team—and a critical one at that. They’re busy ensuring that your brand is differentiated and catching the eye of new leads.
8. Marketing can get results overnight
It’s fantastic when a new marketing campaign immediately gets results. But that’s not often the case, especially when you are a new brand that’s just starting out. Marketing does drive real business results, but it’s rarely an overnight success. Just as it takes time to find product-market fit, it takes months and years to build up a solid brand, nail the way in which you message to your target buyer, and uncover the ideal programs through which to reach them. And one of the fastest ways to speed up results is an open dialogue between sales and marketing on what’s working, and what’s not hitting the mark. So keep the feedback coming!
9. Social media is a waste of marketing’s time—spend that money on advertising instead
Advertising is just one way to reach your customer. And it’s increasingly more expensive‚ and less effective than it used to be. As neat is it is to see a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal, other tactics, such as social media outreach or account-based marketing (ABM), have earned their place in the marketing mix. You need to build relationships with customers over time, and there are now numerous new ways to do that.
10. If a marketing activity doesn’t result in direct sales it’s a waste of time
Attribution has been—and will continue to be—a hot topic in marketing and sales. We now have the technology to better decipher what truly influenced a deal. But a single touchpoint from marketing—such as an event—is only one piece of a larger puzzle. A customer can be touched (and almost assuredly is) by numerous other parts of marketing, such as product marketing, branding, communications, PR, demand generation, SEO, content marketing, and social media, to name a few elements. Building trust with your buyer takes time and a number of marketing activities above and beyond the direct sale.
It can be pretty easy for marketing and sales to end up on opposite sides thanks to these misconceptions. That’s why it’s important to tackle them head on and to give sales more transparency into marketing’s influence on closed won deals.
At People.ai we help attribute all sales activity to leads and campaigns, as well as accounts, contacts, and opportunities. This attribution gives the sales team additional insight into how marketing activities influence closed sales. This transparency is a key tool in helping debunk these sales myths. In fact, some marketers call People.ai their insurance policy. Schedule a demo to see how People.ai can help you close your sales and marketing gap.