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The Value of Sales Experience in Marketing

Posted by Benjamin Taylor on August 20th, 2014 at 9:28 am

Some of the most effective marketing strategies look a lot more like sales than anything else.  In its essence, lead generation on the internet is mostly about targeting relevant users, and then moving large volumes of that traffic through your client’s website. Now you can do that by making catchy infographics and spending a few hundred thousand dollars on advertising on the Forbes website, but a different approach can yield similar results at lower cost.

Targeting influencers on social media, youtube, bloggers, or the press, can be very effective, and even free. To be successful at it, you need to have a decent value proposition. If you are the solution that they are looking for, their advocate, then they will be happy to spread the word around about you to the exact right people.

Now, what if your client isn’t that type of business? Well, that’s up to you to fix. Take this article I found, for example. Pill peddling websites are among the lowest of the low. The three P’s(Pills, Poker, and Porn) are infamous for their awful marketing and generally enjoy a reputation as the links you should never click on. These people found a way around that.

Whoever was marketing these pills took advantage of a political issue to not only to be relevant, but also presented as the good guy, the little guy David against the Goliath BigPharma, as your opportunity to stick it to the man by saving money.

You have to find a way in which your client matters to individuals, and then exploit that. This is applicable on all levels, be it SEO or content marketing, or whatever. You don't have to claw your way to the top to build influence, which requires persuading thousands of people that you are worth listening to. Convince the person who already has influence.

Practical sales experience is very valuable when it comes to evangelizing to influencers. It requires the kind of personal touch that can’t be taught in school.

Simple but important skills like preventing an audio meltdown on a call, knowing how to make strangers comfortable, when to call and when to e-mail, helping your target influencers by using your own network to accrue favors, and building/maintaining that network of influencers for the future, are all things that a good sales representative will know how to do, and that a regular marketer will not.

So next time you’re hiring for your marketing department, scratch that 5 years of marketing experience requirement and find a salesperson. They might surprise you.

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