How Marketing Can Support the Sales Effort

Article excerpt

Maybe you've had this experience: You design brochures for the bank's sales people. From your point of view, the materials are wonderful. They explain the features and benefits of a new product being promoted in an upcoming campaign. After the brochures are delivered, you discover that the sales people are not using them.

Those salespeople, you say to yourself. There they go again, frustrating all the hard work and best intentions of the marketing department!

A lot of banks have a history of similar conflicts involving sales and marketing, according to Jim Schneider, president of Schneider Sales Management Inc., Englewood, Colo. To help marketers work more effectively with salespeople, Schneider is presenting a workshop entitled, "Sales Sense for Marketers," immediately prior to the ABA Marketing Conference at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, Sept. 16-18.

The workshop is noteworthy for another reason. Marketers who have their Certified Financial Marketing Professional (CFMP) designation can obtain continuing education credits by attending the class. This is the first time that conference workshops dealing with sales support are eligible for CFMP continuing education credit.

Schneider says the goal of the workshop is to enable marketers to understand the salesperson's point-of-view so that marketers are better able to create sales support material that will be used.

One obstacle to better communication is that a lot of marketers are uncomfortable talking to sales people. "Maybe the marketers haven't actually sold before, and they feel out of their comfort zones." Part of the difficulty stems from the fact that many banks have a history of misunderstanding involving sales and marketing.

Salespeople have their own gripes about marketing. Common complaints are that marketing doesn't provide qualified sales leads or keep sales informed about upcoming campaigns or promotions. "Salespeople point out that sometimes the first time they learn about a new campaign is when the customers tell them about it," observes Schneider.

The most common error that marketers make is to assume that selling is mainly about presentation. Sometimes, sales support material has too much emphasis on explaining product features. "Actually sales is about getting information," Schneider notes.

To illustrate the type of information that is useful to a sales person, Schneider uses the example of a person interested in joining a health club. "Before they explain the facts and figures of the club, they give you a questionnaire and ask you to fill it out." The questionnaire asks why the person is interested in joining--to build bulk, lose weight and so forth. The salesperson then uses this information to make a customized pitch for the prospect's business. …