We all complain about marketers and salespeople, and we look back on a long history of problems. Well, mostly a long history of perceived problems.
What I mean is that the problems are often non-existent, that the sales person was really only ever trying to do the best they could to deliver what the customer wanted.
The biggest issue is that the art and science of marketing and sales has changed in recent times.
Prior to about the 1970’s there wasn’t really a lot of sales-specific training. There were a few early adopters like Nightingale but there was no sales training ‘industry’ as we have now.
Those early techniques were refined and honed to a fine point and then stored away, forever documented in books and articles.
The real problem starts when you accept that the market has changed since the 1980’s or thereabouts.
People are still people, and we still have the same values and principles. What has changed is our reaction to marketing messages.
Modern technology allows us to be bombarded with information, almost 24/7. Our phones now accept emails from multiple email accounts, we can receive text messages from anyone who has our number (and our growing social media involvement means that the number is more widely known than ever before) and the applications we install on our phone to make our life easier can ‘push’ messages our way. That means we have become immune to an old-fashioned promotion.
Advertisers used to produce really painful adverts as well as the clever ones based on the principle that “I don’t care why they remember the brand as long as they remember it”. The painful adverts are now mostly avoided by the average consumer, meaning they have a negative effect. They motivate people to avoid the brand rather than supporting it.
Today marketing and sales is more collaborative than ever before. The buyer has to inform the seller about what they are looking for and the seller has to present their case to the buyer. Each has to be confident that they fully understood the other and that they are sure that their message was delivered.
The real test? Would all parties repeat that exact transaction again? The goal should be to ensure that every participant is happy with the outcome: fair prices paid, fair profits made, and the right product or service is delivered to the right place at the right time.