By Nicole Lee
Over the last five to six years, I have sat in numerous interviews in which candidates very candidly announced that their real passion was in marketing, digital marketing or social media marketing. I am constantly asking myself, “How can I attract quality account executives when there is so much buzz around digital marketing?”
There is no denying it — the term “sales” is not always looked on in the best light. No young person wants to think of themselves as being sold something, especially now when you walk into empty malls and see hungry associates trying to make their daily goals. The big shift in our culture from having a personal sales experience with a trusted, thoughtful salesperson to being able to order anything from your phone and have it there in two days has affected the way we think of salespeople.
This thought process extends into people’s careers. A large part of their interactions are in a voyeuristic/exhibitionist manner; this makes it difficult to ask people to fully engage in a career where you have to create and maintain your own relationships. Picking up the phone and calling someone does not come naturally. Having to reach out to strangers and tell them something they may not want to hear seems to a majority of candidates to be the lowest of the low.
While marketing is still a means of promoting and selling products, it is viewed as a creative industry and thus satiates the human desire to be creative. We know that 76.8 million millennials participate in some kind of social media. On a daily basis, they are marketing themselves to their friends and colleagues in their own creative voice. Thus, a career in marketing is just an extension of a personal habit that they already participate in and thoroughly enjoy.
So, how can we, as senior sales professionals, attract the best candidates to be passionate and engaged in sales and business development?
At Glow Concept, I have taken several steps that do not include doubling their pay or benefits. These tactics may not work for every industry, but we’ve been able to build an amazing team by changing our internal goals and outlook on what the sales team actually does. The following is our four-pronged approach.
Rebranding Our Sales Force
Our team members are now B2B relationship managers. Their main focus is on creating strategic marketing plans to optimize sales with our partners. This works particularly well for our team, as we are not in a heavy outreach phase and are focused on building deeper relationships with our current accounts.
Marketing Is Sales; Sales Is Marketing
We put a heavy emphasis on digital marketing being a part of our overall sales and marketing strategy. Our executives and managers must be involved in planning, implementing and monitoring digital advertising campaigns, social campaign effectiveness and affiliate marketing success.
Digital Marketing Is Really Just B2C Sales
This is something I talk about on a daily basis because at some point (in our industry) someone is going to have to sell to the customer. We must think in terms of how we best deliver to the customer. From content to product shots to copy, I have enabled the team to have an eye out for how the message is best delivered and study the performance of each delivery.
I implore the team to always remember they are at the front end and therefore have a big voice when it comes to products and the communication around those products. They are encouraged to analyze how and why things are performing and what we can do to optimize our marketing and digital marketing efforts.
Putting an emphasis on relationship management as a means of marketing our products to other business and, eventually, consumers has invigorated our team. They are creative, digital-marketing-savvy salespeople who understand the importance of relationship management, but are also able to keep up with the digital marketing world. I realize this article may or may not be helpful depending on your industry, but I implore you to think of your sales team as more than a collection of salespeople and explore how you can get creative to pull in top talent in a digital market world.
Feature Image Credit: Shutterstock
By Nicole Lee
Experienced Brand Builder with over 13 years experience in sales and marketing.