As much as it hurts to admit it, having spent my career dedicated to honing my marketing skills, people still buy from people. What I am talking about here is the power of personal relationships. Good sales professionals understand and exploit this. In the B2B technology sector, where I have spent 10+ years, my experience tells me that a personal relationship has a greater chance of creating opportunity than any marketing campaign could.
It’s true outside of sales also, I work with a number of agencies and yes, whilst they are delivering results for me, the defining factor in why I use say, one telemarketing agency over the next is the strength of the relationship I have with them. Afterall, a personal relationship brings one you simply can’t get elsewhere and is often the most important of all – Trust.
So here’s a thought, should marketing serve sales by generating leads for them where ultimately the end-user will already have a strong, trusting relationship with an alternative supplier? Or should we focus our efforts on enabling our sales teams to forge even stronger relationships with their existing networks?
The answer to the above question will probably be different in every organisation. For me, budget spent on lead gen activities will never win the ROI battle over relationship building. Which feeds nicely into the world of Social Media. Here we have a set of tools, networks, channels, communities, that enables us and our colleagues to network as tightly, or as widespread as we wish, completely free of charge.
A combination of clever networking combined with relationship strengthening activities such as corporate hospitality is in my opinion the recipe for success in the competitive industry I live and breathe in.
As I said at the start, people buy from people. Have a think about that when developing your next mass marketing campaign…