One of the great things about social media is that it’s allowing marketers to take
on more of a role traditionally held by salespeople: communicating directly with customers and partners, creating dynamic and timely content, and speaking in a much less formal voice.
Unfortunately, this isn’t what all marketers signed up for. It’s one thing to sit comfortably behind a PowerPoint deck that will be used by a professional salesperson whose had a lifetime to cultivate presentation skills, its another thing to walk in their shoes.
It would be a mistake to overstate the differences between salespeople and marketers. After all, we’re focused on many of the same things and our books are right next to each other at Borders. But its also a mistake to ignore the fact that as social media is bringing both groups much closer together, its also presenting challenges in the way of forcing people to use skill sets that are, to say the least, a little rough around the edges.
For every salesperson who is very comfortable blogging a couple times a week and building virtual communities in Facebook, there are others who’ve made a career out of networking and presentation skills and find the idea of constant, structured publishing daunting.
On the other side of the table there are marketers that have spent their whole careers building adcopy from the abstract and are now being asked to communicate directly and, in some cases persuasively, with customers and partners using a language they might not be familiar with.
The answer here of course is a new kind of cross-training. We’ll find that it won’t be sufficient to teach blogging to sales people or witty tweeting to marketers, but rather necessary to encourage bi-directional training from the two groups of people who make their living on different sides of the same coin. Sales and marketing departments will need to build a Freaky Friday curriculum that leaves both groups more prepared for tackling Go To Market 2.0.
Image Credit: Josh Janssen