Field Messages Need To Be Field Tested and Field Tough

I was recently speaking with a colleague who is experiencing the classic Marketing and Sales alignment challenge in which the messaging created by the corporate marketing team isn’t used (is un-usable?) by the field. In fact studies (and my own internal audits) have shown that 90% of the messages and tools to deploy those messages are not used by Sales. Why? Because these usual suspect messages that we Marketers create in our Post-It Note papered conference rooms aren’t field ready.

Tim Riesterer, CMO of Corporate Visions, likes to say that “Sales people in the field with their lips moving are the last bastion of differentiation for most brands today.” I’ve been in the field and I’ve been in the Marketing office and I couldn’t agree more. So, we Marketers need to make sure that the messaging that we develop for the brand can maintain it’s velocity through the funnel and can translate into field tested and field tough messaging that is usable by our field teams.

Here are a few directional tips to get you there:

  • Your messages should be about the customer, not about you. As your lead generation campaigns and Sales teams engage customers, the customer needs to be the hero in the story…not your brand.
  • The messages need to loosen the prospect’s status quo by shaking things up a bit and being provocative.
  • You need tools that will actually be used by the Sales team. Those tools should fit the specific selling situation (target buyer, sales stage, industry, etc).
  • And, your Sales team needs training on how to deploy the field messaging and use the new tools you’ve created.

Messages that sound good in the Marketing office often don’t resonate in the field. High level brand messages have their role and need to be appropriately resourced, but we Marketers can’t stop there and expect Sales to translate this brand messaging into one-on-one customer conversations. There’s work to be done to close that gap and make sure that the messages our teams deploy in the field are tested and tough enough to loosen the customer’s status quo and move him toward the brand’s unique solution.

(Image Bolts used under Creative Commons License)

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