It happened yesterday. It was one of those moments when a record scratches from the heavens and life appears to move in slow motion—if not stop completely. Ever had those moments?
This time it happened in a client meeting when I heard the words from a sales rep that I fear most: “I don’t use the marketing material. I just make my own.”
Noooooooo! So painful! Like nails scraping a chalkboard…except the nails are more like knives, the chalkboard is more like my ears and the scraping is more like stabbing.
Immediately, a host of horrid images come to mind when I hear those words: clip art, drop shadows, papyrus font—or, even worse, a myriad of discombobulated typefaces. (Ugh. It hurts just to type this out.) And, when the sales rep handed me his handiwork, my nightmares came true. Crazy borders wrapped low-res images. Non-transparent logos sat oddly on colored backdrops. Misspellings filled passive-voice sentences.
It was all there…a picture of the beautifully strenuous relationship between sales and marketing.
Of course, I didn’t always see it this way. I began my career in public relations where I was mostly shielded from the sales department. So when I got into marketing, I got really offended the first time sales questioned what I was doing (or not doing) for them. How dare you question what I’m doing?! I don’t go on your sales calls and critique your presentation skills!
But over time, I realized the necessity of this dance. Each group brings a unique perspective to the table. When the two sides can acknowledge the other’s position and realize both parties are really working toward the same goal (more coinage for the company), then they can begin to collaboratively chase new business opportunities.
The sales rep’s words still hurt my ears, but now I no longer hear them as simply a critique of my work. Today, I hear them as a call for help…an open doorway to serve a client’s needs.