“But we’ve never heard of you, customers keep saying. We could sell more if only Marketing did their job.” Not an uncommon accusation from sales people. Today, I’d like us to look at some sales problems marketing gets blamed for-unfairly. In fact, some problems are simply objections that need handling.

They don’t know about us

Sales people can blame marketing because of the lack of product or company awareness. “Customers are saying they don’t know about us. We should market more.” Maybe. But a new financial lender without deep pockets will be ill advised to do this. Assuming in the first place they even had the budget for it, putting up billboards and splashing TV and social media with adverts, will simply open a floodgate of prospects you can’t handle. You’ll solve one problem and create another, bigger one.

Like a popular bookstore in Nairobi did in the last back to school shopping. They put up an advert for free delivery with every purchase above 2000 shs. Only problem is they did not have the books in store to satisfy the overwhelming demand. Like them, you’ll convert potential active advocates, into harsh critics. Like the book store, your reputation will be so smeared, that even the little selling you were doing will be washed away in the flood of criticism. So, understanding this, when customers object with ‘I’ve never heard of you, respond with, “We are the best kept secret. We choose whom to work with. This is because we value confidentiality as much as you do. And that is why we know we can work together. Here, let me show you how we see this working…”

Read: Overcome start-up limitations as objections. See how.

sales problems marketing gets blamed for

Our product is faulty

Sales people can blame marketing because of the product. “Our packaging is the problem. It’s the reason customers aren’t buying our product as much as the competition.” There could be valid reason here. I mean, you may remember customers lapping up a new washing powder over a decades-old tried and tested existing one. The former (Toss) was packaged and marketed as having a reusable plastic container and the latter (Omo) was in a cardboard box that inevitably soaked with water with every washing.

Here, the salespeople are not to blame. Likely your marketing data showed this already. However, Mr. Salesman. Be warned. This packaging reason had better be genuine. Because, after it is corrected, the pressure to deliver the revised targets will be intense. The targets will move upwards because, “We have a superior product, tried, tested and accepted. With the new packaging, the sky can no longer be the limit.” (And we must justify the repackaging costs incurred)

Marketing is lying about pricing

Sales people can blame marketing because of the communication on price. “You should stop saying, ‘From as little as…’ and ‘…for up to.’ It’s confusing the customers and we are spending a lot of time explaining exactly what it means.” Pause. You are complaining that marketing has done their job; that they have brought you an influx of prospects? Had marketing not used such enticing words they would never have attracted the flood you craved. Had they said, ‘Prices of plots from 20,000 to 300,000 shs.’ that would have been plain black and white truth. But it would unlikely trigger the kind of magic ‘Own an eighth from as little as Kes. 20,000’ would.’ (Despite the fact that the eighth is in the middle of nowhere.)

Which other sales problems does marketing get blamed for – unfairly?

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