July 15, 2016

Why B2B marketers have got to stop being so goddamn civilised

In my experience, whenever the task of collaboratively celebrating sales and marketing is bundled together, one thing typically happens: sales grabs the limelight. The sales team is bolder, brasher, louder, and generally more in-your-face in celebration than their marketing colleagues.

Marketers, by contrast (most of them, anyway) are conspicuously more modest – there is seldom much fist-pumping for the marketing awards categories, regardless of size of the achievement or the excellence of the competition. Both in terms of body language and behaviour, marketers are significantly more modest and humble. This may be because marketers are more rounded, grounded and level-headed as human beings – and probably less insecure to boot.

But whether that’s true or not, this modesty actually represents a problem. In those organisations that are still sales-led (as all too many are in B2B) it is often this self-restraint that’s holding marketers back. Being more mature and self-deprecating may be a positive character trait, but it’s only serving to make marketers blend into the background as compared to the baying sales hordes (see above) – the MD/FD will literally overlook them, their eyes drawn like magpies to big individual revenue achievements.

So it’s high time marketers took a deep breath, threw off the shackles of taste, decency and polite behaviour, and learned to compete in terms of visibility and tangibility. Marketers need to learn to promote themselves internally to relevant stakeholders: shouting about their successes, courting recognition (internally and externally), and taking credit (where appropriate) for the successes of the organisation. It may be cringe-inducing to some, but a bit of fist-pumping probably wouldn’t go amiss either.

Marketing is the future, but those practitioners willing to take a leaf out of sales’ book may find that they get there quicker.

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