Use Different Terminology to Sell Ideas

Posted by Kristin Arnold on August 13, 2010

Q.  Our leadership team strategically decided that we need to do “sales and marketing” of the services we provide.  Problem is, we work for the government and nobody really likes the “s&m” words.  Any suggestions on how to proceed?

A.  Even though you might think “sales” and “marketing” are taboo in the government, we all do marketing at some level or another — reaching out to others to let them know about your capabilities, usually in the form of a product or service.  Your team decided that your organization needs to create awareness in your “marketplace” so that people who need your services can avail themselves.  When buyers are interested in a product or service they are aware of, then the “sales” process begins, creating alignment between a specific need and product or service you have to offer.

And you’re right!  Nobody likes to do the inverse where sales precedes marketing; where the seller is searching for a buyer and then has to justify why they are a good fit for the buyer.  Now that’s S&M!

If you don’t like using traditional words, try “creating awareness among our current and potential clients.”  By using this terminology, you are positively focusing on being proactive in the specific marketplace you choose to operate.

Once you agree on the goal, then develop your marketing strategies.  To start, list your current customers or clients.  If you can, describe the common demographics.  This description can help you identify predominant characteristics to look for in future clients.

With this description in mind, list potential clients by organizational name and appropriate point of contact.  When aiming at a target, the more clearly you can see the target, the greater your chances for success!

Now, brainstorm all the different ways to successfully create awareness among this current and potential client listing.  Generally, these ideas will fall into specific groupings such as: advertising, direct mail, exhibitions, networking, publications, publicity, speeches, telemarketing, website, etc.

For your next step, you have two options: 1) For each grouping, develop an awareness strategy and next steps.  Then prioritize your strategies based on importance and feasibility.  Or, 2) for a more customized approach, develop an awareness strategy and next steps for your top ten current and future clients.

Take your top three to five strategies or clients and task out the next steps to specific individuals on your team to take the lead on accomplishing the tasks.  Before you know it, you’ll be creating awareness where it matters most!

Question:  How successful are you when it comes to sales and marketing?

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