You (Yes, You) Work in Sales & Marketing
In college, when it came time to decide which business major to pursue, the administration organized a town hall session where the heads of each department came together to explain what their discipline was about, the type of real world value it delivered and why we as students should consider a major in their field.
The Finance and Accounting Head spoke of the importance of numbers and how being able to understand the figures would allow you to ensure that the survival of the company was ensured.
The Computer Information Systems (yes, that is what it was called then) Head spoke of the value of the ever changing computer and how it would transform the way we worked and lived.
The Human Resources Head talked to the fact that people are the lifeblood of any enterprise and learning to manage and work with others was central to the success of any career.
When the Marketing & Sales department's turn came, the professor walked to the middle of the room, looked at all of us in the audience, and said:
All of my colleagues here have given excellent explanations of the value of their disciplines. They've given you a compelling point of view as to why you should consider their respective areas. But you know the one thing they've all been doing?
They've all been selling to you. They've been marketing their wares.
And Sales and Marketing, my friends, is the one skill we all need, regardless of the discipline we ultimately choose as our careers...
The audience laughed. Some forgot the statement and moved on. But for others, myself included, it struck a chord.
We are all in Sales. We are all Marketers.
It doesn't matter if you work in Finance. You have the business (and respective unit heads) that you serve.
It doesn't matter if you work in Procurement. You have internal customers in Manufacturing, Operations, Marketing, Legal and elsewhere to deliver to.
It doesn't matter if you are in R&D. Your work serves the Product Groups that develop your work into viable product, and ultimately, the final consumer.
"The Customer is King" is not a cliche. It's fact. Because the customer is everywhere. He or she just takes different forms.
But, I don't work in sales. I'm not in Marketing.
We all do. If you get paid to do what you do, you have a customer and you are therefore in sales. You want that internal department to work more closely with you? You need to market yourself better. You need to sell your skills to them. You need to make them want to want you.
Not in some slick, back-slapping, extroverted way. If that's what you think sales and marketing is all about, you're stuck in an outdated interpretation.
Real sales, real marketing is an 'intrinsic' discipline. It is not overt. It considers what's best for both parties. It's about walking away from the deal when it's not right, as much as it is, pushing for the 'sale'.
Sales and Marketing are not dirty words. They help you get things done. They're You.
We all have customers. We all have clients.