Strictly Marketing Magazine May/June 2017 Issue Strictly Marketing Magazine mayjune 2017 - Page 12

Getting this right requires ongoing feedback from sales and if you are going to constantly be defending your actions versus really listening to their feedback, you might be taking the long road to success. Try this skill. You will be amazed at how far executing this skill element will take you in improving your relationship with sales. Clarifying & Paraphrasing The skill of clarifying is just the ability to ask great questions. Too often, I see one of two scenarios for marketers. They either ask no questions or they ask the wrong kind of questions. Marketers who ask no questions typically work in an environment where marketing operates as a services organization to sales. However, once marketing begins the Revenue Marketing journey, this changes. Once marketing begins to take accountability for revenue and act like a business, they must make decisions like a business and this includes where and how to deploy resources and spend money. In this context asking the right kinds of questions has to do with gaining a better understanding of the situation, which requires using open-ended questions. These are questions that begin with “Tell me more”, “How”, “What” and “Why”. In talking with sales, you might ask clarifying questions about MQLs such as: “What happened when you called the MQL?” This will give you more information than “How many MQLs did you call?” While they are very good at communicating ideas, they are weak in communicating what they want to happen. Take time to practice this as it is critical to not only moving forward, but also in how you are viewed as a professional. Next Steps These are core skillsets to consider as a modern marketing professional. As a marketing executive with 35 years of experience I can tell you that the need for these skills is higher than it has ever been. The top two traits recruiters are looking for in hiring marketing managers are the ability to collaborate and influence – both of which use communication skills to be effective. While there are many skills you need to be successful in our digital age, to be successful with sales, you really need to master communications 101. Ÿ Take a communication style assessment – understand your communication style, learn about other communication styles, and consider how to use this information to become a more effective communicator. Ÿ Take a communications class. Ÿ Practice your communication skills with everyone, especially with sales. Ÿ Look forward to an improved relationship with sales. Paraphrasing is a skill in which you restate what you heard. This helps you articulate your understanding, shows the other party you understand the issue, and provides a way to ensure you are both on the same page. Begin with something like, “If I understand you correctly, the biggest issue with the current batch of MQLs is….” Finally, all good communication closes with action. What next step do you want to have happen as a result of your conversation? You need to have that in mind as you go into the meeting. Then, you need to clearly ask for that action. This is one of the weakest communication areas for marketers. 12 Strictly Marketing Magazine May/June 2017 As Principal Partner & Chief Strategy Officer of The Pedowitz Group, Debbie develops and manages global client relationships and leads the firm’s thought leadership initiatives. She coined the term “Revenue Marketer” in 2011 and she has been helping B2B companies grow revenue by applying strategy, technology and process for over 35 years.