Marketing is Science, So Stop the Salesplaining

Marketing is Science, So Stop the Salesplaining

Dear Irene,

I have an issue in my organization and I hope you can help. I’m a few years into my marketing career, and I know I’m not quite an expert yet, but I do know my stuff. However, every campaign I suggest or advert I create gets pummeled to the ground by our head of sales, until I don’t even recognize the objectives anymore — all because he thinks he knows better.

I’m open to feedback, but the problem is, once we follow his advice, the campaign flops — and I know mine would have at the very least given us a bump in website visits.

I understand that marketing is partially an art, so it’s subjective and everyone’s opinion is valid, but I’d argue it’s actually more a science, and no one seems to get that.

Marketer with a sales problem


Dear Marketer with a Sales Problem,

You are not alone! It seems like every time a chatbot rings, a marketer somewhere gets “salesplained” on how to do their job. Sales is often the internal customer of the marketing department, and boy, do they think they can do it all sooo much better.

Keep in mind they are closer to the customer, so their opinions have merit. They know what their customers want. The disconnect is they’re used to talking with an audience of one, while you’re tasked with talking to an audience of 10,000 while somehow making it feel like one. That’s not exactly a piece of cake.

Good news: you’re 100% right – marketing is science. We’re (for the most part) past the days of “throw some noodles at the wall to see what sticks”. So, use data to your advantage.

Use past campaigns to make your case – it’s hard to argue with numbers (without looking like a total ass…). If you don’t have data to fall back on, there’s a magic phrase to let you execute your plan while helping Karen from sales feel heard – A/B testing!

Pick a metric (Website hits? Email opens? Email clicks?) and see which ideas generate the best results. If your salesperson’s campaign does better, put on your big-kid pants — they know some stuff, but not nearly as much as you. I promise.

Also, and I’m sure I don’t have to say this because you’re a science-y marketer, follow the rules of A/B testing: have a theory, make your metric specific, change one variable at a time, test, then rinse and repeat…and follow the data. No matter what Grammy says, the gut doesn’t always know better.

Pour yourself a little wine (and maybe share some with your sales team)…oh, and keep the buzzwords to a minimum.

Always on your side,

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