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What Sales People Want

Image via Mirror UK
Image credit: Mirror UK

One of the best marketing movies is What Women Want with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt.

Why is this one of the best marketing movies?

It has a fun story line that builds to a great sales pitch by a New York ad agency to Nike.

The pitch itself gives me chills - maybe because I'm a runner, I'm a Nike fan or because when you watch the movie they do such a great job leading up to it (marketing) that it just hit the nail on the head (sale).

How is this like marketing and sales?

Marketing's role is to understand what sales needs. To find out and to deliver the best collateral, content and/or campaign, marketing needs to research. What this means is marketing investing time (on a regular basis) with the sales team, prospects, customers, the industry and technology to keep what they are delivering relevant.

Now, while it would be fun (and perhaps a little frightening) to actually hear the thoughts of all those individuals, it would be extremely insightful to know exactly what they want.

Since we can't read minds or listen to each other's thoughts, we need to settle for the next best thing: asking questions, listening and researching.

When we have information from various sources and on relateable topics, we are more educated and more equipped to deliver what sales needs. We can't assume what they need - we need to be involved with their process, talk to them and understand what they like, don't like and need.

In this movie, Nick is a chauvinistic advertising executive who wants and thinks he deserves a promotion. After learning that the agency needs to increase their market share in female product categories, they hire a female from outside the company.
Why did Nick not get the job? He doesn't understand how to relate to women and therefore couldn't grow that segment for the agency.

Nick is marketing and not being able to relate to women is not being able to relate to sales.

As marketers, thinking like ourselves and only delivering what we think is best for sales, is essentially chauvinistic (whether you're male or female).

The reason sales people blame marketing is because marketing know, understand or get involved beyond their role to educate themselves on what sales needs or what the gaps are in the prospecting to close process, i.e. how they can help.

When Nick is blessed (and cursed) with hearing women's thoughts, he starts learning what they like, want and need. As he learns, he develops into an understanding male who proves he's perfectly capable of pitching a female ad to the Nike Women's Division.

When marketing starts to research and understand what sales wants, they develop into a partner perfectly capable of delivering what sales needs.

If you haven't watched the movie, watch the trailer and determine if you can see the progression from 'me' marketer to 'us' growth company. It's worth the 2:22 minutes. You'll quickly see how marketing, aka Nick, develops over time and how the education and learning lands him the pitch.

The pitch simply amazing. Give it a quick watch.

Let me know your thoughts on the whole marketing and sales comparison in this movie. Hopefully, the trailer gives you enough information to show how marketing (Nick) evolves over the course of movie by learning What Women Want.

Need help with your marketing? Let's chat and see how I can help. Check out some of the ways I help with short/day projects and longer term projects.

Now, go back to the LinkedIn post and let me know your thoughts and keep the conversation going.

For the ladies who want to know What Men Want...another good movie with an awesome role reversal.

Vicki O'Neill is a fractional CMO in Ohio with over 20 years of marketing leadership experience. She's the founder of KenKay Marketing, a marketing solutions company founded in 2011. Vicki hosts Connect the Dots a marketing and sales educational podcast for entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes. She recently launched a new podcast with her Gen Z daughters, The Power of 3X, to help individuals who want to learn about the youngest generation. You will find Vicki on most social media platforms but you'll find her mostly on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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