Over the Thanksgiving break, I went on a “field trip” with my daughter and some other family members. We went to see the cadaver she was working on for her first year of medical school. Sounds pretty morbid, but it wasn’t. Although holding a brain or a heart in my gloved hands was quite interesting (brains are really heavy, a heart is not).
The experience was eye opening. First, I have no idea how doctors and surgeons do what they do. Second, the body is an amazing system—with seemingly innocuous parts (based on looking at them) playing a critical role in successful functioning. Working together, they make us what we are.
The experience brought to mind a personal pet peeve of mine. Statements like– “Now, we are all marketers” or “Because of the Internet, we are all sales ” –drive me crazy.
They are hogwash.
An engineer needs to do engineering things. An accountant needs to do accounting. We all have jobs to do and need to do everything we can to get things done. The last thing most organizations need is people neglecting their responsibilities, whether mandated or self-directed (which I prefer–I am not a hierarchy guy), because they decide to be marketers or sales reps. Imagine if the brain decided it wanted to be the heart. Or the heart wanted to be the skin. Sounds crazy, but that is how we sometimes act in organizations as we fight for more “turf”.
Remember The Lion King (a movie I must have seen 6+ times in the theater and uncountable times on tape with that same daughter many years ago) and its theme around “the circle of life.” That is a better metaphor in my mind.
As employees of a company we all play a role in “the circle of customer value.”
That is where the focus of employee efforts should be–how do I help create value for a customer within my role and areas of expertise. Period. I am not advocating working in a vacuum (focusing only on your task and ignoring everything around you). Nor am I advocating just doing “your job” and not helping others. It is critical that everyone in the company understand the role they play in creating value for customers and how that links to other jobs.
But I do believe that it is not critical, and potentially damaging, for everyone to think that they are marketers or sales reps. Provide your component of the value story, help make it easier for others to provide theirs, share your story and your company stories with others and great things can happen. Neglect your role and the chain starts to break down.
Think about it. Have you ever experienced a situation where you heard about an executive, or an engineer, swooping in to “win a deal?” Stories like this abound. But they aren’t true.
Deals are won or lost by sales reps that do all the little things to help a customers buy. Executives come in for a meeting because the sales rep realizes the value they can provide. Engineers are brought in to address a roadblock. Yes, they help win the business. But they don’t win the business. Unless you are selling exclusively online, you need sales reps to close business.
If you don’t recognize this (that you contribute to their efforts, rather than replace them), then you are effectively denigrating the people in those key sales and marketing roles.
We are NOT all Marketers. We are NOT all sales reps. We are all part of the “circle of customer value.” We need to understand how the circle works and focus our energy on customer value.
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