“We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people. Lead me, follow me or get out of my way” – George S. Patton.

The road to a “yes” deal is not so rosy for sales and marketing people, and it is always very difficult to power through, especially in an industry where there are so many players.

The amount of negativity that they endure is not for the fainted-hearted who cannot keep up with the heat.

Sales and marketing people encounter a lot of hurdles on their prospecting journey, from unanswered calls and messages to not-so-friendly people who will not give them a chance to sell their story.

In spite of the scale weighing heavily on the rejection side, these professionals are not deterred and rarely lose hope – they persevere until they close that sale.

In this era of practicing social distancing and reducing physical contact, using remote marketing techniques to clinch those much-wanted deals is the way to go.

Umbilical cord between sales and marketing

Sales and marketing personnel share the same roots and are complementary of each other’s function in an organisation.

When a salesperson hosts a prospective customer for lunch to discuss business, they will be creating a relationship while opening up to the client about what their organisation can offer and deliver.

Remember, marketing is all about creating a relationship, and that is exactly what the salespeople will be doing.

Hosting clients to sales events is also another marketing function meant to drive sales.

How then can organisations create direct relationships with their customers and drive sales when people cannot meet face-to-face?

Organisations can make use of the digital marketing tools to devise re-occurring revenue models and be in control of their customer relationships.

For instance, in most organisations that have incorporated modern ways of shopping, their customers can just transact and submit their information online.

That information is kept in a database where it will be used by organisations whenever they have a marketing programme like relationship-building.

For instance, in Zimbabwe companies like Multichoice Zimbabwe use their customer database to manage relationships through random offers.

Hard pushing of sales may be an old tactic for the modern customer who is spoilt for choice and has strong bargaining power.

Today’s customer can only buy when the marketing techniques employed by the organisation offer enough motivation to arouse their interest in a product/or service trials.

Customers are intrigued by marketing strategies such as corporate social responsibility that show that an organisation cares not only for their purchasing power but also for their wholesome well-being.

It is always hard for marketers to be definite on the right marketing asset or the best channel that is most likely to hit home with the customers and entice them to make a purchase decision.

However, their certainty is in earning the customer’s trust by offering a product or service that is able to work through different psychological biases.

When trust is earned, the next best thing is to create and maintain a relationship that will help customers to make the right purchase decision.

Earning back consumer trust

Sales is the lifeblood of any business.

However, it is wrong to credit sales where credit is due to great marketing.

The reason why we buy certain products and services is because we trust that these products will perform according to our expectations.

This sense of trust gives customers enough confidence that if they buy food from certain food outlets, the food is safe and is cooked using safe ingredients that may not harm their health.

It is, therefore, the duty of marketing through its various functions to build enough trust that is able to overcome the uncertainty that customers may have regarding the product or service.

Marketing must put to rest the risks of untruth, deceit or any consequences which may be as a result of both.

It is, however, not easy for organisations to just win this trust from their customers.

They must strive to know their customers and this can only happen if they take time to interact and create an enabling environment for a relationship.

Building relationship can be done through small things like keeping your promise.

Customers prefer dealing with organisations that are reliable.

Promises must be kept at all costs.

Marketing-oriented businesses know the power of good relations with their customers and that is why they keep a strong marketing budget.

Their marketing people are allocated big allowances to treat their customers like they are indispensable.

Their mission is to build relationships.

When customers are given the time of the day to understand the services of the organisation, they develop a sense of belonging and loyalty.

All what customers want is an organisation that give them an exceptional customer journey that will blow away their customer experience.

They want to engage an organisation that show them that they care for them.

After all, marketing is all about building relationships, trust and imparting knowledge about products and services to customer.

When all is done, customers are willing to patronise an organisation.

Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba is a marketing enthusiast with a strong passion for customer service. For comments and suggestions, she can be reached on [email protected] or on 0712 979 461.