I want to give you all a little exercise that I had to do at a former company. I really hated it at the time – because I did not like public speaking – but it was a really brilliant idea. As a marketer, you should be able to sell the product. Now I am not talking about actually being a sales person for a day (but I did talk about this exercise here, so you can check that out too), I am talking about your ability to market the product as a result of your knowledge and understanding of it.
If you are writing copy for the website, you MUST know what problem you are solving and how to articulate to your audience how you solve it.
If you are writing emails to generate leads, you MUST know how to address your audience and describe your product accurately.
If you are at an event, you MUST be able to answer the question – if prompted – of ‘what does xyz company do?’
If you are working with affiliates, you MUST know which affiliates to work with and in what ways.
If you are interviewing customers with the intent to write case studies, you MUST know how the product works to speak intelligently with them and clearly discuss how it solved their problem.
So here is the exercise and it’s very simple. At this particular company, I was given the ‘homework’ to take the sales pitch deck and make it my own in whichever way I chose. I then had to present it, as a sales presentation to the VP of Marketing, the VP of Sales, the Head of Product and the CEO.
I had about one week to prepare for the presentation. During that time, I listened to sales calls, I memorized the pitch deck, I read everything on the current website, I listened to product webinars and I practiced my butt off.
Although I cannot say the meeting was flawless and I perfected everything, I can say that this was a fabulous exercise to put any marketer through. I had never done this before. Sure, I have been briefed on the company, taken through some orientation day with HR and definitely listened to sales calls, but I had never been asked to truly immerse myself in a product presentation that was this formal.
If you run a team, have each marketer on your team complete this exercise. If you are part of a team, suggest it within your own company. Yes, I know it sounds scary and yes, you could certainly fall flat on your face, but you will learn a ton. If not about the company, product and messaging, then you will have a newfound respect for your sales team.