Do we all need some background training in marketing management? The answer relies heavily on whether you are in a negotiation position or not. Marketing skills are a requisite ingredient in our everyday lives be it in relationships, marriage, work place, leadership, management, the pulpit, entrepreneurship. Name it. We must always be marketers.

We all need to know how to professionally present our agendas in order to rally relevant stakeholders behind our cause for positive gain.

If a young man needs to convince a lady to giver hand in marriage, he must polish his marketing skills and be as presentable as possible in order to influence the sale in his favour. Remember, the lady, if serious enough about the presentation, is also quietly negotiating by being her best both physically and verbally.

A salesperson making a presentation to a group of farmers with the intention of making sales on modern combine harvesters on offer must be well dressed mentally with adequate product feature information and in a good suit to complement the excellent presentation.

For so many years, the art and science of selling has often  been relegated to the marketing department with detrimental effects to the overall performance of an organisation. It is very common to hear your colleagues outside the marketing department say that it is the sole responsibility of marketers to bring in sales.

Corporate leadership meetings often times have been used as ventilation forums to rant at the marketing heads any time there are dwindling sales fortunes in the company. That is awfully wrong because every official worth his salt in the organisation is a marketer by association.

Marketing is not only about broadcasting your company product/service proposition but involves a whole rigorous process that begins right from the product development stage all the way to excellent customer service delivery.

A CEO who offers mentorship training to her junior staff during Friday appraisal meetings  is marketing her organization as the ideal work environment for youngsters to work in.

In return, the staff stay motivated and energized to produce. An accountant who does proper book keeping and on time in an organized fashion, is selling his services to his superiors as a reliable gate keeper and number cruncher. That is marketing but in a passive way. The cleaner who ensures your offices smell fresh and are dust-free is doing so to score points as an efficient hygiene manager.

The bank teller who ensures that you have a hassle-free time while withdrawing your cash from the bank is in pursuit of increased customer retention through a passive marketing strategy. Simply put, we are all in contact with consumers of our products, thoughts, services, professional time on a daily basis.

It could be your spouse, boss, line manager, supervisor, clerical staff, HRM, colleagues, customers or your potential business partner. Including writing this article, I must write it in a way that is appealing and engaging so that Business Today readers may get value for money.

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We cannot deny the fact that marketers ought to manage bulk of the company’s selling tasks, but it is disappointing for non-marketers in the organisation to sit back and say that it is not in their domain to market their company to the inside and outside world.

Marketing is a tedious and sometimes frustrating journey and it would be best if it were handled in a framework of teamwork, empathy and shared vision.

For marketers to drive home adequate sales, they need support from across the organisation. The sales person needs printed sales quotes on time from the company receptionists and the marketing managers need prompt sales reports from the accounts managers. The whole team also needs tea in the morning from tea girls and a clean working environment from designated cleaners and so on and so forth.

Though you may not be working in the marketing department, the need for background sales and marketing training cannot be overemphasised. It is not in order for an accountant to have company marketing information gaps during drink ups with friends. Inquiries can be raised from nowhere asking about what the company you work for does for clients. By virtue of being an accountant it would not run well with clients when you refer them to the marketing department.

Earn yourself extra cash

That would in a polite way amount to professional ignorance. Despite being an account manager in that case, I would not hesitate to close the sale relying on prior research, then go forth and demand commissions from the accounts department the following day. I love making side cash. The thrill is entertaining. Marketing skills place you at a vantage point of grabbing business opportunities hence outdoing your colleagues financially.

The same skills are what smart and scheming colleagues use to climb up the corporate ladders. It’s no wonder that most CEOs have a marketing background on top of financial management training. You cannot afford to be cold and quiet unless you are allergic to money.

Organisations that outperform their peers in the same industry recognize the fact that everyone in the business entity ought to be a marketer in his/her own capacity. I always advise my clients in business forums to try and activate their marketing skills no matter how challenging that task may be. Facing strangers and engaging them positively for economic gain is a skill that can take you far. It is an essential tool that anyone who badly wants to be successful in corporate Africa must possess.

The Mark Zuckerberg way

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg commands his sales force from the front. He was in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana the other day to try and marshal one billion new users to join his network.  Remember, they have a solid operating base in South Africa.  He had a very soft strategy that he explained was aimed at learning new business possibilities in Africa. That’s intelligent business politics.  The truth of the matter is Europe is not registering new numbers and he is in Africa for enhanced tyranny of numbers.

Every strong team that remains cohesive for long is bound to be a corporate leader within a very short period of time. Let us all act like marketers and ambassadors of our organisations and shed the aloofness tag that trails most non-marketers in the corporate environment. Strive to make sales and marketing a core pillar of your strategy and your way of life across the organization. Happy marketing.

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