We live in changing times. Your marketing needs might have changed dramatically, especially as consumer needs evolve. As an advertiser, you want to know that the money you're investing in your advertising efforts will deliver your desired results.
When it comes to dealing with a marketing professional, you must carefully consider the difference between a sales rep and a marketing consultant. A marketing consultant is your partner: an important part of your advertising team committed to helping you achieve success. A sales rep, on the other hand, is out to make sales and hit a quota.
How will you know if you are working with a sales rep vs a consultant?
In order to determine whether you're working with a sales rep or a consultant, consider how each one might act as you interact with them. A consultant does not push packages. Instead, they make unique recommendations based on the information they discover after conducting a client needs analysis (CNA).
The Client Needs Analysis
Consulting is not a one and done sales relationship. It starts with a CNA: an opportunity to uncover specific client needs and make strategic recommendations. A consultant will continue to interact with the client regularly, not just during the initial sale, but throughout the lifetime of the contract. The consultant will interact with the client regularly to keep up with goals and changes in the business environment and how they may impact the client's advertising needs.
A consultant also checks in throughout your marketing campaign. They don't want until the campaign has ended to see how things are going; instead, they talk to the client on a regular basis and check metrics early and often. This allows the campaign to be adjusted if needed, rather than leaving you feeling stuck with a campaign that isn't meeting your needs.
A sales rep, on the other hand, often has a single-interaction focus with potential clients. A sales rep wants to bring in clients and convince them to sign up for specific packages. They may not check in with their clients once they've made that initial purchase.
Fresh, Creative Ideas
One of the most valuable roles of a consultant is their ability to bring fresh, creative ideas to the table that enhance your ROI. Often, this includes unique solutions created just for your business, not a one-size-fits-all package that your business must shoehorn yourself into. A consultant will carefully consider how all these elements will impact ROI and, if needed, adapt them to fit your business.
A sales rep, on the other hand, might focus on fitting your business into the tried and true models that other company clients are already using. They might have specific packages that they need to sell. In many cases, they're focusing on upselling you to the next package, rather than carefully considering what your business needs in order to be successful.
A consultant's role relies on research. Even though they may have a solid idea of how your prospects will react, a consultant will conduct additional research to be sure that they fully understand your market and the changing needs of your target audience.
In times of turmoil, consultants will carefully research the solutions that work and how they can impact your business's success. They will continue to monitor your industry and your campaigns, adding data to the information they already have to track ongoing information about the needs of your target audience.
Once a sales rep makes a sale, their job is done. For a consultant, on the other hand, it’s just beginning. At the end of your campaign, a consultant will provide you with a recap that shows the delivered results. This will give you a better picture of exactly what you accomplished over the life of the campaign and help improve your results for future endeavors.
An effective media partner is so much more than just a connection with a sales representative. By working with someone who is knowledgeable and able to work with clients as a trusted advisor, you will find that you develop a deeper, more effective marketing relationship. These interactions will also allow you to enhance your marketing plans and see better results.