While it’s usual to think about marketing in terms of reaching customers, it’s just as valid to think about it in terms of educating and influencing those who connect with your customers.

Let’s think about how you’d launch a new service to customers – here are some of the marketing tools in which you might invest:

  • Brochure
  • Direct mail
  • Mailshot or e-mailer
  • Social media campaign
  • Video
  • Website or section/pages on your current website

You get the idea. But when it comes to helping your sales force or channel to sell this new service, which tools to do you use?

The most usual are:

  • Fact sheets
  • Internal e-mails
  • Intranet pages
  • PowerPoint presentations

That’s quite a difference in media. When you compare the two lists, it’s quite marked that those on the second list have a reputation for being not only dull, but often ineffective. Yet if your sales force is to be enthusiastic ambassadors for your new service, they need to be inspired by it. They need to understand it well – but also feel energised about promoting it.

That’s why marketing tools can be a more effective way of educating your sales force.

Another common difference between the two lists is that professional communicators usually produce the first items, while the second item are generally assembled in-house, often by managers.

What can be much more effective is if the tools used to educate the sales force (or channel, or partners etc) are created as part of the marketing programme, by the marketing team.

This will not only significantly raise the production standards, it will also deliver a clearer message. The message generated is usually shorter, sharper and more engaging (well, that’s part of the marketer’s job – just consider what your marketing materials would look like if a business manager created them).

Ah, the cost, I hear you say. Well, it’s just like the marketing – you could very well do it yourself, but you choose to use a specialist because you recognise that the benefit is worth the cost. This is no different – and it’s just as important.