and Place Marketing - The Sales Force and Marketing
By Sam Vaknin
VI. The sales force and marketing implementation
How should a country translate its intangible
assets into dollars and cents (or euros)?
Enter its Sales force and marketing intermediaries.
Even poor countries should allocate funds to
train and maintain a skilled sales force and pay
its wages, expenses, and perks. Salespeople are
the human face of the country's promotion efforts.
They tailor to individual listeners (potential
customers) the message the country wishes to convey
about itself, its advantages, and its prospects.
As their title implies, salespersons personalize
the sales pitch and enliven the sales process.
They are as indispensable in mass-attendance road
shows and in retail marketing (e.g., of tourism
packages) as they are in one-on-one meetings with
important decision-makers and investors.
The country's sales force should be trained to
make presentations, respond to queries and objections,
close deals, and cope with account growth. Its
work should be tightly integrated with other promotional
efforts such as mass mailings, telemarketing,
media releases, and direct offers. Sales personnel
should work hand in hand with marketing intermediaries
such as travel agents, financial firms, investment
funds, and corporate buyers.
Marketing intermediaries are at least as crucial
to the country's success as its sales force. They
are trusted links to investors, tourists, businessmen,
and other "clients". They constitute
repositories of expertise as well as venues of
communication, both formal and informal. Though
usually decried by populist and ignorant politicians,
their role in smoothing the workings of the marketplace
is crucial. Countries should nurture and cultivate
brokers and go-betweens.
A marketing expert - preferably a former salesperson
with relevant experience in the field - should
head the country's marketing implementation oversight
board or committee. The Marketing Implementation
Oversight Board should include representatives
of the various state bureaucracies, the country's
branding and advertising consultants and agents,
its sales force - and collaborating marketing
This body's task is to harmonize and coordinate
the country's various efforts at branding, advertising,
publicity, and promotion. It is the state's branding
headquarters and should enjoy wide supervisory
as well as executive powers.
In other words, marketing implementation is about
ensuring that the country's message is both timely
(synergetic) and coherent and, thus, both credible
(consistent) and efficient. Scarce resources are
better allocated and deployed if the left hand
consults the right one before it moves.
But how can a country judge the efficacy of its
attempts to brand or re-brand itself and, consequently,
to attract customers?
Marketing Evaluation and Control are the topics
of our next article.
Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self
Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain
- How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist
for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, Bellaonline,
and eBookWeb, a United Press International (UPI)
Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor
of mental health and Central East Europe categories
in The Open Directory and Suite101. Until recently,
he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government
of Macedonia. Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com