Thursday, January 3, 2008

Speaking the supplier’s language an art!

This post originally appeared in Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog!

Some people never seem to learn from their mistakes. Especially those, who have been at a job for several years and suddenly come face-to-face with a lot of new things. For some of them, it becomes a challenge to move with the times. For some, learning the ropes of a particular technology becomes quite a challenge in itself. Such folks are used to their comfort zones, and don’t want to come out of it.

I’ve mostly worked with various marketing teams and sales forces across Asia Pacific — who, I’ve seen slog hours and hours to learn about the industries they serve. On querying, they say: “If I don’t speak my supplier’s language, how will I succeed!”

It is really commendable on their part to make those efforts in learning things, which they actually may not be required to do. They are either there to sell space — in print and for online, or to develop concepts — based on the editorial calendars that they get.

Having got used to working with such dedicated people, it pains me a lot when I see others — equally talented, but lethargic folks — not making the requisite efforts.

There are several colleagues I can think of — Alfred, Stone, Alan, Eric, Kevin, David, Morrison, Willy, Wallace, etc. — in sales; and Sylvia, Joanne, Canis, Jambi, etc., in marketing. Their methods of learning are amazing. They’d religiously scan the Web sites daily, and then look for information on topics they did not understand on the Web.

It was only when they did not understand certain things, they’d go to editorial. Of course, it helped certain folks — who had an editorial background — and a very strong one at that. They hardly needed anyone to guide them on the technologies, as they knew what to expect and to do. This helped the team they worked with. How I wish, this can be replicated across media houses!

It pays to have strong sales and marketing teams, especially having folks with strong technology leanings. Otherwise, you are a sitting duck! Your clients won’t even entertain you, nor would you be able to prepare meaningful marketing concepts. It pays to know something the subjects that you are trying to sell! Or, in their own words — ’speak the supplier’s language.’

Here’s where leadership also plays a key role. Good leaders encourage their teams to brush up on technologies — especially in the media industry.

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