I recently shared a blog post that covered an innovative approach to sales onboarding taken by one of our customers. In the spirit of sharing such good practices amongst our community, I thought I would divulge some interesting work another customer of ours has implemented in the area of sales training.
By Dr. David Kirk, CRO, CloudApps
Let’s start by saying that it’s not totally unreasonable to argue that in most organisations, a minor chasm exists between the marketing function and the sales teams.
Marketing merrily executes demand generation campaigns that fill the lead bucket full of juicy leads. These leads are allocated out to the sales teams to qualify, follow up and turn into closed revenue. Well, that’s the theory at least.
However, there is usually an uneasy tension between the two teams. Marketing will gripe that sales don’t follow up leads appropriately. While the sales teams bemoan that they are the recipients of a low-volume of low-quality leads.
And to be fair, there is probably a little bit of truth on both sides of the divide!
However, one of our customers decided to take an innovative approach and bring these two functions much closer together. In doing so, they managed to generate some really interesting results.
Imagine this common scenario.
A new product or service offering is created. The marketing team busily work to define a new demand generation campaign that educates potential prospects and raises awareness. The campaign takes these prospects on a journey that ultimately ends with them expressing some form of interest. And bingo we have our juicy leads. Nothing new yet, right?
Hopefully, but not always, long before the campaign launches the sales team are exposed to some simple training covering the new product or service. This usually focuses solely on the features and potential benefits it offers. Sales are now all set to go, right? Well, no, not really.
Once new leads start to arrive, there remains an element of hope that the journey the prospect has experienced is well enough understood by the sales rep for them to engage in a meaningful discussion. Armed with just the basic product features and benefits that, in reality, is probably a stretch.
As a result, less leads convert into meaningful opportunities than really should.
In today’s buyer oriented world, it has become an established fact that:
“B2B customers report to being nearly 60% through the sales process before engaging a sales rep, regardless of price point.”
(a white paper authored by Google and CEB)
So what? Well, by the time a modern buyer engages with a sales rep, the rep had better be armed to quickly fathom how they fit into the buyer’s thinking, the size and shape of the problem the buyer is attempting to solve and be able to clearly map out how and where they can help.
Unless your rep can engage with them appropriately they will very soon divert elsewhere. Most likely to one of your competitors.
If you want to learn about the changing habits of buyers and how modern sales team are adapting, I can strongly recommend reading our White Paper: ‘The 7 attributes of the modern-day sales team’.
So, where is the innovation that I promised at the start? Well, it is actually such an obvious idea (as all the best ones are) that I am really quite shocked that more companies are not already doing it!
How about if before the marketing campaign was launched the sales team were engaged in some rapid, deep-immersion training that follows the same prospect journey used in the campaign?
Imagine if the sales team were educated with the materials and sentiment being used to nurture the prospect along. Imagine if the sales team could be helped to understand the reasoning for the messaging behind the campaign as well as the details of the offer that generated the lead. This would put the sales team into the mind-set of the buyer.
The brain power that goes into generating these powerful marketing campaigns and their associated messaging is all too often just applied to an external audience only. Imagine if we could take that same thinking and reflect it onto our internal audience - our sales team.
Well this approach is precisely what our customer decided to adopt, using SuMo to drive the outcomes they wanted. Every time a new campaign is executed to launch a new product or service, the sales team are taken on precisely the same journey.
In this case, SuMo was used in 4 distinct ways, namely to:
- Motivate the sales team to generate a big push around the new offering
- Track the performance of conversions from leads into meaningful deals
- Track the performance of the new product in the pipeline compared to others
- Tune the effectiveness & efficiency of the sales journey for the new offering
Not surprisingly, by taking the approach of bringing together the marketing and sales function in this way, they were able to create a dramatic uptick in the launch performance of their new products and services.