The benefits of sales & marketing alignment:
As a business owner, you have a lot to gain by listening to your sales floor and aligning your marketing solutions with their day-to-day challenges.
When your top performers are telling you it's time for a change, then maybe it's actually time for a change! Marketing can do a lot of really great things for your sales when properly aligned. Here are three problems your sales teams are facing and ways you can elevate them with marketing.
It's all or nothing:
During my sales hayday, I was held to the same backwards quota goals like the rest of them. It didn't matter to the powers that be when I was succeeding (or even dominating), because I typically did it by my own devices, tossing conventional sales methodologies, replacing them with what senior management considered to be "goofing around."
I opted to prospect and connect with my leads on LinkedIn and call 10 people on a given day instead of the usual 50 - 100. I also tended to repurpose the corporate marketing collateral and get involved in projects that built good will instead of direct sales (like writing a co-sponsored white paper for an association that eventually referred millions in business to us).
However, instead of receiving accolades for all of my successes, I was typically scolded and told that if I could do what I was doing (leading my peers in sales) with only 10 calls a day, then imagine what I could accomplish with 50.
Oy... The tunnel vision.. Well, I suppose it would have been possible to crank out more quality calls in a day, maybe even double or triple my volume, which would in theory double or triple my sales. But I couldn't do it on my own; I would need corporate support to cut down on all of the prospecting and prep time.
What about you? What do you judge your sales teams by?... How many calls they're making every day or how much they're putting to the bottom line? Do you know what they're experiencing in the field that's making it harder and harder to make their quotas?
Here are 3 sales problems they face every day and how you as a business owner can fix them.
1. Prospects Won't Take Their Calls
Nobody wants to take their salespeople's calls because their prospects have no idea who they are, and they're getting pitched a dozen times a day. It's distracting, disruptive, and uninvited, so businesses are taking steps to ensure your sales teams don't penetrate their defenses.
Let's be real for one moment... you probably do the same thing, don't you?
Administrative assistants are under strict orders to keep callers out, and will even go to the lengths of setting up fake voicemail accounts to dump cold callers who won't take "no" for an answer.
What can you do?
- Social media marketing - Get out there yourself and start curating content that resonates with your buyers. This will help your sales people with material to share and use as conversation-starters. Sometimes they'll be able to spark serious conversations in forums with their direct prospects using your social example, which will lead to real conversations about sales. The bottom line, you as a business owner SHOULD be supporting the field with your own social media marketing.
MORE LIKE THIS: Get the social media management playbook
2. Leads aren't qualified
One of the reasons it was always so difficult to pick up the phone when a "hot list" was sent my way from the corporate office was that I knew that the large majority of the leads would be a complete waste of time.
And when I say the "large" majority, I mean LARGE majority. Let's say 19 out of 20 are a total waste. And by "waste," I mean that there is no way they would ever be a customer, because they simply don't qualify... maybe the businesses aren't nearly large enough, they're out of business, or the contacts provided haven't worked there in decades.
What I was told to do to deal with it: "Don't research beyond basic company details; just call." That's why volume was so important to success.
What I actually did instead (and why I was reprimanded): Prospect 10 qualified leads on LinkedIn, researched them and their company, and made contact by either calling, emailing, ore messaging. I spent about the same amount of time as I would have calling 50 prospects, but instead of wasting 47.5 calls on garbage and screwing up the 2.5 decent leads because I was flying blind, I called 10 quality prospects with enough ammunition to actually spark meaningful conversations when we connected.
What's the moral of the story here? STOP INUNDATING YOUR TEAMS WITH GARBAGE LEADS!
What can you do?
Easier said that done, right? Yes and no... THIS is why people spend so much time with me on the phone talking about the possibilities of inbound marketing and creating and endless flow of qualified leads. By implementing an inbound strategy, you turn your website into a magnet for qualified and engaged leads.
In addition to generating new leads, you can nurture and rate them based on their closability.
(Learn more about the Orange Pegs Media approach to the inbound marketing methodology)
3. Offering requires education
I've run sales desks for somewhat commoditized industries like staffing and conversely, conceptual services like when I was pitching R&D tax credits to businesses that weren't traditionally considered for the incentive... like construction companies.
Both sides required education, albeit for different reasons. For staffing, the low-rate bid war was nothing but trouble, especially when offering specialized positions, like marketing, tech, or accounting and finance. Good fills require good talent to recruit and match the right skill sets - so coming in educating your prospects on the process and some of the things to look out for should make it easier for them to justify spending more on you than your generalist competitors.
For more conceptually-leaning businesses, like those in SaaS and specialty accounting services, education plays another important role. But people don't want your salespeople to teach them about why your services are a good idea, because your customers know about their ulterior motives to get that commission. Cramming a 30 second educational sales pitch into the breath their prospects take after saying, "hello" isn't the answer either.
What can you do?
Try blogging. Write articles about the pains your business solves. No... don't make it a forum for advetorial gobbeldy gook. TEACH. If you frame them around good keywords, maybe you'll even get more traffic to your site. What matters here is that people will be able to diagnose the problems that your company solves using your assistance, so when it's time for BD to make those calls, they're not being accused of pitching snake oil.
MORE ON THAT: 5 Compelling Reasons to Blog for Business
If you're interested in learning more about how to incorporate an inbound marketing program into your sales process, schedule an appointment with Orange Pegs Media today!