Successful sales conversations are born long before a well-prepared salesperson arrives to a meeting or dials in for a call. Effective training and coaching are obviously critical. So is a strong collaboration between sales and marketing, where each department does its part to ensure the rep is in the best position – and has the right content – to advance the deal.
Marketing’s role in the process was the topic of conversation during a recent interview with Brainshark CMO Robin Saitz, on the Sales Lead Management Association’s podcast.
In the interview with SLMA host, Jim Obermayer, Robin discussed the challenges sales organizations face, and how marketing and powerful technology can help companies win more deals. She also emphasized the importance of analytics behind content and sales performance, and how these insights can help companies make critical decisions with greater confidence. You can listen to the entire interview below.
Some highlights from the conversation:
What are marketing’s biggest challenges in supporting a sales force?
According to CSO Insights, 45% of reps aren’t hitting their quotas. The reasons range from ineffective onboarding, and a lack of coaching, to too much time spent looking for content.
Robin said marketing has an important role to play in each of those areas to make sure reps have successful conversations with buyers. For example, a marketing team has to effectively train reps on new product launches and other imperatives, prepare material for onboarding and training programs, and create assets and content to help reps sell. Then they must pass the baton to sales managers to ensure that onboarding and training stick, and that coaching follows, before the sales meeting takes place.
“One of the most important steps in knowing whether or not training and onboarding are working is for a rep to be able to prove to their sales manager that they are actually ready to go out in front of a client.” – Robin Saitz, CMO, Brainshark
How can marketers make sure their contributions to sales are making an impact?
Marketing’s demand generation efforts are more easily measured than the effect of sales content. Robin said that when it comes to content, marketers should be interested in proving the value of their work, especially the assets that support sales.
For example, if marketing is funding a research report and wants sales to use it effectively, they need to deliver assets around the report that are usable across different parts of the sales cycle. Otherwise, the report could end up being a waste of time and money because it’s not packaged for the different ways the sales force might use it. Creating quality content for sales is only half the battle – the rest involves providing supporting assets and telling sales when and how to use them most effectively.
How are analytics making a difference in marketing’s ability to help sales?
Before technology, sales content wasn’t very trackable. Marketing would create content but had no insight into whether it made a difference in deals. Now with today’s analytics tools, it’s possible to correlate the use of content during the selling process to the overall performance of the sales organization, Robin explained.
Marketers aren’t just supplying the content – they can also help map it to stages of the buying process and filter it so it is served up in the appropriate stage of the sale. Plus, with analytics, both marketing and sales leaders have visibility into what’s working and what’s not, and can change course with their strategies when necessary.
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