If you’re in the role of CMO or Marketing Director, you’re well aware of the necessary interplay between sales and marketing in successful businesses. So even if you’re not directly responsible for training and managing your sales team, you’d be wise to nurture their sales skills and lead them in setting strategic goals that benefit both of your departments. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your salespeople, so both marketing and sales – and therefore the company – can see real growth.
Before you begin any sort of formal or informal training, make sure you have buy-in from your peers and the rest of the executive team. This approach won’t work in a vacuum, and you need to ensure that whomever oversees the sales team specifically is on board with it. Set a meeting with that person, and work together to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the sales team over the past year.
You might find that the gregarious personalities in the department do really well at events like trade shows, but are less than stellar with other important aspects of the job like follow-up. Or maybe you’ve hit sales goals for new customers, but have noticed your numbers are struggling in terms of existing customer renewals. This is all important information, and can be used to identify the team’s top three strengths and top three weaknesses.
Next, it’s time to bring your salespeople into the conversation. Gather them in a group together, and reveal what you and their direct manager have discussed. If they don’t already understand the important overlap between sales and marketing, explain it to them now so they can be more receptive to your role in their training.
Then, bring in your marketing team. Work together to agree on what metrics you’ll use to measure success – and take it a step further and define those metrics. Oftentimes, sales might have an idea of what a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is, while marketing might have a different opinion. This can create conflict, obviously, but it can also mean that your success measurements might be drastically different from one department to another, which will never give you an accurate view of what’s working or not working.
After these metrics are nailed down, and defined, pair each salesperson with a marketer. Ask them to work together to come up with one or two strategic goals that would benefit both of them. Having shared goals that both teams can work toward simultaneously is one of the fastest tracks to success. Instead of one group taking credit for revenue, and the other claiming it was them who actually was responsible, you can set the stage for unity through mutually rewarding goals.
Before the meeting concludes, ask the sales team what they need from marketing to be more successful. Is it more case studies? Better targeted content? More help nurturing existing customers? Whatever it is, decide on ways you can provide them with that.
After all this is established, ask your salespeople what they want to learn. You might be surprised. One of them may want to attend a formal sales training program, while one might want to get a graduate level certificate. You and the rest of your executive team can then figure out what level of training you can offer internally, and what you’re willing to extend to the sales team externally. Oftentimes, you could find cost-effective, e-learning programs that can fill in skills gaps or help your salespeople learn what they’re hoping to.
Once you review all this, you might realize that the tips here aren’t focused solely on training. But that’s because the most important training you can do with your sales team is by re-aligning them with the marketing team to achieve the shared company vision. When the two groups are on the same page, united around goals and accountability, you’ll begin noticing your objectives get accomplished much faster – and the internal morale is much improved.
Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how we can help you set strategic goals for sales and marketing.