The purpose of marketing is to support sales. In the broadest sense, marketing activities are the foundation for sales generation, whether it be through translating market needs into prioritized product or service requirements, clearly communicating unique value outward, or attracting and nurturing qualified prospects. In a narrower sense, marketing needs to support the sales team – steer them in the right direction and equip them with the tools they need to diagnose pains that the organization can solve uniquely well.
In many organizations, it’s the marketing team – often a product manager – that generates the tools that sales people use to help diagnose pain and prescribe the best solution. When the sales team has embraced Sandler principles, marketing can do a lot to support and reinforce the behaviors, attitudes, and techniques the team needs to be successful.
To this end, here are six things a marketing team can provide a sales team:
1) Personas – In marketing terms, a persona is a written description of a typical member of the customer’s decision making team that includes things like job title, age, gender, business goals, personal goals, values, and challenges. It helps the team rally around a common understanding of the customer and helps the sales team identify and focus on prospects that are a good fit with the organization’s offerings. For extra credit, include a DISC profile if prospects in your industry tend to fit a shared profile.
2) 30 Second Commercials – One of the tougher things for new sales people or for experienced sales professionals selling new products is to start a conversation with a prospect that will quickly assess whether there is good fit and reason to do business together. Help the sales team by providing prewritten 30 second commercials. Include the name of the company, what kind of business you’re in, 2 – 4 pains that you have solved for others, and end with a question to turn the conversation over to the listener. Thirty seconds is about all there is before the listener starts to tune out. So make it crisp and make it about the types of problems the prospect may have.
3) Pain Statements – Know the key elements of a prospect’s job and the things that are frustrating, upsetting, or otherwise problematic. Through primary market research techniques, rank these in order of general importance. For each, identify the features of the company’s offering that address the pains. These will help guide the discussion after the 30 second commercial and set up a great presentation!
4) Value Selling Models – Do the math. Identify the revenue and cost models used by a typical prospect and put them into a spreadsheet or some other digital tool. Incorporate the value your product or solution provides. Together, these help the prospect and the salesperson through the budget step. It’s rare for two organizations to look at things the same way, so leave some flexibility in the models to allow them to fit with different scenarios.
5) Anticipated Objections – Prospects are not so creative when it comes to the objections they provide. After a few calls the pattern will be clear. At this point it is incumbent upon the organization to be prepared. The marketing team should consolidate the most common objections and have appropriate responses scripted out. Include the reverse ready and don’t forget the softening statement.
6) Presentations – Canned, pre-done, perfectly-polished PowerPoint decks are enablers for sales people who “show up and throw up.” To encourage sales people to ask questions first and present later, provide only base templates, presentations frameworks, and a small collection of image-rich slides that address key pains of key personas. Leave it to the rep to create the final presentation deck based on the pains that were discovered during the sales interviews. Make sure the slides serve as visual aids rather than text-laden crutches that the prospect and presenter read together.
Selling is a demanding task. It’s made harder when the team is missing the right support to reinforce good habits. For more ways to drive good sales habits, contact your local Sandler trainer.