It’s a badly-kept secret that salespeople do a lot of things that aren’t very productive. Not because they are lazy or too busy working on their “short game”, but because many sales organizations still have the philosophy that cold calling is the way that new leads are generated. In fact, just a decade ago, sales people were often tasked to pick a page in the phone book and start dialing!
As your marketing organization transforms into Revenue Marketers™ by embracing engagement marketing, producing compelling content and having useful (automated) conversations with prospects, the role of the sales team will change. It will elevate them into late-stage buying partners instead of early-stage qualifiers. After all, the goal of Revenue Marketing™ is not necessarily to create MORE leads, but to create and pass BETTER leads to sales, with a higher likelihood of closing as “won”.
As your marketing team progresses through the Revenue Marketing Journey™ from Traditional to Lead Generation, Demand Generation and ultimately Revenue Marketing, here are some questions you might ask about your sales team – if you’ve got the guts!
- Size – since the Revenue Marketing paradigm is fewer, BETTER leads then you may actually need fewer sales people to close the same amount of revenue. Each sales person will be more productive, working on actually closing deals rather than product consultations or passing out data sheets. Much of the lower value activities will be moved to the marketing team and its toolbox of automated programs. Is your sales team the right size to correspond to the workload?
- Skills – “Closers” have a different skill set than those working on early-stage leads. Is your sales team prepared to focus on closing deals and leave the nurturing and qualifying to marketing? Do they understand the buying cycle well enough to be value-added consultants on it? Are they competent story tellers of customer success?
- Knowledge – Salespeople working with Revenue Marketers need to be experts on their subject. They need to always have the latest news and follow best practices. You want them to be the “go-to” person that your prospects call when they want to talk about your company’s products and services.
- Structure – It’s worth taking a hard look at the kinds of activities your team does. More than likely, they’re doing a lot of tasks not worth paying at a $100/hour+ (a rough estimate) rate. For example, if they’re surfing around looking for new names, perhaps paying a list provider or another source would be far more cost effective. Are they writing emails to promote an event? That should be done by marketing. Is your team structured to partner high-cost resources with high-value activities?
- Compensation – Is your comp plan adjusted for a higher quality, lower volume lead flow? Can great sales people still make a good living at your company? How is revenue marketing likely to affect the sales team’s compensation, especially the top performers?
Embracing Revenue Marketing requires a powerful change in the marketing organization, as well as the sales organization. Make sure you’re always working in conjunction with sales and ask questions as you make the transformation – it affects them just as much as it affects the marketing team!