Engaging sales – An action plan for adoption of marketing tools

You’ve spent time and money building a comprehensive marketing plan and buying fancy marketing tools and implementing them. You even bought the sales tools that go with your marketing automation platform – so now what? You just turn on the tools and run, right? Not quite.

Unless you have fewer than five sales people and they are all very, very deeply involved in your marketing organization, there’s a good chance they have no idea what you’ve just invested in or why it isn’t just another shiny object for them. They don’t have a clue how these tools will truly benefit them.

So how do you get sales to buy in and adopt these new tools?

Sure, you can go to the Marketo or Eloqua websites and pull screenshots galore and gather PDF documents that extoll the virtues of the various tools you now own. But try convincing Joe Salesguy why he should be interested in reading all of those.

Let’s be realistic and put on our marketing hats. You wouldn’t send emails to your marketing universe that were less than relevant, so why do you think you can pass out generic stuff to your sales team and hope they will read it and find value? Yes, it might sound like a lot of work to build a marketing plan to engage sales and then execute it, but isn’t it worthwhile? After all, you bought into the Sales Insight or Discover toolset because they are supposed to empower sales, so let’s go one step farther and really enable them.

Here’s how:

  1. Build a buzz. Prior to launch, pick a small subset of your sales users for a pilot. You will want to get some of your more engaged, “willing to experiment” sales folks. With this group, you are doing two things. First, you are making sure these tools work for your sales team. Second, and most important, you are creating an internal case study. *Note: If you’ve already launched, then go fishing for some case studies. We all know how powerful they can be in a sales cycle, so think of this as your own internal sale!
  2. Set up in-person training time. At launch time, plan to have a few in-person workshops at different times and locations (if need be), so that you can connect personally with the sales users. Here is your chance to explain the tools, gauge their reactions, and then assist them in setting up and using the tools. Be ready to have some sample contacts/leads for them to test sending out emails. Use this test to demonstrate how to follow and watch the buying signals in the tools you’ve built.
  3. Don’t set it and forget it. Build internal resources to support continued adoption of the tools. Everything from an internal email nurture program to a webpage with resources, FAQ docs, and samples will go a long way towards helping your users after training. These documents are definitely not one time use only. Get the team who trains your new sales users involved in creation of these resources, because if they have a stake in it, chances are good that sales will continue to leverage these assets going forward.
  4. Reach out in multiple formats. You don’t send one-dimensional campaigns to your prospects, so don’t do it here, either! Engage your users with video, blog posts, emails, and any other format you think might help them.
  5. Track use. After you’ve gone through all of this and gotten sales engagement, you need to track usage of the tools. Listen for case studies where sales is successfully using the tools and socialize those case studies – not just with sales, but throughout the company! Make sure the tools continue to be utilized so that you’re able to show some return on the investment.

As you roll out new software for your teams, start out by asking these crucial questions and you’ll be much more successful:

How are you socializing your sales tools with the sales teams? 

How do you measure user engagement and define what is “success” for your company?

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