Sales and Marketing Misalignment

Great post at sellingpower.typepad.com ‘The Ten Causes of Sales and Marketing Misalignment’ from October 28, 2009:

“Every year CSO Insights surveys more than 1,800 sales organizations, and every year the survey indicates that many sales and marketing organizations are operating in separate silos. Here are the 10 obstacles that stand in the way of sales and marketing alignment:

1. The CEO who does not insist on unified reporting on the company’s sales pipeline. Why? Because most CEOs don’t know that CRM technology offers pipeline visibility and marketing software offers a clear insight into the results of each marketing campaign. The best part is that the marketing software can be seamlessly integrated with CRM.

2. Salespeople who complain that the sales leads generated from marketing are useless. Why? Because their sales manager is unwilling or unable to diagnose the root of the problem. Many companies have cured this problem with simple solutions such as A) have marketing people spend a day in the field with salespeople, and B) have sales and marketing people spend one hour together to define the word “prospect.”

3. Marketing people who believe that they know what’s best for the sales force. Why? Because some marketing managers are proud of their analytical faculties. They trust their “instincts” and therefore believe that they know best how to fill the top of the funnel and why leads get dropped from the pipeline. The solution: Collaborate with sales and establish a shared responsibility model for pipeline dynamics.

4. Salespeople try to reduce complexity; marketing people tend to move in the opposite direction. Why? At the end of a series of engagements, salespeople want their prospects to say one word: yes. Marketing people want to find many different ways to presell prospects through a complex arrangement of stories and messages that resonate in the carefully targeted prospect’s mind. The simple solution: Let your customers tell the story in person, online, through social media, on video, in virtual reality.

5. Sales and marketing can’t agree on the barriers they face in the market. Why? In many instances the barriers are self-imposed. For example, in one large company, a strategic decision made at the top called for a bundling of solutions. Marketing launched a massive advertising campaign, salespeople received new playbooks and training, yet the campaign failed, since salespeople sold individual units that earned them higher commissions. The solution: Create a premortem analysis prior to large initiatives.

6. Both sales and marketing lose track of how customers buy. Why? Because sales managers cling to sales models that worked in the past, and marketing managers feed into the established (but obsolete) sales process. The solution: Align the sales process with the customer’s buying process.

7. No clarity about the value proposition. Why? When you have few customers, it is hard to define what your customers value. When you have many customers, it can become more difficult, since each market segment values your solution differently. The solution: Ask your customers, “How are we doing?” Spending a day with customers leads to more clarity than spending a week studying market-research reports.

8. Inability to speak the same language. Why? Salespeople are concerned with closing deals; marketing managers are concerned with opening opportunities. Salespeople believe that a lead is a prospect who has a need, a budget, the authority to buy, and is willing to buy within a short time frame. Marketing believes that a lead is someone who is supposed to buy based on marketing research and demographic information.

9. Inability to agree on the best tactics and strategies to win in this economy. Why? Nobody can figure out where the economy is headed. Chief sales officers are preoccupied with getting better leads into the pipeline so they can drive up sales. Marketing managers get often sidetracked by shiny objects, such as new marketing software, building online communities, new advertising messages, analyzing the competition, creating a social-media strategy, etc. The solution: Create a monthly review system for the simple purpose of aligning priorities.

10. Sales and Marketing managers tend to forget their mission. Why? In the heat of the battle for higher sales and greater market share, we forget the noble purpose of our company. Peter Drucker once said, “The purpose of business is to create a customer.” Without a customer we don’t have a business. The solution to sales and marketing alignment is to remember who signs our paychecks: the customer. This is a good enough reason to take the initiative today, reach out to your counterpart, and align sales and marketing around your company’s original mission and vision.

More solutions: Sam Reese, CEO of Miller Heiman on the subject of alignment [video]. It’s only five minutes, but these ideas could be worth five million.”

Please leave your comments and watch the video here.

Steven Woods (@stevewoods) from www.eloqua.com wrote the sort of related post ‘Sales and Marketing Alignment: Operational Challenges Might be a Good Sign’ at http://digitalbodylanguage.blogspot.com on November 10, 2009:

“I often get asked how one measures success in aligning marketing and sales. Alignment is a fairly fuzzy concept, so it’s hard to find a definitive metric to look at in order to determine alignment. However, there are some very interesting signs of great progress that I have seen a number of times that are worth highlighting. One of those signs is when the different operational styles of marketing and sales become an observed problem. That is actually a symptom of growing alignment between sales and marketing.What does that mean?

Sales and marketing are very different organizations with very different natural ways of operating. Marketing, even in forward-leaning organizations that have invested heavily in lead nurturing, is often organized around campaigns or events. Sales, being very much a people discipline, is organized around sales people’s time.

This operational style become very apparent when your sales and marketing teams become very closely aligned around the sales lead handoff process. In this process, leads from marketing are handed to sales for follow-up, and sales calls in to those leads to engage with them and work towards an opportunity. However, the natural propensity of marketing to run campaigns or events, which generate a point-in-time spike in leads, begins to conflict with the sales team’s ability to follow-up on those leads, which is governed by the number of sales people on the team, and the number of hours in a day.

It is usually very difficult to make instantaneous adjustments in the number of sales people available to call hot leads, and the number of hours in a day is even more difficult to adjust. This leaves a challenging disconnect. As we’ve addressed earlier, the ability to connect with leads successfully is very dependent on the speed with which you follow up, so this disconnect has significant implications on sales success.

If a marketing campaign generates a spike of marketing qualified leads on a Monday, for example, and those leads are passed to sales, there will likely be an overwhelming number of leads for that Monday. The calls will spill over into Tuesday, and Wednesday, where the sales team will face declining success rates due to the elapsed time, and by Thursday, the sales team will be out of leads.

A far better solution would be to “throttle” marketing campaigns so that a more steady stream of leads flows to sales. Not all campaigns can be throttled, but many can. If there is to be an outbound email marketing campaign that generates leads, it is better to split it into 5 equal sections and spread it over 5 days than it is to send it all at once. Not only will the sales team not be overwhelmed with leads on one day, but the increase in successful connections they make will keep them busier with the same number of leads as in the original scenario.

When marketing and sales begin to get more closely aligned, the operational differences between the two groups become more apparent. Many of the challenges your teams will face in shifting their operations to be better in synch are actually signs of a growing level of alignment.”

Please leave your comments at the original post.

Job opening – Director, Sales Enablement and Product Marketing

Old! Outdated!

Director, Sales Enablement and Product Marketing

Director, Sales Enablement and Product Marketing
Corporate Executive Board (NASDAQ: EXBD)

www.EXBD.com

Location: Arlington, VA (Washington D.C. Metro Area)
Type: Full-time
Experience: Director
Functions: Marketing
Industries: Management Consulting

seeking a Director of Sales Enablement and Product Marketing.

The Director of Sales Enablement is responsible for enabling CEB’s sales teams to grow their businesses across all Practices, Programs, and geographies through the development of highly effective and impactful messaging, communications material, sales tools, and other collateral. The Director Sales Enablement works with Practice Product Marketing Managers, Corporate Marketing, Internal Communications, Creative Services Group, and external parties to create and deliver consumable, highly impactful field collateral and client presentations, and with Learning and Development for training in their use. The Director Sales Enablement owns the vision, message/story structuring and packaging, orchestration and delivery of sales enablement programs collaborating with many contributors as necessary. The Director Sales Enablement operates at both strategic and tactical levels designing and delivering materials, programs and knowledge transfer. A strong understanding and appreciation of the connection of the company’s sales process and value proposition as well as the ability to synthesize multiple inputs into effective solutions are key requirements. This position reports directly to the Chief Marketing Officer and will manage our Brand Project Manager as well as our External Brand and Integrated Communications Agencies.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Develop corporate positioning and messaging that differentiates CEB and conveys its value proposition.
  • Conduct and manage client and market research on buying criteria, product preference, and perceptions.
  • Conduct and manage research on message effectiveness.
  • Evaluate competitive and alternative offerings to identify differentiators and to create a “value wedge” for CEB.
  • Develop structure, systems, and standards for print and electronic media.
  • Establish, maintain, reinforce, and enforce visual and verbal brand standards for all print and electronic media.
  • Work with Practice Product Marketing team to solidify product core messages and guide the structuring and packaging of core messages into highly compelling client facing presentations and collateral.
  • Work with Learning and Development to educate the sales team in the value proposition of our products and in the use of the sales tools and collateral that support the selling process.
  • Create and produce “pitch decks” to address highly strategic sales situations.
  • Develop and implement measurement methodology for the Sales Enablement capacity.
  • Capture sales feedback on what works and doesn’t work, and uses that feedback to continuously improve the base of knowledge.
  • Ensure projects are produced on time and within budget while meeting strict quality standards.

Qualifications

A successful candidate will possess:

  • BA/BS or advanced degree in Marketing, Communications or Business.
  • At least 8-10 years of relevant work experience in product marketing, sales communication or marketing communication.  Strong marketing foundation.
  • Sales experience a plus.
  • Excellent strategic thinking and demonstrated mastery of development of marketing content.
  • Solid cross functional collaboration, excellent project management and multi-tasking skills working in a fast-paced environment and project management skills.  Experience in conducting/managing market research.
  • Passion for enabling sales people to master their craft. Detail orientation and passion for continuously learning and understanding CEB products and how to best sell/position them in specific situations. Superior communication capabilities and exceptional writing ability. Able to quickly produce high quality, effective writing targeted at disparate audiences.
  • Demonstrated success managing complex projects from start to finish, working effectively across internal functional teams and external vendor relationships.
  • Highly process- and detail-oriented, demonstrated ability to manage projects and people cross-functionally.

The Corporate Executive Board Company drives faster, more effective decision-making among the world’s leading executives and business professionals. As the premier, network-based knowledge resource, it provides them with the authoritative and timely guidance needed to excel in their roles, take decisive action and improve company performance. Powered by a member network that spans over 50 countries and represents more than 80% of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, The Corporate Executive Board offers unique research insights along with an integrated suite of members-only tools and resources that enable the world’s most successful organizations to deliver superior business outcomes. Based in Arlington, Virginia, the Company employs more than 2,000 professionals in ten offices around the world.

Job opening – Senior Manager, Digital Strategy at Juniper

Job Summary

Company: Juniper Networks Inc.​

Location: Sunnyvale, CA 94086

Industries: Telecommunicati​ons Services

Job Type: Full Time Employee

Years of Experience: 10+​ to 15 Years

Career Level: Experienced (Non-Manager)

Job Reference Code: 908107

Senior Manager, Digital Strategy

The Digital Strategy Senior Manager provides in-depth understanding of internal and external factors which affect business, marketing and Juniper’s Digital presence. The manager provides digital thought leadership (ecommerce, Social Media, online marketing, enabling web systems, etc.) and supports the definition and communication of both short and longer term digital strategies that will positively impact revenue, growth, customer satisfaction as well as global brand perception.

Primary Qualifications:

  • Support digital strategy planning with a strong focus on business analysis, strategic and financial modeling
  • Experience defining differentiated online experiences supported by longer-term roadmaps assessing impacts to people, process and technology
  • Must possess a rigorous analytical approach as well as dynamic, abstract problem solving skills leveraging web-metrics, primary and secondary research
  • Strong interpersonal skills as team leader and team player
  • Strong understanding of user research, user-centered design principles and online B2B behavior
  • Must have experience in B2B, partner-driven businesses, consumer experience a significant plus
  • Comfortable being able to quickly join a leadership discussion and immediately add value and weight to the dialogue.  Ability to create compelling presentations to document and communicate strategic direction to key global stakeholders and executive leadership
  • Must have a “change agent” attitude; constantly pushing to new opportunities, approaches, ideas, perspectives, etc.
  • Classic management consulting training a plus and previous experience training and managing other consultants a plus
  • Work with strategy team members to define success metrics and evaluate business impact of digital strategies and projects over time
  • Develop processes for collecting and analyzing necessary data
  • Experience working with global organizations is a significant plus
  • Technology experience / awareness is a significant plus
  • Excellent communication skills are required

Other Qualifications:

  • 10+ years Internet, marketing and/or management consulting experience with at least 5 years focused exclusively on the digital space
  • Bachelors degree required, MBA a plus

Do you speak Enterprise? The need to be fluent in your customers’ language

I just saw the great blog post ‘Bringing the Right People to the Table’ by IDC’s Michael Gerard from November 4, 2009:

“In my prior blog [‘Survey Says: “Put Away the Generic Pitch!”‘] I spoke a lot about the need for sales to have deeper, two-way conversations with customers. As I have these discussions with sales operations and sales executives, there’s much discussion about sales enablement for “sales reps” and “sales teams”; however, the need for sales reps to better leverage their own immediate and extended team (i.e., sales, marketing and engineering) as part of the sales process receives little attention.

I included a chart in my last blog from some of our customer experience research indicating that one of the top messages buyers are telling us is that sales reps need to “bring the right people to the table”. This may be intuitive and standard practice for the “A” reps, however, how are we ensuring that we’re making this as easy as possible for the “A” reps and equipping our “B” reps with the knowledge and capabilities to accomplish this task? Are you expecting your front line sales individuals to know too much? And to what extent are you providing these reps with the knowledge and capabilities to best leverage expertise within your organization to approach clients with the best “team”?

Questions to ask yourself about your current state in this area include:

1. Are my sales reps sufficiently fluent in our customers’ language (and needs) and our companies’ products and solutions to have a deep conversation with customers?
2. Do sales reps know when to bring in the right people for customer engagements? (e.g., presales engineers, industry specialists, subject matter experts (SMEs))
3. How do sales reps access SMEs for questions? (e.g., SME access through your internal sales enablement application; leverage of internal social media capabilities to get questions answered)
4. What process do you have in place to help reps justify the need for more resources for an account and/or opportunity? (e.g., through the account planning and opportunity management process)
5. How do you ensure that sales reps always know where to go for information? (e.g., One sales exec. indicated at a recent Sales Leadership Board Meeting that “Our sales teams are not seeking information on a daily basis; therefore, they continuously forget it exists or where to get it.”)

It’s not always what you know, but who you know. And leveraging expertise across the organization can, in may cases, be the difference between winning or losing a deal.”

 

Michael’s post beautifully highlights the need to find a common language for conversations inside (only with a common vocabulary across all regions/divisions of your enterprise will you be able to leverage internal social media capabilities to get questions answered) and outside your enterprise.

Let me relate this to a slide show by BizSphere, which is getting a lot of attention on Twitter, on SlideShare and amongst Sales Enablement experts:

Do you speak Enterprise?

This slide looks complicated, but basically it just shows the different personas in your sales enablement ecosystem.

They all will have better conversations within your enterprise and with the customer when all the content they access and share uses a common vocabulary (that takes into account how your customers speak) and is tagged within the dimensions of an agreed upon information architecture:

  1. The persona of the information architect (A persona doesn’t have to be a full-time job. It is more like a hat you are wearing during a task.) analyses how sales people consume information and what vocabulary resonates with the customer.
  2. Then the dimensions of what BizSphere calls the ‘InfoSpace’ (= the context / the information architecture) are being built and adapted. One dimension could be customer needs.
  3. Your product marketing folks publish their content into the context and cannot not structure it by the agreed upon vocabulary.
  4. Your sales reps learn the common language they should speak with the customer in, always know where to go to for information and are encouraged to do so on a daily basis.

When the place to go to for information Michael mentions above, has such a context where everything is structured the same way, it is quite the contrary to the silos of information you find in most enterprises today.

Gerhard Gschwandtner (@gerhard20), the Sales 2.0 and Sales Enablement expert from SellingPower.com, commented on the slide show:

“Great presentation! I think that this solution is head and shoulders ahead of some of your competitors I’ve written about recently in this post ‘Is Sales Enablement just Lipstick on a Knowledge Management Pig?’

Even SlideShare recognized its success:

“BizSphere Sales Enablement – 2009 Q4” is being tweeted more than any other document on SlideShare right now. So we’ve put it on the homepage of SlideShare.net (in the “Hot on Twitter” section).

 

Job opening – Senior Communications Manager, Sales Enablement

Senior Communications Manager, Sales Enablement

Job Overview

Company:
American Power Conversion
Location:
US-RI-West Kingston
Industry:
Energy – Utilities – Gas – Electric
Job Type:
Sales
Relocation Covered:
Yes
Posted:
08/20/2009

Job Description

As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in energy and infrastructure, industrial processes, building automation, and data centers/networks, as well as a broad presence in residential applications. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the company’s 114,000 employees achieved sales of more than $25 billion in 2008, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations “Make the most of their energy.”

us.schneider-electric.com

APC by Schneider Electric is a global leader in critical power and cooling services, providing industry leading products, software and systems.

Job Responsibilities:

Create and implement a communications plan for just in time, opportunity-specific internal sales playbooks for key solutions environments and vertical markets. Communications plan includes a structure, organization and methodology to represent market overviews, sales tools, marketing and training assets in order to increase sales effectiveness for internal sales and APC partner community. This position will serve as a central hub and work in conjunction with business development, marketing strategy, training, sales leadership and lines of business to effectively communicate key launches through established medium. Tracks, measures and analyzes communications plan and adjusts accordingly. Acts as a communications subject matter expert and best practice advisor on sales execution and communications. Assists the NAM Director of Communications on other regional communications initiatives as required.

Position Responsibilities:

Develops program to capture sales feedback on what works and doesn’t work, and uses that feedback to continuously improve the base of knowledge.

Provides a medium and process to communicate the right (and most current) information for APC’s sales team and partner community.

Creates a forum for ‘proven plays’ that assist the sales team in winning against top competitors.

Works within cross functional initiative team to create process and deliverables that empower the sales force to be more efficient and effective in sales engagements.

Provide communications leadership to lines of business, marketing and business development on sales execution and needs of the sales team.

Support NAM Communications to fulfill established goals and objectives.

Other duties as the job requires.

 

Position Requirements:

Possess a Bachelor’s or advanced degree in Marketing, Communications or Business.

8-10 years of relevant work experience.

Proven knowledge of industry trends.

Ability to execute through positive relationships, effective communication and cross-team collaboration.

Strong leadership and interpersonal skills.

Strong marketing foundation.

Sales experience a plus.

Excellent strategic thinking, project management, relationship building, and consultative skills.

Proven strategic and tactical experience working in the technology industry with partner channels.

Success driven and energetic with excellent time-management, multi-tasking, oral and written communication skills. Demonstrated ability to manage projects and people cross-functionally.
APC-MGE is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability or veteran status.

The need to improve the quality and output of knowledge workers

McKinsey Publishing’s ‘What Matters’ posted ‘Using technology to improve workforce collaboration’ by James Manyika, Kara Sprague and Lareina Yee on October 27, 2009:

“Knowledge workers fuel innovation and growth, yet the nature of knowledge work remains poorly understood—as do the ways to improve its effectiveness. The heart of what knowledge workers do on the job is collaborate, which in the broadest terms means they interact to solve problems, serve customers, engage with partners, and nurture new ideas. Technology and workflow processes support knowledge worker success and are increasingly sources of comparative differentiation. Those able to use new technologies to reshape how they work are finding significant productivity gains. This article shares our research on how technology can improve the quality and output of knowledge workers.

Knowledge workers are growing in numbers. In some sectors of the economy, such as healthcare providers and education, they account for 75 percent of the workforce; in the United States, their wages total 18 percent of GDP. The nature of collaborative work ranges from high levels of abstract thinking on the part of scientists to building and maintaining professional contacts and information networks to more ground-level problem solving. […]

For companies, knowledge workers are expensive assets—earning a wage premium that ranges from 55 percent to 75 percent over the pay of workers who perform more basic production and transaction tasks. Yet there are wide variations in the performance of knowledge workers, as well as in their access to technologies that could improve it. Our research shows that the performance gap between top and bottom companies in collaboration-intense sectors is nine times that of production- or transaction-intense sectors. And that underscores what remains a significant challenge for corporations and national economics alike: how to improve the productivity of this prized and growing corps of workers (Exhibit 1). […]”

To see the full article, footnotes and exhibits please visit ‘Using technology to improve workforce collaboration’

“[…] Consider the collaborative creative work needed to win an advertising campaign or the high levels of service needed to satisfy public citizens. Or, in a similar vein, the interplay between a company and its customers or partners that results in an innovative product.

Raising the quality of these interactions is largely uncharted territory. Taking a systematic view, however, helps bring some of the key issues into focus. Our research suggests that improvements depend upon getting a better fix on who actually is doing the collaborating within companies, as well as understanding the details of how that interactive work is done. Just as important is deciding how to support interactions with technology—in particular, Web 2.0 tools such as social networks, wikis, and video. There is potential for sizeable gains from even modest improvements. Our survey research shows that at least 20 percent and as much as 50 percent of collaborative activity results in wasted effort. And the sources of this waste—including poorly planned meetings, unproductive travel time, and the rising tide of redundant e-mail communications, just to name a few—are many and growing in knowledge-intense industries. […]”

“[…] But most companies are only beginning to take these paths. That’s because, in many respects, raising the collaboration game differs from traditional ways of boosting productivity. In production and transaction work, technology use is often part of a broader campaign to reduce head counts and costs—steps that are familiar to most managers. In the collaboration setting, technology is used differently. It multiplies interactions and extends the reach of knowledge workers. That allows for the speedier product development found at P&G and improved partner and customer intimacy at Cisco. In general, this is new terrain for most managers. […]”

“[…] Web technologies can diminish the wasted efforts. Take the case of “searching”: inefficiencies arise when a staffer is unclear about which colleague within the organization may be tapped for specific knowledge to solve a problem. One remedy is network mapping, a technology that plots work relationships among individuals, reducing search time by providing insights into the pools of knowledge within the company,

Meanwhile, as more of knowledge workers’ output involves digital content, other forms of waste multiply. Fact checking, annotations, and edits lead to handoffs and serial revisions that we term “interpretation” waste. Similarly, as this digital information often must serve audiences across distribution channels—printed documents, PowerPoint slides, and videos, for example—inefficiencies arise from “translation.” At times content is needlessly reworked or even distorted as it crosses channel boundaries. […]”

As you can see below, BizSphere‘s knowledge management approach lets employees upload ‘user generated’ resources into the area ‘Community Content’. Another area you cannot see here would be ‘Official Content’. In all areas employees get to rate resources, to comment on them and to see how many of their peers downloaded them. One click on the left on ‘Contacts’ gives you visibility to who the subject matter experts for what you are looking at are and options to contact them. This reduces the search time by providing insights into the pools of knowledge within the company as talked about in the article above.

user generated content and comments as well as rating from peers

Gerhard Gschwandtner (@gerhard20), the Sales 2.0 and Sales Enablement expert from SellingPower.com, commented on the slide show:

“Great presentation! I think that this solution is head and shoulders ahead of some of your competitors I’ve written about recently in this post ‘Is Sales Enablement just Lipstick on a Knowledge Management Pig?’

Is the expertise of your sales and sales support people harnessed and enabled to have a ROI?

‘Is the expertise of your sales and sales support people harnessed and enabled to have a ROI?’ by Jeanne Hellman (author of case study ‘Sales Enablement Implementation & Case Study: Achieving Your Sales Knowledge Advantage’):

“McKinsey says: 47% of US workers are paid up to 75% premium. Are you getting your moneyʼs worth?

When companies look to measure the ROI of initiatives, they tend to focus on the obvious usual suspects. But if the definition of what McKinsey is measuring across all US workers here was, “all those employees who contribute and create information, provide knowledge or expertise, and tailor or deliver this knowledge/information to gain clients, win profitable deals, and retain customers“, then in many organizations, the percentage of people who are paid up to 75% premium might as well be double the 47% McKinsey has. You have to consider all the supporting roles found within large enterprises.

However more to the point, any challenge so broadly affecting the company and potentially so tied to the top and bottom line has to be seen as strategic, especially in particular, at the large, global Enterprise. Why? The inherent challenges of a complex global organization [heavily matrixed, many regions, multiple product groups, etc. = many silos] – they sell complex solutions in a complex selling environment with complex processes in multiple markets with a complex set of competitors. (Get it? Its complex!)

For the majority of these companies their comparative advantage is how well they can leverage their expertise:

  • Expertise in the clientʼs situation/context;
  • Expertise in any aspect of the available solutions;
  • Expertise in the market and competitors.

With the increased speed of all markets today, changes in the competitive landscape and unforeseen macro-events, technical disruptions and innovations can impact entire industries and regions. How quickly your organization can respond, shift and adapt will determine if you lead/win or follow/lose.

Manage the complexity of your environment (lots of data sources and business processes): When we define the term Sales Enablement portal as “the place on your intranet where employees contribute and create information, provide knowledge or expertise, and tailor or deliver this knowledge/information to gain clients, win profitable deals, and retain customers” then my advice is to make sure the technical aspects of your Sales Enablement portal fits into your landscape and you do not create some over-simplified new one (e.g. yet one more place to put and get information for each business unit or country).

Do not see the statement “We are in the information age” as just something regarding the broader world we live in, but make it an important part of your corporate culture: The lesson of web 2.0 for companies is that people=expertise. There are a lot of innovations that can streamline peopleʼs collaboration and leverage their expertise (social networks, wikis, SharePoint like platforms, micro-blogging, instant messaging, Voice over IP, etc.). But they all are not right for every company, and you can spend more time trying to manage all of the technologies than getting any value from them. Just because they all exist doesnʼt mean you have to use them.

Some tips for selecting a new collaboration technology for your large, global enterprise to help get you on your way are:

  • Find the right few technologies to support your culture of collaborating. (No culture of collaborating? You better get one – fast)
  • Manage your technologies: donʼt let them dictate your strategies
  • Focus the development and deployment of technologies to specific groups and goals
  • Be iterative in the process to use success to build momentum – leverage quick wins
  • Develop and understand the personas of your sellers or other end users: define their needs and any benefits gained – whatʼs in it for them?
  • Create a Sales Enablement road map that includes all four legs of Sales Enablement (People, Technology, Processes and Content).

Best of luck circumnavigating this brave, new (collaborative and technically advanced) world.”

 

Sales vs Marketing – Whose job is it to generate leads?

‘Sales Vs. Marketing: Whose Job is it to Generate Leads?’ by Pete Caputa from November 4, 2009:

This article is an interview of Anthony Cole by HubSpot’s Peter Caputa. Tony is a sales development guru and the founder of Anthony Cole Training Group. Anthony Cole Training Group (a HubSpot customer) helps individuals and companies drive consistent and predictable sales growth. Tony’s blog is called the Sales Java blog.

In marketing, we call it “generating leads.” In sales, it’s usually called “prospecting.” Whose job is it anyways?

While salespeople have always been measured on their ability to generate leads, inside sales people are often measured only on their ability to turn a cold list into warmer leads for their outside reps. However, even outside sales people who do their own prospecting are measured on their ability to fill the top of their funnel based on what leads turn into sales at the bottom.

Great marketers generate demand for their sales teams. With online marketing, marketers are now being measured on their ability to do so. With measurement comes great responsibility.

As a marketer, are you up for the challenge? Is your sales team carrying their weight too?

To find out what it takes for a salesperson to be good at prospecting and generating leads, I turned to a sales training guru that I’ve been following for a few years, Anthony Cole:

Pete: How do you teach sales people to prospect?

Tony: Actually the real key is to hire people who can prospect (prospect qualification is a testable skill) and then help them improve their techniques. Prospecting effectively is a topic we help sales people with every day and maybe for the marketers out there, this may help you understand how to better support your sales teams. We coach salespeople that their attitude about prospecting will determine how successful their sales career will be. If they feel that prospecting is something they have to do, then they will view it as drudgery. They will resist it; they will find other things to do instead of prospecting. They will not improve their skills at it and  their performance and success in sales will suffer. They must embrace prospecting. They must understand that prospecting is the job. They get paid a lot of money because they are willing to do what others won’t – prospect.

Pete: Most people think that the best salespeople are the ones who are all about talking a lot and closing hard. In your experience, would you say that prospecting is the hardest thing for salespeople?

Tony: Those people in sales who are making the most money are not making the most because they are brighter or have better presentations, or because their product is better. They are making big money because they have figured out that the real job is getting in front of people or businesses that need, want and can pay for the product and services they provide.  The moment they realize that prospecting is THE job, they have taken their first step to the best year in sales they’ve ever had.

Pete: Have you found that there are certain salespeople that are better at prospecting than others? Why?

Tony: Yes, there are people who are better prospectors and here’s why.  They have less of a need for approval and can ask tough questions.  Also, they recover from rejection quickly so not much gets them down.  They need to have the attitude of prospects that ‘some will, some won’t, so what, next…’  Many salespeople have self-limiting beliefs that in turn limit their behavior. The first step to unlocking the locked mindset is to identify those beliefs. Here are some examples:

  • “I don’t like prospecting.”
  • “It’s hard to get past gatekeepers.”
  • “If a prospect asks me to send something, I usually send something.”
  • “I’m uncomfortable asking for referrals.”

Pete: How do you recommend salespeople get over these self-limiting beliefs?

Tony: Having the right attitude and beliefs about prospecting is the essential key that will unlock the skills they may have already, if they had just been able to overcome their own self-limiting beliefs. We tell them to take the limiting beliefs they’ve identified and turn them into positive affirmations. Below are a few examples:

  • “I don’t like prospecting.” –> “I love prospecting because it is the key to great prosperity.”
  • “It’s hard to get past gatekeepers.” –> “Getting past a gatekeeper is what I do best when I prospect.”
  • “People don’t like to give referrals.” –> “People are more than willing to introduce me to other people they know.”

Pete: That’s really interesting. Do you think marketers have self limiting beliefs about generating leads for their sales teams?

Well, I’m not the expert on that. But, I’ve listened to enough salespeople complain about their marketing teams to know that it’s probably a good idea for marketers to reflect on it.

[…]”

Social Media Marketing for SMBs

This post is a must read for SMBs who don’t have a Social Media Marketing strategy yet:
10 Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips by Ross Kimbarovsky, from October 28th, 2009.

The following is only the introduction. Read the 10 tips and leave your comment here.

“[…] Capacity – especially to plan and execute effective marketing strategies – is a big challenge for every small business. In this post, I’ll offer 10 suggestions for how small businesses can supercharge their marketing efforts by leveraging social media. For each suggestion, I will discuss a basic strategy – for those who simply want to get their toes wet, as well as anadvanced strategy – for those who want to spend a bit more time and go a bit deeper in their social media marketing efforts. These tips are based on my experience leveraging social media marketing for my company, crowdSPRING.

I suggest you begin by outlining clear goals for your social media marketing efforts and figuring out how you’ll measure success. Once you’ve outlined your goals, let’s look at 10 great ways you can begin to leverage social media for your marketing efforts.

[…]”

Sales Team Effectiveness Assessments

Blog post ‘Sales Team Effectiveness Assessments’ by Greg from peaksalesperformance.wordpress.com from October 1, 2009.

Whenever Greg gets asked for his opinion on a firm’s sales organization overall and for a development plan, he always works from a copyrighted formula:

“Sales Results = (Sales Skill + Sales Will) X (Execution + Leadership)

Each of these variables has 8 drivers.

Sales Skills (primarily B2B)

  1. Prospecting Skills
  2. Presenting Skills
  3. Probing Skills
  4. Listening Skills
  5. Closing Skills
  6. Pipeline Management Skills
  7. Product Knowledge
  8. Industry Awareness

Sales Will

  1. Recruitment Process
  2. High Performance Focus
  3. Target Compensation @ Plan
  4. Peer Recognition
  5. Family & Friend Recognition
  6. Tactical Sales Plans Aligned with Strategy
  7. Incentive Plan Clarity
  8. Effective Field Coaching

Performance Management

  1. Goal Clarity
  2. Tactical Prescription
  3. Performance Metrics
  4. Defined Performance Management Process
  5. Joint Call Activity Levels
  6. Readiness Assessment
  7. Coaching & Counseling
  8. Culture

Leadership

  1. Strategy Development
  2. Strategy Communication
  3. Tactical Definition & Measurement
  4. Readiness Planning
  5. Sales Participation
  6. Performance Management Process Execution
  7. Leadership Style
  8. Recognition & Communication

These are the 32 drivers of sales results.  Based on your industry and sales channels they will vary somewhat.

You start the assessment process with the understanding that there is a limit to the organizations resources and ability to execute change.  With this in mind, the key is to find the largest gaps and then to formulate a “do-able” organizational development plan that will begin to close those gaps.

I begin my assessments by examining the drivers at a high level, identifying the major gaps and then drilling down.  This saves me time and saves my clients significant money.  Once the four to six gaps are identified I review and discuss them with the assessment sponsors to find those gaps where the solutions can be bundled into a singular development initiative.  Again, this approach is designed to save money, time and ensure execution.

Why bother with an assessment?  It saves time, money and ensures sales growth.  Why spend money on negotiation training if your issues stem from a lack of field coaching?  Why waste time perfecting a lead generation program when your individual contributors are handicapped in their search for client pain?  Why would you continue to give up margins just because your sales pipeline is anemic?  Why continue to throw good money into an incentive plan when your recruiting process keeps bringing in candidates with low skill and low sales will?

Great organizations have a common approach to problem solving.  Assess, plan and execute.

If you want to grow sales, you’re best approach is to start at the beginning.”