If your sales force isn’t focusing their time on building great relationships with decision-makers and influencers, then they’re not performing to potential. And your organization isn’t getting the results it needs to thrive.
Sales organizations can get bogged down with writing emails, creating their own collateral, deploying invitations, devising their own custom presentations, and activities that have more to do with message preparation and delivery than getting in front of prospects. While the reasons might lie with organizational and staffing issues resulting from fast growth, acquisition, and a host more, the results can be serious and they can be severe. Diluted branding. Mixed messages to your marketplace. Uncoordinated, clumsy timing. And perhaps most importantly, highly-trained and capable sales professionals unable to do what they do best: build relationships, nurture those relationships, and sell.
It can cost your organization big money. By way of example, let’s say yours is a $15M company. If through efficiencies and best practices your sales team can become 25% more productive, work more leads and close more sales, we’re talking millions in added revenue.
While every company’s issues are unique, here are a few general tactics that can be used to unravel this unproductive cycle and allow your sales group to focus on closing business.
Define ownership and delineate process.
Many issues can be solved by simply defining ownership and putting a process in place. Sales owns relationship building and working the pipeline. Marketing owns the branding, messages, message deployments, and helping to fill the pipeline with leads.
To smooth process, the goals of sales and marketing should be aligned. That doesn’t mean that marketing should have a sales target. That would dilute focus. But if a percentage of marketing goals are tied to sales achievement, that’s a strong message that sales success is an integral part of what marketing needs to be concerned about, and that keeps marketing from wasting time and resources on unproductive activities.
Create national materials.
Sales sheets, corporate communications, websites and microsites, and all touchpoints should be done nationally to preserve branding and message. That’s not to say that regionalized materials can’t be produced, but rather that the messaging and style must source from national prototypes. This will alleviate marketplace confusion and present a consistent brand.
Regionalize your national messages.
If your organization has a marketing department that serves all of the U.S., then ensure there’s a process to allow modification of those messages based on regional initiatives. K-12 educational needs and requirements differ state-to-state, territory-to-territory. And to free sales and preserve branding and messaging, this targeted content should be created by marketers with input provided from the regional sales groups.
Conversely, if you operate regional marketing teams, make sure messaging and branding conventions come from the national level. If not, you’ll be dealing with a mess that will lead to market confusion.
These tactics might put more work and responsibility on your marketing team, but that’s where it belongs. Staff accordingly, reach outward for help if needed, but these are important steps to maintaining efficiencies and the organizational integrity of both your sales and marketing operations.
For more information on marketing to K-12 education, click here.