Dear Sales Representative,
As a former sales rep, turned marketer, I know how tough your job can be. The unreturned phone calls, the “no’s,” the “sales blitzes”, the gimmicks. It can be really exhausting-- and defeating.
On the flip side? Those wins. Ah, yes. Those. Wins. I remember feeling like I was on top of the world, when I collaborated with my customers, and we closed a big deal-- together.
In my last sales gig, I worked for someone who didn’t get me. You see, he tried to push me to be...well...pushy. And that just isn’t “me.” It didn’t feel right. I liked being a resource. I liked catching people as they were researching, and helping them move through the sales funnel. I liked building relationships. I liked when people knew they could trust me, because I had their best interest in mind. That was, is, and forever will be “me.”
The Days Before Smarketing (Sales + Marketing).
In my sales positions, we rarely communicated with our marketing department. In fact, the only thing I really remember talking to them about? Sales sheets.
Today, it’s different. As it should be. While sales teams have their monetary quota, their marketing counterparts have quotas too (typically, measured in an agreed-upon number of leads). Both teams are working towards a common goal, and they’re working smarter-- not harder.
How to Work Smarter in Sales
1. Talk to each other. Make sure you make a point to communicate, openly, with your marketing team. Whether you’re working with a marketing firm, or you have an internal team, that ongoing communication is critical. Is Marketing creating crappy content? Tell them. Are you getting the same questions over, and over, from your prospects and customers? Ask marketing to start talking about it (through blog posts, premium content, social media, etc.). Bottom line: open communication will make both your jobs easier.
2. Be a Resource. The best sales people were acting as resources long before the term smarketing was ever coined. To the “talk to each other” point above, work with marketing to develop content that will speak to your prospects and customers needs.
3. Ask Marketing for Access to Analytics. If your organization isn’t utilizing CRM Software, you may need to do some more legwork, on this one. Depending on the software your organization is using, you should be able to have access to intelligence, that will basically tell you a story of the lead. What are they looking for? How did they find you? What resources have they accessed? Within our software, we’re able to give sales reps access to all this and more (and it’s all available to them, from within a mobile application).
Here’s an example:
(Note: Yours truly is the lead, in this example.)
4. Realize that these are not your normal leads. Rather, these are inbound leads and inbound leads are better. In fact:
- Inbound Leads are 8x more likely to close into customers than Outbound Leads.
- Inbound Leads have a 14.6% close rate.
- To put that into perspective: Outbound Sourced Leads have a 1.7% close rate.
- Inbound Leads find you.
- Inbound empowers you to talk to the right leads, at the right time.
At the end of the day, remember that you are valuable. You’re an integral part of the sales and marketing continuum. You are the human touch, the relationship builder, and the sales closer.
And because we all love cold calling so much (I hope you can sense my sarcasm), I have news that might make you jump for joy: It’s not the calling that’s dead -- it’s the cold.
Inbound Marketing Certified Professional
Statistics Source: The 2012 State of Inbound Marketing