The Latest from the ABM Experts
July 4, 2019
3 Things Marketers Have to Understand if They Want to Support Sales
Written by Sangram Vajre
Trying to support sales as a marketer can be . . . painful.
Everything is always last minute. They don’t know where things are. That’s the perception. Unfortunately it’s also the reality. People left supporting are left needing all kinds of therapy: aromatherapy, massage therapy, drinking therapy . . . whatever it takes.
Don’t worry: Pam Didner is here to help.
What We’re Covering Here:
- 3 Things Marketers Need to Know for Sales Enablement
- 1) Know Sales Challenges and Pain Points
- 2) Know Sales Processes and Methodology
- 3) Know Account Plans/Account Intelligence
And be sure to grab tickets for the B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange in August.
3 Things Marketers Need to Know for Sales Enablement
In a recent talk that we played on the FlipMyFunnel Podcast, Pam broke down three things that marketers assisting in sales enablement need to know:
- Sales challenges and pain points
- Processes and methodology
- Account plans (i.e., account intelligence)
1) Know Sales Challenges and Pain Points
“When I say, ‘Know sales challenges and pain points,’” Pam said, “I want you to create your sales team’s persona. We marketers, when we try to reach out to our prospect or our customers, we have a buyer’s persona. You know what, why don’t we create something to show that we understand sales? That’s just called a sales persona.
2) Know Sales Processes and Methodology
“On the sales process, I want to emphasize the way you understand it. I want to show you a template to know how to do that.
“This a typical buyer’s persona: If you support IT segments, you probably have a CIO. I don’t have to go into detail. Well, you can do something similar but actually for your sales team. What are some of their personality traits? Highly motivated? Strategic? Stressed all the time? Results driven? Our sales team is focused on selling . . . what? What are the keywords of the products they are selling? What issues are they solving?
“Show you understand. If you can, put the first sentence down. Let’s just formalize the process.
How do they prospect? Do they use social media? Do they attend networking events? Do they do cold calling? Call that out like you understand. If they are not actively selling, they are researching. What do they research?
“If they claim the best days to connect with prospects are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you know on Monday afternoon at 5:00 you’re going to get a call. ‘Pam, where is that content you were talking about?’ So let’s be prepared.
“If you want to look into your sales enablement training effort, you need to understand the seniority of your sales talent. They meet quotas what percentage of the time? Is it 75% or 50%? If 50%, you say, ‘Not good, we need to do something to help them.’
“Sales is a numbers game. When do they review their dashboards? What meeting do they attend? Monday morning weekly huddles? And our sales teams are strongly motivated by what? Those are just some of the statements to show you understand the sales team—period.
“None of them are complicated. It’s just like when you are describing your son: ‘Aaron loves to go and ski on the weekend, and during summertime, he plays tennis.” None of the information is mind boggling. You probably have it. Well, let’s formalize it. Show that you understand.”
3) Know Account Plans/Account Intelligence
The final thing you need to know is key account intelligence. Pam talked about attending multiple ABM sessions at an event.
“They were always talking about tactics and the tools that need to be used, and I support that 100%. Tactics are important. At the end of the day, execution, execution, execution, but one thing that’s very important for marketers who are supporting sales or even for sales ops and sales enablement, is this: If we are actually working with them on ABM stuff, we better understand our account a little more, or to some extent have some basic understanding of our sales team’s knowledge.
“They have in-depth knowledge about specific accounts; they do a lot of research. Go talk to them and try to get that information. We need to understand account intelligence. I’m not saying that you have to know all the details and gossip. Gossip is nice, but you need to understand some demographic and techno-graphic information. In a perfect world, our sales teams will have account plans ready. But in reality, do you think they have it? I’m not going to answer that; I’m not going to judge.
“When I was working at Intel, they’d literally have hundreds of people on the HP account, and because they had so many people, they had a kind of play book, to keep everyone up to date. They had organizational charts, managers, red flags, even a weekly meeting about the account.
“From my perspective, these are the questions you need to ask to support the sales team: What are some of the customer’s big initiatives? What are the products that we have sold and we want to sell more of? What are some of the cross-sale and up-sale opportunities? That’s called white space mapping.
“What is the sales team’s game plan and positioning? How do they position themselves to sell more products? What are some of the milestones they’ve hit or are shooting for? Where are we at this time? Are we meeting the sales goal? Are we not meeting the sales goal? What are we missing?
“You know that account plan may not exist. Information is called ‘tribal knowledge’: it’s in someone’s head. Talk to them. Bribe them. Take them for a cup of coffee, buy them lunch, and then charge back to your department. Talk to them.
Supporting sales will continue to be painful. The challenge will never go away. You may still need all those therapy sessions.
But you can be proactive instead of reactive. There will always be last-minute requests from sales, but you at least make an effort to minimize them by showing sales that you understand them.