There has been a fragile truce between sales and marketing ever since the two crossed paths. It’s easy for sales to blame marketing for not passing off leads qualified enough for them to be closed and equally easy for marketing to blame sales for not closing (or even using) the leads they passed along.
Enter sales force automation. Sales force automation, or SFA, refers to technology which can coalesce marketing’s and sales’ database into a single, trackable, accountable, and structured source.
There are droves of SFA tools on the market and any number of classes, but JDM recommends Salesforce.com for most of our clients. SFA tools like Salesforce.com are powerful technologies, if they are implemented carefully and utilized efficiently.
For more information on Sales Force Automation, see JDM’s marketing services page. But before you can champion an innovative technology initiative like this, we invite you to review “The Top 10 things you must know about sales people.” edited from Robert Moreau’s B2B Marketing Best Practices Blog.
THE TOP 10 THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT SALES PEOPLE
1. ALWAYS keep in mind that sales is about closing deals, not about getting leads! If leads turn into sales you win with sales. But they don't get paid for working early pipeline leads, only for closing deals!
2. Sales will ALWAYS focus on the latter stages of the sales pipeline. If you want to get sales support, make sure you clearly state how you will help them build their EARLY pipeline so they can FOCUS on the latter stages of the pipeline.
3. You only get one bite at the apple! This is absolutely true in larger sales organizations. If you roll something out to the sales team and a couple of the top performers don't like it, it has bugs, or it is not supporting by the VP, you risk losing traction on the whole initiative before it even starts.
4. Sales people like spiffs! Just like gifts at Christmas time, sales people like to be given things. Just look at the rewards structure set up in most sales organizations. Don't expect a sales force to just jump on board unless there is something in it for them INDIVIDUALLY!
5. Sales people live on individual accountability! Even the most senior sales executives will tell you that if a sales person is making their number, chances are they are happy with them. Sales people are skeptical of things "the company" is doing to help them, so be clear, concise and keep what motivates sales people at the top of your mind.
6. They "believe" the best leads come from their contact/customer install base! Even if you believe this not to be the case, don't even try making that argument with your sales team. Sales people pride themselves on their ability to develop and sustain relationships. In their mind, they don't need help! No matter how creative, personalized or unique you think your marketing teams communications are, to a sales person it is probably just "noise".
7. Involve sales early in the process. We don't mean in the technology selection process, but in developing your business requirements for the technology. If they feel a part of this, you stand a much higher probability of multi-department adoption of any initiative.
8. Be prepared for initial pushback! Know going in that the initial reaction from sales will probably be "marketing wants another $100K to launch an initiative that will not help us, but drive more awareness, increase our admin time, etc". In the sales world, there is a saying that the sales process doesn't really start until you hear the first "no". Don’t think it will be any different for you.
9. Commit to the end result and remind, remind, remind. Sales people have a very short attention span. If your initiative is going to take more than a quarter (and it will) be sure you ask to have some time each quarter to provide a status report.
10. Be patient! Be targeted with your communications, add it to the corporate intranet, and remind them that it is there and why they should take the time to read it. You will not get overnight support, but by getting a few sales people to see the value, and further more to realize the value first hand, eventually, they will follow if it makes sense.
Learn more about integration, SFAs, and evolved marketing on our website: http://www.marketinghasevolved.com/.