It's that time of year-you're frantically trying to close business to make your Q4 number while getting through 2014 budget planning. It has been a rough year-although you have a shot at making your Q4 number, you're going to miss your annual quota and you're thinking to yourself, "my sales are down-what do I do?." Even worse, your CEO and CFO are expecting robust growth from you and your team in 2014. How are you going to get there?
Time to modernize your entire sales machine. Not by making the kind of tactical, incremental changes that you've implemented in the past-like letting a low performing sales manager and/or rep go or altering your team's commission plan-but by instituting strategic, structural changes that transform your sales organization into a high performance sales machine. Time to adopt an entirely new sales playbook. But how?
The first step to figuring out how to modernize your sales organization is to recognize how your buyer has changed. By the time your buyer contacts your sales reps today, they've gone online and gathered 60-75% of the information that they need to make a purchase decision. Your buyers have poured over your company's web site to get a ton of information about your product and they've also scoured the web to read what others think about your your company, product and customer service.
The fact is, your reps are no longer the gate keepers of information-in some cases your buyers are better informed than your reps! In this new world, your marketing department has supplanted your reps as the key initial point of contact and information source for your buyers. You need marketing more than ever to achieve your sales goals.
Given the new reality of how your buyers make purchase decisions and the fact that marketing is playing a more central role in your buyer's purchase journey, the question is-what kind of relationship do you have with your marketing counterpart? Have you sat down with your CMO to figure out how to work much more effectively together? Have you and your CMO agreed to put in place strong sales and marketing alignment that allows you jointly to pursue common goals and to use a common framework (agreed upon terminology and a bi-directional service level agreement (SLA))-to analyze what's working and what is not? Or are you still holding onto the outdated view that most marketing is a complete waste of money and that marketing executives sit in an ivory tower and can't help you and your team?
Now more than ever before, you need marketing in the boat with you so that you can attract the right kinds of leads to your company's web site and then pass them over to your sales team to close. The good news is that in this digital age, your marketing department has the opportunity to track every interaction they're having with your prospects so that once tight sales & marketing alignment is put in place and the underlying sales-marketing platforms are integrated, you and your marketing partner can start to analyze where in the sales & marketing funnel opportunities exist to improve conversions and impact results. A key component of a modern sales machine is tight alignment with marketing.