This season on Improving Sales Performance, we’re analyzing the findings from our latest Media Sales Report. With data collected from surveys conducted in Q4 of last year, the responses from sales managers and salespeople alike will help us chart a solid path forward through the media sales landscape.
In each episode, Matt will be joined by a rolling roster of outstanding experts from our team here at The Center for Sales Strategy.
Here, Matt is breaking down the Sales Enablement section of the Media Sales Report with VP/GM at LeadG2 by The Center for Sales Strategy, Dani Buckley, and Senior Consultant, Emily Hartzell.
Together, Dani and Emily give their take on some top questions that arise from the report, like:
- What would you tell those sellers and sales managers who feel as though their sales collateral pieces are lacking?
- What are the first features of a website that you look for in order to most easily communicate who your company is and what problems you solve?
- How would you suggest building a better bridge of communication between marketing and sales?
Click here to listen to this episode on your preferred podcast platform or keep reading as we break down the conversation from this episode.
40% of Salespeople Tell Us that Their Sales Collateral Pieces are Lacking
“82% of salespeople say they have access to the resources they need to achieve their goals. That's great,” Matt says, kicking off the conversation. “However, 40% of sellers tell us that they are dissatisfied or are unsure if they are satisfied with their sales collateral pieces. And 37% of sales managers agree.”
“What do you make of that? And what would you tell both those sellers and managers who feel as though their sales collateral pieces are lacking?”
Emily takes the question, saying, “So I think a lot of times, sales collateral is defined differently by different people. And I also feel like sometimes sellers have a hard time finding, locating, and actually using the resources.”
“I was just talking to a manager the other day on one of my calls, and we were laughing because they said that they get salespeople all the time who come to them and ask them for things. They're like, ‘Can I have a case study on this? Can I have a one-sheet on this? Or an infographic that explains this?’"
“And the manager's like, ‘We have that. I just don't know where it is.’ Or, ‘We made that five years ago. I'm not sure if it's updated, but it's somewhere.’"
“So, what I advise them to do is
- Just have a post-it note or a piece of paper on their desk, and anytime a salesperson asks for something, just jot it down. That way they don't forget.
- Make an action plan. Who on the team is going to be in charge of making these things and gathering the information?
So that's kind of a lot of answers to your question, but that's what I would do. I would make a plan and make it happen.”
“I agree with all of that,” Dani says. “I would [also] tell those that are concerned about their sales collateral, that they're probably right. They probably should be concerned.”
“They likely don't have the right resources or enough of them. They probably, like Emily said, are not organized or easy to find if they do exist.”
“But it's also much more common that there's the stuff that marketing or leadership created, and then there's the stuff that sellers actually need every day. And that changes.”
“So, if you had a big haul of creating content and resources five years ago, probably most of its outdated. And if you've never done that, then it's definitely needed.”
“I think that it's all about starting small. Make that list, and figure out who are your primary types of buyers that you're talking to. Are you very clear on the different buyers and what they care about? Break it down by stage of the sales process. Figure out the content and resources you need, and then prioritize that list.”
“Either hire someone to do it for you or build a team internally. But then say, ‘Okay, every month we're going to create one or two or three new pieces,’ and just make it all biteable chunks that you can take on and make a priority.”
Breaking Down Sales Enablement – An Exercise with Matt Sunshine
“This past summer I was leading a Vistage meeting,” Matt says. “And the idea of sales enablement came up, and someone in the group raised their hand and they said, ‘I don't really get it. I don't understand. I hear what you're saying about collateral pieces, and we have all the collateral pieces that we need.’ And he explained a little bit and what they were. They were a bunch of one-sheets that explained the product that they have.”
“So, the first thing I said is, ‘Well, those are great. There's a need for those, but maybe you should talk about what you solve versus what you sell as a general concept.’”
“But then I took what you just said, Dani, and I tried to make it... reality for him.”
“I said, ‘Tell me about the different stages your typical customer goes through before they become a customer. What is it that they go through?’”
“He goes, ‘Well, in the beginning, they have some questions about this. And then they want to know how it compares. And then they want to know what other people think about the same product. And then they find...’”
“I said, ‘Okay, so when they're in this first stage, what question do they really have?’ And I had a big whiteboard. So, on the whiteboard, I wrote down the three stages that they identified. Then I wrote down the questions that they had in each stage.”
“I then asked, ‘Okay, so if I'm a seller and I have a prospect in this stage with this question, what piece do I give?’ In some cases, he was able to name them. And, when he did, I wrote them down. In other cases, he's like, ‘Oh, I don't have something for that.’ So, I wrote, ‘need that,’ right?”
“Then I go, ‘Does this make sense?’ We just looked at the whiteboard. I go, ‘Here's your plan. And he goes, ‘Oh.’ It took maybe 20 minutes to do this whole exercise. And it was so interesting to see the people in the room go, ‘Oh.’"
“I then said, you know, full disclaimer, ‘This isn't enough.’ I mean, what we did here in 20 minutes was an example of what you should do and take more time.”
Does Your Website Make It Easy for Prospects to Learn What Problems You Solve?
“We asked sales managers, ‘Does your website make it easy for prospects to learn about your company and the problems that you solve?’ 45% said, 'not really,' or 'not at all,' Matt said. Nearly half of the sales managers we asked, said, ‘not really,' or 'not at all.’"
“So, what are the first features of a website that you would look for in order to make it easy to communicate what your company does and what problems it solves?”
“I love this question. I feel pretty passionate about this,” Dani says.
“So, what it starts with, is, 'Does your website exist?' Do you actually have a legitimate B2B market website that advertisers can go to and find out about the problems you solve, the type of media you sell, the different solutions you have, who your people are, how they can contact you, all of that.”
“Does it exist and, when it does exist, most importantly, do you have a clear elevator pitch of, 'This is who we are,' and 'What makes us different from others in the market.'”
“I tend to be really straightforward. If you go to our LeadG2 website, we literally have a page called ‘The Problems We Solve.’
“If you don't want to be that clear, you could use other language. But I think not beating around the bush is best. It's not, ‘We sell X, Y, Z.’ It's, ‘We help companies solve these problems.’ And that is a very different language.”
“Yes, I do think you should still have pages on your website that talk about what you sell, the solutions you provide, the services you offer, and what people could purchase from you. But it should also be written in a way that is still talking to their pain points and their needs."
“Also, another thing a great website should have is, 'Is it easy to find what they're looking for?' Like, can they go deeper into different topics if they're going down a rabbit hole on, you know, lead generation, can they get more and more information? Can they then contact someone? Is it easy to contact someone in different ways?”
“Ultimately I think what often gets overlooked is, are you building trust, thought leadership, and some value while they're on your website?”
“This is most often done through really high-quality content like a blog. Maybe you have a podcast, maybe you do webinars, whatever it is! But, you're putting out free, valuable content that is showing how smart you are, that you're experts in the things that you talk about, that you have examples, that you have proof, and you're able to build that rapport and trust through the content on your website.”
“I love that. I agree with every single one of them, and I'm going to share more,” Emily says.
“I think that the overall look and feel of the site is really important. Sometimes you go to a site and it looks like it was built in 2010 or you can clearly see that the site isn't modern and up to date.”
“And, overall, just having sophisticated social proof is huge. Reviews, testimonials, case studies, etc. Really arm your website with past customers who have seen success, and who love you.”
“Think about any time you've purchased anything where you've made a big commitment. You want to see the other people have made the same leap of faith and have seen success.”
“I find that a lot of times companies don't actually share very clearly what services they actually offer on their website."
"And then, the last one I have is easy navigation. Sometimes, the navigation isn't clear.”
“Kind of how Dani said on LeadG2’s site, we have ‘Problems We Solve’ page linked to our main navigation. A lot of times, people try to make their navigation headers creative or fun, and it's often overlooked because I'm not really sure what they’re trying to communicate.”
Only 5% of Salespeople Believe Their Company’s Marketing Plan “Rocks”
"This one's just going to be like a nail on a chalkboard for you guys," Matt says. "Only 5% of salespeople that responded believe that the marketing plan and the thought leadership that their company is putting out rocks.”
“That means 95% don't think that the company they work for has a good marketing and thought leadership initiative. How would you suggest building a better bridge of communication between marketing? How do they improve that?”
Emily jumps in, “There are two sides to this, right? So, if they really do have a good marketing plan, but sales just doesn't know about it, I think it's important to create marketing and sales alignment.”
“I know that's also kind of a buzzword, but like what can be done? Marketing can be sending emails regularly to the sales team whenever a new e-book is published or whenever a new blog post is published or whenever a new campaign is launching. They all can be shared.”
“There could be meetings every single month. You could schedule a meeting where marketing comes and talks to sales and sales can talk to marketing and everyone can understand each other. I think that that's huge and I see it with almost all my clients. Before we start working together, marketing is kind of running in its own direction and sales is running in their own direction.”
“So, I would make an actionable plan to build marketing and sales alignment in your organization.”
“And the other side of it is if the marketing doesn't rock, because no one's doing it. Make a plan for marketing and then build marketing and sales alignment.”
“But I think marketing and sales definitely need to be communicating now more than ever, especially with the sales enablement side of things. Marketing can't help sales make those sales enablement pieces that will help them sell better if they don't know what they're hearing and who they're hearing it from.”
Dani then takes the question, saying, “The biggest thing that we see is that there actually is no B2B marketing. We're talking about B2B marketing here and [the question is], is there any type of strategy or plan to drive and communicate potential prospects and advertisers, right?”
“So, the reason that number is so small is hands down because it doesn't exist in a lot of organizations. Like it's not happening.”
“It might be happening on a corporate level. And, in that case, you might just have no idea what they're doing. And that is where the things that Emily just mentioned are really important, even from corporate to market level: more regular communication."
“Not just marketing talking to sales about what they're doing, but actually having conversations, getting feedback, coming on prospect calls, and making sure they actually understand what's happening out in the field. That way it feels like there's some cohesion and there's some understanding and [some sense of] having shared goals that are talked about.”
“Because marketing is an initiative for sales and, if it's not, then it's not really marketing.”
“All of that is important and I think it really starts with leadership both at the market level and at the corporate level. If there is no cohesion and communication between marketing and sales with leadership, then of course...that stat exists.”