This is the “other half” of the story mentioned in my last blog. Last time I blogged on “What Sales Want Marketing to Tell Them” which was half of the results of a session with the sales and marketing teams within my client’s organisation. The outcome was a set of questions that each group would like the other to answer – in respect of a planned product introduction.

After a morning in the workshop, the Sales group managed to whittle it down to 6 questions for the Marketing group. In parallel, Marketing were working on their questions for Sales and they followed the brief perfectly (as one would expect)  and managed to consolidate their questions down to the top 5. (There was a question about why sales have commission and an expense account – and marketing don’t – but it was felt this was more a question for management – whew!). Anyway, here are those top 5 questions that Marketing wanted answers to from Sales:

  • Where do the enquiries really come from?
  • What are the main concerns from customers to the product proposition?
  • How much are you “pushing” the product compared to how much the customer is “pulling” at the product?
  • What is the profile of the people who are actually buying?
  • What are the success stories of the clients who purchase the product?

Some interesting questions here – and perhaps some that you would have thought should have been answered before the product was developed and the marketing material written.

Please comment if you think there are more important questions that should be answered.

If you have separate sales and marketing departments in your organisation, I would strongly encourage you to have a similar session in your business. Everyone valued the exercise and some assumptions were shattered and an understanding of each department’s role improved.

You could probably facilitate this yourself – but if not – you know where to find me.

Friction between the sales and marketing department is, sadly, all too common. I recently ran a workshop for a company that was trying to build bridges and understanding between the two groups. One part of the day focused on a product that will be launched in the new year.

I facilitated a session where each group (sales and marketing) separately worked up the key questions that the other group needed to answer in order for the product launch to be a success.

It was a very interesting session and a lot of energy, passion and frustration was aired by both sides. I thought my blog readers would be interested in their answers, as perhaps they are not unique to this particular organisation. I wanted each group to agree on only 5 questions, but we had trouble getting the (nearly 100 questions collated) narrowed down to just  five. So, here are the 6 top questions the sales team wanted marketing to answer prior to launching the new product:

  • How does our product save the customer time, money or pain over their current situation (or supplier)?
  • What is available to prove the above?
  • At what point in the sales process should I use the various collateral that you have generated?
  • Once I secure the sale, who will ensure the on-going relationship?
  • Are we working for market share, sales volume or margin?
  • What should I be spending less time on so that I can put effort into this new product?

Please comment if you think there are more important questions that should be answered.

Next time I will blog on what Marketing wanted Sales to tell them.

Is it fair to tell an athlete to train 6 hours a day; 2 in the gym, 2 on the track and 2 with weights and then give them a performance target in a race? Well, yes it is –  if the coach has a track record of success and can demonstrate their training program works.

So, is it fair to give a salesperson performance targets and also activity targets? If you do, it must be clearly demonstratable that those specifc activities will lead to the targeted performance. Frequently sales managers can’t do this and feel they have to manage the numbers in order to manage their staff.

If the activity targets are, say, 20 phone calls, 2 meetings and 5 quotes and 1 presentation a day is it fair then to give a sales target of, say, £30,000 / quarter and complain when they meet their activity target but not the sales target?

I believe, if you have the right staff and sales process you really don’t need to have targets for activities AND targets for the outcome. You should really only measure one and target the other. Otherwise there will be little ownership and empowerment within the sales team. It’s much better to focus the sales team on what you need them to achieve (sales target) and have an environment where each salesperson can reach this target making the best use of their individual skills.

If we focus too much on the numbers (quantitative drivers) then there is often a lack of focus on the client relationship and individual sales style (qualitative drivers) during the sales process. I’d much rather have a sales team focusing on their sales target as opposed to their activity target!

You may be counting all those calls – but isn’t it preferable to make sure that all those calls count?