Sales Team, We're All Headed in the Same Direction, Right?
July 3, 2016
Proper alignment within the sales and marketing team is often overlooked but is absolutely critical to mission success. In any company, it's a given that the marketing team knows exactly how and what the sales team is selling and it's readily assumed that the sales team knows precisely what marketing is trying to convey with its messaging. And everyone knows what the SDRs (Sales Development Representatives or inside sales team) are doing, right?
In my experience, the above is often not true. The teams are very rarely aligned and have fundamental misunderstandings of how the other team goes about its business. Marketing creates great messaging without truly understanding how the sales team sell and to whom they are selling. The sales team sells without understanding the finer points of the new messaging instead choosing to go with what has worked in the past. The SDRs, lost somewhere between marketing and sales, do not understand either but continue on with their drone like "dialing for dollars" causing conflict and mayhem wherever they go. The importance of getting everyone on the same page seems so reasonable and easy to understand but is rarely emphasized within an organization.
Before messaging is created, the sales team must communicate to marketing how they sell and to whom they sell. Once formed, marketing must be able to convey its message to the sales team effectively. If the sales team doesn't understand the message, neither will the customers. The sales team must continue to provide feedback to marketing on the effectiveness of the messaging. Essentially, what works and what doesn't. Together they must revise and adjust the message and sales approach moving forward. And while getting marketing and sales headed in the same direction is important, it is equally so for the sales team itself. Perhaps the best system I have seen for doing this is the sales pod. A pod can consist of 1 member from each of the SDR, SMB and Enterprise Sales teams. The pod can be focused on the same territory or vertical with the same effectiveness. The pod approach ensures every member of the team conveys a consistent message and allows them to work the territory or vertical in a concerted and unified approach. It removes conflicts and allows the group to work through issues together. Solution architects and marketing reps should also sit in with each pod to assist and adjust. While not often a point of emphasis within an organization, the structure and alignment of sales and marketing teams can effectively be as important to a company's overall success as the message they convey or the product they sell.
Jason is an accomplished executive with more than 17 years of proven experience in executive leadership, technical sales, operations and sales support. He has a diverse blend of sales, operations, management, and leadership skills focused on helping technology companies expand operations, revenue, profits and market share at the regional and national level. Possessing rare persuasive, communication and inspirational skills, Jason has consistently driven double-digit growth while developing top teams and talent. Jason has a deep passion for technical sales and business development and is frequently asked to speak at industry conferences, has authored numerous articles on SAAS technology services and has been featured as a key participant in data management conference series.