Top management and the marketing department don’t always work in sync with the sales reps to help them meet quotas. But if the company as a whole is going to do well, sales needs all the help it can get! We explored how firms can help their sales people in Part 1 by focusing on the basics of product development, from defining the customer need and value proposition to attaching the right resources to help sales professionals. But that’s just the start!
Communication between departments is key. It goes almost without saying that identifying these value propositions can only come after talking with customers. The benefits they want will depend entirely on the specific problems they are facing. Different customer silos will be attracted to different benefits attached to the same product.
Sales people are your front-line reps talking with customers. It’s natural that their feedback will help adapt that list of benefits that the marketing team is using to create leads.
Overcoming Objections. You need to help the customer get over their hesitations about buying.
Again, this is where companies sometimes don’t back up their sales reps, essentially asking them to hide a product’s bugs while they bamboozle the customer with benefits. It’s far better for the product engineers and marketers to listen to what sales people are saying about those customers’ hesitations, so the product can be improved.
Quotas are goals for the company, not just sales
If that’s not possible in the short term, marketing can help. They can do the research and produce bullet lists, white papers and so on explaining how in a cost-benefit analysis, the benefits simply outweigh any persistent bugs (eg. “Sure, we need to buy a separate security solution to protect this software – but this software is also the industry standard that everyone in your company already knows how to use. Paying an extra $20 a year per employee for licenses is nothing compared to retraining all staff to use an untested competitor’s product”).
Better Sales Forecasting. More accurate sales pipeline forecasting will come from a better understanding of the customer’s needs through the whole company. In most companies, if the leadership team sees the pipeline is producing 50 percent of the time, they see they’re getting the deal half the time. Actually, there is a 50 percent chance of losing the deal! Companies need to identify what those risks are of losing it and address them. That way, the sales person can do their job more effectively.
Better forecasting means more accurate quotas – which means more sales people meeting and exceeding expectations, without lowering expectations.
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