The world’s most valued salesperson

Peter Mollins explains how marketers can help sales close the deal

The sales-CMO knows that her job just begins when prospects are passed to sales. There is still a complicated, and murky, buyer’s journey that the sales team must shepherd their targets through.

If the salesperson isn’t guiding that process and supporting their prospects, the deal is likely to succumb to inertia. That’s the way today’s cost-sensitive and political buying processes work. Or, the buyer is likely to go with an alternative vendor that better helps them navigate the purchase.

This situation presents a big opportunity for you to differentiate in the buyer’s journey. Why? Because just 20% of salespeople add value, according to buyers. So, how can the sales-CMO help?

Answering the “why now?” problem

Inertia in a sales process comes in large part from buyers not being able to articulate “why now.” Buyers’ colleagues can’t see the value in prioritizing what you’re offering. If they had a strong business case, they’d be equipped to fight the internal battles that loom. Give your sales teams:

  • Insight from trusted third-parties like existing customers, analysts and other thought leaders so they can see the possibilities of changing.

  • Reliable data that can show a real business case. ROI calculators aren’t fussy and outdated. They’re more commonly used to justify decisions than ever.

  • The power to let buyers test-drive. You might not be able to give a free trial in your business. But that doesn’t stop companies like Boeing from making “experiences” so buyers can get a feel for your product in action.

  • Market training so they can knowledgeably speak about how others in the space succeed. Anecdotes and general industry information let your salespeople bolster a prospect’s resolve.

Answering the “why you?” problem

Great, you and team have convinced the prospect that change needs to happen. But are they going to choose your solution or an alternative? Differentiation isn’t enough in your marketing campaigns. It needs to be part of the whole journey. So, marketers need to offer sales teams:

  • Lower-funnel content that prospects actually want. Yes, your marketing team’s infographic is funny and beautiful. But it is not going to push a sale over the line. Build content that works in later sales stages. And measure what content is correlated with closed won deals so you can build more.

  • Customize the journey for the buyer. The new funnel is dynamic — with prospects interacting with your website and content long after the initial open. Use modern marketing automation technology to customize their experience when they return to your site. They need advanced content, not basic introductory information, to help advance a deal internally.

  • Competitive information should focus on more than just classic feature comparisons. You also need to help sales communicate the value of why working with your company is better. That includes after-sales support, implementation and roll-out, ongoing innovation, “coolness” — whatever elements help the buyer justify the choice.

When salespeople are equipped with that kind of tooling and insight they can help their prospects move deals forward to close. And that’s the goal of every sales-driven CMO. But it doesn’t stop there. It goes both ways.

Marketers need to constantly measure the sales process and learn from the sales team. That means being in constant communication with the field about what messages and vehicles work. That kind of openness increases program effectiveness and the receptivity of sales people to new approaches from marketing.