Sep 21, 2017 6:31 PM
In some organizations, there's a belief that sales in everyone's job. I like that philosophy and enjoy seeing people from all functional areas taking pride in the products/services they help provide.
This is a matter, though, of company culture. It starts at the top with senior managers demonstrating inclusivity. For example, the mission of the company should clearly articulate what the company provides and why it matters. The mission should be inspiring to and inclusive of all departments. Everyone should be able to understand how the work they do advances the mission. When people in IT, finance, HR, supply chain, operations and others in non-sales and non-marketing functions see the work they do as contributing to a higher purpose, then it's easier & more natural for them to support sales work.
Example - one global produce company has a mission that includes aligning with customers in order to delight consumers. The word "delight" and the expectation that every employee contributes to it directly or indirectly impacts the way work is done. Additionally, people in all departments are routinely given opportunities to taste test the products and offer opinions. They are directly involved in contributing to the development of products that will delight consumers. What's more, there are opportunities for people to go to an in-store training program so they can understand, first hand, what happens when their products are shipped and merchandised. The outcome is that people in this company become brand advocates and work diligently to support customers, too.
By contrast, in many companies, people are so far removed from the products sold that they don't have the slightest idea what customers need or want. They don't know who the customers are and what problems are solved by their products. Providing them with extrinsic motivation (incentives) could, potentially, cause more problems that it solves -- unqualified leads that are rejected could cause feelings of unfairness, for example.
Intrinsic motivations are stronger that external ones. People who feel connected to the company and its mission, are highly engaged in their work and see its impact, and have a sense of belonging in the team will make referrals and act as brand ambassadors simply because they want to. An "everybody wins" approach (such as profit sharing) rewards everyone's efforts to drive top-line sales and increase profitability.
That's my recommendation... not quite what you were asking, though, so let's come back to the original question. If there is going to be an incentive for referrals/leads, I suggest taking the following into account:
1. Be very clear about what constitutes a qualified lead. Make the criteria objective and easy to understand. Be clear, too, about how you'll resolve duplicated referrals.
2. Be clear on what you're asking for and rewarding -- is it a contact name? an introduction? an appointment? closed business? With more work comes more need for training about the product and what it can do. Resource and reward referring employees appropriately.
3. Whenever possible, link these incentives to work that's being done. Leads generated from a particular piece of content, for example, is a better strategy than random referrals.
4. Cross-selling and upselling are more linear and easier to incentivize and execute. When a customer is already calling to talk to a service rep or tech support, there are opportunities. The customer, in those conversations, is sharing information about their needs and values. This information should be captured and people in those roles should be trained to listen for certain clues about additional needs. Motivating them to bring those clues to the sales team and to ask clarifying questions to flesh out those needs can be done intrinsically (see above) and extrinsically with rewards of some type. The type of motivation depends on what you sell, how much it costs, etc. Start by asking your sales team what percent of their commission they'd be willing to share on an upsell -- after all, these apparently are needs they haven't identified yet and getting the real-time info is a benefit to them.
Sep 29, 2017 1:47 PM
If I had created a word cloud for the most common phrases I heard at Inbound 17, I would say that "sales and marketing alignment" would be huge (I heard it a lot).
One of the statements that caught my attention was that sales and marketing alignment is really about aligning to the buyer, not as much about internal teams and processes.
I am curious to hear your take on this.
Thank you, as always!
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HubSpot support and inbound marketing for OEMs, contract manufacturers, and industrial suppliers.
HubSpot Platinum Partner & HubSpot Certified Trainer
Sep 30, 2017 9:07 PM
"Sales and marketing alignment" and "connecting with your buyer" would both be in my word cloud. LOTS of conversations about both at Inbound -- I heard these phrases in presentations, in Club Inbound, and buzzing through the halls.
If we take the two together, there certainly is overlap. A customer's experience is the composite of every touchpoint with a company. The vast majority of touchpoints are directly with sales or marketing. And, of course, sales and marketing influence other interactions where they are not directly involved.
Aligning sales and marketing is actually easier when you bring the buyer into the mix. Think of sales and marketing as two points on opposite ends of a straight line. They are part of the same line, but they are separated with lots of white space and room to roam in every possible direction. BUT... when you add a third point and connect the dots to it, you have a closed triangle. The buyer becomes the pinnacle point of the triangle with sales and marketing now focused and connected more definitvely.
Customers look for experiences that are meaningful, relevant and personal. If sales and marketing can form triangles that align to each buyer, there is a heightened opportunity for success.
Sep 21, 2017 6:47 PM
Thank you for your question, tommy_m_matthew -- I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on this, too.
#1 -- Misperception: Inbound and outbound are mutually exclusive. IMHO: Industry, product, seller style, buyer preferences, and other variables determine how much of each approach are warranted.
#2 -- Misperception: It will happen overnight. IMHO: Creating content and lead flows and buyer personas and email templates and optimized copy for your web pages..... All takes time. It may not be exactly right the first time. Sticking with it is essential. Having a great agency helps (shout out here to protocol 80, Inc. because I couldn't do it without them!).
#3 -- Misconception: More is better. IMHO: I've learned (and am still learning) the hard way. Quality vs. quantity when it comes to content. High-value, engaging, on-target content draws people in. Adding content that's the same as everyone else's doesn't do the job.
Sep 28, 2017 11:17 AM
This week's AMA is coming to you live from here at #Inbound17 where it's been flat out awesome all week. If you have a moment, ask me anything today or for next Thursday's wrap up of my AMA... And don't forget to see me speaking at 1:00 today on our research with buyers about sales behaviors. I guarantee that you will be surprised!
Sep 28, 2017 11:32 AM
Here's a question I was asked in a LinkedIn thread earlier this week: Why do sellers keep "pitching" generically and why don't buyers respond to pitches? My answer is that sellers do it because they see it being done and many think that is what sales is all about. IT'S NOT. Why don't buyers respond? Because it's insulting, boring, irrelevant and offensive. And it's unnecessary. There is so much you can learn quickly and easily about a buyer. Use information to personalize and create value. Sales is a noble profession built on real connections.
Sep 28, 2017 11:40 AM
@patlue - Great question! I love events like Inbound because the networking opportunities are amazing.Let me start with 2 stories from today.
1. This morning on the shuttle I met Stefan from Mindscape in Grand Rapids. We had a stimulating conversation about media, content strategy and being nimble as the world changes around us... plus what chatbots will mean for small businesses in the near future thanks to Conversations. That's networking, and it happened because he sat beside me on a crowded shuttle and I asked "Where are you from?" On the 20-minute ride, I could have remained silent or answered the stack of emails waiting for me. But I knew they'd still be there long after he was gone.
2. Yesterday I posted a bunch of photos on my personal Facebook account because of the awesome things happening here that I knew would make all my friends jealous... One friend also saw Facebook posts from another person he knew. And he realized that there were mutual interests, so he introduced the two of us. We met this morning (probably, at first, just to tell Chuck that we did since he went to so much effort). And it turns out that Mike and his colleague Tony are going to be huge help to me in my business AND that I have a client who needs them, so a referral is imminent.
So here's my answer to your question -- my approach is to be open and to seize opportunities because you just never know who you're going to meet. Everyone has something to offer to every other person. And so do you. You have something to offer, and it's only fair to be open enough for others to discover what that is for them. Sure, it's exhausting and there are times when you will want to retreat. Take a break and jump back in. The brilliant minds of the 21,000+ people here make it well worth the effort.
Oct 5, 2017 5:59 AM
Last day of this AMA -- hoping to get a few new questions before we wrap it up. Due to business travel, I may be just a little bit late with replies this time. I will answer all your questions about sales though and have enjoyed our conversations here. Remember: if you have a tech question, you'll get faster replies if you direct those to the awesome folks on the HubSpot tech team.