More Than Just Events: 4 Ways Field Marketing Drives More Sales
Chances are, if you are a marketer or a sales person at a high-growth SaaS company, you’ve heard the words “field marketing” thrown around. But do you really understand what field marketing is or what it can mean for your business?
Just as every company is different — with its own structure, target markets, challenges and opportunities, etc. — no two field marketing programs are exactly alike. With that caveat in mind, here is one common way of describing it.
A basic definition:
At its core, field marketing can be defined as strategic marketing activities and programs designed to support the sales process from prospecting to close and beyond. These activities (which we’ll explore in greater detail below), are often customized to specific regions, reps, deal sizes, industries, etc.
Notice that this definition provides plenty of room for field marketing to incorporate more than just events. Below, I’ll review four ways (including events) field marketing can help fuel sales for your company.
4 Ways Field Marketing Can Support and Drive More Sales
In my experience, field marketing is the most successful when it spans the entire sales process. Not only does this add more credibility and capacity to the field marketing function, it also allows for true open dialogue between sales and marketing.
Below are some of the focus areas I’ve personally used and found to be very successful when building a field marketing team:
1) Improving Communication & Alignment
Quick Tip: Treat field marketers as part of the sales team.
This may sound like a given, but considering how often sales and marketing efforts go misaligned there’s a reason why I’ve placed it at the top of this list. So much marketing material goes unused by sales (either because sales doesn’t know how to use it or it’s simply not useful). So many leads get qualified and passed along only to fall by the wayside. In my experience, field marketing can address these issues and help bridge the gap, especially when it spans the entire sales process and serves as a catalyst for true open dialogue between sales and marketing.
The field marketing representative should be a trusted consultant to the sales team, helping them understand not only what material is available for their use, but how to position the material — and most importantly, how to follow-up.
I’ve found the key is to consider field marketers part of the sales team. They should have access to your CRM data, be included on weekly meetings and calls, given permission to go straight to sales management, and given the opportunity to present at sales onsites.
They should also own marketing communication with the sales team. Eliminate the one-off emails from various members of your marketing team to the sales-all alias. The field marketing rep can find the best way to organize the information and call out new updates and important “to-dos”.
2) Organizing Field Marketing Events
Quick Tip: Remember, events — no matter the size or audience — are put on for one thing and one thing only: to enable your company to build quality relationships in-region.
Events are typically what first come to mind for those thinking about field marketing. Perhaps you are in an organization that already has a field marketing team and they focus exclusively on in-region events. While I personally believe field marketing can be much more than just events, I do agree they can play an incredibly important role in your field marketing strategy. Events can take the form of cocktail receptions or various forums open to many, or exclusive executive events such as dinners or suites at a ball game.
Here are a few valuable lessons on conducting successful field marketing events that I had to learn the hard way during my first few attempts:
- First and foremost, find a champion sales rep: This will make or break your event. If you try to force an event on a region where the rep isn’t sold on the concept, you can bet it won’t be successful. You may be drawn to a high-volume region such as LA or NYC first, but if your reps aren’t supportive, then there’s no need to even try. You absolutely need to count on them to drive attendance. Yes, marketing can help with email templates, call scripts, etc. Yes, your sales development team can try to do their part. But when it comes down to it, your in-region sales rep and account manager must drive the majority of registrants.
- For your first several events, pick a “safe” region: While LA or NYC might sound appetizing for your first event, you can almost count on seeing 50% attrition on your attendance due to traffic and competing events. Instead, find a region where you have incredibly solid relationships and existing customer champions who you know will show up.
- Demonstrate value in your invitation: Remember, you are asking your prospects and customers to take time away from their families and other commitments to attend an event. Make sure to communicate what’s in it for them. Words like “networking” and “free drinks” aren’t usually enough. Will you have a speaker? Exclusive access to research? Customer testimonials? Why is the venue so spectacular? Make sure to clearly articulate the incredible value attendees will experience.
- Don’t skimp on the venue: The venue is often just as important as the content. Try hosting at an exclusive property your guests likely haven’t been to, or consider booking a suite or private dining room where it’s less likely they will skip out.
- Know your audience: More importantly than anything else, know your audience. If you are hosting a cocktail reception open to everyone, don’t expect executives to make a big effort to attend. Alternatively, if you are hosting an intimate VIP-only dinner, think through all of the details such as valet, name tents, wine selection, and a toast.
3) Developing Custom Content/Assets to Address Specific Needs
Quick Tip: The key is get the prospect’s attention, align the content with “sticking points” in the sales process, and follow up with specific messages designed to help them convert.
One of the most powerful tactics you can use to help sales and sales development reps prospect, as well as move deals through the pipeline, is to work with marketing to develop a series of custom templates that can be used to quickly address the specific needs of a prospect.
For instance, organize your case studies by industry or challenge and create a custom booklet for a prospect that you can follow-up on. Prepare an audit of your digital marketing properties that you can share with members of the sales team to show some of your capabilities in action. Create a custom video or landing page that your prospect can access that speaks directly to them, etc.
4) Launching Direct Mail Campaigns
Quick Tip: Don’t count out direct mail!
While it may sound old school, one of the best methods I’ve found to get attention of prospects is by sending them direct mail. This can take many forms. Ex: A quarterly campaign branded to a specific theme, including some giveaways that relate to the message, and perhaps also including some form of thought leadership along with a personalized letter from the sales rep. Or printing and mailing a custom article or book, etc.
Want to learn more about how to fuel sales by developing a field marketing function? Register for our on-demand webinar, “Field Marketing: The Secret Weapon to Fuel Enterprise Sales,” for more guidance and tactical advice on how to get started.
Photo by: Tech Cocktail