Does Your Sales Team Rely Too Much on Marketing?

There’s not doubt about it — sales relies on marketing. However, salespeople that rely TOO much on marketing are putting themselves at risk of an unhealthy pipeline in the future.

Salespeople need to be involved with nurturing their high priority leads and opportunities that are “aware” and have some level of interest, but are not in a buying position at this point in time — there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

I don’t care how good your marketing automation system is — a prospect knows the difference between a personalized touch point, or one generated from marketing and sent out with a blast.

Cindy Modzel of Sigma Marketing Group wrote in a recent blog post, “True lead nurturing is about relevant conversations and consistent follow up. Pre-set messages and e-mails may hit a few prospects with appropriate information or catch a prospect with an immediate need, but the real truth is that the more conversations the salesperson has, the more likely they will uncover a pain point or true need. Pre-set messages cannot address trigger points in a conversation that prompt further discovery with your prospect or current client.”

Salespeople’s nurturing practices cannot be random. “It’s a slow week, so I guess I’ll call into some contacts that I am trying to win over for next quarter.”  This inconsistent behavior won’t cut it long term if a business’s main goal is to scale.

Sales managers need to work with their salespeople to determine what they should be doing to nurture qualified leads/opps — more specifically content type and frequency — to supplement marketing automated activities. Human touch point nurturing needs to be built into a salesperson’s model day/ week. For example: every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 3:30-5 pm your team focuses on human touch point nurturing to their top X nurturing accounts, researching relevant topics that reconnect with the prospects that they want to win over in the long term. Set guideline for your team, like the top X accounts that your reps are nurturing need to have X human touch points per month.

Human touch point nurturing does not consist of “check-in” calls or “check-in” emails; nothing is more annoying than getting a “check-in” from a pushy sales person. These are calls or emails that include something relevant and helpful/informative for the prospect, aside from what your marketing is already sending out (be sure to check the activity history to make sure that you are not double-sending what your marketing team has already blasted!).

Here are a couple of personalized human touch point topics:

  • News articles relevant to their industry and yours
  • New content that your company has released, that may be of interest
  • Upcoming events in their area that are relevant to their industry and yours
  • Comments about recent events within their organization (a promotion, etc.)
  • Webinar invitations

Next week, I’ll dive a bit deeper into this topic, including having an industry expert share their best practices for sales nurturing their top prospects with personalized touch points, and sharing some human touch point nurturing programs/schedules that may be of use to your sales organization.

Photo by: Ricardo Martins

Partner

Devon McDonald is a Partner at OpenView, where she sits on the firm’s investment committee and oversees OpenView’s Growth team, a group of Research, Sales and Marketing Strategists responsible for helping its portfolio companies acquire more customers and scale at an accelerated rate.
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