Demonstrating the value of your product or service is paramount. duh!
But how can you effectively collaborate with sales and sales enablement to achieve this goal? Let’s dive into some strategies that have shown success, as well as those that have encountered challenges, all shared during insightful group therapy sessions.
Thanks in advance for the notes, Maria Sturgeon, who led the Group Therapy breakout on this topic at CustomerXCon 2023.
What Has Worked Well for a Strong Partnership with Sales, Sales Enablement and Customer Marketing:
- Mapping to Sales Process and Methodology: Aligning your customer marketing efforts with the sales process and methodology is a wise approach. This alignment ensures that both teams are on the same page, speaking the same language, and working towards common objectives.
- Managing Up: Demonstrating value is essential, and one way to do this effectively is by sharing customer quotes that highlight the clear benefits your product or service has provided. Real-world success stories serve as powerful tools to showcase impact.
- Internal Recognition: Acknowledging the sales team’s efforts through internal channels not only recognizes their hard work but also contributes to building trust and fostering stronger relationships between teams. Check out Sales Win Wires to easily package and deliver this.
- Alumni Program: Celebrate promotions and stay informed when your former customers move to new organizations. This way, you can re-establish and maintain valuable relationships.
- Effective Language: Choose your words carefully. Instead of simply asking for references, inspire others, curate opportunities together, and align with your customer’s goals.
- Establishing Customer Relationships: Building strong relationships with customers is paramount because they may continue to be your champions, even if they transition to new organizations.
Lower Lift & Effective:
- Incentivizing Sales: Motivating the sales team can be achieved by offering rewards for customer nominations that lead to successful case studies. Monetary rewards or Amazon gift cards, combined with promoting published stories, can serve as effective incentives.
- Leveraging Sales Hesitancy: Use any hesitancy within the sales force about turning customers into references to your advantage. Offer to manage references through the customer marketing team and propose alternative approaches, like hosting a customer roundtable.
- Partnering with Champions: Collaborating with influential champions, such as CIOs, CROs, and Sales VPs, can yield substantial benefits. However, it’s essential to note that this approach may be more challenging in organizations that follow a bottom-up structure.
- Customer Incentives and Value: Elevate your brand when engaging with customers. Assist champions in advancing their careers, provide access to C-level connections, offer training programs, make charitable contributions, and provide registrations to conferences like Gartner.
- Partnering with Internal PR: Collaborate with your internal PR team to encourage customers to participate in media stories. Having an analyst co-sponsor the story can add perceived value.
- Support for New Account Reps: Provide new account representatives with insights into their customers and the references they’ve been involved with. Your experience often makes you the best guide.
- Updating Profiles: Plan brief sessions with account representatives to review customer profiles, as they may not always update them themselves.
What Has Not Worked Well for Stronger Sales and Customer Marketing Partnerships:
- Lack of Personal Motivators: In some cases, leaders may lack personal motivators to become champions, particularly when dealing with difficult personalities.
- Language in Contracts: Including language about references in contracts may not always yield the desired results, as it’s often ignored or removed.
- Gamification: Attempts to gamify the process, especially for more senior-level customers, may not always generate positive responses.
- Incentivizing Sales: Incentivizing sales for nominations doesn’t always work well, as it may lead to nominations that don’t provide significant value as references.
In conclusion, partnering with sales and sales enablement to demonstrate value is a nuanced and dynamic process. It involves effective communication, recognition, motivation, and creative incentives. It’s important to understand what works in your specific organizational context and adapt these strategies accordingly. Building and nurturing strong customer relationships remains at the core of success in this endeavor.