A sales campaign, like rolling out a new product to the field tends to focus on the message that reps are supposed to deliver to prospects. Reps are handed a lead list, some probing questions and a features/benefits list and then they are told to “go get ‘em”! Then, after some time has passed, marketing and sales leaders look at the results to see how much revenue was generated by the campaign. Those results alone determine whether the campaign is a success or failure.
What did we Learn?
While common, this approach leaves significant value on the table. What is often missed is that every interaction between reps and a prospect presents the opportunity to collect valuable market data. That data can create significant value, even in the absence of an immediate sale. That value can take many forms, including:
- Future sales opportunities to those specific customers.
- Demographic data for more accurate market size analysis.
- Help identifying strong new marketing messages.
- A better understanding of competition in the market.
- Additional input for the development of new products and services.
That transition requires campaign designers to consider what the organization can learn from customer contact during a particular campaign. Customer answers to initial probing questions should always be captured, but reps might also be encouraged to ask outside of the box questions as well. Once data goals are identified, sales and marketing leaders must communicate the importance of data collection to the reps and, just as importantly, give them the tools they need to easily collect the data for analysis.
Avoiding the Feature Dump
The best part is that successfully adding this element to calling campaigns has benefits above and beyond the value of the data itself. First of all, it encourages reps to ask questions and listen to customer responses. If a campaign focuses only on the message to be delivered to customers, reps are likely to move into a feature/benefit dump very quickly when they reach a prospect. By focusing on the collection of data, you encourage them to slow down, ask questions and listen actively before delivering the product message.
Finally, and most importantly, this approach creates the foundation for sales and marketing to work together more effectively. Campaigns presented the wrong way can turn reps into order takers, not sales people. That happens when marketing implies that all reps need to do is deliver this message to that customer and sales will come. As much as reps love to hear that message, it is very rarely true. If the first two or three prospects reject the message, many reps will lose faith and stop working on the campaign. Worse, they will start to tune out future messages coming from marketing.
Data Collection Bridges the Gap Between Sales and Marketing
Encouraging the collection of data and demonstrating that the data is used to effect change creates a completely different dynamic. It shows sales that marketers remain open to new information and that they will react quickly to the challenges faced by individual reps. This virtuous cycle then increases the willingness of reps to invest additional time on campaigns that might not bear immediate fruit, even further increasing the volume of data flowing back to marketing, leading eventually to better campaigns and higher sales.
A Prescott Sales Pilot can you help build that feedback loop, especially at the beginning of a launch, when feedback is the most valuable.