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'Interview with a High-Tech Sales Executive: Insights for Technology Marketers' from Kim Gusta Marketing's blog

Interview with a High-Tech Sales Executive: Insights for Technology Marketers

Category:  Sales Cycles  B2B Sales  Technology Marketing  Qualified Sales  

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I often preach about the importance of deeply understanding your buyers in order to create engaging, useful content. One extremely valuable channel for intimate buyer understanding is your sales team. They’re on the front lines all day long talking to buyers, and they have great insights on what resonates and what doesn’t.

 

Most Marketers and Sales Teams are Worlds Apart

However, it’s been my experience that most high-tech marketing and sales teams aren’t very close. There are factors that make it tough to build this relationship – distance could be an issue since marketers are often located at headquarters and sales executives could live around the country (or the world).

But more often it seems to boil down to an issue of respect and understanding. Marketers think Sales doesn’t get marketing, and Sales thinks Marketing doesn’t get sales. Marketers tend to have a big-picture view, and Sales is more short-term. The two teams are inextricably linked in the results they need to produce, but failure to have a positive relationship is detrimental to both.

A High-Tech Sales Executive Explains All 

To get more insights into how marketers can help our sales counterparts, I recently interviewed Paula Buerkle, a very successful technology sales executive, for her thoughts on how we can all just get along.

Kim: Paula, you’ve been in technology sales for quite some time, won many sales awards, and built very successful relationships with your customers and partners. So tell us, how can Marketing best help Sales be successful?

Paula: A lot of it comes down to communication and building relationships. If the two teams never talk, it’s tough to have a harmonious relationship. But that being said, Sales realizes that Marketing has insights that could be helpful to them, and Marketing can certainly glean great buyer knowledge from Sales.

A few things Marketing can do to benefit Sales:

  • Help Sales stay up to date on industry trends. Marketing keeps a pulse on the big picture in the industry, while Sales is focused on generating dollars. Sales would benefit greatly if Marketing were to take the time to email interesting information, such as the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant report, articles on buyer trends, posts from industry bloggers, and competitor press releases. They might not read it right away, but they’ll likely take a look when they have some downtime. Take a few minutes to send your sales executives information that will help them look good in their next customer meeting.
  • Give Sales useful content to share with buyers.  Not only does forwarding useful content to Sales keep them up to date, but it also gives them content to send their prospects. As Paula explained, Sales is always looking for a good excuse to reach out to buyers. Help Sales generate their own content marketing campaign by giving them useful stuff that buyers also want to read. One note of caution: be sure to clearly tell Sales what they can and can’t share publicly. You don’t want sensitive information shared with buyers or falling into competitors’ hands.
  • Keep it fresh.  As Paula says, two-year-old (or more) marketing materials are not very impressive. Yes, it’s tough to keep all your collateral, white papers and more up to date, but it just needs to happen. Otherwise, your Sales team will stop using them, or even worse, they WILL use them and you’ll look stale compared to competitors. Not a good thing in our fast-moving industry.
  • Keep the lights on – all the time. We’ve probably all been a bit guilty of this one. You create a flurry of marketing stuff for an upcoming product launch, and then whew! - It’s time to take a rest. But that’s a poor strategy for your sales team and your marketing. Keep the momentum going by producing a “regular pipeline of content” (Paula’s term, and I love it).

I appreciate Paula’s from-the-trenches insights; I’ll share more in future blog posts. How many can you apply today to build a strong relationship with your sales team?

About sales expert, Paula Buerkle:

Paula has worked in the technology industry in business development and sales for 10+ years and is currently a cross-brand sales account executive at IBM. Her roles span a career that included small, medium and large organizations. At RingCube Technologies, she was recognized as Top Revenue Producer in 2010. She has consistently exceeded annual revenue targets and earned the Altiris Salesperson of the Year award in 2007, recognizing her achievements managing territories in both North America and Europe.

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