The Monumental Benefits of Cross-Training Marketing with Sales

How much time do your sales and marketing teams spend together? If you’re like many companies, these two groups may see themselves at cross purposes. But a revamped approach can help them work together better, to learn from each other and take advantage of inherent strengths. In fact, if you want them both to do their best, it’s time to put some intra-office cross training to work.

Putting these two groups together does a couple of things. It allows you to see who may be hiding their leadership talents—or simply giving them a chance to grow together and build their shared morale. When the two groups together, they might see events, efforts, or promotions that they didn’t know about, or ways of speaking to customers that might offer them creative insights in how better to structure their own sales or marketing efforts.

What else can cross training these two groups do? Read this article to find out.

 

Cross-Training Strategies for Marketing and Sales

There are many lessons salespeople and marketers can learn from each other, and it’s important to take advantage of each department’s knowledge. Taking the skills and traits that both positions offer can help to drive revenue and increase customer satisfaction with your brand.

Consider starting this cross-training from the beginning of each new employee’s time with your company. You can also hold meetings and training sessions for existing staff and give each team an opportunity to lead sessions and share valuable insights for success from their unique perspective.

Consider some of the lessons each department can share, and their corresponding benefits, outlined in this article.

 

3 Benefits Salespeople Can Offer Marketers

A lot can be learned from salespeople—both in strategy and individual traits—that translates well to the marketing world. Micro customer interactions are not typically a major part of the job description for marketers. Yet, when applied to a marketer’s role, things like drive, product knowledge, and resilience become self-explanatory.

Salespeople hear information directly from customers, which helps marketers create promotional materials.

Just like their colleagues in customer service, salespeople have the advantage of developing customer relationships, whether from quick interactions or contacts that span years. Since customers interact directly with the sales department to have their needs met, this is usually one of the strongest relationships between consumers and companies.

Marketers may not have the opportunity to work directly with customers. But they likely have access to their company’s salespeople. Ask them to give you a rundown every so often on customers’ responses, questions, or suggestions. This information can be extremely valuable.

Cross-Training Implementation

Have your sales team keep track of noteworthy customer interactions to share with the marketing team. For example, if a customer talks to a sales rep about why they chose your services, make sure sales shares that with marketing so they can get concrete details about why people choose your company over your competition. This can help with developing advertising and promotional materials.

Sales team members have mastered the art of speaking to your customers, which can spur new marketing campaign language.

Great salespeople have interpersonal skills or ways of speaking about the product or service that can help customers feel not only comfortable, but also confident in their purchasing decisions. When marketers have these same interpersonal skills, it makes working as a team, both in the office and out in public, more enjoyable and efficient. Marketers with these skills can develop relationships in business that may help them design and implement creative strategies that speak most effectively to their customers.

Cross-Training Implementation

Marketers may learn new ways to write copy that speaks better to their company’s audience just by sitting in on a sales meeting. Industry-specific terms, customer preferences, and more can be learned by marketers who listen to conversations or read email messages between salespeople and customers. If possible, keep as much communication as possible in your CRM for easy access for both departments.

 

Your sales team has different product knowledge because they interact directly with customers, which can help marketers with personalization.

Marketers understand their products and services. However, salespeople often know different aspects or uses. It isn’t just that they have to sell the product day-to-day, but also because they are directly interacting with the consumer. Knowledge that comes from working with users allows salespeople to personalize a product pitch and understand what information is most important to various demographics.

This product knowledge is incredibly important in marketing, and it’s worth consulting with your sales team to figure out their “insider knowledge” of the product. When marketers have this information, it may change their strategy entirely, so it’s important that these things are transparent and frequently discussed.

Cross-Training Implementation

Get both teams to talk about your brand and what it stands for. Generally speaking, marketers talk less with people familiar with the product than sales, especially since the latter interacts with new and potential customers. Have marketers participate in observation days to see what this looks like and how sales operates “in the field” to communicate about your brand. You may be surprised to see that each person takes away something different.

3 Benefits Marketers Can Offer Sales

Marketers know the ins-and-outs of your target market.

One thing marketers excel at is knowing they are not marketing to everyone: They are reaching out to a target market. You can have a great pitch, but if you target the wrong audience you won’t be as successful. Marketers can teach salespeople more about the target market they are working with and, as a consequence, sales can be more targeted.

Cross-training Implementation

Since marketers have specific demographic insights and know who is interested in your brand on a large scale, this can help sales identify potential clients faster. Make sure your marketing team alerts sales whenever they learn new demographic insights. Consider having a Google Doc or some means of communicating these insights. Likewise, sales can also report back and let marketers know why certain customers like a particular product or service.

Marketing has insights into open rates and what obstacles are between the customer and the product.

Salespeople have a reputation for being persistent, and the same sentiment can apply to digital marketing with ads and emails. There’s a fine line between reaching out to your potential customers and being annoying. One of the cornerstones of marketing strategy is that it’s more important to have a conversation with customers over making sales pitches.

Cross-Training Implementation

This is one place where a cross-training strategy can come into play: Discuss the differences between a conversation and a pitch. This can help shed light on new approaches for both marketers and salespeople.

There can be better planning for campaigns when marketing and sales work together.

Last but certainly not least: Marketers create campaigns, sometimes months in advance. If marketers take input from other key players within the company into consideration for a campaign, it will be more successful; the sales team is vital to this operation. Play the long game and make sure sales knows what marketing is thinking so they can try and help drive those campaigns. From this cooperation you will get the benefits of a great campaign created by your marketing team, as well as the benefit of personalized connections that salespeople naturally achieve.

Cross-Training Implementation

With better-planned campaigns come more qualified leads, who, hopefully, will continue through the funnel. Encourage your marketing team to reach out to sales (and other departments as necessary) when they’re planning email marketing, ads, social media campaigns, and other marketing materials to learn if there are new ways to connect or new features to discuss. When your marketing campaigns bring in highly qualified leads, your bottom line will benefit.

The Takeaway

Lessons from each department will help your team collaborate and strengthen your brand. The more you know, the more prepared you can be for any question, client, or problem that comes your way. It’s all about gaining this knowledge and leveraging it in your current position. 

This article has been kindly supplied by Salesforce Canada blog. The original article can be found here:
https://www.salesforce.com/ca/blog/2016/07/benefits-of-cross-training-marketing-with-sales.html

10 of the Best Cloud Services for Small to Medium Businesses

Is your business booming? Are you having trouble keeping up with all the demands?

If you’re expanding your business rapidly, chances are you’re in need of tools to support your growing business. 

There are a great deal of services to choose from, whether you’re looking for email marketing services or accounting software. 

Whether you’re balling on a budget or just need some additional tools to help you expand your business, we can show you the top 10 best cloud services to help you out. 

 

10 of the Best Cloud Services

The top 10 best cloud services will give you the assistance you need while also being kind to your budget. 

Not tech-friendly?

Most of these services are perfect for those who aren’t as tech-savvy as others. 

Regardless of your business type, tech knowledge, or budget, there’s a little something for everyone here.

 

1. Salesforce

Most growing businesses think their website is their most important cloud property.  It’s not.  The most important cloud asset you can invest in is your CRM. 

Why?  The most important asset you have in your business is your customer base.  Build your customer intelligence on the most robust, trusted and expandable platform in the world – Salesforce. 

Salesforce is, at it’s core a CRM, but it is so much more than that.  It is a true customer platform.  

I often describe Salesforce like the smart phone you’re holding your hand. It is is a platform that holds all your data – some of those apps come standard, some are built by other people (or yourself) which you can download.  Additionally, everybody’s smartphone is different, yet the same.  It’s completely customised to how you like to use. 

Well, that’s kind of like Salesforce.  It’s a platform on which to build your business.  

  • Customise lead management
  • Scale deal management and understand pipeline
  • Collaborate through chatter with colleagues, customers or partners
  • Build insightful dashboards from smart reports
  • Take anywhere via your tablet or smartphone
  • Connect sales, marketing, HR, social, finance… any one of thousands of apps
  • Create your own apps so you can run your business or collaborate with your customers how you want to.
  • Add on marketing automation tools like Pardot, or build one to one personalised customer journeys through Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

That’s why Salesforce get’s our number one spot. There is nothing like it in the world.  

 

2. Xero

If you’re a growing business, it’s imperative that you have a foolproof accounting software. 

Small and medium businesses may not have the manpower nor the budget to invest in an expensive, complicated application. 

That’s why Xero is one of the top 10 best cloud services. 

With its ease of use and great price, any business owner will be able to use the system to run their payroll, invoicing and more. 

If you’re interested in seeing how Xero works, they even offer a free trial to ensure that this top 10 cloud storage service will benefit you and your business. 

We’ve even built apps to connect Xero and your Salesforce instance together.  Talk to us, if this would help you. 

 

3. Dropbox 

Dropbox Business is one of the best cloud services for collaborating with your teammates

Documents can easily be transported through the cloud.

Comments can be left on each document and synced real time so everyone will be kept up to date immediately.

Team folders give specific teammates the ability to edit and share files for specific projects.

You can also use team folders to provide access to things like team meeting information, goals, and updates.

Externally share files with individuals outside the company by creating a password.

Dropbox has added security features that keep your business’ documents safe.

Add passwords and expiration dates, and assign specific employees tasks by choosing who can access each document.

If a device is lost or stolen, you can easily erase that device remotely so no protected information is at risk.

The great part about Dropbox is its recovery feature. All records are stored for up to 120 days and can easily be retrieved.

Pricing depends on the number of users you choose to give access to. It also depends on how much storage you’ll need. 

We’ve recently integrated Dropbox into Salesforce CRM for small business clients, this puts the power of cloud files right in the middle of your CRM.

 

4. HostGator

Having a business website is a must in this digital age. 

However, finding someone to build your company’s website can be time-consuming and costly.

Web hosting sites like HostGator allow you to quickly and easily create your business’ website, even if you’re a newbie. It allows you to use a drag and drop option to create a beautiful website. 

Depending on your needs, HostGator gives you several package options that will make your wallet happy. 

The Hatchling plan starts at $10.99 USD and includes plenty of disk space and email addresses that is perfect for small businesses. 

 

5. Shopify 

Shopify E-Commerce is one of the top 10 best cloud service for several reasons.

If you’re selling any type of product online, this shopping cart is a necessity.

Not only is it cheap, it’s also super easy to use for the tech novices who don’t have much time to learn a new application.

 

6. Citrix Grasshopper

Struggling to have conference calls with your team members? Sick of racking up long distance charges in order to communicate across borders?

Check out Citrix Grasshopper as your new go-to Voice over IP (VoIP). 

Use this system to enable call routing, voicemail, or utilize the call center features. 

To up the cool factor, Grasshopper starts out at only $12.00 USD. 

 

7. Asana 

In order to run a successful business, it’s important to have an effective way for your teammates to collaborate. 

Asana is a web-based tool that ensures your team is working efficiently and allows everyone to check off projects completed. 

Ultimately, this tool allows you and your team to track your work progress and communicate through a platform aside from email. 

Interactive and user-friendly, Asana is the ultimate tool for work productivity for your team. 

 

8. SpiderOak

Keeping your business’ information as well as your clients’ information private is a must. 

SpiderOak is a top 10 cloud storage service provider that allows you to keep your and your clients’ information safe with 100% privacy. 

Depending on your data needs, SpiderOak is wallet-friendly, with 30GB costing only $7USD a month. 

 

9. Zoolz

Zoolz is a great top 10 cloud storage service that works for any business, regardless of your business size. 

There’s no limit to the amount of users or servers you can have, which makes it unlike other service providers.

Absolutely no limits on bandwidth and uploads makes this service provider the ultimate in cloud storage.

 

10. Salesforce Pardot 

Small and medium business owners don’t always have the time to do the marketing dirty work.  

That’s why marketing automation services are one of the top 10 best cloud services on this list. 

Email building, reporting, real time sales alerts, and social profile lookups are only some of the features of the Salesforce Pardot

Check out the case studies that have been done that show the proven ways Pardot has helped companies expand their marketing strategies.  

 

Ready?

The safety and efficiency of your business is your ultimate priority. However, most business owners don’t have the time or the manpower in order to ensure these priorities are met.

Using the best cloud services and efficiency tools will have your business running as smoothly as possible.

What are some other services that should be included on this list? What have your experiences been like?  

How to Set Sales Goals You Need For Sales Success in 2017

Maybe your 2017 got off to a shaky start. You might be worried that it’s too late to set goals for sales success.

Absolutely not! You can still hit (or exceed) your targets and crush your sales records.

Read on to discover how.

 

Realize why you need goals at all

Are you the kind of entrepreneur who sets goals because you want to? Or because you feel you have to?

Goal setting is absolutely crucial to your sales success. It can even increase your motivation and boost your achievement levels by around 30%.

But goals are also the key to measuring that success. If you don’t set a goal, you don’t know how well you’re doing.

So make sure your goals are completely specific and measurable.

And don’t get bogged down by things outside of your control. You can’t control how much people buy, or how often they buy it.

So focus your goals on the things you can do yourself to encourage the behaviour you want your customers to follow.

 

Don’t be afraid to change your goals

Goals will evolve as time goes by. That’s unavoidable.

But you also need to honour and recognise the goals. So have regular feedback sessions with your team.

Celebrate your achievements and identify which strategies worked. And plan to overcome any setbacks.

You can also set new goals if you’re getting close to hitting one.

So you’ve set a goal to double your monthly income by the middle of the year. But you’re almost at that point and you’ve already done that.

Don’t kick things into a lower gear to cruise for a while. Set a brand new goal to give you a new challenge. 

 

Give your team responsibility for your sales success

You can also delegate progress-tracking to members of your team who are responsible for those goals.

If they feel more invested in the process, they’re more likely to want to achieve them.

One of the reasons we love Salesforce as a platform is it empowers every individual to know how to sell, their current progress and to collaborate easily across the organisation.

Because the goals stop being goals for ‘the company’. They become personal goals. And that’s much less abstract for them to get on board with.

 

Set aspirational goals, not actionable ones

You’ll read a lot about SMART goals. They need to be Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-based.

Or do they?

Try swapping out actionable goals for aspirational ones. In other words, the goal should be something you can actually do.

But it’s got an element of stretch built into it. 

To set one, try adding 25% onto what you think you can achieve. It’s certainly a fast track to sales success.

Or do as Google does. Stop focusing on making something 10% better. Aim to make it 10x better.

Don’t set the goals so high you can’t meet them at all. But if you build a challenge into it, you’ll smash your sales records in no time.

 

Conduct an audit of your current offering

There’s no point having all of these goals if the work you’re doing isn’t reaching the right people. And if you want to make money offering one service, but another is making you far more money?

You need to think about where your priorities should lie.

So conduct an audit on the content you’re creating to attract clients. Does it match your buyer persona?

It’ll help you to find the right social platforms for your marketing efforts.

Simply re-aligning your brand and content with the clients you want to work with can bring fast sales success.

Bring in outside help to develop a digital marketing program that suits your business. You may need any – or all – of these digital marketing services

 

Talk to your customers

History is full of inventions that no one remembers. Why?

Because the inventor thought they were a good idea. But they didn’t check if anyone even needed them.

So talk to your customers. Use what they say to set yourself new goals. Find out;

  • What are you doing that they love?
  • What could you be doing more of?
  • What is it that they really need in their life right now that you can provide?

You can find these things out on social media. Use social listening to see what your target audience wants.

Providing it is a quick route to sales success because you know there’s a waiting customer base.

Just make sure you turn the feedback into a goal. You’ll need to be able to measure your progress.

 

Invest in training for your team

If you hire us to work on your digital marketing, you’ll see a boost in customer orders and enquiries.

But do you have the team available to manage all of that?

First, invest in training the team you do have. Make sure your sales reps have all the information they need to close a sale.

Really nail down what the benefits are of your product or service. Remember that people buy emotions, not things.

They will make an emotional purchase decision based on the benefits. They use the features to justify it with logic.

So get the benefits in place first. Make sure your team know how to communicate them.

Second, start scouting for outside help that you can bring in if it gets too overwhelming. Being prepared will be the quickest way to achieve your sales success.

 

And keep the customer at the heart of your goals

Spend time courting your existing customers. Using the Pareto principle, 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers.

You’ll find you’ll hit your goals much quicker if you focus on retaining them. You’ve already overcome their resistance to buy. 

Meaning any resistance from those customers is automatically lower. They’re more likely to buy again in future.

Set a goal around rewarding loyalty and promoting retention. You can even set goals for how much of your profits you want to generate through your existing customer base.

Whatever you do, there’s no reason why you can’t set goals at this point in the year. You can still shoot for sales success – and achieve it.

But you’ll need a partner in your corner to help you along the way. Book a consultation with us to see what your current strategy is missing.

Digital Marketing Fast Fact: Double Two Points in the Sales Funnel: Quadruple Sales.

The Often Forgotten Principle of Sales & Marketing

It is an arresting statement;

“Double two points in your sales funnel and you will quadruple your sales!”

There are literally hundreds of things a digital marketer will work on during a campaign, so finding the ‘big rocks’ or the things which really shift the needle in the business is often hard. 

Great strategic marketing is about isolating these needle shifting levers and then hacking your way to growth by improving them.

This informative 5 minute video demonstrates the simple sales & marketing principle of doubling two points in the buyer’s journey quadruples sales.  During this video we’re using our Digital Advertising Calculator to demonstrate the principle.  Feel free to use this calculator to run your own scenarios.

If you double your efforts on your landing page and double your efforts on lead to sale conversion, you will quadruple your sales. 

How?  Watch this video…


Stuart Leo, Founder and MD, Blirt

Stuart is the founder and Managing Director of Blirt – passionate marketer, brand strategist, MarTech devotee and leader of the team at Blirt.  

As one of Australia’s leading MarTech strategy groups, Blirt specialises in customer experience, marketing automation, digital communications & full funnel customer engagement to help organisations lead in the experience economy.

Marketing Leaders, ‘Are You Driving Performance, Or Telling Your Boss Where You’ve Been?’ Leading vs Lagging Indicators as KPIs

Leading vs Lagging Indicators

As performance based marketers our role is to bring clarity to the situation, then advise, plan and execute to shift the needle on the business.

Marketing and Sales Leaders are familiar with KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) but not every leader understands how to design KPIs to drive performance, not just report on what happened.

Breaking your KPIs down into to Leading and Lagging Indicators is generally the first step.  This article is a quick introduction to these two terms and gives you some actions to get started on so you can start building better data measures.

 

Lagging Indicators

Lagging indicators are the most common KPIs used, often because they are the easiest to measure.  

These are KPIs which have happened in the past, they are measures of outcomes. For example, Sales Volume, Total Sales Value, Average Deal Size.  These measures are all indicators of work output in the past.  

Lagging Indicators are useful but they are not the whole story.   Nor do they tell us what might happen in the future.

 

Leading Indicators

Leading Indicators are measures on activities which help drive a performance outcome.  This is in contrast to looking at a KPI which tells us the past performance outcome. Great Marketing and Sales teams who are focussed on driving a business forward will create a balanced view using both types of metrics.

An example of a leading indicator might be brand perception belief.  A fall in brand perception belief is likely to indicate a fall in future sales, conversely a rise in brand perception belief is likely to result in stronger future sales.

Another example of a leading indicator might be response time to online enquiry.  Harvard research in 2011 identified that responding to an online enquiry within the first hour lead to a 7 times likelihood of qualifying that prospect more effectively.  

Therefore, focus on the leading indicator of customer response time and you will begin shifting the needle on qualified prospects and therefore total sales.

 

Emphasise Leading KPIs For a More Positive Atmosphere

Emphasising leading indicators actually encourages performance above expectations.  The marketing and sales team who are focussed on just hitting lagging indicator KPIs such as Total Sales or Total Revenue will generally be focused on hitting the desired lagging indicator.

However, the marketing and sales team who are focused on hitting leading indicator KPIs such as calls, response time, content engagement, customer engagement are more likely to outperform on lagging indicators such as total sales because they’re focussed on metrics which improve customer experience.

These teams literally make their own luck – more opportunity from more qualified prospects which is easier to close.

 

Getting the Right KPI Mix

Just focussing on Lagging Indicators creates a short term mindset with little ability to plan for the future. Conversely, just focussing on Leading Indicators may not ensure today’s short term performance goals are met.

Getting the right mix in your KPIs is actually quite hard.  Lagging Indicators are generally easy to set up but your leading indicators can be quite hard because they tend to be specific to your industry and brand.

That’s why you should be approaching your marketing & sales performance in an agile manner with a view of continuous improvement, adding and testing new scenarios on a regular basis.

Some Possible Actions

How well are you managing your performance data across the sales and marketing team?  

Here are a few actions to get you started:

  • Build a list of KPIs and divide into two lists, Leading and Lagging
  • Workshop as a marketing and sales team what you currently think are the leading indicators of future performance.
  • Start introducing measures to test the leading hypothesis.  Demonstrate that improvement in a leading indicator will actually shift the needle on business performance.
  • Take control of your marketing and sales data destiny. Own the marketing and sales data platforms and the ability to massage your CRM and your MarTech system.  The worst thing you can do is outsource your KPIs and dashboard management to an IT department who will only update on a quarterly cycle – live in your data daily so that you can execute quick actions and respond accordingly.
  • Work out what your best leading indicators are and start embedding these behaviours and measures within your team culture.
  • Balance your performance reporting with leading and lagging indicators to give the C-Suite the wisdom for future investment.

 

Need To Know More?

Talk to us about building an agile performance environment from customer research.  

We help our clients lift the customer experience across the customer journey using leading and lagging indicators through CRM, Automation Platforms, Behavioural Platforms and Content & Media Engagement Data, say hello here.