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B2B Marketers Need to Become Salespeople at Sales Kickoff

B2B Marketers Need to Become Salespeople at Sales Kickoff


The annual Sales Kickoff (SKO) meeting is a perfect opportunity for marketing to interact with the entire sales organization in real-time.

The marketing functions invited to sales kickoff should include demand creation, demand management, field marketing, content marketing, sales enablement, product, solution and industry marketing. All of these functions have one thing in common – their customer is the sales team. Ideally, all of the marketing attendees should devise a divide and conquer plan before arriving at SKO to maximize the opportunity.

What’s so hard about building an integrated sales and marketing plan?

Everyone is Busy

During the normal course of business sales people are running hard with few cycles to spare. It’s hard to get quality one-on-one time from a salesperson as the quarter, customer and prospect meetings take precedence and usually arise with little notice. If there is not a pre-existing relationship based on value then the challenge for marketing is even greater.

Bring Something to the Table

When a salesperson makes time for marketing, the last thing a sales rep wants to do is spend time teaching a marketer what sales is all about. Granted, a marketer is never going to build a knowledge of sales that rivals a sales person, but a marketer could show that they have a general understanding of sales. And, a marketer should be able to bring to a sales person some valuable insights of their own. Marketing needs to have some skin in the game (variable compensation) and the ability to execute quickly to put some wins on the board with the sales team.

Plethora of Content

Sales Kickoff is one of the few times, if not the only, when all salespeople are gathered together in the same spot. Over the course of several days there are numerous opportunities to engage with salespeople at breakfast, lunch, breaks, dinner and drinks. Marketers should not leave things to chance and should develop a list of 10 or 20 sales people with whom they must have conversations — and “stalk” these individuals. The backdrop for conversations is ideal as the theme is conducive to go deep and defenses are down.

Condensed Timeline & Real Time Feedback

The number of conversations with salespeople that can happen over a few days is mind boggling when their geographical location, title, availability and access are computed. Information can be raised, surfaced, vetted and agreed to in hours or days as opposed to the conversation never happening. Be prepared when the opportunities arise to have relevant and meaningful questions to stimulate conversations.

Questions Marketers Need to Ask Salespeople at SKO

  • What is your territory composition – geography, industry, size of company, technology adoption?
  • What are your priorities for the quarter, year – what are you goaled on for the quarter and year?
  • How do you make your number – is quota credit geared towards a specific offering?
  • How much of your quota will be made from new versus existing accounts?
  • Is new business expected to come from greenfield opportunities or replacements?
  • Does LOB drive or initiate the purchase process?
  • Does IT have the authority to make, stall or kill a technology purchase?
  • What is the compelling value of the solution to IT?
  • What is the compelling value of the solution to LOB?
  • What is the compelling value of the solution at a strategic level to the organization?
  • What is the compelling value of the solution at an operational level to the organization?
  • How have you been most at successful in breaking into new accounts?
  • How do you gain access to the individuals involved in the buying process?
  • Typically, who are the individuals/functions involved in the buying process?
  • What content do individuals you target subscribe to?
  • Who are their trusted analysts and influencers?
  • What conferences do these individuals attend?
  • What has been the source of your best leads?
  • What types of marketing campaigns have worked well for you?
  • What marketing campaigns have you seen our competitors run that you believe were effective?
  • What percent of your QSOs came from Marketing?
  • How often do you connect with your Sales Development representative?
  • How many meetings a month does your SDR set for you?
  • What are the sales tools you use most?
  • What sales tools do you avoid?
  • What’s the best thing Marketing does for you?
  • What’s the worst thing Marketing does for you?
  • If you could have Marketing do one thing for you, what would it be?
  • What do you expect Marketing to do for you this quarter?
  • How many contacts do you include for each opportunity in the sales automation system?

Sales Kickoff is typically a once a year event and the entire sales organization is herded into a central location for a number of days. Marketer’s should take a page from sales and build a plan to gather, synthesize and internalize information from salespeople to help them help their customer – the sales team. Be prepared and capitalize on this opportunity.

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January 26, 2017 at 12:04PM

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