Great content is the best sales tool in the world.—Marcus Sheridan, author, The Sales Lion blog
A marketing director shared a new video series that she had prepared for the sales force. She was proud of the work but annoyed with the sales people. Seconds after publishing the videos, a sales person asked if he could share the internal videos with his clients.
She complained to me, “Every time I create something for internal use, the sales people want to share it with clients!”
She needs to listen to what they’re saying. What they’re saying is they want more sales tools and less sales education. More stuff to share with clients and fewer focused on training the sales people.
A product manager once asked me to authorize five days for sales training. “Surely I heard you wrong,” I said. “You must’ve meant five hours, right?” Nope. The product manager wanted five days. His agenda began with “Day 1: The history of computing.” Clearly he was trying to teach his lifetime of knowledge. But what do the sales people really need to know?
I’ve often remarked that it’s vastly easier to sell products when you understand them deeply. Everyone needs to know what we do here. And in my experience, the best sales people are ones with domain knowledge… but it’s their ability to apply that knowledge to customer scenarios that creates success. The best sales people are trusted advisors to their clients. And that’s the way it should be.
What do your sales people really need to know about your technology? They need to understand target markets and personas, and the problems your company can solve. Do they need more?
That’s why I emphasize sales tools more than sales education. Create ready-to-share sales tools for everything. Create ROI calculators, ebooks, white papers, slide decks—all ready to use and ready to share. Limit the number of confidential and internal-use documents to roadmaps and competitive battlecards.
The ideal sales tool is a container for your expertise—in business, technology, market, and domain. And then every sales person can distribute your knowledge directly to the client.
Listen to your sales people. If they want to share internal documents, they’re telling you they need more external documents. Respond to their requirements. They’ll be more successful and so will you.