Don’t Neglect the Sales People!

I had an experience recently that shouldn’t have surprised me but it did. It happened as I started working with a $40 million software company.

My job is to help the company improve it’s value proposition and follow through with detailed marketing and tactical plans. To gather the necessary information, I was participating in a conference call with the company’s sales people. I had a few minutes to ask some questions and proceeded to drill them about the details of how they sell, what ‘s most important to prospects and other key details.

The team was enthusiastic to share their ideas and experiences and a lot of good information came from the session. What surprised me is that many of these people said that the previous marketing team never came to them to get their input and perspective!

I’m no genius but it seems to me that the sole job of marketing is to support sales. After all, nothing happens until a sale is made. The sales team has the knowledge, experience and day-to-day contact with the most important people in our world: our customers!

I usually follow up on the information gathered by then speaking directly to customers to confirm the details and assumptions provided by sales people. This provides a solid foundation upon which to build a strategy while bringing the sales team into the process.

If you are looking for answers, ask the sales team first. They should be among the most important people on your list. In the coming weeks, I’ll be spending more time with these valuable folks, picking their brains and learning what it takes to sell this complex product in the real world. After all, isn’t that the point?