(This is the second post in my series about using product knowledge to create better sales enablement and jumpstart a repeatable sales process. Read the first post, on the overall topic.)
Does your salesforce complain “We don’t get enough leads from Marketing, and the leads we get aren’t any good?”
I’ve heard this a lot from sales teams.
But what does this complaint really mean? It simply means the leads they are getting don’t need or want your solution. They don’t have the problem your product solves, or they don’t have it badly enough to spend money to solve it.
If this is happening – and often it is – your company will have a hard time making the number of sales you need to be successful.
The job of Marketing is to find people to buy your product. Marketing drives programs to create awareness, interest, desire, and get prospects to take action. When prospects come in via this pipeline of marketing programs, they are handed over to Sales, who then continue the sales process.
So why isn’t Marketing finding the right people in their lead generation activities?
The fact is that Marketing doesn’t decide who to target. [bctt tweet=”The fact is that Marketing doesn’t decide who to target with their programs – defining the ideal customer and segment is #prodmgmt’s responsibility!” username=”nilsie”]
The definition of the ideal customer – the demographics, the characteristics, the industries – comes from Product Management.
For Marketing to be effective, Product Management needs to communicate all this “market segment” data to Marketing. Sharing this knowledge with Marketing is a fundamental step in a successful sales enablement program.
You’d be surprised – or maybe not – how often Product Management does not communicate this information to Marketing effectively. And so Marketing does its best to find who they think might be good prospects. But without the knowledge that Product Management has, they are inevitably going to be off, often far enough off that the leads are not good.
Imagine your product is a project management tool. It has a lot of familiar project management features, and that’s what Marketing knows. So, they market your product to project managers of all types. That makes sense, right? They aren’t marketing to non-project managers.
But it turns out that not all project managers need a tool like yours. In fact many of them only need a much simpler and cheaper tool. Do you want that lower-priced segment in your lead pipeline? No, you do not. But if Marketing only knows “project management” that’s what you’re likely to get.
There are a lot of ways to improve your sales performance, but Step One is improving your lead quality.
And Step One of improving your lead quality is making sure that Marketing knows who to look for. And that’s up to Product Management.
Here are three things you can do to help Marketing find and collect the ideal prospects for your sales team.
(Note: There’s actually a step 0. Product Management must know the characteristics of your best prospects so that you can communicate them to Marketing.)
The next post in this series covers another critical component of sales enablement:
Your host and author, Nils Davis, is a long-time product manager, consultant, trainer, and coach. He is the author of The Secret Product Manager Handbook, many blog posts, a series of video trainings on product management, and the occasional grilled pizza.
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