Very early in my career (as a marketing professional responsible for generating sales leads and resources to help close deals) I thought I knew what salespeople needed. And, it was not what the sales team kept asking for.
Later, when I became a salesperson, I realized both teams were wrong. I knew that the sales and marketing teams needed to work together but getting goal alignment wasn't yet on the horizon for my employers.
It was not until I first managed a combined team that I realized sales and marketing needed to be on the same page so they could both meet their goals. Changing minds about what marketing and salespeople should focus on was an uphill battle. It was not just people on my team whose opinions I had to change. It was colleagues and senior executives as well.
Starting with the first sales team I managed, I changed the focus to provide value before the ask. Something I learned from sales coach Anthony Iannarino. I quickly learned changing the mind of someone unwilling to change is exhausting.
After a while, I found myself responsible for a National sales team at another company. Unfortunately, that team was also the operations team, and operations were their priority. Many on this team thought sales meant taking their best clients to expensive dinners, golf, and sporting events.
The operations team had no interest in also being responsible for sales. Therefore, it should have been easy to develop a dedicated sales team, right? Nope.
With more than one team responsible for sales, each with it's own management, and a total lack of coordination, many clients and prospects were bombarded by calls while others were ignored altogether. While my team focused on discovering need and providing value, the operations team continued wasting time and money on entertaining preferred clients and resisted picking up the phone.
At the same time I was managing these sales teams, I was also leading the marketing teams. Both companies were HubSpot users. As a marketer, I loved the platform and the inbound marketing methodology. It just made sense. Create content to attract and convert visitors—and hope the sales team could close and help delight them.
However, there was a disconnect. My marketing teams understood that the buying process had changed and eagerly made changes to follow suit. When we did, we were rewarded with rich data and intelligence to help us tweak and improve our efforts. We could start to prove return on investment. Who doesn’t love that? If my marketing teams were eagerly making the change, then why wasn't the sales team?
My sales teams wanted to use the same legacy sales tactics they had always used, actively resisting change, yet couldn’t understand why they were not getting the results they needed.
With those, two experiences under my belt (not all bad, but not nearly as good as I had hoped), I felt defeated. I knew there was a better way. I knew sales was not a dirty word. But my confidence was shaken.
I decided to launch my own company and became a HubSpot Partner Agency. Recently, I was accepted into the HubSpot Sales Pipeline Generation Bootcamp. It was taught by none other than Dan Tyre, one of HubSpot’s most senior sales executives and original founding team member (#6).
One of the first things Dan told the group at the start of the bootcamp was to add value first (before the ask, and before qualifying). This is what I had also learned years ago from Anthony Iannarino. I knew I was in the right place.
Dan calls the members of his bootcamps Lions and Lionesses. At first, I felt the term was a bit cheesy. However, I grew to love it. Sales is all about hunting right? Yes but, Dan’s Lions aren’t in it for the kill. Instead, they hunt for people they can help and they work with their pride (marketing colleagues, their professional network, and other colleagues) to achieve goals.
Hello sales and marketing alignment!
Over the next eight weeks, my bootcamp pride (fellow lionesses) and I learned how to handle the connect call. A connect call is not a cold call, because you research your prospect before making the connect call. Your research helps you discover ways to find out what you may have in common, what issues the company may be having, and MOST importantly how you can help them.
We learned how to truly and effectively prospect for today’s buyer. And because the goal was to find people we could help, our calls included:
- inbound leads
- prospect companies (using the Sales Pro prospect tool)
- previous closed-lost opportunities, ghosted opportunities, target
- companies with good news
- target companies with bad news
- and anyone who might fit our specific criteria for a great customer (because not every prospect will be a good fit for your company)
We also learned to rely on the HubSpot Sales Pro tools to improve our productivity and give us a heads up when it was time to call a prospect back, either because HubSpot notified us when they opened our email or visited our website again. Or because we were able to quickly create follow-up tasks and reminders that matched the recommended sales cadence.
And now, inbound to me is not just something you do in marketing. It is a way of life. It is marketing, and sales, and so much more (in fact inbound can be for the whole organization – and Dan has written the book on that, literally).
But the best outcome of all? This Lioness got her roar back!