ne of the strategic initiatives AR should be focusing on is “Arm Sales – Close Business” which means creating training and tools for the sales organization to deal with analyst impact on sales opportunities. While this is an excellent idea, there is the not-so-small matter of getting Sale’s to cooperate.
Most sales organizations are manically focused on closing business. A common complaint from Sales is that they are bombarded with “junk” from other parts of the company which wastes time and interferes with their single-minded pursuit of making quota.
One of the very easy tasks that sales representatives can do is ask their prospects and customers about their use of the analysts. This can be done during their initial qualification activities or at any other point in the sales cycle. Why ask questions? Doing so can:
- Prevent sales cycles from being derailed
- Identify situations where a potential lever is available that could accelerate a sales cycle
IT vendor sales representatives are often blind-sided by specific analyst comments late in a sales cycle, sometimes resulting in the derailment of a promising opportunity. By directing sales reps to ask prospects questions about analysts early and throughout the sales cycle, and then taking action before a problem arises, these blind-sides can be avoided.
Alternatively, if a sales representative discovers that a prospect delaying a decision, but is a client of an analyst that is positive about the vendor, then the account rep can encourage the prospect to either read a piece of research or call the analyst to discuss the issue. This may move the process along for a faster close.
- AR programs have to be very careful how they ask for Sale’s cooperation, always couching the idea with an emphasis on how this will help Sales close business
- AR teams have to make asking about analysts as easy and convenient as possible if they expect Sales to incorporate this idea into their regular routine
Bottom Line: It is critically important for sales representatives to ask prospects and customers about their use of the analysts, especially in purchasing decisions. AR should work with sales management to determine the best approach for building sales rep awareness of this critical issue and how to make it easy and convenient for sales reps to access sample questions.
Question: AR – Have you established a relationship with your sales organization? If no, why not?
Get Up to Speed Quickly by Eliminating the “Re-invention of the Wheel”
To help AR executives and teams decide when and how to support sales, SageCircle has a public half-day workshop focused on how to incorporate an AR-Sales Partnership Program into the AR portfolio.
Key Issues to be addressed in this workshop include:
- What are the characteristics of a great AR-Sales partnership plan that provides the necessary detail without taking too much work?
- How can AR sell the AR-Sales program to its management and Sales management?
- Should AR work with the existing sales infrastructure or develop its own capabilities?
- What is the right balance of information and tools that will make sales reps more effective without taking up too much of their time?
- What are the risks that AR should be aware of when it comes to launching an AR-Sales Partnership?
The next session of the Launching an AR Sales Partnership workshop is on Tuesday, June 16th, from 8 am to 12 pm PT in the Silicon Valley. The cost is only $495. Click here to learn more about the workshop, including the agenda, and to register.