Does your Sales Force Hunger for Information about the IT Analysts?

icon-dollar-euro.jpg At a multi-day all-hands sales meeting, one SageCircle client gave a short 15-minute talk to his company’s sales force on the IT analysts. After the meeting, the VP of sales brought to the AR manager’s attention that on the written evaluations of the all-hands meeting almost every sales representative mentioned the information about the analysts as one of the top three take-aways. In addition, getting more information about the analysts was considered one of the top areas for follow up.  Impressive! What makes this story even more powerful is that the AR talk was totally unscheduled and impromptu. The AR manager happened to be sitting in the audience during a marketing communications one-hour session when he was asked if he would like to make a few comments about AR and sales. With no formal presentation, the AR manager provided a succinct description of the issue and fielded some questions. Even though the presentation was ad hoc and not on the evaluation form to be formally scored, the topic was of such intense interest to the average sales representative that they consistently ranked it as one of the top talks.

This is not an aberration. 

When SageCircle strategists have done sales force training sessions – whether face-to-face, via webinar, or on a teleconference – the interest is always very high with lots of questions from the sales team. This is because the average sales rep is the one bearing the brunt of the analyst impact on their sales cycles. It is his or her ability to make quota and go to President’s Club that is on the line when an IT analyst is talking to a prospect. As a consequence, when offered information about the analysts and how to use them, or how to recover from negative comments, the sales reps welcome the opportunity.

Many AR departments assume that it will be a struggle to get the attention of their sales force in order to provide information about the impact of the analysts on sales cycles. In fact, this assumption leads some AR groups to avoid reaching out to Sales. The reality is that there could be a pent-up demand for knowledge about the IT analysts and tools for dealing with them.

SageCircle Technique:

  • Identify the key players inside the sales organization who do the day-to-day work when it comes to training, field communication, and sales support
  • Add simple AR content to existing sales training, newsletters, or staff activities

Bottom Line: SageCircle recommends that AR managers overcome their reluctance to approach their sales force. The potential problem is not rejection, but being embraced too quickly. However, AR must channel and respond to this enthusiasm to develop a working relationship with sales and establish the framework within which AR can truly help sales and impact the company’s top line.

Question: AR – Have you attempted to provide training or newsletter content to your sales force? If yes, what was your experience? If no, why have you not attempted to reach out to sales?

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.

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One Response

  1. Contrast this with the study results of major analyst firms like AMR Research and Forrester. For example, when AMR still asked the question, their survey showed that analysts were no better than third in their ability to influence buying decisions, at about one third the level of the top choice (i.e., if the top influencer got 30%, the analyst was at about 10%). As far as I have been able to determine, AMR stopped asking this question in their survey (or at least stopped reporting it.)

    Forrester continues to ask the question, and in a recent report on influencers, showed the level of influence by company size. Sure enough, the influence steadily grew as the company size increased. BUT, even for the largest companies, analysts were still FIFTH on the scale.

    That is not to say that analysts are not important. As a mathematician in a previous life, we used to use the phrase a “necessary and sufficient condition”. Analysts are necessary, particularly if they provide positive information, but they are not sufficient. People who make decisions based on any one information source are usually missing out.

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