B2B CMOs not only need to measure demand generation, but also the status of sales enablement as this is a key function of product marketing. Ongoing measurement of sales preparedness helps to prioritize what types of training the sales team requires to effectively convert MQLs to opportunities.
It is around this time of year when many CMOs and VP of Sales are putting together a plan for the sales kick off (SKO) and the subject of sales preparedness comes front and center. Unfortunately, if the CMO hasn’t been focusing on a program of continuous training the entire year, the SKO is viewed as an opportunity to catch up on all this lost training. This is unfortunate since of all the sales enablement activities a CMO must accomplish, a vast majority can be accomplished remotely via Webex or other service. You don’t need to intimacy of a onsite meeting to accomplish the training. While remote product training is not always ideal, unless the CMO works at a small company where all the sales reps are in the same office, CMOs must actually learn to excel at remote training. The pace of market development means you can’t wait for annual or semi-annual sales conferences to train sales teams. Weekly if not bi-weekly training sessions is probably the requirement
A recent blog posting by the Sales Benchmarking Index site entitled “Why You Should Be Worried About Your Sales Kick Off” contains a lot of good advice on the SKO and calls out three common mistakes about a SKO:
- They focused on an “event” vs. a “result”
- The event was viewed as the finish line, not the starting line
- The SKO sessions were not focused on improving selling skills
SBI’s blog posting has it right. #3, sales skills is one of the few areas that can’t be done remotely, yet one of the key areas that CMOs don’t push to make a core part of the sales kick off. No one will care about or remember the planned Q4 marketing programs, even product training will be somewhat forgotten if delivered in too large of a dose, but sales teams will remember and be fired up about a new way to close a deal taught by an inspirational speaker or discovered through a hands on exercise.
Most companies spend the time focused on the wrong activities since they don’t have an ongoing training program to keep the sales teams current and fresh on product and competitive information. Implementing an ongoing training program, measuring completion and scoring sales rep retention provides CMOs and VP of Sales with the confidence that time at the SKO can be spent on higher value add activities like sales skills.
How are you spending your precious SKO time?