Sales leaders and marketers have more in common than you may think. Both roles require listening to people, learning about them and their motivations, and then providing all the information they need to make the best possible decisions. In other words, both jobs are all about building relationships.
This point was really driven home for me at the annual Silverpop Sales Kickoff last month in Atlanta. We closed out 2014 with a bang and discussed how we can make 2015 even better. Throughout the week, we reviewed our road map for the new year, heard from some of our partners, and discussed new products and trends that will help shape our global sales and marketing strategies in 2015 and beyond.
Far more importantly, we spent time getting to know each other better, sharing our expertise and insights, and challenging each other. That is the real value of a sales kickoff — you walk away knowing more about your product and your team than when you started.
As the sales executive for my company, my role was to learn more about the individuals on my team and to share information they can use going forward. This is exactly what great marketers do every day: They listen to customers and then deliver relevant content and offers.
Here are three relationship-building insights you can take from a sales kickoff into a new year of marketing:
1) Learn what they like — and don't like.
Because many of my team members live out of state, or even in other countries, I only get to see some of them once a year during our sales kickoff. I always enjoy taking the out-of-towners to dinner and getting to know them better. Of course, before picking a restaurant, I have to consider my dinner guests' preferences. For example, I probably wouldn't take my nondrinking Mormon team members out to a sports bar. I also wouldn't invite the vegan sales rep from California to my favorite steakhouse.
Just as I wouldn't take my diverse team members out without considering their unique preferences, smart digital marketers don't send their diverse customers the same content. Instead, they track customer behavior, gather individual preferences (both stated and implied) and use all that data to deliver images and content that appeal to unique users.
2) Know what they want from you.
Throughout the kickoff week, I had conversations with all sorts of people — my sales team, marketing leaders, product managers, vendors, partners and other Silverpop executives. These discussions varied dramatically because each role has different priorities and requires different information from me.
The same goes for your customers. Once you've learned what they like and don't like, the next step is to determine what's most important to them. This should be based on what's happening in their lives and where they're located. For example, let's say you're a clothing retailer and you know your customer Susan prefers bikinis over one-piece bathing suits. That's great information to have, but if Susan has recently had a baby or moved to Alaska, she might prefer a nice sweater instead. Of course, Susan might not have told you about the changes in her life, but if you've been tracking what she's browsing and buying lately (and not just relying on old data from her original customer profile), then you should be able to put the pieces together.
3. Reward brand builders.
Every sales kickoff includes an awards dinner to recognize top performers — those who have gone above and beyond to help the company grow and succeed. Just as top salespeople deserve recognition for their hard work and encouragement to keep doing such a great job, your most loyal customers also deserve some special attention.
Recognize your brand evangelists and reward them for their company loyalty. If you're collecting the right data, you know exactly who your most valuable customers are and what they want. Why not send them texts or emails thanking them for their loyalty and offering 20 percent off items you know they would love? Show them that you appreciate their business, and they'll appreciate you right back.
Ready to have your best sales year ever? Then keep building those relationships. Plus, check out Silverpop's new tip sheet, "10 Digital Marketing Tips for a Successful 2015."
1) Tip Sheet: “5 Challenges to Building a Loyalty Program – and How to Overcome Them”
2) Blog: “6 Tips for Creating a Best Customer Email Program”
3) Ebook: “15 Post-Purchase Emails That Build Loyalty and Drive Revenue”