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How Does Your Stuff Get Sold?

Quick! Describe your organization's sales process to me in two minutes. Don't worry if you're stumbling around right about now. This is not as easy as it seems; even for a savvy digital marketer.

Mark Harle • 12-Jan-2017 • 418 views

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How Does Your Stuff Get Sold?

Quick! Describe your organization's sales process to me in two minutes. Don't worry if you're stumbling around right about now. This is not as easy as it seems; even for a savvy digital marketer. And then think about what it takes for a new employee to understand this critical piece of business intelligence?

Position this (in a separate blog post) as to this being one of the most critical pieces of organizational knowledge. Espeiclly onboarding new hires.

But this insight is critical if you work on your organization’s public website. Think about it. When you boil it all down, the purpose of your website is to promote your organization and help you sell something.

This goal may be cloaked in any number of higher order concepts (for example, content marketing) but at the end of the day the fundamental goal is to move the sales/revenue needle.

And that’s why you need to fully understand your sales process. Armed with this knowledge you’re able to organize your site and its content in a way that successfully moves visitors down your sales path.

Not Convinced?

Thinks of it this way. Unless you work for an organization that sells nothing and has no concern for its brand (can you name any of these?) you are part of your organization’s sales force. And as a digital marketer responsible for your public website you are on the front line —side by side with your ‘official’ sales people.

And it doesn’t matter how you sell; direct to consumer, through wholesalers, through a call center or a captive sales force. You need to understand the process so your website can support it.

A Simple Example

The process of purchasing the latest Taylor Swift CD is fundamentally different from the process a CMO follows when selecting a new advertising agency. But the good news is

Armed with this insight you can craft web assets that explicitly targeted to these events. And the opposite is equally true (and all too common in real life). Absent this insight you will be challenged to deliver compelling web content in a way that moves people through your sales process.

OK, I get it. But what do I do about it?

The good news is this is not a terribly difficult problem to solve. Remember, you do not want to turn yourself (and your digital marketing co-workers) into professional sales people. All you want to do is make sure everyone fully understand your sales process.

So approach this like any other knowledge transfer/training initiative. Here’s what I suggest:

Read Up On Your Sales Process

Start with any sales training resources available on your intranet (and if you can’t find any, or if they don’t exist, you might want to have a heart to heart talk with your intranet manager!).

Also, reach out to whomever in your organization is responsible for training your sales force. She will undoubtedly have ways to quickly educate you and your co-workers. And frankly, she’ll be pleasantly surprised that someone outside of sales is interested in learning how they do it.

Remember, you don’t need to develop the skills of a sales professional. You only want to understand your sales process.

‘A Day In the Life’ Session

A great approach is to ask one of your sale people to speak at one of your team meetings. The goal is to have the sales person describe a typical day, focusing on the customer-facing sales activities they perform. This is an amazingly effective way to introduce non-sales people to how their products are actually sold.

Job Shadow

If you want to go a little further than periodic ‘Day In The Life’ sessions, you can consider job shadowing. By having your digital marketers periodically job shadow a sales person, they will gain useful and subtle insights that can be invaluable when converted into new web content.

Make sense? And if you have any questions or suggestions please share them as a comment.


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