How Effective Sales Meetings & Trainings Have Changed Forever with Content Marketing

by Marcus Sheridan

sales meetings

Over the last 100 years, organizations of all sizes have had sales meetings, often on a weekly basis, in an effort to train, educated, and improve the company’s sales numbers.

Companies big and small have embraced this culture and up until now, it has worked quite well.

But as they say—all good things must come to an end.

In the Buying Process, Marketing is More Important than Sales

And in this case, “the end” has arrived for traditional sales meetings and trainings, at least the way we’ve always understood them.

Now don’t get me wrong folks, the essence of good selling is an eternal principle—understanding the prospect’s problems, clearly communicating empathy and solutions, and then finding a way to earn the business are critical skills that will always be essential.

But the fact of the matter is, as I’ve stated before here on TSL, the digital age has ushered in a new way of doing business. Consumers have the ability to reach unheard-of education levels *before* they ever talk with a sales person, which is exactly why the following statement is one organizations globally must soon not only accept, but embrace as well:

Marketing departments are more important than sales departments.

It’s true, at least in terms of consumer buying behavior, so let’s just all get over it and start to deal with the consequences. The studies are blatantly obvious and if anyone wants to argue with this reality, all they need to do is look at their own buying patterns to see that the thing we call “the internet” is going to be every company’s “Salesperson of the Month” from now until the end of time.

This point brings me back to the subject of this article.

What the Future of Sales Trainings Will Look Like

Today, if an organization thinks that doing role-plays and upping cold-call quotas is going to suffice for an effective sales training, they are grossly mistaken.  In fact, as I look ahead, here are 5 components to company sales meetings that will become a standard practice moving forward:

1. The CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) or at least someone in the marketing department will always be in attendance, with the main purpose to continue to instill the vision of the company’s digital and content marketing  (including overall messaging) to the sales department.

2. Content brainstorming sessions, based on the questions the sales department is currently hearing, will be a common practice so as to ensure the best, real-time content is being published by the company/brand.

3. Instead of just “Sales Quotas” being pushed and talked about, “Content Quotas” from the sales department will be emphasized as well, as each member will be expected to produce a certain amount of content with assistance from the marketing department.

4. There will be heavy discussion on the company’s current content marketing efforts. This will help those in sales be fully aware of what tools are available to them (eBooks, webinars, videos, etc.) to help prospects further advance down the sales funnel.

5. Because the sales department will be so heavily involved in producing the content (Insourcing), there will be trainings (likely from someone in marketing) on writing/video/communication best practices, with the constant goal of helping each employee to understand the “What,” “How,” and “Why” of Content marketing.

Content Marketing Workshops are Not Enough to Establish a Culture

A few years ago I started teaching Content Marketing Workshops around the country in an effort to help entire organizations eliminate silos and catch the vision of this incredibly important movement. Although those workshops have often been the catalyst of some of the most incredible case studies within the content marketing realm today, I also realize that simply having one company-wide workshop is not enough.

Here at The Sales Lion, most of our clients are now doing some type of content marketing workshop with their staff on an annual basis. Furthermore, as this article has discussed, sales trainings have taken a dramatic shift as well with the inclusion of the five items mentioned above– something that is having a HUGE impact on both the sales and marketing departments.

The bottom line is cultures are not established overnight, and if a culture of content marketing is going to occur where silos are eliminated and all those persons in sales (and other departments) see themselves as “marketers” the efforts need to be constant, consistent, and built to last.

Embrace the Change

Although very few organizations are currently doing what I’m describing in this post, I have seen the possibilities that can happen if these principles are embraced.

Without question, sales departments can become a company’s greatest marketing evangelist and asset.

Silos can be eliminated.

A new vision can be created.

And something as simple as changing the way we’ve always done sales meetings is the perfect place to start.

What say you?





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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Craig McBreen May 28, 2014 at 10:43 am

Hi Marcus,

I love the idea of “Content Quotas.” :)

I also like the idea of eliminating (or at least reducing) the “walls” that are erected between departments in a company or organization, especially when it comes to an ongoing marketing effort.

Yes, a campaign needs just a few key decision-makers to keep the project on track, … BUT when it comes to building a brand in conjunction with SEO, content marketing and all the fun that comes with that … I want to talk to as many people as I can within the company. (I also want to speak with satisfied clients). This is how you start.

When you start talking to employees (not just management) it’s amazing what bursts forth. Great information, valuable insights and things the higher-ups haven’t even thought of. Pure gold.

Reply

Marcus Sheridan June 1, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Yep, pure gold is right my man.

So let’s keep digging, shall we? ;-)

Thanks for stopping by bud,

Marcus

Reply

Rich Littlefield May 28, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Great points, you really clarified the structure and goals that make up the direction I’ve been moving in with our company. Trying to break sales out of their mentality of just following leads, into a more comprehensive plan, is challenging.

I’m confident, though, that as they see the better ROI, in both time and money, for them, they will be fully on board.

Reply

Marcus Sheridan June 1, 2014 at 5:04 pm

That’s the thing Rich, hold the course and show the ROI and eventually everyone that is a “winner” will buy in, and those that still don’t get it will simply be a bad organizational fit…

Continued success bud!

Marcus

Reply

Chris Heiler May 29, 2014 at 10:02 am

Great article, Marcus. You really clarified the transformation that’s taking place. I passed this on to a small group of clients. This is the direction we’re really focused on heading. Thanks for your insight.

Reply

Marcus Sheridan June 1, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Thrilled to hear it bud, hope the clients actually do something with it!! :-)

Marcus

Reply

Vince Green May 29, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Finally!!! Marcus stating what a lot of folks are thinking.

The more important businesses department is Marketing.

Sounds like between Marketing and “salesperson of the month” we better retrain the role of sales … oh, yes that’s done in points 1 through 5

So sales should be supporting marketing, meeting the new quotas, and be so heavily involved in producing content that … hmmm

… sales is creating content, meeting content quotas AND meeting their sales quotas …
What is Marketing doing? [running the internet, our "salesperson of the month"]
So … now Marketing is responsible for business sales? Isn’t that Sales?

It can be a fuzzy line between Sales & Marketing [for some, when it suits]. It’s usually a hard, well defined line when reviewing financials.

I guess if you pay attention long enough what’s old is new again –
“interdepartmental cooperation leads to better overall results”.

Signed,
A Marketer [with Sales blood]

Reply

Marcus Sheridan June 1, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Appreciate your passion Vince:) And yes, much of what I’m saying (heck, most of what’s on this site) is not anything new.

Generally, principles of success are timeless, it’s just a matter of changing the vernacular so as to fit the day ;-)

Marcus

Reply

Ian Adams June 1, 2014 at 11:56 pm

I see this many times over on a daily basis. Smart content is so important to help educate your prospective customers. Since information is so easily accessible these days, if you’re the one company without any, you’ll likely be overlooked for the next guy.

Ian

Reply

Howie Goldfarb June 2, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Hi Marcus

Being a 14 year B2B sales vet I completely disagree with ‘Marketing is more important than Sales’ quote. It is deceptive and just untrue. Sorry for my honesty. I love ya dude! But if I can afford direct sales people vs marketing people I will choose the Sales Rep who can personally close deals and do various sales skills like cost/benefit analysis.

I haven’t been reading many blogs lately and recently had the epiphany that content marketing is much more expensive than paid advertising in terms of reach and conversions so been teasing hubspot a bit. So when I think of them I think of you and thought I should stop by!

Anyway LOVE the site so different from my last visit. I will be back. Sorry I was a runner stamp RahRah this time!

BTW I ran social for 18 months for a new pool company (1 Stop Pool Pros though before this the founders were heavv hitters out west) and I see so few of River’s peers (Shasta in Az is a gem) who do the social/email/content well. I just knew that Todd Noesser taking the top brass of Associa out to dinner in a Limo was going to trump anything I could ever do for that company in terms of gaining commercial pool business. Kind of reinforces my above statement.

Cheers dude!

Reply

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