If you’ve ever worked at a high-growth, sales-centric company, this scene is probably familiar:
It’s the end of the year, and your sales team is working feverishly to negotiate those last few deals, as individual reps make that final triumphant push to hit quota – and beyond!
As a marketer – or a member of any other non-sales team – it can be a challenge to sit back and watch helplessly as your sales team tries to bring those last few deals across the finish line. The sales team is hopping on calls, pacing the office nervously, and your favorite closers look a funky shade of green as they work their butts off to hit quota while the clock ticks down on 2014.
Marketing has done most of what it can by this point; after all, you may have delivered the leads that converted to these open opportunities several months ago, depending on your sales cycle. Aside from not letting up on the gas pedal for 2015, what can you do at the end of the year to support sales in their final battle?
1) Take a “No Meetings” Oath for the Week
At InsightSquared, sales and marketing are attached at the hip. While sales is giving marketing feedback about buyers and the right collateral, marketing is serving up high-value content and communicating automation processes to line sales up for success. We’re normally in and out of meetings all week.
But guess what? We don’t need to talk about SLAs, ICPs, or customer case studies this week. We make sure to treat this week like the Sales Superbowl. You wouldn’t bother Tom Brady with a 30 minute pow-wow about his Ugg contract in the final days before the Big Game, so leave sales to focus and do what they do best – close deals.
2) Be Present (and Planning) in Solidarity
Sales people rarely take holidays at the end of their fiscal year, so if you’re working this week, be present at the office as a sign of solidarity. Sometimes just sticking to a regular schedule, and lending some routine to an otherwise-quirky week can be enough to make the office environment feel more “normal”. Just remember: Don’t be a distraction.
The most productive thing you can do is continue with next year’s marketing planning, line up some great campaigns, and think creatively about what the calendar year looks like to give sales some great at-bats and opportunities throughout the year. The better work you do now, the better off sales’ fiscal year 2015 will start out.
3) Be Prepared with Sales Enablement Collateral
Although ideally, your sales team has access to a library of your amazing sales support collateral, make sure you have everything mapped out ahead of time and ready to distribute. Maybe the Account Executive across the aisle from you will need a customer quote or case study to push things over the line, or perhaps they’ll be looking for that perfect blog post to educate a prospect.
Make sure you know where all the best sales enablement collateral lives, and that you can ship it to your sales counterparts quickly to help secure those last epic wins. Every second counts this time of year. Categorizing your content appropriately – for the right buyer personas in the right industries at the right stage of the sales cycle – and delivering it promptly on short notice can make all the difference.
4) Study the Process for Improvement
What few steps could marketing take next year to get sales even closer to the finish line earlier and with less friction? Analyzing what’s working and taking note of what you could do better in 2015 will help the sales team hit their goals next year, without coming down to crunch time. Do you need more customer examples? More specific product pages? Do you need a more digestible “Sell Sheet”?
At the end of the day, sales and marketing need each other to hit those lofty revenue goals. You may not be able to help win deals directly today, but you have plenty of runway to make next year the best year ever. How can you work back from this week to line everyone up for a Grand Slam next month, quarter, and ultimately next December?
5) Feed, Water, and Caffeinate
Sure, this one’s obvious, but is anyone on your sales team dragging and in need of a pick me up? Before you head for that cup of Joe or afternoon candy bar, check to see if your sales companions need a boost, or just a walk to get their mind off that one looming contract negotiation. Host a marketing-supported breakfast, or sponsor a late sales dinner for reps still working the phones late at night. You’ll make sure they’re prepared for that next call or email, and are supporting your team’s revenue efforts all the way through to December 31.