By Steve McKenzie
Even in small companies, departments are often siloed. They tend to work separately and often don’t collaborate on projects or initiatives. Poor sales results are usually viewed as a sales-only problem, and many believe that other departments don’t succeed or fail along with sales.
This isn’t the right approach. A business relies on sales to close enough revenue to keep the lights on, and that monumental responsibility shouldn’t be a lonely one. Every single person in a company should be attuned to sales and continually be asking how they can better contribute to closing deals.
Here’s how different departments like engineering, marketing and customer success can work to support sales, and how each can contribute to closed-won business in some way:
Engineering: Sales begins with your engineering and product team. Engineering is building the product that sales will eventually try to sell — but does that specific product have any appeal to buyers? It’s not easy to build a product that you know the market wants and that customers will pay for. However, there are ways that engineers can work more closely with customers and sales in order to build the right product for their target market.
Many engineering departments have adopted new types of product development, such as pretotyping and agile software development. These two methodologies enable engineers to first test out a new product’s viability in the marketplace, and then allow quick changes and rapid development cycles to adjust as the market evolves. By using these methods, your engineering team can actually build a better product that will be easier for your sales team to sell in the future.
Marketing: The most obvious shift you can make is how your marketing department measures the leads they generate for the sales team. Often, marketing’s goals are simply a set number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) that they then deliver to sales. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that marketing is giving sales high quality leads that will quickly or easily convert to Closed-Won deals. It’s not uncommon that these leads are in the wrong market, are not interested in buying, or will not be your company’s ideal customer.
Your marketing department should adopt a lead scoring system, which measures not just how many leads marketing generates, but also the quality of those leads. Lead scoring uses specific data points to define a high-value, high-converting lead vs. a low-value, low-converting lead. Depending on your historical sales performance, lead scoring can help you understand the characteristics of high-converting leads, and tell you which leads your sales team should focus on.
Customer Success: After the sale is won, customer success steps in and takes over. It’s their job to turn Closed-Won deals into happy customers, who can help sales do their job better. For example, happy customers can:
- Refer friends and colleagues as new customers
- Agree to be featured in case studies for sales to use in the selling process
- Promote your product through social channels and review sites
In addition, your customer service team should be looking for sales opportunities at all times. They know whether customers may be interested in buying more of your product, so they can facilitate that conversation and alert sales to customers who may be ripe for an upsell. Also, customer success teams have significant customer knowledge to communicate with engineering and marketing teams, which can help better position your product and build new features that customers really want and need.
Every department in your company should be working together toward the same goal: growing the business. While engineering, marketing, customer success and sales all have different skill sets, they can each contribute to Closed-Won business in some way. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when everyone works to support sales goals together.
Steve McKenzie is the vice president of sales at InsightSquared. Follow them on Twitter: @.